**Updated : January 2024**
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Where is Nisswa?
Nisswa is located 16 miles North of Brainerd. Surrounded by plenty of other small towns and many, many lakes - this is a great area to visit if you're looking to spend some time reconnecting to nature, or just looking to find a peaceful spot to get away from it all. If this is the kind of stay you're looking for, we highly recommend booking a stay at Nature Link - one of the newest properties here in Minnesota that focuses on rekindling guests' connection to Nature...dare we say their "link to nature?" ;)
Not only do they have an incredible private island you can snowshoe out to, but their self contained cabins are adorable - and they even have a new barrel sauna onsite! It's so peaceful that there were multiple instances we saw deer on the property, and many times we could hear an owl somewhere across Clark Lake.
Once you make your way to Nisswa, you might be looking for a delicious place to grab a bite to eat. Although it's a little trickier in the winter months, we've listed a few of our personal favorites below!
What to Do in Nisswa
1. Explore Downtown Nisswa
Let me just start by saying downtown Nisswa is adorable. There are plenty of boutique stores, the infamous Chocolate Ox (only open weekends in the winter), and quite a few places to grab some food or drinks! You can easily spend an entire half day exploring the downtown Main Street that also has plenty of parking.
2. Go Snowshoeing
One of our newest favorite things to do to get outside in the cold Minnesota winters is to go snowshoeing! We do have our own, but for those that just want to try it out Nature Link has their own that are easily available to all guests. They also have a huge property and private island you can snowshoe to! If you aren't staying there, then you can't rent snowshoes for $15 for 4 hours from Breezy Point Resort - we recommend heading towards Pillsbury State Forest or the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crosby!
3. Visit the Spa
The Glacial Waters Spa at Grand View Lodge is the perfect place to unwind and relax if you feel you've spent enough time outdoors (or if you haven't felt like spending much time outdoors in the first place). They offer everything from massages and facials to halotherapy and nail services.
4. Family Fun at Mount Ski Gull
Mount Ski Gull is arguably one of the most popular places to visit during a winter trip to the Nisswa area! Open on weekends only, they offer tubing, ski lifts, lessons, and even a yurt rental - making it a perfect stop for the whole family. Season passes are available for $175 per season, otherwise lift tickets are $45 for the day and $30 for gear rental.
5. Romantic Date Night
If you're looking for a fun, winter date night - then look no further. The Grand View Lodge in Nisswa offers horse drawn carriage rides and ice skating, this would be a perfect activity to then pair with a nice dinner in town for a romantic date night! It's important to note that the Grand View Lodge does not offer skate rentals, so you'll have to bring your own.
6. Enjoy the Christmas Lights Downtown
Alright so I know we already mentioned exploring downtown Nisswa on our list of the best winter activities in the area, but many of the stores are closed by the time it gets dark - meaning you'll have to make another trip back if you want to enjoy the Christmas lights downtown! You can meander around the Nisswa Parks & Recreation area and enjoy the "Nisswa City of Lights Celebration" while warming up with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate from Stonehouse Coffee!
7. Go Ice Fishing
The entire Brainerd Lakes Area is known for fishing - whether during the summer months or ice fishing in the winter months. In Gull Lake and many others, you can find walleyes, northern pikes, crappies, perch, and sunnies. Like we always recommend, it's essential to known the ice thickness and have your Minnesota State fishing license before you head out. If you don't have your own gear or this is your first time going, you might want to look into renting gear or going through an outfitter! Places like Grand View Lodge offers ice house rentals for $280 per 8 hours. FishTraxx also offers a guide service and ice house rental for $500 per 22 hours.
8. Embrace Nordic Culture for a Sauna Session
If you happen to stay at Nature Link, then lucky for you they have a barrel sauna onsite that you can take advantage of 24/7! Sauna's have been a Minnesota staple since they were first introduced in the late 1800's by Finnish immigrants - and a true Minnesota winter experience just isn't complete without a true Sauna session! Make sure to jump in the snow for your cold cycle too! ;)
9. Try Snowmobiling
Our last recommendation for the best winter activities in Nisswa is actually the only thing on our list we haven't done ourselves - snowmobiling! You can either bring up your own snowmobiles or rent them for the day from Nisswa Adventure Rentals for $299 between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the area, but we've heard the best ones to visit are the Paul Bunyan Trail or to head towards the Pillsbury State Forest.
Watch our Nisswa Adventures here!
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