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Get Outta Town!: 48 hours in Perham

Photos provided by Perham.com 

With over 1,000 lakes in the area, it is easy to find your own place on the water in Perham in Otter Tail County. Whether you are pulling kids on a tube behind a jet ski, looking for a hidden fishing hole or out for an evening pontoon cruise, the Perham area has you covered. Plan a visit yourself to see why Perham was selected as one of Smithsonian’s Best Small Towns to Visit in 2018!


2 p.m.- Check-In

While technically in Ottertail, Thumper Pond is a great place to lay your head while visiting this area. A full resort, Thumper Pond has a variety of options available to complete any desired trip, they even have pre-set packages like the Romance Package (King Whirlpool suite complete with a bottle of sparkling wine with chocolate covered strawberries) and the Stay-and-Play Package for golf lovers. The resort also includes a gorgeous golf course, indoor water park and the delicious Willy T’s Tavern & Grill.

perham3 p.m.- Explore

Explore the treasures of downtown Perham. Part coffee shop, part kitchen store, Nest is a must-see, filled with every cute gift or kitchen accessory your heart could desire. Under the same owners is Goose Gang, a shop that is truly a destination. With three levels of non-stop fun, there is something for everyone: find frozen yogurt, popcorn, tons of toys and a variety of rotating activities. You never know what you’ll find there!

5:30 p.m.- Dinner at Lakes Royalty

Ever popular in Lakes Country is Zorbaz. Perham has itz own Zorbaz location, right on Little Pine Lake. Enjoy viewz of the lake az you down one of their specialty pizzaz, featuring pizza topping combinationz you’ve only ever dreamed about. (Get used to this way of spelling if you want to read through their menu properly!)

7 p.m.- Get Grumpy

For some fine Midwestern brewing, head to Disgruntled Brewing to finish your night off. Despite the name, you will not be disgruntled with their selection of brews. Think of the Disgruntled Taproom as a clubhouse for sophisticated beer lovers. If you’re looking for a different craft beer experience, drop by and enjoy their wares. No matter the season, no matter your mood, no matter what kind of brew you love, they have beer on tap for you.


8:30 a.m.- A Morning Downtown

Start your morning off right with another trip to the small-town downtown strip in Perham. Fuel up for the day at the quaint Gathering Grounds Coffee Shoppe. Located in a 100-year-old building, this two-story charming establishment has been satisfying downtown Perham for over 20 years now.

While downtown, find the Waves of Discovery Mural at the corner of Main Street and First Ave. Made by artist Cindee Lundin, this massive mural is made of carved concrete and includes elements of agates, fossils, fused glass, and mosaics. Designed to encourage interaction among viewers, there are over 50 items hidden among the panels of the mural to seek and find. As a public art project, the Waves of Discovery mural was fundraised by local businesses and individuals interested in having a community-wide piece of art that everyone could enjoy.

11 a.m.- Berries on the Farm

Spend your morning picking your own fresh berries out at Otter Berry Farm. This family-oriented ‘you-pick’ berry farm is located right around Rush Lake. Enjoy the scenery and even greet to some of the farm animals they have on the grounds, like their sheep, goats and horses (regular-sized and mini!)

1 p.m. –The Best Chinese Food in the Area

After some time on the farm, head back to town for a quick lunch at Jin Hu. Raved about as one of the most delicious Chinese restaurants in the area, Jin Hu is a Perham cornerstone. Known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high-quality fresh ingredients, Jin Hu is a great spot to eat in or order to go!

perham boys2:30 p.m.- Get on the Water!

Spend the rest of your Saturday as you should in Lakes Country…on the water! Options of how to spend this time are endless. Be adventurous and stop into Gene’s Sport Shop to get a local recommendation for a fishing guide or take it slow and blow up a raft to float on the water. There are plenty of public access points all over, so feel free to settle at one or bounce around and get the most out of your lake adventures.

7 p.m. – Dinner at Pine Island Fish Co.

After a long day of being out and about, come hungry to Pine Island Fish Co. Fresh local ingredients with specialization in seafood and unique flavors, it’s sure to satiate your hunger. This spot is trendy and offers a full bar and plenty of refreshing cocktails to compliment your dinner. The owner used to be a captain of a fishing boat, so you can be sure the quality of ingredients and menu options will be held to a high standard.


10 a.m. – Brunch at Brew

Sleep in and get ready for brunch at Brew Ales & Eat. Each Saturday and Sunday, they have a brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. … or until they are sold out! Start with their Brew Beignets and follow up with an order of Smoked Salmon Hash. Make your brunch a full experience and be sure to order their Mini Brunch Cocktail flight, including a Chipotle Mary, Apple Mimosa, Cocoa Latte and a Brewdriver.

12 p.m. – Cheese, Please

A Perham treasure is Bongards retail store. Bongards is a farmer-owned co-op committed to producing top-quality cheese. Pick up some award-winning Minnesota-made cheese and even grab a pre-made gift basket, if you can’t decide on which delicious blocks to choose from. Be sure to stock up on enough to bring home with you to enjoy even while not at the lake.

Before leaving town, be sure to stop by Ma’s Little Red Barn for some coffee and/or ice cream to enjoy on the road back home. If you’re a smooth driver, even grab one of their beautiful floral arrangements to display back at home, just don’t spill it on the car seats!

perham dog on

Plan Your Trip

Any weekend you choose is going to be a good time, but if you’re looking for a specific event going on in town, here are a few events to catch:

Turtle Fest, June 12-16

Each June, the Perham community comes together to celebrate summer. Like most communities, their summer festival is based around one of their local icons – which just happen to be turtles. Turtle Fest features a wide variety of events and activities to suit the whole family!

Rib Cook-Off, June 22

Each year, cookers from around the region gather for a grilling show in Perham. Each team has the opportunity to face off in a rib AND a chicken competition. Preliminary judges conduct a blind taste test for each entry and send the top six to the final round of judges. After another round of blind taste testing, the winners are confirmed. The event is open to the public. People are encouraged to come to chat with the cookers during the day – they might just share their secret recipes!

East Otter Tail County Fair, July 15-28

Each year, Perham is the host of the East Otter Tail County Fair. They bring clean, family-friendly fun with the small-town feel. Join in at the carnival, walk through the exhibits, enjoy the evening event and check out the Showmanship Livestock. There is so much to do and see at the County Fair!

perham turtle

Written by Josiah Kopp

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