Minnesota may not be near any ocean, but it has enough bodies of water to compete with California in terms of miles of coastline. The Ice Age carefully carved the landscape into the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and those are just the ones that are named. Minnesotans enjoy spending time lakeside during all seasons of the year and have built up vacation resorts around some of the larger and more popular lakes. Here are just a few of the most popular and fantastic bodies of water to visit.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Lake Pepin

Lake Pepin is a lake that is often just thought of as part of a river. A large body of water along the Mississippi River, Lake Pepin separates Southern Minnesota from Wisconsin. Enjoy lakeside activities on either side of Lake Pepin. Boat rentals and marinas are available to go out and spend time on this large, 40 square mile lake. Do some fishing or waterskiing while you’re there. As a matter of fact, Lake Pepin is credited with being the birthplace for waterskiing. It is also mentioned in the famous chronicles of  the Little House On the Prairie novels. Another claim to fame is the possible sightings of a midwestern Loch Ness monster in Lake Pepin.

Rainy Lake

Looking for a secluded spot to rest? Rainy Lake is the perfect body of water for a relaxing getaway. Located far up north, so far in fact, that it borders Canada, Rainy Lake offers all the outdoor activities we love without the spring breaker crowd. Adjacent to Voyageurs National Park, Rainy Lake is a great spot for the nature lover to get the best outdoor activities on and out of water. Hike, fish, boat, camp, and swim all weekend or come in the winter to enjoy ice fishing and snowmobiling. During the summer, check out Riverfest, Canada Day, and a lot of other fun events to celebrate the outdoors.

(credit: Brenda Score)

(credit: Brenda Score)

Gull Lake
(651) 296-6157

Gull Lake offers a little more action for those looking to be entertained, party, and relax all in the same vacation. One of the most popular resort destinations in Minnesota, Gull Lake is located in the Brainerd Lakes area and its coast is lined with 19 resorts and hundreds of private homes. Enjoy sports activities, resort living, and local fun along the lake. Gull Lake caters to those interested in being spoiled in a resort and enjoying fine dining along the lake. There is also a draw for those that want to hang out and drink cheap beer at one of the many local dive bars on the shore. The biggest attraction of Gull Lake is the beach scene, a great place to play by the shore and feel like you are actually oceanside.

Related:  Travel Guide To Best Lakes In Minnesota

Lake Calhoun
2707 Lake Street W
Minneapolis, MN 55416
(612) 230-6400

Lake Calhoun is an urban lake with all the amenities of a city nearby. Located in Uptown Minneapolis, Lake Calhoun is one of the most popular places to see and be seen. Joggers and bikers buzz around the lake for some fresh air and exercise while families enjoy the beach and playground scene on the shores of the Lake. Rent boats and zip through the Minneapolis chain of lakes or just relax on the beach with friends. A delicious concession, the Tin Fish, is on the lake and serves up fresh seafood and local beers during the summer. Lake Calhoun is a hot bed of activity and people watching as well.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the greatest of the Great Lakes. Being the largest and most important, Lake Superior makes a great travel destination or just a wonderful sight to see. Bordered by Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Canada, the great lake offers a wide range of fishing, boating, and shipping options. Enjoy the Minnesota North Shore and see the Split Rock Lighthouse, the Canal Park area, and the great Aerial Lift Bridge. Lake Superior is also bordered by a national forest and amazing wildlife. However, it may not be the best swimming option, the lake retains cold temperatures even in the hottest of summers.

Related: Best Parks In Minnesota

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. Her hobbies include exercising, driving kids around, watching Minnesota sports, and reading self-help literature. Examiner.com.