Strong active communities serving 3 hubs
Economic activity in the Brainerd Lakes Area is centered around the Brainerd/Baxter hub, but there are two other economic hubs that are smaller but offer unique commercial opportunities.
Economic Hub Communities
Brainerd/Baxter Brainerd, Baxter
Cuyuna Range Crosby, Ironton, Deerwood, Cuyuna,
Lakes Region Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Jenkins, Nisswa,
Crosslake, Emily, Fifty Lakes, Manhattan Beach
Brainerd/Baxter is a growing and active commercial base, with significant retail along the Washington Street and State Highway 371 corridors. With the Mississippi River running right through the center of town, Brainerd has a rich history involving the railroad, logging and paper milling. The Burlington Northern/Sante Fe Railroad still operates a yard near Brainerd's downtown, which recently underwent a revitalization. Many recreational opportunities exist here, with hundreds of nearby lakes, the Northland Arboretum, the trailhead for the 100-mile Paul Bunyan State Trail and much more. Learn more from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber's web site.
The 5,000-acre Cuyuna State Recreation Area is the heart and soul of the Cuyuna Range. This area is a recreational paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, mainly because of the 27 crystal clear mine pits that offer sensational scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, and other recreational opportunities. In addition to the mine pits, the area has a paved bike trail and is home to a new nationally recognized mountain bike trail. Outdoor recreation became a signifiant economic engine in this area after the iron ore mines closed several decades ago and continues to be an important part of the communities' heritage. Downtown Crosby is regarded as the "Antique Capital of the Lakes Area" as antique shops line Main Street. Learn more from the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce.
The Lakes Region encompasses the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and Pelican Lake, two of the premium lake systems in the Brainerd Lakes Area. The communities in this hub are smaller and rely heavily on seasonal tourism traffic, either by offering services that visitors or seasonal residents need, or with unique and distinctive shopping opportunities. Small resorts and campgrounds dot the shoreline of area lakes, which provide excellent recreation and fishing. Nisswa has a renowned shopping destination and Pequot Lakes, with an industrial park, offers retail stores and has a strong employment base with several major employers in the area. Learn more from the Brainerd Lakes Chamber's web site.