The heart of Minnesota is lake country.
The Brainerd Lakes Area, around the communities of Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Pine River, is splashed with over 460 lakes.
To the east is Mille Lacs Lake, the second largest within Minnesota.
And the Mississippi River winds through the area as a quiet, woodland stream.
These waters have made the area famous for its fishing; walleye, northern pike, panfish, bass and trout are all caught here.
Boating and sailing are also popular on the lakes.
There is a wide choice of recreation off the water. Some of the finest golf courses in the Midwest are found here, as well as more easygoing courses. The new Paul Bunyan Trail is paved for biking, and has become a favorite snowmobile trail. There are beautiful hiking trails in the hardwood forests of Mille Lacs Kathio, Crow Wing and Lindbergh parks, and at the Northland Arboretum - they are especially pretty in the fall.
In the winter, the woods and waters of the Brainerd Lakes Area draw snowmobilers, ice anglers and downhill skiers.
Kids enjoy the amusement parks and water slides. Adults might want to try their luck at Grand Casino on the west shore of Mille Lacs.
The area has a rich heritage to explore. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Indians continue to make their home on the southwest shore of the lake, and this area has been home to earlier civilizations dating back 4,000 years.
The Mille Lacs Indian Museum features the traditional life and culture of the Ojibwe.
Other sites that highlight the history of this area are the Minnesota Resort Museum near Pine River, the Croft Mine Historical Park in Crosby, and the boyhood home of aviator Charles Lindbergh in Little Falls, now a state historic site open for tours.