Top 10 Things To Do In Brainerd, MN This Summer Aboard A Luxury Cruise Boat

Evening cruise on the Gull Lake Cruises yacht North Star

TAKING A BOAT TOUR IS a top 10 things to do when visiting the Brainerd Lakes area, as it gives you a one-of-a-kind way to enjoy Minnesota’s premier waterway, Gull Lake, in both comfort and luxury. Whatever draws you to the water–whether you’re looking for a leisurely way to take in nature and feel the wind in your hair, or seek the ultimate lakeside gathering spot to drink and dine, or maybe cruising on a luxury yacht tops your bucket list, Gull Lake Cruises can make the memory happen.

Here are TEN THINGS TO DO IN BRAINERD this summer to make an unforgettable memory on the water aboard a luxury cruise boat…


Photo of a loon family top 10 things to do

1. The Ultimate Photo Op

Whether it’s a “do it for the gram” selfie, or a breathtaking sunset, Gull Lake Cruises provides an unmatched location to capture a remarkable photo. With the 360 degree views from the yacht’s upper deck, every angle affords a perfect position for recording memories – from a video of loons dancing on the lake to that once-in-a-lifetime family reunion shot, an ordinary image becomes extraordinary on Gull Lake Cruises.


Couple announcing their engagement on a Gull Lake Cruise

2. Time for Breaking News

Making a change in life? Announcing an engagement? Baby on the way? Retirement date set? Whatever newsworthy adventure you might be embarking on, announce your special moment to family and friends on the Gull Lake Cruises. A leisurely Gull Lake Cruise is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and share all your exciting details and future plans with everyone at the same time yet in a uniquely intimate and memorable way!


Women celebrating on a Gull Lake Cruise

3. Unforgettable Bachelorette Party

When you are in charge of planning a bachelorette party that is unique and fun, what could be more memorable than hosting the party on a luxury 65-foot yacht! Join a public cruise with live music and planned entertainment, or rent the whole boat for your besties, the Gull Lake Cruises staff will help you create a one-of-a-kind, never-to-forget event!


Theme dinner cruise aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star top 10 things to do

4. Groom’s Dinner Cruise

Be it the grand kickoff to the wedding festivities, or a stress-free way of bringing people together before the big day, join together aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht on Gull Lake. Cruising is a unique, intimate, fun way for family and friends to toast and dine together. The Gull Lake Cruises’ staff will ensure that everything is taken care of, so all you have to do is sit back and just enjoy the moment.


Wedding aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star

5. Dream Come True Wedding

When looking for a memorable wedding venue in Brainerd MN, consider a wedding on the water. A cruise wedding offers an unforgettable experience, especially when hosted on the luxurious 65 ft. Gull Lake Cruises yacht. It’s the perfect weatherproof option, too, with a fully enclosed first level, you can celebrate in the grand outdoors as you tie the knot in complete inside comfort. The Gull Lake Cruises provides full-service catering, state-of-the-art audiovisual and lighting, seating for 90 passengers, and an experienced crew to ensure all of your dreams come true.


Family reunion enjoyed aboard a Gull Lake Cruise

6. Make Waves at Your Family Reunion

Finally, everyone is together in one location, and all you want to do is reconnect without having to manage activities, cook, or track people down to capture that group photo! The perfect plan? Host your next reunion on the luxurious Gull Lake Cruises yacht. Cruising Gull Lake is a unique and exciting venue enjoyed by all ages. The staff of the Gull Lake Cruises yacht will take care of everything – from the initial planning to all the activities such as games, videos, music and more, to themes, food and festive drinks. Time together is precious – cruising makes that time work-free, stress-free, and memorable for all.


Concert cruise aboard the Gull Lake Cruise yacht, North Star top 10 things to do

7. Cruising with the Stars

Do you like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, or Jimmy Buffet? How fun would it be singing and dancing to their hits under the stars? Well, dance away you will on a concert cruise aboard the Gull Lake Cruises luxury yacht. Great, live music with two on-board, full-service bars make this a one-of-a-kind party on Gull you’ll always remember. The Jimmy Buffet Parrot Heads Cheeseburger in Paradise cruise and the Tribute to Elvis cruise are just two events favored in the Brainerd Lakes area. Or, for a stellar way to celebrate a milestone or themed birthday, rent the entire yacht and host a blowout musical bash! The Gull Lake Cruises staff can help with all the arrangements to make this “only happens once” event one for the memory books.


