In the land of 10,000 lakes, where do you begin to find the best? After canoeing on them, swimming in them, hiking around them, and staying near them, of course! We’ve outlined the best of the best to give you some top spots to enjoy Minnesota’s famous waterways.
12 miles north of Grand Rapids
8 miles northeast of Deer River
Deer Lake covers 4,156 acres and is roughly 5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and known as one of the clearest lakes in Minnesota. The deep, crystal clear water has visibility up to 11 feet -– talk about scenic! It is often referred to as the lake of “changing colors.” Because of its mineral-content, the color of the lake seems to turn a brilliant blue-green on bright summer day. Also if you are hiking the 26-mile Cut Foot Sioux National Recreation Area trail, it runs right through the Deer Lake campgrounds, making it a great overnight stop. Deer Lake’s amazing color, along with its many islands and miles of scenic shoreline, make Deer Lake a top lake to experience.
85 miles north of Duluth, MN
Feel like visiting an island-a-day for the next year? Head to Lake Vermilion, known as the Crown Jewel of the North, where there is something for everyone. Lake Vermilion is home to many bays, 1,200 miles of shoreline and 365 islands, some of the best fishing, champion golf, endless casino gaming, family friendly fun and you can even find romance and pure relaxation in resorts and lakeside lodges. For over 100 years, Lake Vermilion has been a popular destination spot because of the large variety of experiences it offers.
Hennepin County, MN
If fishing’s your game, then Lake Minnetonka’s the lake for you. This large metro lake, located west-southwest of St. Paul, spans over 14,000 acres and rich in history and rich in fish! It’s an angler’s dream come true. Muskie, Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, Walleye, and Yellow Perch are just some of the varieties you’re sure to reel in. Even if fishing isn’t for you, the views are breathtaking and the drive is amazing as the road winds along the lake.
Lake of the Woods
It’s a water sports-happy lake! Tucked up way up in the furthest north notch of Minnesota is one of the most Scenic lakes in the Country. Made of over 65,000 miles of shoreline and over 14,000 islands this trip is worth the ride. Visit Zippel Bay State Park and enjoy a beautiful view of the lake, or take advantage of the water activities: water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing, kayaking or canoeing on a calm day. Lake of the Woods has also been noted as having the best beaches in northern Minnesota.
Lake of the Isles
2500 Lake Isles Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55405
Canoeing in the summer, ice skating in the winter, this lake is considered the best lake in your backyard, because it’s pretty much located in a neighborhood. Though it spans 120 acres and is completely open for public use, the lake was developed to enhance the quality of life in the Minneapolis area. Lake of the Isles is the perfect location for a picnic on the water, a game of Frisbee, jogging or a walk with the pup to the off-leash dog park. Swimming is not advised, but plenty of other activities will keep you busy. And you don’t have to spend all day to get there!
Meghan Marx was born and raised in the Midwest, where outdoor activity is her second nature. Meghan is a graphic artist, college professor and web designer. Follow Meg at @designingmarx.