Old-school resorts promise away-from-it-all fun in the heart of Minnesota's lake country. Check our our tips for what to do, where to eat and where to stay in the Detroit Lakes area.
Detroit Lakes - Fair Hills Resort
Fair Hills Resort
| Credit: John Noltner

Think of Detroit Lakes as an anchor to fun on the water. 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. And that's a good thing.


Detroit Lakes City Beach

The mile of sugar-fine sand along Little Detroit Lake attracts lots of loungers. Fish from the pier, or get on the water in a rented boat, pontoon or pedal boat.

Detroit Mountain Recreation Area

A lodge built in 2014 brought this ski resort back to life after it was closed for 10 years. In summer, pro mountain bikers cross ladder bridges, and toddlers develop skills at Strider Adventure Zone.

The Nines

Score cute dresses, fashion boots, scarves and blingy jewelry—all at affordable prices—in this downtown shop.

Red Willow

A white clapboard cottage houses colorful kitchen gadgets, plus beauty products, clothing, gifts and a wide range of home decor items.

Shady Hollow Flea Market

About 100 vendors gather on summer weekends to sell antiques, collectibles, glassware and produce on a grassy field 5 miles south of town. 

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Minnesota
Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge
| Credit: Clint Farlinger

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge

More than 250 species of birds and 50 species of mammals live in this 43,000-acre sanctuary in the heart of the transition zone of the northern hardwood, coniferous forests and tallgrass prairie (18 miles northeast of Detroit Lakes). Explore it on a 5-mile drive or via hiking trails.

Eat and Drink

Brygge Taps and Tastes

Sample a craft beer plus sandwiches, burgers and desserts at this Detroit Lakes eatery.

The Fireside Restaurant

Dine on stellar steaks and sip on specialty cocktails in a screened-in pavilion on Detroit Lake. 

La Barista

In addition to freshly brewed coffee, this Washington Square Mall joint serves a rotating menu of home-style soups and salads that pair well with a small selection of wines. 

Spanky's Stone Hearth

Located 14 miles southeast of town, the restaurant showcases prime-grade, hand-cut steaks; duck; and seafood flown in fresh daily from Hawaii. 

| Credit: John Noltner


This regional pizza chain channels every beach bear you've ever known with its bright signage and huge lineup of tap beers and pub grub.

Fair Hills Resort
Fair Hills Resort
| Credit: John Noltner


Fair Hills Resort

Take the family to summer camp on the lake. Rates include many campy activities for all ages and unlimited golfing.

Five Lakes Resort

Fair Hills' quieter sister resort rents several homes on a lake that allows only electric motors. 

The Lodge on Lake Detroit

Stay at this Best Western Premier property for lakefront views, a spa and a nightly s'mores reception. 

For more information visitdetroitlakes.com