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Enjoy Winter in Minnesota



Posted on: 14 Dec 2015



A winter getaway in Minnesota can be warm and cozy, with fireplaces, saunas, whirlpools and intimate dinners in an elegant lodge. It can also be a bracing adventure in the elements, traveling through the pristine white woods on cross-country skis, snowshoes, a dogsled or snowmobile.

Perhaps best of all, you can create your own perfect blend of indoor and outdoor pleasures, with days spent exploring the distinctly spare beauty of Minnesota’s snow-covered woods and waters, and evenings taking in the warmth and comfort of a beautiful lodge, cabin, bed-and-breakfast or luxurious hotel.


Minnesota boasts more than 350 winter resorts, almost all of which are on lakes or rivers. Almost a third of these resorts have on-site access to cross-country ski trails, and some rent skis, snowshoes and even snowmobiles. 

Other options available at the more full-featured resorts include indoor pools, saunas, a whirlpool or fireplace in the room, spas and more. Many have restaurants on-site, including some of the more elegant dining rooms you’ll find in the state, in beautifully remote lakeside settings.

One of the most impressive is at Naniboujou Lodge and Restaurant on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The dining room’s 20-foot domed ceiling and walls are covered with colorful designs in a Cree Indian pattern. The room also features a 20-foot-high stone fireplace said to be the largest of its kind in Minnesota.

Many lakeside resorts rent heated ice houses and provide gear for ice fishing. If ice fishing is your top priority, check out the fully appointed “sleeper” ice houses on some of the state’s larger lakes.

Holes to fish through are pre-drilled on the lakes’ hottest fishing spots. Top-end sleepers have bunks for up to six people, propane heat, lights, stove and oven, table and chairs, a restroom and drinking water.


For a homier type of getaway, try one of Minnesota’s nearly 150 bed-and-breakfasts. Many are in large, elegant homes or mansions with distinctly decorated rooms, often with a whirlpool and fireplace.

Winter Camping

There are ways to stay warm and comfortable while camping in winter, such as camper cabins with heat and electricity in many state parks, and Mongolian-style yurts—large domed canvas-covered tents with wood floors, beds or cots available at select resorts and state parks.

Outfitters along the Gunflint Trail offers yurt lodging as well as fully outfitted yurt-to-yurt (or lodge-to-lodge) ski trips. You can rent the yurt and ski or snowshoe in with your own gear, or take an outfitted trip where the hosts deliver gear to the yurt and personally prepare or bring in homemade meals.

Fenske Lake Cabins near Ely has a large, luxurious yurt on 40 acres at the edge of the Boundary Waters, accessible by ski or snowmobile. White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures hosts dogsled trips of varying lengths with lodging in a yurt, also on the edge of the Boundary Waters.