15 Best Lakes in Minnesota

Known as the “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes,” it should come as no surprise that Minnesota’s numerous lakes are one of its main features. In fact, there are a whopping 11,842 lakes in the state, in addition to 6,500 natural rivers.

With so many lakes in Minnesota, the options are endless. Plus, it’s hard to know which ones really stand out. Here is a list of the 15 best lakes in Minnesota:

1. Minneapolis Islands Lake

This city lake is the quietest and most beautiful of all the lakes in Minneapolis. Small Island Lake is surrounded by a trail that is great for walking and biking.

There is also a road that loops around the lake, offering a scenic drive. Those who visit in winter can enjoy ice skating on the lake.

At the center of the lake are two wooded islands, a protected wildlife sanctuary that can only be admired from a distance. The west side of the lake is home to some magnificent stately houses.

2. Vermilion Lake, St. Louis County

Vermilion Lake

This freshwater lake is located in northeastern Minnesota. It is the fifth largest lake in the state and covers more than 15,000 hectares.

Vermilion Lake attracts tourists not only from the state, but from the rest of the country and beyond. This is because it is known for its fantastic fishing, especially muskfish and walleye.

In the 1940s, the National Geographic Society named Vermilion Lake one of the most scenic lakes in the country. It’s not hard to see why, especially at sunrise.

3. Lake Harriet, Minneapolis

Nestling in the southwest of the city means Harriet Lake is often used for special events. The lake is also a popular recreational facility.

There are walking and biking trails around the lake, and many people also use the lake for sailing. Harriet Lake’s two beaches make it especially popular on hot summer weekends.

The Band Shell is located on the north side of the lake and offers live entertainment and snacks. There is also a gazebo, perfect for basking in the sun and admiring the beautiful water.

4. Lake Pepin, Goodhue and Wabasha Counties

This naturally occurring lake is the largest part of the Mississippi River. Lake Pepin is shared with neighboring Wisconsin, but Minnesota is more developed.

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There are three piers on the Minnesota side of the lake. The only working lighthouse along the Mississippi River is at the entrance to one of the piers (Lake City Pier).

The Turnak National Park sits on the edge of the lake and offers bird watching, camping and hiking. Fishing in Lake Pepin pretty good, big eyes, crappie, and pike, catfish and bluegill are present here easily caught.

5. Calhoun Lake, Minneapolis

The largest lake in Minneapolis is part of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Calhoun Lake is a lovely park surrounded by parkland and surrounded by biking and walking trials.

The 163-hectare urban lake has three beaches, all of which offer swimming. Other leisure activities to enjoy on the lake include windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaking.

The surrounding Calhoun Lake Park features picnic areas, volleyball nets and sports fields. It is also home to the famous Calhoun Lake Sailing School.

6. Mille Lacs Lake, Mille Lacs, Aitkin and Crow Wing counties

Meaning “Land of a Thousand Lakes” in France, Lake Mira sits 160 kilometers north of Minneapolis-Saint Covenant. Paul metropolitan area. It is the second largest lake in the state, although shallow, with a maximum depth of only 13 meters.

Mille Lacs Lake is home to the Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of two small islands. The sanctuary is home to numerous birds, including the threatened common tern.

The lake is a popular summer destination to enjoy kayaking, canoeing, water skiing and swimming. It is also a top fishing spot for many species of fish, including walleye, barracuda, pike, burdock and giant bass, among others.

7. Lake Superior, St. Louis County

The westernmost point of this great lake is in Minnesota. This part of the magnificent lake is considered to be the north shore and is famous for its rocky cliffs, wooded hills and pebble beaches.

There are many attractions along the lakeshore, including the spectacular North Shore Scenic Area. Located on the Canadian border, the Superior National Forest is a popular spot for camping.

During the warmer months, you can kayak, canoe and fish on Lake Superior. Visit in winter for ice fishing or ice skating on the lake.

