Warm (but not scorching) days, cool nights, bright sun. Except for a few unwelcome storms, this has been a glorious summer. Just the kind that calls for a Minnesota resort getaway.

What can you do if you haven’t booked a vacation, but you suddenly feel the itch to relax lakeside?

Call in the experts for help — the people who run the local convention and visitor bureaus across the state.

“Those guys really keep track of where there is availability,” said Alyssa Ebel of Explore Minnesota.

That point hit home after storms pummeled the Brainerd Lakes Area, closing some resorts. Not all vacationers returned to their homes. Some simply relocated to area resorts that still had power. Matt Kilian, president of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, described finding a resort for people as “playing tourism matchmaker.”

The local convention and visitor bureau types are good at that. So you could spend hours calling the resorts on your checklist and hoping for an opening. (Better yet, log online; many resorts offer last-minute deals.) Or you could instead call the chamber or visitors bureau for the area you hope to visit. Most keep tabs on which resorts still have rooms and cabins. Extra bonus: They also know about mom-and-pop spots on lovely lakes that may be just as charming as their large-scale neighbors, even if they can’t match their marketing prowess.

If you want help reaching those small CVBs, call Explore Minnesota. Their travel counselors can assist with your travel planning and point to parts of the state to consider, based on your interests. Call them at 1-888-VISITMN (847-4866), or have an online chat at www.exploreminnesota.com.


Send questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.