"The centralized location, telecommunications support and affordable building opportunities were key reasons for our choice to locate in the Brainerd Lakes Area."

— John Rose, Vice President of Facilities and Real Estate, Northern Tool & Equipment
  INFRASTRUCTURE > Transportation  

Connecting to the world

Located in the geographic center of Minnesota, the Brainerd Lakes Area offers direct access to major economic centers in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.


The Brainerd Lakes Area is conveniently located in Central Minnesota with direct driving routes to major population centers north of the Twin Cities, including St. Cloud, Bemidji, Duluth/Superior, and Fargo/Moorhead. U.S. Interstate 94 is only an hour drive from this area and the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area is only two hours away - all four-lane highways and interstates. 

All U.S. interstates and highways, as well as state highways 371, 210, 18, and 25 are 10-ton roads. The seasonal load limits of area county roads vary. For the latest road construction news, visit the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Regional common carrier service is provided by TCBX and Midwest Motor Express.


Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway provides daily direct freight rail service from its hub in Brainerd. Abutting the rail line in Brainerd and Baxter is industrial-zoned property that's available for development. Baxter has its own rail spur and the Wausau paper mill in Brainerd ships and receives off its spur 3 to 5 days a week. The Amtrak “Empire Builder,” a passenger train, stops in nearby Staples twice daily during trips between Seattle/Portland and Chicago.


Only three miles outside of Brainerd, the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport offers commercial air service to and from Minneapolis/St. Paul through Delta/Delta Connection multiple times a day. The airport has free parking, a restaurant and car rental services, as well as aircraft mechanical and avionics services.

Air Freight is handled by Fed Ex and UPS, which provide three air freight flights a day.

The 1,475-acre airport has three runways: two 6,500-by-150-foot concrete runways with full ILS systems. The airport also offers a lighted helipad with windsock and a seaplane launching ramp.

Land is available at the airport complex for private hangar construction and aviation-related business development. Existing hanger space is also available for lease. For more information, contact the Airport Manager.


The International Port of Duluth-Superior, the largest port on the Great Lakes, is two hours away along newly repaved State Highway 210. There is also a major container handling facility in St. Paul.


Minnesota Dept. of Transportation

Airport Upgrades

Major investments have been made at the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.

  • The terminal building has been renovated, adding space to the secure passenger waiting area, creating a larger baggage screening area, as well as adding a jet bridge allowing easier boarding access for passengers.