Company team building event aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star top 10 things to do

8. Getting Your Team to “Sea” Eye-to-Eye

While team building is undeniably the best way to strengthen employee relationships and team spirit, participating in physical or competitive group activities is not always enjoyed by all. Why not try a relaxing, fun venue when planning your next company event? A team outing aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht on Gull Lake is a stress- free meeting that everyone can enjoy, especially the planner! The staff of Gull Lake Cruises, with years of planning experience, can help you create the perfect company event with none of the usual worries and stress.


Themed kid's party on the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star top 10 things to do

9. Adventures at Sea with the Grandkids

Calling all pirates and mermaids, sailors and sea creatures too…come aboard and join our imagination cruise! You’ll be the coolest grandma or grandpa (or mom and dad, too) when you take your seaworthy kiddos on a themed party aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht. It’s one of the best family things to do in Brainerd, MN. Kids can come dressed in their favorite costume, or we can provide the accessories. Fun and games, food and entertainment are included in each adventure on the sea. Book one of the public kid’s themed cruises or rent the whole boat for a personal birthday extravaganza! Talk with the Gull Lake Cruises staff, and they can create a never-to-forget event for your little ones!


Gull Lake Cruises, best way to party on Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN top 10 things to do

10. Get Your Party On Gull Lake

Is it your turn to host the party? Are fear and panic setting in? Looking for fun things to do in Brainerd? Gull Lake Cruises turns that fear to fun with a host of ideas for themes. The staff is there to plan every detail, ensuring that you have as much fun at the party as your guests! Whether it’s a sunset dinner cruise or a morning brunch cruise, a Taco Tuesday cruise or a TGIF voyage, the Gull Lake Cruises yacht on Gull Lake is at the ready to party on and make a memory!

SO COME ABOARD THIS SUMMER because we all know being on the water makes us happier – it just always seems to draw people together to relax, to celebrate, to smile. Gull Lake Cruises has so many ways to make your water gatherings memorable, resulting in more fun and bigger smiles. Ready to experience a unique and entertaining time on the water this summer in Minnesota? The team at Gull Lake Cruises is at the ready, too, with a list of ideas perfect for you – from scheduled public events to private charters for those special occasions. Give a call at 833-232-0317, or go online at and learn more about Gull Lake Cruises summer fun on the water in Brainerd!


Cragun’s Resort & Hotel Acquired Destiny Cruises

Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake Home of Gull Lake Cruises Cragun's Resort acquired Destiny CruisesBRAINERD, Minn., March 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Destiny Cruises LLC announced today that it sold its vessel and operation to Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake. Cragun’s will begin offering day and evening cruises on Gull Lake in the spring of 2019. The 65-foot long double-deck vessel accommodates 120 passengers and will continue to offer open cruises, themed cruises and private chartered events to residents, tourists and guests visiting the Brainerd Lakes Area.
“We launched Destiny Cruises in the summer of 2014, and we are happy to see a flourishing local resort maintain the business and vessel on Gull Lake. We want to thank the people of Brainerd, Nisswa and the local resorts and businesses who have welcomed and supported us,” said Liz Diedrich, Destiny Cruises partner and owner of Twin Cities-based research and marketing firm Diedrich RPM.

“We are excited to be able to provide another amenity for visitors to the Brainerd Lakes Area on behalf of Cragun’s Resort. Now we can provide a new prestigious venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, reunions or corporate events, and we are looking forward to offering day cruises to visitors to the area,” said Dutch Cragun, Owner. “Destiny Cruises was an established entity on Gull Lake, and we’re thrilled to continue this service for the community.” Cragun’s has decided to change the name of the operation to Gull Lake Cruises to more closely reflect their long-standing ties to the community and Gull Lake. Cragun’s plans on continuing to work with the other local resorts and hotels to offer this amenity for all visitors to the Brainerd Lakes Area. Gull Lake Cruises will be docked at Cragun’s Resort with easy access at the main Marina area.

Gull Lake Cruises, which historically ran approximately 150 cruises per year, will continue to offer an option for your special events, such as when family and friends are in town and want to do something unique in the area, a vessel for your private parties, weddings, birthday celebrations, anniversaries, company outings, live concerts, Sunday brunches and so much more!. Cragun’s looks forward to expanding its ability to create memories that last a lifetime!

To book cruises or for more information, please visit or call 1-833-232-0317.



