It’s not easy to ‘unwind’ on a vacation with the kids, but the Grand View Lodge does a phenomenal job catering to little ones so the adults can have a hassle-free stay while the kids are thoroughly entertained. In one place, you’ll find an entire vacation’s worth of experiences and amenities conveniently hosted within the property. This made the Grand View Lodge a low stress and highly memorable family getaway.
Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minnesota has been operating its picturesque lodge for over 100 years and is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the century, it expanded to multiple locations; wrapped around the glittering Gull Lake in the heart of the north woods.
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Accommodations at Grand View Lodge
Registration was a breeze upon arrival at Grand View Lodge after a 7 hour drive from Milwaukee. We immediately noticed their small touches in the lobby that made us feel welcome traveling with kids. Our boys went straight to a rocking horse, coloring pages, and giant checkers which occupied them while we spoke to the reception staff. The staff members, by the way, were notably knowledgeable and friendly.
My four-year-old’s reaction when he walked into our Grand View Lodge condo for the first time was, “This. Is. Outstanding.,” as his eyes widened at the sight of the pool table. The pool room became the kids’ zone for play and TV.
We had more than enough space for our two families in the 5 bedroom, 3 bath condo on the 8th Fairway. Having two master bedrooms was ideal for two sets of parents and the layouts of the bedrooms away from the living spaces allowed quiet bedtimes for the kids while the adults stayed up “late.” (As if we can really call 11pm late.)
We appreciated having a full kitchen with a dishwasher and multiple bathtubs to make cleaning up the kids easy after a fun filled day at the beach. After dinner, we let the kids pick a show to wind down. The condo was equipped with Smart TVs with apps for the standard streaming services.
Family Friendly Dining Options
We were pleased with the variety of dining options at Grand View Lodge MN. From casual to fine dining, they had just what our family was in the mood for on our 3 day visit.
Let’s start with breakfast. Kids want to get on with their day of exploration and fun, so it was a joy to find a quick and efficient breakfast buffet in the Heritage Room with a diverse spread of food options. Highchairs were available and the kids drinks were served with lids and straws.
The Tanque Verde Cantina restaurant on the beach was our favorite place for a sit down meal with little kids. We didn’t feel like we had to hold them captive for long. The drinks and chips were served quickly and as soon as they were done eating, they were able to go play in the sand where we could easily watch them will we savored the rest of our meal and drink.
Another kid-friendly meal on the grounds was Grand View Lodge’s Crust Pizza. We took advantage of their takeout service one beautiful evening so we could enjoy a lakefront dinner at one of the picnic tables. Seal up your food when you’re finished. We left our food at our table while our kids played on the playground and both a seagull and a squirrel paid a visit for our leftover “Crust” (pun intended).
I had a number of friends recommend restaurants in the area when they found out I’d be on the Chain of Lakes, but we never found reason to leave. Everything we needed was right on the property, in fact, they had more than we could possibly explore in our three day stay.
Beach Amenities and Watersports at Grand View Lodge
When you first walk down to the lakefront, take a moment to soak it all in. The view, the pristine beach, free-to-use kayaks and paddle boards, a playground, restaurant, and the abundance of chairs and umbrellas.
At the docks you’ll see pontoons available for rent, as well as banana boat rides, jet skis, and boat slips.
At no cost, you can borrow paddles and life jackets from the boathouse and help yourself to the rack of kayaks or paddleboards.
Three floating pads are also set up in the lake’s swimming area.
More Water Activities
Even on a rainy day, there are numerous activities to entertain the kids.
There are two indoor pools; one near the beach and another in the NorthPark complex. Each has its own water slide and hot tubs. The indoor pool adjacent to the beach features a zero entry splash pool for the littlest swimmers.
Lifejackets are readily available to borrow outside of the locker rooms and family restrooms. The locker rooms have suit dryers as well.
At NorthPark, you’ll also find an outdoor pool and mammoth outdoor hot tub (for 27 people!).
Other Family Fun
The outdoor fun doesn’t stop at the beach or on the course.
