Buy the book:

Individuals may now order the book at any bookstore (although the bookstore may have to order the book if it’s not in stock), or may order the book online by clicking here.

Booksellers may place wholesale orders through Itasca Books Distribution and Fulfillment (click here), Ingram, or Baker & Taylor.

Available in hardcover format only. Not available as an eBook.

About the Book:

The Early Resorts of Minnesota traces the development of Minnesota’s early resort industry from the first resort hotels along the Mississippi in the 1850s to the northern lake resorts in the late 1950s when numbers began declining. Many of those that survived to operate today are included. Using cities within the five regional boundaries defined by Explore Minnesota, The Early Resorts of Minnesota shows where resorts were concentrated, when they operated, what they looked like, what they offered, who operated them, and what led to their success or demise as the demands of tourists changed throughout the twentieth century. Many early businesses associated with the tourist industry are also included. Organized by decade, the book is over 480 pages long and includes over 500 photos and maps within the book and on this website.

Click here or visit my “Videos” tab to see a book trailer.


“If you’re looking for a book in this sometimes crazy and imperfect world to comfort and restore, you’re in luck.  Ren Holland has put together a book filled with 100s of pictures from every corner of Minnesota.  Whether your interest is history, photography or the natural beauty of the great outdoors, this is a book for you and your discerning friends.  I wish I had the vision and inspiration to do the great work and research it took to write the book myself.”  -Wendell R. Anderson, Former U.S. Senator and Governor of Minnesota

“A great chronological time line of the history of resorting in our state.  Probably the only documentation of the many resorts that once existed and the people involved.”  -Mark Ludlow, Ludlow’s Island Resort, Lake Vermilion, Cook;  Minnesota Resort & Campground Association’s 2011 Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame Award

“Ren Holland takes us on a fascinating journey through a vanishing era of Minnesota history.  Slow down, relax, and remember your childhood vacation at a resort!”  -Jill A. Johnson, Little Minnesota: 100 Towns Around 100

“It is an honor to endorse your book, The Early Resorts of Minnesota.  I’m 88 and I have lived through this era and tasted the excitement of the early resorts.”  -Al Baert, Founder, The Minnesota Fishing Museum, Little Falls, Minnesota

Why I wrote The Early Resorts of Minnesota:

In visiting my childhood neighborhood on Little Mantrap Lake a few years ago, I found that the country store where I was raised had vanished. It had been closed for years and had stood exhausted and empty but had remained a pleasant link to the past.The three resort cabins associated with it were removed years earlier, replaced by a private home. I looked for other old resorts on the lake and found only two remaining of the six that had operated when I was a boy. One, built in the 1940s, was operating as a resort cooperative. The other was the first one built on the lake in the 1920s. There were few marks remaining for the others to show a life’s work, except perhaps an owner’s tombstone in a nearby cemetery. While some of these pioneers of my childhood live on through the bloodstreams and records of their relatives, their history has nearly disappeared from the public’s eye. It struck me that there should be more than a cold cemetery stone or a random reference in an old newspaper for remembering these pioneers in tourism and the resorts and business they built or operated.

I wrote this book to describe the resort communities that once existed; to give a simulated voice to the resorters of the past, and to visually show the style of their labor. I might have named it The Resort Encyclopedia, except that the term seemed too mundane; I might have named it The Resort Cemetery, but that title seemed too cold for the warmth created by the early resorts and their owners and it would have misrepresented those resorts which have struggled, survived and flourished. I hope the uncomplicated title I selected will revive memories and celebrate a unique era. And when the last of Minnesota’s early family resorts vanish, their nearly lost history will be preserved on the pages of The Early Resorts of Minnesota.

Photos and maps:

This book has 240+ photos, as well as 240+ online photos and 30+ online maps.  To view the online photos, click here.  To view the online maps, click here.