Winter Fun in Willmar Lakes Area

Ice fishing in the Willmar Lakes Area. Photo by Gregory Harp.

Article from Minnesota Monthly

From ice fishing and winter recreation to local boutiques and eateries, the Willmar Lakes Area has everything you need for a snowy getaway!

As the temperatures drop in the Willmar Lakes Area, locals and visitors alike get excited to take advantage of the region’s incredible outdoor activities. And when you’re in lake country, you can’t resist trying your hand at ice fishing and (hopefully) reeling in dinner. Whether you get the biggest catch of the day or just enjoy spending quality time with others, there’s nothing better than dropping a line into the frozen ice. Visit Green Lake Rentals in Spicer or Black Bear Fish House Co. in Willmar to rent out heated fish houses. There are also plenty of local shops to find bait, tackle, and other supplies.

After a long day out on the lake, stop by Foxhole Brewhouse in Willmar or Goat Ridge Brewery in New London for a drink before heading home to fry up your freshly caught meal.

Snowmobiling in Willmar Lakes Area


For something more action-packed, speed through the miles of groomed snowmobiling trails throughout the Willmar Lakes Area. Make sure to check out the favorite local snowmobiling trails like Glacial Lakes State Trail and Sibley State Park.

If you’re looking for an active excursion for the whole family, head to the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing rentals. You can either explore the trails at Prairie Woods or take the rental gear to another nearby park. Sibley State Park or the Robbins Island and Swan Lake Trails in Willmar are good options for cross-country skiing, while Sibley State Park is another spot for snowshoeing.

A man giving a woman a ride on a kick sled at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in Willmar Lakes
Kick sledding at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center

Or try out the local specialty and rent kick sleds at Prairie Woods. These Scandinavian sleds look like a lighter, more transportable dog sled. Hold onto the handles, stand on the rail, and push off with your foot to give someone a ride along the frozen trails or lakes.

After working up an appetite, place an order at O’Neil’s in Spicer or Ruff’s Wings & Sports Bar in Willmar and fill up on your favorite American fare, or warm up with a hot drink from Lulu Beans Coffee House or Goodness Coffee in Willmar.

For a day of indoor activities, plan a shopping spree at the local boutiques. Find the latest fashions at Urban Escape in Spicer and the Happy Sol and Ali J Boutique in New London. Head over to Mill Pond Mercantile and Three Sisters Furnishings in New London to search for home decor, furnishings, and keepsakes. And you can’t leave the Willmar Lakes Area without stopping by Mr. B’s Chocolates for a sweet treat before heading home.

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