5 Ways to Stay Cool this Summer!

Minnesota, known for being a colder state, sure doesn’t get the respect it deserves for the heat it can bring in the summer months. When the temperature gets into the 90’s and the humidity soars over 50 percent, you’ll find yourself searching for a way to stay cool. We’re here to share 5 surefire ways to cool down in the Willmar Lakes Area during the hot summer months. And the first way—you guessed it—is to make your way to one of the over 100 recreational lakes in our community.

Enjoy the lakes!
Green Lake, the largest lake in the Willmar Lakes Area, is known for its recreational opportunities during the summer months with Saulsbury Beach being a very popular public swimming area. Spend a day at this spacious sandy beach with shaded picnic tables and sand volleyball courts. Or rent a pontoon from Green Lake County Park to make the most out of your lake day! If you get too hot at the beach or just need a break from the water, cool off with a tasty treat at the Spicer Dairy Queen or a get a cold beverage at one of many local restaurants nearby.

One of our most popular swimming beaches in Kandiyohi County is at Games Lake County Park. It’s a sandy stretch with plenty of places to roll out your beach towels or to open up your picnic basket for a nice lunch. The park offers a wide variety of rentals including kayaks, paddle-boards and a pontoon. Whether you’re looking to find a cool fishing spot in the shade of the trees (the lake does have a prime fish population) or for a place to slather on some sunscreen and jump into the cool water, Games Lake is a wonderful place to spend a hot day. Individuals and families alike love to peruse the air conditioned store for souvenirs or satisfy their sweet tooth with one of their many flavors of hard dip ice cream!

Looking for more? Purchase a parking permit and enjoy the popular public swimming beach at Lake Andrew in Sibley State Park. Summer visitors enjoy cooling off by swimming, water skiing or wakeboarding in the lake (if you own a boat). Rather stay dry? Then rent a row boat, kayak or canoe and enjoy the cool breeze in your hair as you paddle across the lake. Sibley State Park also offers campgrounds, a modern group center, primitive group tent camping areas, horseback campsites, and a beautiful picnic area. Located just six miles west of New London, you’re close enough to restaurants and boutique shopping in air conditioned buildings to help you stay cool.

And although we’ve only mentioned three beaches out of innumerable ones across the lakes in the area, any lake would be a welcome solution to the heat of the summer.


Pool time!
If you’d rather not jump in the lake but still want to cool off, head over to the Dorothy Olson Aquatic Center in Willmar. Located by Baker Field and the Willmar Dog Park, this is a premier destination for waterpark lovers of all ages. There are two raging waterslides. One slide is fully enclosed the entire way down and the other is open – both empty into an attached plunge pool. For the younger guests, there are interactive play features and a mini slide all surrounded by a zero depth entry play pool that is a maximum of 18 inches deep. People that just want to have some fun in the water have a six-lane recreation pool to enjoy ranging from three to five feet deep or they can try out the two poolside climbing walls. The climbing walls are 12-feet tall and let swimmers climb as high as they can and make a splash into the crystal blue waters below. When it’s time for a break, swimmers have a choice between getting some sun in the chaise lounges, cooling off in the shade under the 20-foot umbrellas or getting a snack/light meal at the full-service concession stand.

And if you’re looking to save some cash, you should check out the Rice Park Splash Pad in Willmar! You can watch your kids splash their way through an afternoon of fun under a shade structure connected to a three-season shelter with combination restroom / changing rooms. Close to several local restaurants, the Rice Park Splash Pad is an ideal location to take the kids for a cool afternoon in the Willmar Lakes Area. Another great additional to our area is the Atwater Splash Pad! Built in the summer of 2021, this splash pad encourages physical, functional and social development in children of all abilities.


Big Kahuna Fun Park!
Another fun way to cool off is to head to Big Kahuna Fun Park in Spicer! Feel the wind in your hair as you race around the go-kart track or see who can get the other person the most wet on the Wet & Wild bumper boats with squirt guns. Inside, in the cool air conditioning, you’ll find a fun redemption arcade where you can test your skills and win prizes. They also have slushies and eight flavors of old fashioned hard dip ice cream! And in case you work up a larger appetite, you’ll be excited to know that Big Kahuna Fun Park is connected to Godfather’s Pizza Express!

Cold Beverages!
For those that prefer the air conditioning on hot days, stop at one of our local breweries and enjoy a deliciously cold craft beer. Goat Ridge Brewery in New London not only serves up original brews, but also delicious artisan pizza, tacos, brats, pretzels and much more! Often you can enjoy a variety of live music either in the taproom or on their outdoor stage. Foxhole Brewhouse is another local brewery where you can find eleven tasty craft beers on tap. You’ll definitely find something you like as they create a variety of hard seltzers, sours, IPAs, cream ales, blondes, wheats, lagers and porters. Zorbaz on Green Lake is a favorite tourist destination of many. Not only because they have over 30 beers on tap, but also because of their location on Green Lake. It’s the perfect restaurant if you’re spending the day on your boat or pontoon and want to drive up for pizza, Mexican food, or a thirst quenching beverage! Other great locations to gather with friends over delicious food and a cold beverage include Alley on Ash, Green Mill Restaurant, and O’Neil’s.


Ice Cream!
If your favorite way to cool down on a hot day is with ice cream, then you’re in luck! The Willmar Lakes Area is home to a variety of restaurants and ice cream shops to satisfy your craving. The Deep Freeze in New London is a local favorite and is known for their creamy soft serve ice cream in all the forms you love like sundaes, shakes, snowstorms, and cones. Lucky Duck is not only known to be the best toy store in the lakes area, but also a favorite place for gourmet popcorn and a sweet treat! With up to 24 different favors of ice cream, they’re sure to have what you’re craving. Another fan favorite is Culver’s. There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh, frozen custard! And of course we can’t forget about the all time favorite: the A&W root beer float! The Willmar Lakes Area is also home to three Dairy Queen‘s so you won’t be missing out on your blizzards or dilly bars this summer!

These are just a few ways you can stay cool while visiting the Willmar Lakes Area this summer! For more events and attractions to see, check out our website at www.willmarlakesarea.com.

Fish our lakes

The possibilities are endless on our 30 recreational lakes…boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, hydro biking, paddle boarding and so much more!

Fishing Report

Explore our Trails

Surrounded by beautiful lakes and scenery…who wouldn’t take a hike or a leisurely bike ride to enjoy the view? With miles of trials to choose from, you can always find new places to explore.

Trail Report