How to Plan the Perfect Winter Day in Bay Lake — For the Whole Family

January 17, 2022
Last Updated:
February 8, 2023
How to Plan the Perfect Winter Day in Bay Lake — For the Whole Family

Pleasing everyone on a winter vacation may seem like an impossible task. You have the early riser ready to jump out the door and explore everything. The Energizer Bunny with boundless enthusiasm, perfectly content to fly down the sledding hills all day long.

And, of course, the one happy to relax and cozy up next to the fire with a good read.

Luckily, we know how to plan the perfect day in Bay Lake so everyone will end the night with big smiles and great memories. 

Rise and Shine

If you can’t start your day without a cup of coffee in hand, we’ve got you covered. Make your own favorite brew staying in our Five Pines Lodge.

Or, take advantage of the full kitchen in our Bay Lake Villas and enjoy your breakfast while taking in the stunning views across Bay Lake. Plus, you can do all this without having to change out of your pajamas.

For those more interested in going out for breakfast, it’s a short drive to coffee house Mixed Company. They serve up great coffee classics and specialty coffee drinks like the Caramel Butter Breve and the Cinnamon Dolce.

You’ll also find smoothies, pastries, breakfast dishes like their homemade egg bake, and a variety of sandwiches. For a full day ahead, order a few extra treats or sandwiches to pack up for a tasty pick-me-up after hitting the trails or for a late-night snack.  

Exploring & Outdoor Fun

The Bay Lake area shines when it comes to outdoor recreation. Whether you love quiet nature walks, snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, fat tire biking, sledding, or ice skating, you’ll find countless options and trails to explore, with most right in Ruttger’s backyard!

Larson Lakes cross country ski and snowshoe trails are great for all skill levels. Hop on the trails right from Ruttger’s and trek over seven miles through thick forests. 

New this year, you can explore Ruttger’s groomed snowshoe and hiking trails, with trails beginning at the White Oak Grill. But before you head out, be sure to grab a trail map at the White Oak Grill, along with a wine and cheese kit conveniently packed in a backpack so that you can indulge in a satisfying treat along the trail.

Winter Biking

If you’re looking for a bit more high-octane fun, rent an e-bike from All Trails E-Bikes for great fat tire biking on the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails, or hit the Cuyuna Hills Snowmobile Trail, which runs right in front of the White Oak Grill and Ruttger’s Bay Lake Villas.

Out on the Town

If outdoor winter sports aren’t exactly your style, head into town to pursue various shops for hidden goods, and be sure to keep your eye out for the Cuyuna Lakes Mural Project. Eight Instagram-worthy murals are located all around town, illustrating the best features and heart of Cuyuna Lakes.

During the first week of February, you’ll also be able to catch the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber's 18th Annual Ice Fishing Contest and Scorpion Homecoming on Saturday, Feb. 5, where hundreds of anglers and snowmobile enthusiasts come together to compete for more than $2,000 in prizes. 

Feeling Peckish 

At this point, you’re also probably getting pretty hungry for some lunch. The White Oak Grill hits the spot with great burgers, hot soups made with fresh ingredients changing daily, and our new Bloody Mary bar with house infused vodka, shrimp, port wine cheese, olives, bacon, and so much more. (A meal in itself!)

If you’re in town, check out the Deerstand, a great restaurant and bar serving up comforts like beef stroganoff and lasagna along with the classics: pizza, burgers, baskets, and sandwiches. Only a 5-minute drive from Ruttger’s makes it easy to grab a good bite. 

Iron Range Eatery, also just a quick 12-minute drive from Ruttger’s, offers a wide selection of burgers, pizzas, ribs, salads, and desserts, ensuring everyone in the family will find something they’re excited to dig into.  

Dinner at White Oak Grill

After a day out on the trails or out on the town, head back to the White Oak Grill and warm up with a hot drink and dinner. The White Oak Grill offers a full bar, eight tap lines featuring Minnesota beers, and an exciting new menu.

Plus, all adult reservations booked at Ruttger’s Thursday–Sunday during the winter months will receive coupons up to $15 per day per adult for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Bonfires, Skating, & More Treats

Steps away from the White Oak Grill, wind down the day on Ruttger’s sledding hill or new ice skating rink. Lights illuminate the ice for extended skating fun well into the evening.

And when you need a break or to warm up, head over to the toasty bonfire (Friday & Saturday only) with one of our s’mores kits for a sweet treat.


Before you collapse into bed, pour one more hot chocolate for the kids and a glass of wine for yourself. Curl up by the fireplace in your Bay Lake Villa and recap the best parts of your very full winter day in Bay Lake!

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Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort

Brainerd Lakes Area

Ruttger's Bay Lake Resort is among the leading lake resorts in Minnesota, welcoming families and groups to our shores for years!

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