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Wilson Bay from Lake

Make the Most of your Midwestern Vacation

Make the Most of your Midwestern Vacation

Your vacation time is precious, so you might as well make the most of it. Some people get away to seek a thrill, while others look for new ways to relax. We think the best Midwestern vacations offer a little bit of both. Check out our recommendations for thrill seekers and chill seekers, alike.

Vacations for thrill seekers

If a good vacation means stepping outside your comfort zone or finding new adrenaline pumping activities to try, you are in luck. If you seek an active vacation in Minnesota, the Brainerd lakes area offers these riveting activities you have to try:

BikersCuyuna mountain biking

You could search the world over and still never find a better mountain biking destination than Cuyuna. Offering 25 miles of paved and singletrack trails with over 30 routes to choose from, ranging from beginner to expert, you can choose to have your breath taken away by the exhilarating ride or the majestic views. Either way, it’s a must-do when you come to the area.

Brainerd zip line tour

This 2 ½ hour zip lining experience offers an exciting tour through the treetops on seven lines, a walk over a suspension bridge, and “The Drop,” an optional 50-foot free-fall. This thrilling adventure offers 15-mile views from Mount Ski Gull and blood-pumping action for adrenaline junkies.

BIR Performance Driving School

Step onto the track and take a spin at Brainerd International Raceway Performance Driving School. You can choose to drive one of their race cars or see what your own vehicle is capable of. Their professional instructors will show you how it’s done and you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

Vacations for chill seekers

If relaxation makes up your complete vacation to-do list, we have all the ways you can chill on your next visit to the Brainerd lakes area.


Calm your blood pressure with a day at The Spa at Madden’s. After a pedicure to get your toes sandal-ready, a facial to soothe your skin and a full body massage to loosen up those tense muscles, and you’ll slide right into relaxation.


There is nothing more hypnotic than gazing at the sparkling waves lapping at the shore. And the sensation of the soft sand between your toes is sure to put you in a relaxed state of mind. When you book your vacation at Madden’s, you have 3 sand beaches to choose from: Mission Point, Wilson Bay, and Madden Inn—each one sure offer calming affects that will last long past your vacation.

Non-motorized watersports

Spend the day splashing around the shores of Gull Lake on a stand-up paddle board, kayak, paddle boat, or water bike. Good for your mind, body, and soul, you can get a little exercise and have a lot fun while the sun warms your shoulders and the meditative waves wash your cares away. Find everything you need for a day on the lake at Madden’s Marina.

Whether your ideal vacation is active or relaxed, plenty of opportunities for both await right here at Madden’s on Gull Lake in the Brainerd lakes area. Give our expert guest services team a call at 800-642-5363 and we will assist you with booking your stay and making recommendations for the best activities to make the most of your vacation in Minnesota.

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