Minnesota isn’t known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” for nothing. Renting a rustic cabin here puts you just steps away from pristine lakes ripe for boating, water sports, and walleye fishing. Although the state’s lakes and wilderness hiking trails attract families from across the Midwest during the summer months, Minnesota also offers an equal abundance of winter activities, such as snowmobiling, downhill skiing, and ice fishing. From the natural beauty of the Brainerd Lakes area to the stunning north shore of Lake Superior, here are some of the best places to find your Minnesota cabin rental for a northlands vacation to remember.

1. Duluth

Park Point Beach, Duluth
Source: Flickr / Sharon Mollerus

A hill town nestled on the north shore of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, Duluth offers a distinctly maritime feel and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Enjoy the lake from a harbor cruise, walk out to the lighthouse, or check out the free museums and the famous lift bridge at Canal Park. Outdoor adventurers can also enjoy the sea cliffs and shore-front wilderness along the Superior Hiking Trail, or for a rainy day, families might stop by the Great Lakes Aquarium to see sturgeons, lake trout, and river otters. If you’re visiting Duluth during the winter, enjoy some skiing at Spirit Mountain, or go ice skating at Bayfront Park. Any time of the year, you can always just hunt for Lake Superior agates on the pebbled shoreline outside your wood cabin.

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2. Detroit Lakes

Becker county Detroit Lakes
Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Head to Detroit Lakes to find wood cabins on the lake, so you can dock your boat right in front of your vacation rental. Cruise around Detroit Lake in the summer or enjoy some tubing and water skiing. Before heading back to your cabin to grill lunch, step down to Detroit Lake Public Beach to lay out on a beach towel or build sand castles. Lake Sallie and Long Lake also offer opportunities for boating or casting a line. In the winter, drill a hole in the lake for ice fishing, or head to the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area for skiing and snowboarding.

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3. Crosslake

Minnesota Lake
Source: Pixabay / awenstrom

With its up-north vibes accented by lakeside log cabins and shorefront restaurants, this vacation town is a Minnesota gem with more than 121 miles of shoreline for lake lovers to enjoy. Launch your boat onto Cross Lake or Upper and Lower Whitefish Lakes for a relaxing afternoon, and end the day with a round of mini-golf. For a taste of the community’s rich history, check out the Crosslake Historic Village with old buildings from the turn of the century. During the winter, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa in your cozy cabin vacation rental before stepping out onto the snow-covered lake for some ice-fishing. You’ll also find snowmobiling trails and several miles of cross-country skiing trails behind the Crosslake Community Center.

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4. Grand Marais

Artists' Point Hiking Trail - Grand Marais, Minnesota
Source: Flickr / Tony Webster

One of the northernmost Lake Superior towns in Minnesota, Grand Marais offers log cabins with views of the lake, the surrounding Superior National Forest, and the Sawtooth Mountains. Enjoy a day of sailing, or go fishing for lake trout and coho salmon on Lake Superior before snapping some photos of the Au Sable Light Station and exploring the Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum. Grand Marais also offers a number of hiking trails, including a hike to Sable Falls, a trail to Chapel Falls, and a steep trail to Log Slide Overlook for unbeatable lake views. If you’re renting a cabin during the winter, see the waves crashing against the icy shoreline, cruise down the groomed snowmobiling trails, and end the day with stargazing from the porch of your log cabin.

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5. Brainerd

Dade Lake. Brainerd, MN
Source: Flickr / Jess R.

The Brainerd Lakes area is a premier spot for finding cabin vacation rentals in Minnesota, boasting smaller lakes ideal for taking out a fishing boat or ice-fishing for walleye. Launch your boat at Gull Lake or North Long Lake to enjoy water sports, swim at the beaches, or just cruise on a pontoon boat. A few miles south, you can hike or canoe along the mighty Mississippi River at Crow Wing State Park. For family fun during the summer months, leave your cozy cabin to visit Paul Bunyan Land, a small theme park complete with a haunted house, classic carnival rides, and a giant Paul Bunyan that greets kids by name. You can also cool off at Whipple Beach in the summer or bike the Paul Bunyan State Trail from spring to fall. In the winter, drive 18 miles north to Ski Gull, a small ski hill with a lift and a few downhill ski runs for every level.

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6. Two Harbors

Lake Superior, Two Harbors, MN
Source: Flickr / Chris Heald

Tucked away on the North Shore of Lake Superior, this little lake town features the elegant Two Harbors Lighthouse and quiet beaches, such as Agate Bay Beach, where you can comb for the semi-precious gemstone. A wood cabin here is also just steps from Split Rock Lighthouse, where you can savor views from towering lake cliffs, and Gooseberry Falls State Park where you can hike to cascading falls or enjoy a relaxing bike ride. Two Harbors also lies along the Superior Hiking Trail, and easy local trails include the Sonju Lakewalk and Sonju Trail with breathtaking views year-round. During the cooler months, be sure to enjoy some snowshoeing and looking for ice caves outside your cozy cabin.

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7. Lutsen

Lutsen Mountain Resort
Source: Flickr / ūüźö

Another stop on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, this lakeside town boasts top-notch skiing and snowboarding in the Lutsen Mountain Resort, the largest alpine ski resort in the Midwest. Of course, you can hop on the Lutsen Mountain Tram any time of year for sweeping views of the northern Minnesota wilderness. The area also features 450 miles of groomed snowmobile trails for even more winter fun. During the warmer months, hike Cascade River State park to see the roaring falls, or enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and sailing on Lake Superior.

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