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Brainerd MN Real Estate

Homes for Sale in Minnesota’s Brainerd Lakes Area

  • Brainerd is one of the best places to live, work, and play in Minnesota
  • Residents can enjoy lakeside living while having access to big-city amenities
  • Brainerd boasts topnotch schools and excellent job opportunities
  • Real estate opportunities abound here, whether to serve as your dream home or as an investment property with earning potential
  • Outdoor activities here include lake fishing, hiking, golfing, hunting, and even watching international auto racing

Whether you are looking for an idyllic waterfront property to serve as your dream home, a weekend get-away, or an investment property with earning potential, Minnesota and the Brainerd Lakes Area is a great place to find your ideal property. Welcome to the Heart of The Land of 10,000 Lakes.

If you are wondering where the best locations for vacation homes and investment properties in Minnesota are, a closer look at the northern and central portions of the state—aptly named Lake Country—is in order. Here, you will find the inviting communities of the gorgeous Brainerd Lakes Area.

The immediate Brainerd Lakes Area is home to more than 450 lakes and 60-mile stretch of the Mississippi River. With a long history and its many surrounding unique communities and lakes, it has long been Minnesota’s major tourist destination, offering broad recreational options throughout the seasons, and appealing to outdoor adventurers and hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, boating, and water activity enthusiasts.

That’s not all. There are also world class resorts, championship golf, shopping, dining and more to explore throughout the many communities in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

Serving as the county seat of Crow Wing County and the Hub in Central Minnesota; the city of Brainerd covers a 12.85-square-mile area, 5.78% of which is water. On its own, it has a population of 13,434. With the adjoining community of Baxter (population: 8,314) and the surrounding cities, towns, and communities of the Brainerd Micropolitan Statistical Area, more than 100,605 permanent residents call this region home. This statistic more than doubles during peak vacation seasons of the year with seasonal visitors spending a lot of time in the 30-mile radius of Brainerd.

Brainerd’s central location is ideal when you want or need access to Minnesota’s Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul to the south, the port city of Duluth to the east and Fargo, ND to the west. This makes it an ideal place to live, work, and play—whether permanently or for the weekend.

From a wide selection of permanent residences, lake homes, cabins, second homes, vacation getaways, or income-generating rental businesses, Brainerd Lakes Area offers great opportunity.

A Brief History of Brainerd, MN

Before it was settled and occupied in the 1870s, Brainerd and its surrounding areas comprised a vast expanse of dense pine forests. The native Ojibwe people occupied this region, taking advantage of prime hunting grounds, lakes for fishing, and the blueberry fields throughout the area.

Some of the first white people that passed through the area were the party led by the infamous Zebulon Pike who camped in the area in 1805 during his exploration of the upper Mississippi area. The area was platted in September 1871 and two months later was incorporated. Brainerd was organized as a city in 1873.

The name “Brainerd” comes from Anne Eliza Brainerd Smith, the wife of Northern Pacific Railway president John Gregory Smith, who helped establish the city. With the railroad and the mighty, sprawling Mississippi river, the lumber industry grew throughout the forests of northern and central Minnesota.

In 1907 the first iron ore mine was opened on the Cuyuna Range to the east of Brainerd. The Brainerd Area capitalized on its prolific lumber, paper, mining, and agricultural industries, which sustained the surrounding communities throughout its early years and drawing immigrant settlers from Northern and Eastern Europe.

Homes for Sale in the Brainerd Lakes Area

As one of the most desired places to live in Central Minnesota, the Brainerd Lakes area draws real estate buyers ranging from people who are pursuing their primary residences or a beautiful vacation lake home or cabin retreat, to investors looking for worthwhile opportunities to start a business or rental property to add assets or earn supplemental income.

Here are five exceptional reasons to buy real estate in the Brainerd Lakes Area:

  1. Healthy, thriving natural surroundings

    There are many unique communities throughout the Brainerd Lakes Area offering the ideal setting whether you are seeking acreage, the perfect private wooded parcel or a lake property setting. From season to season, the draw of our area is still about the surrounding forests and lakes that offer the perfect opportunity for people who enjoy an active and outdoor up north lifestyle.

