Northern Minnesota Resorts Highlight – Nelsons Resort

Published On: February 14, 20217 min read
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Up North Resort That’s Been In The Family Since 1931

Nelsons Resort MNSituated at the end of their own stretch of gravel – “Nelson Road” – and nestled on the protected side of a point, is a bevy of beautiful log cabins and lodge that make up a wilderness outpost and resort both. Nelson’s is truly one of the few places left where families and friends can unplug from the noise and grind of daily life. Owners Jerry and Brenda Pohlman have purposely kept it that way, taking over from grandparents who have owned the resort since 1931. Yep, that math is correct – we’re talking about a 90 year legacy that stretches long before the BWCA and certainly the internet.

Speaking of, that’s really one of the few things you won’t find at Nelson’s, again, by design. Brenda notes, “There’s no TV and no internet in the cabins, and we like it that way.” Guests do too, coming back year after year with some families now booking for 4 generations of family fun and relaxation. “We’ve got so many families that met in the same game room or beach for years and years,” continues Pohlman. “Families swim, fish, build campfires, and just enjoy each other’s company. It’s been that way since I first got here in 1980.” It’s a tradition that speaks to how well the resort is run, and how much the Pohlman’s enjoy the same way of life that keeps guests coming back year after year.

Enjoy Fine Dining With A Full Service Bar at Nelson’s On Crane Lake

Nelsons Dining Crane LakeEvery resort in the Crane Lake area has its unique offerings, and Nelson’s is most certainly the rustic charm, paired with an unlikely but welcome amenity, fine-dining. A glance at the menu and you’re immediately surprised and excited to sample more than the typical Northwoods bar fare. We’re talking meals that are a few cuts above, like steaks and seafood, including a pretty spectacular walleye dinner. Brenda mentions, “We’ve got a full service bar and incredible wine list too. There’s people surprised to see $100 bottles of wine on the menu, but we strive to offer people incredible quality not normally found in most of northern Minnesota.”

Nelson’s All Inclusive Meal Plan Provides Your Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Certainly, the restaurant at Nelson’s is something special, but perhaps even more interesting is that it’s woven into the fabric of the resort. Husband Jerry offers, “We offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner to all of our resort goers in a variety of meal plans. Some families want just lunches and dinners, while others love to have food taken care of completely. They just come into the restaurant and order off the menu as part of their meal plan. They’re not forced into only a couple of meals for the length of their stay.”

All of which might sound a bit spendy for your average family, but the Pohlman’s want everyone to be able to enjoy that level of service. That’s why kids under 6 eat free with the family meal plan, and ages 6-15 are half price. Jerry continues, “We have young families that love not having to worry about food, but just as many older generations appreciate being able to come here, get great meals, and not have to focus so much of their vacation on making dinner.”

Nelson’s Has Expert Fishing Guides Too!

You might say that full-service is what Nelson’s Resort specializes in, and that goes for the fishing experience too. Jerry says, “folks really love coming up here for the fishing. Spring and fall especially, but even throughout the summer, we love hosting groups that come to fish.” That’s why the Pohlman’s will get you in a great cabin, take care of the cooking, but also handle putting you on fish with one of the many quality guides that they work with on the lake. Jerry says, “We like telling people that if all they want to show up with is their toothbrush, we can take care of the rest. We’re also more than happy to just rent them a cabin and let them do their thing.”

For most visitors to Nelsons, the typical morning is an early breakfast in the restaurant, just before finding their guide for the day. Guides are well-versed in the area and will cook an incredible shore lunch on any of the area’s 1000’s of islands or campsites along the shore. For many families, it’s all about getting some fishing in while also seeing some sights like Kettle Falls Hotel, the Vermillion River Gorge, and any of the numerous swimming beaches scattered throughout the wilderness. Brenda says, “We have groups that really grow attached to their guides and who change reservations just to be with the guys that have helped them catch fish and see the area for so many years. That makes it a much more personal vacation.”

Minnesota Resort - Nelsons Crane Lake

Staying At Nelson’s Resort Is Like Staying With Old Friends

That fondness goes both ways with the Pohlmans recognizing long-time vacationers when they call on the phone to book. “In many cases, we get to know our customers really well. That makes it easy for us to work hard and help them enjoy their time here, as it’s just like having old friends come up and stay with us,” says Brenda. It’s the lifestyle that attracted the Pohlmans so many years ago. So much so, that even their children and grandkids have learned to love the life. “We get to know our customer’s children, and they get to know our kids and grandkids. It’s how our children grew up, and now it’s how they want their kids to be raised. We love seeing those kids and all the memories we make with these families.”

Flexible Booking Options To Fit Your Schedule

Nelson’s Resort focuses on easy booking arrangements, as there is no set weekly requirements or minimum days. “If we’ve got a cabin open for you, we’d love to have you for as long or as little as you’d like to stay,” says Brenda. “Choice weekends around holidays like the 4th, Memorial Day, and Labor Day can get busy, so we recommend booking as soon as possible for those dates. We also don’t rent out cabins more than 1 year in advance to give the people who are staying there in the moment the chance to re-book it for the following year on the same dates.”

Great BWCA Stop-Over Point

For those coming out of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) – Nelson’s is a frequent stop-over, and the perfect beginning and/or end to a long canoe trip. Brenda says, “We have lots of people stay over the day and night before they head off, to meet up with friends and make plans over a good meal. We have just as many or more folks that stay over on their way out, and it serves as the perfect treat to have great food and accommodations after just getting back from a few days of paddling.”

Of course, locals love coming over to Nelsons by road or by boat to have a cocktail or celebrate a special occasion with a great meal. There’s live music on most weekends, with many of the performers coming back year after year because of how much they love the resort. That makes for a fun vibe and again, something outside of the norm for many of the establishments in the area. All of which makes Nelson’s a great place to visit for an evening, or weeks at a time.


The Crane Lake Visitor & Tourism Bureau can assist you with ground, water, or air transportation, lodging reservations, group planning, meeting facilities, and any special consideration required to accommodate a unique condition or disability.

If you would like more information about the Crane Lake area or to access our Visitors Guide, please visit our Contact Page. Thank you for your interest in our beautiful area.

Crane Lake Visitor & Tourism Bureau
7511 Gold Coast Road
Crane Lake, MN 55725
800-362-7405 · 218-993-2901