Trim the Sails – How to Fit a Cruise into a Tight Budget

Meeting Pages

By Kris Decker, Content Editor

trim the sails

The open air, water like glass, a light breeze in your face as you pass stunning landscapes, all while relaxing with good conversation, fabulous food, and refreshing beverages — there’s nothing quite like a cruise. Planning a cruise for your crew sounds like a fantastic idea … until you look at your budget. Do limited funds mean you have to throw the idea overboard completely? Or is there some way to take your group cruise and do it on a budget? These Minnesota cruise lines say you can. Here’s how:

Michele Baker, General Manager, Destiny Cruises

“Destiny Cruises sails a 100-passenger luxury yacht on Gull Lake in the Brainerd Lakes area and is the only cruise boat on Gull Lake. They’re ideal for groom’s dinners, small weddings, birthdays, corporate events, and public cruises. They can pick up parties from any of the premier resorts on the lake and work with many different budgets to help create the most memorable experience on the North Star.

There are several ways a planner can keep costs low, while still planning an enjoyable group cruise.” These include:

  • Stay flexible on dates and book early.
  • Sightseeing or appetizer cruises are very affordable. We also offer a Sunset Cruise that includes a dessert and coffee buffet. Let the sunset be your backdrop to the end of a beautiful day.
  • Keep the bar simple. If hosting, stick to house wines, beer, and rail pours
  • Food can be pricey so you can stay with lighter options and order something like pulled pork sliders or tacos for the main course.
  • Stay simple with linens. We always have black linen that is included with all cruises in the main salon. Colored options are available at a small upcharge per table.
  • For small groups of 10-20 people, we can include their party with a public cruise.

For these semi-private parties, we reserve space for the group in our Main Salon. Let our professional crew help create a fun and affordable cruise for you…

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Enjoying Beautiful Gull Lake Aboard Destiny Cruises in Brainerd, MN

Cool Adventures Blog | Explore Minnesota

By Kim Hull

enjoying beautiful gull lake
The North Star, Destiny Cruises, Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minnesota Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

A couple of hours gliding on clear waters, while enjoying delicious food and a beverage under clear blue skies, makes for one of our favorite ways to spend an afternoon.

When the lake is Gull Lake, one of the largest in the Brainerd, Minnesota area, with 38 miles of picturesque coastline and sparkling waters, and the boat it is the luxury Destiny Cruises yacht, the North Star, the experience is elevated to a superb afternoon of relaxation and leisure.

Destiny Cruises on Gull Lake

Our two-hour lunch excursion aboard the beautiful motor yacht began at the docks at Ernie’s on Gull, about six miles north of Brainerd. Welcomed aboard with a warm, Minnesota welcome, guests have the option of relaxing downstairs in the air-conditioned, glass-enclosed cabin, or opting for the open-air upstairs deck. We headed straight upstairs to bask in the Minnesota sunshine.The yacht is large – 65 feet long and 22 feet wide – providing guests plenty of room to spread out, get comfortable and enjoy the captivating views.

Custom built by SkipperLiner in LaCrosse, WI for Destiny Cruises, the North Star took a year to build and was delivered in 2014. Now in her third season on Gull Lake, the North Star was the first public cruise vessel to operate on the lake for many years. The elegant boat’s public cruises, which include lunch, brunch, happy hour, dinner and sunset cruises, have been warmly welcomed by the community and visitors to the area. The yacht is also a popular venue for private chartered events and weddings…

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Fun Adventures in Central and Northwest Minnesota

fun adventures Gull Lake Cruises

With summer brings the opportunity for a variety of fun adventures in Central and Northwest Minnesota on land and water, and even in the air!

Summer fun adventures in Central and Northwest Minnesota abound for all ages! We recently rediscovered this region with new eyes after an absence of several years. Active enthusiasts will be amazed at all the options, no matter how you roll. There is no more perfect environment than a Minnesota summer to get your groove on! Come along and be inspired as we count some of the ways!

Cruising: We happen to think sometimes the best exercise is that of hand to mouth! There is absolutely no shame in shaping your active water experience to include a luxury cruise! On beautiful Gull Lake, outside of Brainerd, Destiny Cruises offers a day of great cuisine and scenic perfection, viewed from its new multi-deck yacht, the North Star. Our excursion was made all the more enjoyable by the custom libations expertly poured by General Manager Michele Baker and pithy commentary from the North Star’s captain. Our group hung out on the sunny top observation deck and enjoyed a fabulous gourmet meal. Other passengers had a wonderful experience in the spacious indoor salon below us, as well…

By Betsy Wuebker

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Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Host a Conference in Brainerd

phi theta kappa

Phi Theta Kappa the largest international honor society in the world for two-year colleges decided to host their annual leadership conference for the first time at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. They kicked off the two-day convention with a cruise on Gull Lake.

