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Ultimate Guide to Summer Fun in Detroit Lakes

When it comes to celebrating summer in Minnesota, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures: relaxing on the beach, fishing, shopping or playing in the lakes. Detroit Lakes has it all from summer music festivals, art fairs and family fun at the lakes. If you’re planning the ultimate summer getaway, let this guide spark some ideas for your perfect vacation.

 Play at the Lakes

Little Detroit Lake is home to the famous mile-long beach. Launch your boat. Walk along the observation pier. Listen to music coming from the restored 100-year-old Pavilion.

Grab an inner tube and float the Otter Tail River east of Detroit Lakes. You can also rent SCUBA gear just outside of Detroit Lakes and explore what’s resting at the lake bottom.

Enjoy all the fun lake life has to offer!


Enjoy all the fun lake life has to offer!

Detroit Lakes: A Mountain Biker's Dream

Mountain bikers come from all over to explore everything from scenic trails to heart-thumping steep slopes and switchbacks. Detroit Lakes area has miles of trails to choose from at two-plus area venues: Maplelag Resort and Mountain View County Park.

The Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, four miles east of Detroit Lakes, offers professionally-designed mountain bike trails to expand its year-round activities. Enjoy miles of smiles on the contour flow trails or for the adventure seeker and more skilled rider try the lift accessed downhill trails that drop down the side of the mountain over berms, rollers, jumps and drops featuring large custom wooden ride-over features.


For Nature Enthusiasts

If your idea of relaxation and serenity is surrounded by nature, then you’ll love the forests and refuges as well as parks and trails systems Detroit Lakes has to offer.

Dunton Locks County Park

Located 2.5 miles south of Detroit Lakes on Highways 59, 6 and 19, Dunton Locks County Park is next to the DNR Fish Hatchery. Bring a picnic lunch and sit under one of two covered shelters to enjoy this Minnesota park. Fish off the pier. Bike or hike the trails.

Sucker Creek Preserve and Upstream Sucker Creek

A precious gem in northwest Minnesota, offering 117 acres of swamp, trout stream, woods, and prairie within the City of Detroit Lakes has been preserved for future generations. A half-mile paved trail invites visitors to a 110-seat amphitheater in the woods. Educational signage teaches about natural history, birds, water and plants. Drive about 2 miles east of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota on Highway 10, turn right on 290th Avenue, then drive 3/10 mile.

Detroit Lakes Trail System

Explore several trails that Detroit Lakes is part of - Pine to Prairie International Birding Trail and Lake Country Scenic Byway. America's longest hiking trail, stretching over 4600 miles, now extends into Becker County at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. Find out more about the North Country National Scenic Trail and the recreational opportunities the trail will provide.

Fun Around Town

 Browse the Farmers Market

Indulge in the fresh tastes of the season. Pick out the best fruits and vegetables, locally grown and sold at the Lakes Area Farmers Market at People's Park on Rossman Avenue one block from the city beach each Tuesday and Saturday at 10 am-1 pm June-October.

Enjoy Weekly Live Entertainment

Detroit Lakes proudly invites you to live entertainment throughout the summer!  Bring a chair and be entertained outdoors by Shakespeare in the Park. Soothe your soul with free live music at the City Park bandshell each Tuesday evening during the summer and premiering this summer, music and food trucks on Thursday. Learn more and see the live music line-up!

Drive around the lakes and through the woods, and you'll discover sculptors', painters' and potters' studios tucked in pretty places.

Shops, Boutiques, Antiques & Treats

Antiques and boutiques. Gifts and home furnishings with flair.

Park your car and stroll downtown, Washington Avenue, for all your needs -and desires from clothing to sweet treats with a steaming cup of coffee. Spend some time in the Washington Square Mall. Everything's covered from clothes to pampering yourself with a fresh look. Grab a bite to eat and shop some more. Stroll a block east to Downtown Crossing for a sweet treat, sandwich and brew, cup of java and auto parts. Nearby is McKinley Plaza with cold and hot treats, and a 24-hour opportunity to buff up your body by working out.

Signature Summer Events

Summer in Detroit Lakes means celebrations and festivities all summer long! Check out our summer signature events and also view our calendar for other happenings this summer.

Art in the Park

The annual event is held at City Park next to Detroit Lake. In 2019, Art in the Park is Sunday, July 28. Over 100 booths are set up under the shady trees in the park. You'll find treasures of all sorts - from jewelry and pottery to furniture and fabric goods.

Quake The Lake Powerboat Races, Antique and Classic Boat Show

Antique Boat Show June 29, Powerboat Races June 29 and 30 in Detroit Lakes, MN

Feel the need for speed? Well, we have lots of it! The Quake the Lake Powerboat Races are scheduled to take to Little Detroit Lake on Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30, 2019. For the best viewing, bring a lawn chair or blanket to sit by the mile-long city beach to catch the action. The family will enjoy seeing the boats and visit with drivers Saturday morning and evening. Walk down the beach and see several original and restored antique boats on the street and in the water. And it’s free admission!

84th Annual Water Carnival in Detroit Lakes, MN

A week-long celebration of summer

When it comes to celebrating summer, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota takes its time. The Jaycee-sponsored Northwest Water Carnival lasts a delicious week or more in the heart of summer - July 12-21, 2019.

Water fights, kids' games, bed races, music and food, and more food - the Northwest Carnival has it all for you.

Don’t miss the Bash on the Beach, where you and your friends have a blast with live bands on the shores of Little Detroit Lake. The Parade of the Northwest is Sunday, July 21 and attracts thousands of people stretching a mile along Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive.

WE Fest Minnesota Country Music and Camping Festival

Soo Pass Ranch, Detroit Lakes, MN - August 1, 2 and 3, 2019

WE Fest, one of the most notable and largest outdoor country music and camping festivals in the nation is held in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Thousands of people from all over come to enjoy country music, camping and an amazingly good time!  Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban have been announced as headliners for 2019! Learn more about the 2019 event and ticket information at WE Fest web site.

See our monthly calendar for our many other festivals and events.

Plan Your Trip

There are many options when staying in Detroit Lakes: whether you prefer camping, a secluded or family-fun resort, or a hotel close to everything in town, we’ve got you covered! Explore our lodging options and plan the ultimate summer vacation in Detroit Lakes! We can’t wait to see you!
·       Hotels/Motels
·       Resorts
·       RV / Camping
·       Vacation Homes

Or visit the Interactive MN Lodging Map