  2. Ideal conditions to establish and raise a family

    Brainerd, MN homes for sale are excellent choices if you are looking for a place to raise a family in a perfect setting to live, work, and play. There are many great schools in Brainerd and the surrounding communities that offer children ideal learning and extra-curricular opportunities.

    With the many lakes and trail systems, the opportunities for families to enjoy fishing, boating, hiking, biking, golfing, shopping, skiing, snowmobiling, or just exploring the great woods are virtually limitless. With numerous waterways, resorts, shopping, and the rich history of northern Minnesota, there are plenty more to discover and experience.

  3. A fulfilling place to retire

    It is no secret that moving to the Brainerd Lakes Area is the ideal place to enjoy your golden years. Many soon-to-be-retirees often don’t wait and need not to—as the primary residence can quickly change from the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Metro area to up north where many good memories were and can continue to be made.

    While the fresh air and the calming views of nature will surely benefit your long-term health while you rest and relax indoors, stepping outside instantly presents you with numerous opportunities to develop an active lifestyle. Whether it is something as laid-back as fishing along your favorite lakeshore or riverbank, or more challenging activities biking or trail hiking, the Brainerd Lakes Area will give you plenty of options to stay fit and healthy throughout your retirement.

  4. Lucrative income-generating investments

    Thanks to Brainerd Lakes Area’s reputation as a tourist destination, Brainerd real estate also has great appeal among investment-minded buyers. Properties with direct access to any of the area’s many lakes present lucrative opportunities to capitalize on income from the rental market.

    You can also consider long-term earning plans by looking into sprawling, acre-size parcels of land. Brainerd is no stranger to property owners fashioning country hobby farms out of their private land to maximize its value.

  5. Perfect central location between the Minnesota’s urban sprawls

    Whichever profile of homebuyer or investor you fall into, you can be sure that you can always still reach the North Star State’s main metropolitan areas if you need access to the amenities and conveniences of the big city.

    The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are two hours to the south by car. The port city of Duluth is also two hours away driving eastward. Saint Cloud, Central Minnesota’s most populated city, is located closer to Brainerd, taking just an hour on the road to reach.

If reading this has made you curious about the homes and lakeshore properties that you can find in Brainerd, MN, start searching today. Browse the latest listings here.

Living in Brainerd, MN

If you have already made up your mind about moving to Brainerd, MN or the Brainerd Lakes Area, here are six essential things that you will need to know about the local lifestyle:

  • Cost of living – Expect your dollar to go a long way when you live in Brainerd, MN. Boasting an affordable cost of living (19.4% lower than the national average, according to Sperling’s Best Places), this area will give you an outstanding quality of life at the fraction of the cost you would need in a major US metropolitan area.

  • Employment opportunities – The Brainerd economy is largely anchored by the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, which employs about 7,000 of the 42,000 professionals working in the area. Aside from tourism-related jobs and investments, the education, manufacturing, and retail industries offer opportunities throughout the region.

    It is also worth mentioning that as more jobs transition into remote or work-from-home arrangements in the current business landscape, the tranquil and conducive environment of the Brainerd Lakes Area makes occupying a vacation home even more feasible.

  • Climate and weather – The Brainerd Lakes Area has a humid continental climate, which creates notable differences between seasons. The region gets approximately 200 days of sunshine, 26 inches of rain, and 44 inches of snow on average per year. Because of the area’s proximity to the many bodies of water and open, natural spaces, it’s no secret that winters can be extremely cold. But just pack your winter gear as you won’t find many people hiding indoors.

  • Healthcare – The abundance of quality healthcare providers is an important highlight of living in the Brainerd Lakes Area. Notable hospitals and healthcare systems to bookmark depending on your area include Essentia Health (Brainerd-Baxter area), Lakewood Health System (Staples), Riverwood Healthcare Center (Aitkin), and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (Crosby).

  • Education – Covering a 516-square-mile area, the Brainerd Public Schools district has six primary schools, one middle school, and one high school. It also operates three alternative programming sites.

  • Transportation – Private cars are the primary mode of transportation in and around Brainerd, MN.

Top Attractions in the Brainerd Lakes Area

One of the best reasons to buy a house in Brainerd, MN or the surrounding Brainerd Lakes Area is that you probably will never run out of things to do here. Take a look at the various activities and attractions that will soon be part of your regular schedule when you move to Brainerd.