Members came from North and South Dakota and the Minnesota area to socialize with fellow colleagues who share their same passion for academic excellence.

They must commit to a life of leadership as well as other promises…

Lakeland Public TV


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Brainerd Tourism Has Record Year

Lakeland Public TV


brainerd tourism

They came for boating, for fishing, for beer, camping, rock n roll, but mostly they came for the lakes. All the reasons combined helped make 2014 one of the best years for tourism in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

The Brainerd Lakes Area also saw a boost in new attractions. The area added a new elegant event space, the Wild Life Safari North, Gull Dam Brewery and soon-to-be Big Ax Brewing Company, Lakes Jam and Destiny Cruise Line. All of them added a different way to enjoy the Brainerd Lakes Area.

The resorts, attractions and Visit Brainerd say, after last year’s explosive numbers, they’re looking forward to another amazing tourism year in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

The Governor’s Fishing Opener kicked off last summer’s tourism season at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa last May. And tourism in the Brainerd Lakes Area exploded from there…

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Luxury Yacht Provides New Affordable Way to Experience Gull Lake

Brainerd Dispatch

By Renee Richardson

luxury yacht Gull Lake Cruises

EAST GULL LAKE – Lit up for the Fourth of July this week, Destiny Cruises’ North Star yacht is giving residents and visitors alike another way to experience summer in the lakes area.

Liz Diedrich, owner of Twin Cities-based research and marketing firm Diedrich RPM, first looked into the idea of a luxury motor yacht while putting together research for a client.

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Goin’ To The Lake: Brainerd Lakes Area (Day 1)

CBS Minnesota – WCCO

By CBS Local

Sunset Cruise on Gull Lake Cruises on Gull Lake in Brainerd Minnesota

CROSSLAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — Even when record rains are falling, WCCO makes it to the lake. This summer, until the start of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, we’re highlighting communities in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

This week, Esme Murphy and Chris Shaffer ventured to the Brainerd Lakes Area in northern Minnesota.

On Thursday, they arrived in Crosslake, which is about 2 ½ hours north of the Twin Cities.

Crosslake is, appropriately, on Cross Lake, which is part of the Whitefish chain of lakes – one of the most popular in the state. That means in the summertime, the town sees its population grow. About 60 percent of the homes here are used seasonally.

The Whitefish chain is made up of 14 lakes, all connected with more than 13,500 acres of water and 119 miles of shoreline.

It’s perfect for fishing, boating and really anything you want to do on the water. And if you want to stay on the chain of lakes, you’ll find plenty of campgrounds and resorts to choose from.

You’ll find plenty of resorts, cabins and restaurants along Cross Lake, but now there’s something new. There’s a luxury cruise that sets sail from Moonlite Bay for brunch, lunch, dinner or moonlight cruise – Destiny Cruises On Gull Lake

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Luxury Cruise Line Comes to Gull Lake

Echo Journal

By Sarah Rudlang

Gull Lake Cruises on Gull Lake in Brainerd Minnesota

Destiny Cruises’ North Star yacht, a $1.8 million, double-deck vessel that can accommodate 120 passengers, launched last week on Gull Lake, offering cruises and private chartered events to residents and tourists in the Brainerd lakes area.

The North Star is docked at Ernie’s on Gull, and was expected to embark on its inaugural cruise Wednesday, June 25, having been delayed from its ideal date of mid-May because of road restrictions.

 The 65-foot long, 22-foot wide vessel was constructed last winter at Skipperliner Headquarters in La Crosse, Wisconsin, one of the country’s largest passenger vessel manufacturers.

The owners of Destiny Cruises are Liz Diedrich, owner of Diedrich RPM; Jerry Johnson, CEO and owner of Energy Management Collaborative; and Reid Porter, a retired business executive and former captain of vessels out of Lake Geneva.

They studied the market for more than a year looking for the ideal place to provide such a vessel. Diedrich said variables like geographic location, the number of weddings and transit populations in the Brainerd lakes area were compelling. That, coupled with Gull Lake’s proximity and readiness, made it a viable location to operate…

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