Guests can stay active outdoors on a 7-hole Par 3 course or Disc Golf behind the Garden Cottages.
Pickleball, Volleyball, Tennis, and Basketball courts are behind the NorthPark building. Lawn games, including cornhole are also available near NorthPark.
For the Adults
On our visit, the dads golfed in the morning and the moms got a break in the afternoon. If you’d like to enjoy adult activities simultaneously and are in need of childcare, call ahead and reserve a spot for your child in the Kid’s Club which is $50 per day and open from 9am-3pm.
Championship Golf Courses
For the golfers in the family there are two world-class golf courses to play as part of the property. The Pines is located next to the resort and offers 27 holes of quintessential north woods golf with an amazing layout and amenities. The Preserve is the second of the two courses and is a 10 minute shuttle ride from the resort. Both tracks were absolutely fantastic, offering a challenging layout, yet scoreable for any level of golfer. There were incredibly scenic holes that make the rounds especially memorable. Both courses had great food and beverage options and the staff could not have been more friendly. Read the full the review of the courses from WiscoGolfAddict.
Glacial Waters Spa
If there’s a non-golfing parent in your party, they deserve some quiet rejuvenation. The acclaimed Glacial Waters Spa is just the place to find it. Check out their services, from ultimate relaxation in the Salt Room to Massage to Serenity Soaks.
Know Before You Go – Special Services at Grand View Lodge
Grand View Lodge Shuttle
To easily get around the sprawling resort property, Grand View Lodge offers shuttle pickup and drop-off. With a simple call to the Front Desk, we had a shuttle waiting for us within 3-10 minutes to transport us anywhere on the property we wanted to go or back to our condo. Allan, our driver, was wonderful with our kids and patient as we ushered the children and hauled all our bags to the van.
The staff will deliver firewood to any of the first-come, first-served firepits on the property. There was one just outside our condo or, if you’re lucky (arrive early), you can snag one of the two along the beachfront as the sun sets.
Speaking of fires, our condo had two gas fireplaces in the unit. It’d be a cozy place to spend winter nights and check out their ice fishing and snowmobiling scenes.
The staff’s attentiveness was on point. Shortly after we got settled with our little tykes on the beach, a boathouse staff member arrived to drill a hole in the sand to place an umbrella so they’d have shade as they played in the sand.
There were several boutique shopping experiences onsite at Grand View Lodge. I always find reprieve with a dose of retail therapy on my vacations. Not to mention, the chance to commemorate the trip with apparel, souvenirs, or kids’ gifts. The NorthPark shop had a number of activities that the kids could use indoor/outdoor while staying at the resort, like baseball bat/ball sets, activity books to entertain at the restaurant, etc.
I picked up a ultra soft Minnesota sweatshirt at Grand Outfitters (adjacent to the coffee shop).
WiFi at Grand View Lodge
The (free) WiFi was solid as we moved throughout the property. There was no password needed to connect.
Let’s be real, I don’t workout (intentionally) on vacations. But if hitting the gym is part of your routine, 1) I have mad respect and 2) you can find a fitness center inside the NorthPark Building.
Just four minutes’ drive from the Grand View Lodge, you’ll find Schaefer’s Foods and next door, Spirits of Nisswa for beer, wine, and liquor. Stock up on snacks, beverages, and s’more supplies to enjoy during your stay. A heads up, you’ll pay a bit more here than big box stores you may frequent back home.
You can save a bit of cash by stopping at Aldi or Target about 15 minutes south of Nisswa.
Overall Thoughts on Grand View Lodge
To be candid, I didn’t expect a premiere golf resort to cater to families as wonderfully as they did. All the amenities you could want are right at your fingertips. There’s a weekends worth (or more!) to explore.
The Grand View Lodge would make an outstanding destination for multiple families (friends and relatives alike) to gather and soak up Lake Life. The resort sees familiar faces return year after year to build more lifelong family memories.
If you plan to drive through the Twin Cities on your route to/from Grand View Lodge (Nisswa, MN) be sure to check out our post on Things to Do in Minneapolis and St. Paul with Kids.