Nothing brings out the kid in all of us quite like winter. Since there are lots of things to do in Minnesota, Lake Mille Lacs is a great destination to bring families, friends, and fun together to #DoTheLake, winter-style.

Lake Mille Lacs is a short jaunt from anywhere in central Minnesota, so everyone can get there easily. With 132,516 acres of lake ice thick enough to drive on (heck, even live on!), fishing, miles of MN snowmobile trails, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding, you have a guaranteed recipe for frosty fun.

“Last fall, not one, but TWO record muskies were caught on Mille Lacs—one using a flyrod,” said Tina Chapman, executive director of the Mille Lacs Area Tourism Council. “It was pretty exciting and really highlighted the sport of fishing for muskies on Mille Lacs. But in the winter, it’s all about Minnesota ice fishing with the ice town that pops up on the lake. There are plowed roads and everything. It’s a lot of fun.”

Here’s what you need know to #DoTheLake and see what all the buzz is about for yourself.

In the winter, things to do in Minnesota can get a bit nippy, so be prepared. Gather your cold-weather gear and make a list of everything you and your crew want to do. Lodging is plentiful, whether you want to take over an entire cabin or book a few rooms in a motel or resort.

Relaxing Quiet Sports
When it comes to quiet sports, there are myriad trails for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. You can even rent equipment. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park has a sledding hill with hot chocolate in the warming house. Although Father Hennepin State Park is closed to cars in the winter, park at the gate and walk in. You may catch a glimpse of rare albino deer.

Find the Fish
Darkhouse spearing for northern, with its five-fish limit, is really catching on. Or ramp up the Minnesota ice fishing adventure and stay on the lake in a rented fishhouse. But get ready—it’s not your granddaddy’s fishhouse! Today’s well-equipped fishhouse sleeps several and has all the comforts of home. Hang out on the lake, play some cards—and of course, fish! Check out the ice reports, hire a guide, grab some tackle and fresh bait, and hit the Lake Mille Lacs ice highway for great Minnesota ice fishing.

Step up Your Adventure
For another kind of adventure, the wind-whipped expanse of Lake Mille Lacs is perfect for kiteboarding on skis or snowboards. Don’t miss one of the lake’s big kiteboarding events—the annual Mille Lacs Crossing—held the first weekend in March.

Or maybe you love to hit MN snowmobile trails. Trailer up your machines or arrange to rent sleds. Either way, the hundreds of miles of groomed MN snowmobile trails will provide stories to tell around the fireplace at day’s end.

Take It Indoors
To warm up a bit, visit the Mille Lacs Lake Trading Post to shop for handcrafted American Indian art and crafts. The Hairy Mosquito in Milaca is another fun, must-see trading post with antiques and collectibles, even ice cream for the hungry bunch! Or, if bowling and pizza are on the docket, hit up the eight lanes of Isle Bowl, or head to Onamia for a movie or concert.

There are lots of dining choices and fun events to satisfy your hungry brood. Don’t miss the all-you-can-eat fish fry at Da Boathouse or the all-you-can-eat Sunday breakfast at Appeldoorn’s. And if you want authentic, up-north fun, catch a meat raffle at Wahkon Inn or Castaways. Consider it northwoods dinner theater and enjoy the show. Who doesn’t want to win prizes?

Suddenly, it’s time to leave. You know you’ll be back. There are many more things to do in Minnesota and you’ve just gotten started. Fun happens year-round on Lake Mille Lacs. #DoTheLake

Share your Lake Mille Lacs winter photos on social media with #DoTheLake.