The lakes

Experience the best that Minnesota’s Lake Country has to offer. Get your regular dose of fishing, boating, swimming, and more from the multiple bodies of water are all within driving distance from your Brainerd home—from the 60-mile stretch of the Mississippi River to distinct lakes such as:

  • Gull Lake Chain – Comprising eight different lakes that cover approximately 13,000 acres, this chain is a dream destination for any outdoor recreation enthusiast

  • Mille Lacs Lake – Minnesota’s second largest lake is roughly 20 miles east of Brainerd, offering more than 200 square miles of water for prime fishing sessions

  • North Long Lake – Measuring 6,000 acres, this popular fishing lake stretches from Merrifield MN on the eastern bay to the Nisswa Area on the western bay

  • Pelican Lake – Located less than 20 miles north of Brainerd, this 8,253-acre lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region and home to the historic Breezy Point resort

  • Whitefish Chain of Lakes – You will not tire of exploring this chain of 14 navigable lake and more than 14,000 acres of water

Outdoor recreation on dry land

When it comes to outdoor adventures in the Brainerd Lakes Area, your options range much farther than just activities in or around bodies of water. This place is also popular for its expansive campgrounds, parks, and trails.

Among the most noteworthy destinations you need to check out here include the Paul Bunyan State Trail and the Cuyuna Mountain Bike Trail System. For a more relaxing time, you can visit Brainerd’s Safari North Wildlife Park with the kids or head to nearby Baxter, MN to visit the blooms at the Northland Arboretum.


The gorgeous landscapes of the Brainerd Lakes Area are also renowned for being an exceptional setting for quality golfing experiences.

Try out championship-caliber courses like “The Classic” at Madden’s on Gull Lake, Deacon’s Lodge in Breezy Point, MN, The Legacy Courses (Bobby’s Legacy and The Dutch Legacy) at Cragun’s on Gull Lake, and The Pines and The Preserver at Grand View Lodge.

You can even make it a family affair by bringing the kids to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, Whistling Wolf and Dark Moon Mini Golf, or Wildwedge Golf and RV Park.

Other noteworthy attractions

Here are a few more popular destinations and events that make living in Brainerd, MN worthwhile:

  • The Brainerd events calendar has its fair share of special annual and seasonal events and festivals. The biggest among these is the Lakes Area Music Festival, which gathers world-class performers in classical music as well as theater on the Tornstrom Auditorium stage. This hallmark summer event features performances that can be enjoyed free of charge or donation-based.

  • One of the best features of the Brainerd Lakes Area is its lush forest cover. And one of the best ways to appreciate it is with a thrilling, overhead view. If you want a different perspective to see and experience your area’s natural riches, Brainerd Zip Line Tours has a 2.5-hour guided tour (featuring a total of seven zip line rides) just for you.

  • Another signature attraction is the Brainerd International Raceway, the largest race track in the Upper Midwest. More than just a venue for a diverse schedule of motorsports events, this Brainerd icon is also home to the region’s biggest annual rock and country music festival, Lakes Jam.

  • If you are looking for an all-ages destination to spend a day with your family, Paul Bunyan Land will surely fit the bill. This amusement park is best known for its 26-foot-tall talking and moving Paul Bunyan statue and has a selection of almost 30 rides and attractions.

  • A generations-old tradition that dates back to 1938, the Bean Hole Days celebration in Pequot Lakes, MN is an experience worth checking out. This event commemorates the historic moment when bankers invited local farmers and served them beans that they baked in the ground overnight. Free beans, arts and crafts for sale, and lots of fun and games are in store for every visitor.

Explore the finest real estate options in the Brainerd Lakes Area with North Bound Property

Finding your dream vacation home or the ideal investment property is a breeze when you work with dedicated professionals who know the local real estate market like the back of their hand. If you are searching for the best people to partner with in your search for the best real estate property in Brainerd, MN and its surrounding communities, look no further than trusted local Realtor Mike Kennedy and his team of experts at North Bound Property.

The signature North Bound Property experience is based on four pillars of client service: dedication, ethics, integrity, and trust. When you work with Mike and his team, you can rely on them to deliver a positive experience based on each of these pillars of excellence.

Get in touch with your go-to lakeshore and outdoor specialist in Minnesota today. Call 218.232.1946 or email mikekennedy(at)edinarealty(dotted)com to learn more.