Mar 30 2011
When people think of Minnesota, they often think of lakes. And when Minnesotans think of lakes, they often think of getaways at a Minnesota resort.
My family went to a resort only once when I was a child. It was near Aitkin, Minnesota. We had a small cabin near a lake, but I don’t remember much about that. I do remember that it rained a lot, and we kids had a magnificent time splashing in the puddles. It was family time spent together and a ton of fun, even in the rain. (My mom may not remember it quite the same, however.)
Several years ago, my husband’s family decided to find a resort for some good Minnesota family fun. After much resort, we settled on Sunset Shores Resort near New London, Minnesota. It was family-friendly, not too far from where anyone lived, and had many amenities on the property and nearby.
Sunset Shores Resort is west of New London, Minnesota, in the Willmar Lakes area. Our whole family lives in southern Minnesota, so it was a benefit not to have to fight traffic to go “up north” to find a quality resort. It’s just a few miles from Sibley State Park, and the towns of New London, Spicer, and Willmar are nearby if provisions are needed.
Because of the size of our group, we needed two cabins. The larger of the two, the Norway Cabin, is attached to the resort’s “lodge” area that includes a rec room, small store, and resort offices. The kitchen and living rooms are one open space, and there’s a large patio with picnic tables on the side of the cabin. Six bedrooms and a sofabed offer a variety of sleeping arrangements, and there are two bedrooms. This was the main gathering area for our family.
The six of us slept in the Sunset cabin, just a few steps away. This cabin is a two-story model, with kitchen, living room, and bathroom on the main floor and two bedrooms upstairs. It was just the right size for us.
Both of these cabins are modern with air-conditioning, utensils and cooking supplies in the kitchens, and bed linens are provided. Wi-fi connections are available, which we used for uploading photos and tracking storms in the area.
Things to Do
It’s hard to say what the kids like most about Sunset Shores Resort. There are two playgrounds, free mini-golf, a bean-bag toss, and a basketball hoop near the cabins. The water activities are down some stairs and somewhat separate from most of the cabins, which was nice with younger children. There was a good line of separation between the water area and the play area that made it easy to make safety rules.
The beach area features a roped-off wading area with a slide and small paddleboats, and out deeper there’s a volleyball court and raft. Out farther still is the “bongo,” a big floating inflatable that was the favorite water destination of everyone in our group.
Paddleboats and kayaks can be checked out from the office for use on Norway Lake, and other boats, including a pontoon, can be rented by the day or the week. There is no fishing allowed from the resort dock, so those who want to fish must go out in a boat.
Sunset Shores is a family-owned resort, and the owners are constantly making improvements. When we arrived last year, there was a large new cabin that had replaced a smaller, older one. The owners are very visible and friendly and do everything they can to make your stay pleasant, including greeting you with homemade cookies on your arrival day. Daily activities for kids, like a sandbox hunt and minnow races, give the kids something special to look forward to. Because it isn’t a large resort, there isn’t much traffic, so we didn’t have to worry much about the kids moving about as they changed activities.
While I don’t have other resort experiences to compare it to, I’d definitely recommend Sunset Shores Resort to families looking for a week at the lake in Minnesota. It has a variety of cabins to fit the needs of different-sized families, kid-friendly, well-maintained, and a pleasant place to spend a week getting away from it all.
Has your family enjoyed a resort getaway? Do you have a favorite resort? What features do you look for in a family-friendly lake cabin?