Think of Detroit Lakes as an anchor: More than 400 lakes are within 25 miles of this west-central Minnesota town. Some bustle with boats, others with wildlife. You'll find espresso and Wi-Fi, but also old-school resorts where the calendar seems to have stayed in the '60s.
Fair Hills Resort doubles as a family summer camp, complete with ice cream socials, a pirate-ship cruise and sandcastle-building contests (from $829 per adult and $348 per child, per week, including meals).
Should you venture into town, favorite shops include The Nines (for women’s clothing, fashion boots and classic jewelry) and The Red Willow (for kitchenware and home decor).
La Barista in the Washington Square Mall serves a rotating menu of home-style soups and salads that pair well with its wine selection.
About 100 vendors gather on summer Sundays at Shady Hollow Flea Market to sell art, pottery and collectibles on this grassy field 5 miles south of town.
For dinner in town, sample stellar sirloin, filet, ribeye and cheesecake at The Fireside Restaurant, where an open wall lets in gentle breezes from Detroit Lake.
More than 250 bird and 50 mammal species call the 43,000-acre Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge home.
Beach bar Zorbaz cooks up create-your-own pizzas by the lake.
Detroit Lakes City Beach has a mile of sugar-fine sand along with a fishing pier.
Serious Italian food in a 1930s Mafia movie-style setting awaits at Speak Easy; try the Bonnie and Clyde prime rib on weekends.
More information: (800) 542-3992; visitdetroitlakes.com
A replica Viking ship and Norwegian stave church impress visitors to The Hjemkomst Center, which preserves and celebrates the history of Norse immigrants in Moorhead, 45 miles west of Detroit Lakes.
With a glassed-in dining room and extensive patio seating, the 1936 stone Usher’s House restaurant makes for one of the most scenic places to dine; the made-from-scratch items on the menu change seasonally.
The Rourke Art Museum houses Pop Art by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Stary-eyed visitors will want to see the multimedia tour of the planet at Minnesota State University Moorhead Planetarium.
Sarello's Restaurant and Wine Lounge serves Chilean sea bass, lobster ravioli and Dakota bison sirloin in a modern cafe setting.
More information: (800) 235-7654; fargomoorhead.org