8. Rainy Lake, Koochiching County

Rain Lake is part of Voyager National Park in northern Minnesota. In fact, the lake is shared with the neighboring Canadian province of Ontario, although the national park is only within the United States.

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The Great Freshwater Lake is best known for its wonderful recreational fishing, as it is home to pike, perch, walleye, pike and perch. To accommodate this, there are many fishing lodges, fishing resorts and boats in campgrounds.

Visit Lake Rainey in winter and experience ice fishing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. There are also designated snowmobile trails.

9. Gull Lake, Cass and Crowwing Counties

This huge lake covers over 4,000 hectares and has a fairly developed coastline. Still, it’s a very popular lake, dotted with many cabins, resorts, and residences.

Seagull Lake is 24 kilometers long, 3 kilometers wide, and has a maximum depth of 24 meters. It is home to around 35 species of aquatic life, so fish are abundant.

Popular activities to enjoy on the lake include water skiing, rafting, boating, boat boarding and of course fishing. Those who prefer to stay dry can play a round of golf, tennis, horseback riding or mountain biking.

10. Cass County Leech Lake

Leech Lake is located in north central Minnesota and is completely surrounded by Chippewa National Forest. It is the third largest lake in the state and serves as the county’s reservoir.

Leech Lake has 11 distinct islands and a coastline made up of numerous bays. This makes it a prime fishing destination, especially for walleye and bass.

Swimming, water skiing and kayaking are popular summer activities, while biking, hiking and horseback riding can be enjoyed along its surrounding trails. There are also over 600 kilometers of snowmobile trails for winter visitors.

11. Itasca Lake, Clearwater County

itasca lake

This small glacial lake is located on the edge of Itasca State Park, about 450 meters above sea level. It’s not a deep lake, with a maximum depth of about 11 meters, but it’s a great place for fishing.

Lake Itasca has northern pike, walleye, panfish, and bass, and the park itself is a great place for bird watching. In winter, the lake is the perfect spot for ice fishing.

Other activities to enjoy on Lake Itasca include canoeing, kayaking and boating. Those who want to enjoy the park’s natural beauty can hike, bike or horseback along the trails.

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12. Lake Bemidji, Beltrami County

Lake Bemidji is another glacial lake in Minnesota. The lake is located in Lake Bemidji State Park in the northern part of the state.

Lake Bemidji is a popular recreational destination offering boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. There’s even a northern shoreline beach along the lake with picnic tables, barbecues, a volleyball court and public toilets.

There is an extensive network of trails around the lake, some of which are designated bike paths. In winter, the trails are suitable for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

13. Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

Another urban lake, Lake Nokomis, is located south of the city, close to the airport. The oval lake has a total area of ​​83 hectares and its coastline is surrounded by vegetation.

There are two sandy beaches along the lake where visitors can swim in the hot weather. One of the beaches features concession stands, walking trails and restaurants, while the other beach is deserted.

In winter, the frozen lake becomes a public ice rink. In fact, this is the home of the US Pond Hockey Championships.

14. Burnside Lake, St. Louis County

burnside lake

There are more than 100 islands in Burntside Lake, most of which are inhabited. There are two resorts and a summer camp on the shores of the 2,889-hectare lake.

The western boundary of the lake is part of the magnificent Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This area of ​​the lake is also great for fishing, although fish can be caught anywhere on the lake.

Kinsano, lake char, bluegill, rainbow smelt, walleye and smallmouth bass are just some of the fish that inhabit the lake.

15. St. Paul’s Lake Fallon

Fallon Lake

This urban lake is located in Maple, a suburb of St. Paul, just northeast of downtown. Surrounded by a 200-hectare park, the lake attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year.

Lake Fallon is a popular fishing spot, with common fish including walleye, tabby and northern pike. Sailing and boating are also popular activities on the lake.

The lake is the only place in the city where you can swim. There is also an 18-hole golf course and a beautiful Chinese garden along the five-kilometer coastline of the lake.

Harriet Lake, Minneapolis

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