While not exactly a hidden gem anymore, the crystal clear waters of Lake Miltona offer a welcome respite for anglers and pleasure cruisers alike, with more than 5,800 acres of surface area and 15 miles of shoreline to explore just north of Alexandria. The fishing is spectacular year-round, and three resorts right on the lake offer a multitude of lodging options to help unlock everything from safe, sandy shores to mid-lake reefs and the joys of its 150-foot watery depths. For a picturesque destination not too far from home, Lake Miltona is a must.

Getting There

A drive northwest on Interstate 94 will put you near Alexandria, with a short drive north on MN-29 dropping you off at Lake Miltona – all told, about two and a half hours from most spots in the Twin Cities. You’ll pass quite a few other scenic lakes along the way — this is the self-proclaimed land of 10,000 lakes after all — but keep your eye on the prize. Lake Miltona is worth the drive.

Photo Credit: vacationminnesota.com

Woodland Resort
13270 E. Lake Miltona Dr. Northeast
Miltona, MN 56354
(877) 669-6637
Price: from $195 per night

One of the few resorts in the area open year-round, Woodland sits on the southeastern corner of Lake Miltona, and offers eight cabins and vacation homes to help set the tone for your trip. Well known for its excellent facilities and friendly staff, it’s a great jumping off point for chasing walleyes in May or muskie throughout the fall. Vacation homes 4, 6 and 7 are open in the winter as well, allowing visitors to have a warm, cozy home base for their next snowmobiling or ice fishing adventure. Be sure to contact the resort for special two-person deals, and check out its website or follow it on Facebook for the latest fishing reports.

Photo Credit: tiptopcove.com

Tip Top Cove Resort
13430 E. Lake Miltona Dr. Northeast
Miltona, MN 56354
(218) 943-2731

Price: from $165 per night

Offering boat rentals and a partnership with H & H Guide Service, Tip Top Cove Resort promises excellent fishing potential while billing itself as a truly family friendly resort. An on-site game room and beautiful sandy beach offer plenty of ways to keep the kids busy — including a water trampoline at the beach — and fish-cleaning facilities and free fishing services help round out the fishing opportunities. Rent one of its boats, or bring your own — boat lifts are available for rent. Each cottage offers air conditioning and a full spectrum of amenities, just bring clothes, your towels and a camera to capture the memories.

Photo Credit: vikingbay.com/Facebook

Viking Bay Resort & Lodge
12844 E. Lake Miltona Dr. Northeast
Miltona, MN 56354
(218) 943-2104

Price: from $212 per night for a cottage, from $120 per night for a suite in the lodge (all rates based on double occupancy)

Whether your idea of a good vacation is putting your family into a cottage on the water, recreating the hotel experience in a scenic setting with a room in the lodge, or being tucked away from the water in a more private setting, Viking Bay has you covered. Featuring an on-site gift and tackle shop offering everything from VBR signature clothing to that bug spray you left behind, as well as a multitude of fishing tackle options to help you land the big one, this is your one-stop shop for a memorable vacation. A roped-off swimming area helps visitors cool off, while the multitude of fishing options just outside of the rope promise plenty of reasons to spend your day out on the lake.

Photo Credit: carloscreekwinery.com/Facebook

Carlos Creek Winery
6693 County Road 34 Northwest
Alexandria, MN 56308
(320) 846-5443

Founded and opened to the public in the late 1990s, Carlos Creek Winery boasts acres and acres of grape vines and apple trees, turning out award-winning wines that make the drive out here worth the trip. Tours of the facility are open to the public, and available daily at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., with an extra tour at 5 p.m. on Saturdays, but call for groups of 20 or more. A reception hall on the grounds offers a picturesque location to host events, and its summer schedule is full of great events and live music to give you one more reason to visit. Try its gold-medal winning apple wine, especially if you are a big fan of Minnesota’s own honeycrisp apple.

Related: Travel Guide To The Best Lakes In Minnesota


Doolittles Woodfire Grill
4409 Highway 29 South
Alexandria, MN 56308
(320) 759-0885

Well known to Twin Cities patrons with locations in Eagan and Apple Valley, Doolittles Woodfire Grill also offers its signature rotisserie chicken slow cooked over an open wood fire right in the heart of Alexandria. With a menu featuring local fare, including its take on walleye and salmon entrees as well as exotic options including Australian sea bass, even its lesser known shrimp pad thai and five-cheese tortellini promise a perfect meal. Dine here every meal and never get tired of this varied, delicious menu.

Photo Credit: arrowwoodresort.com/Facebook

Arrowwood Resort by Clubhouse
2100 Arrowwood Lane
Alexandria, MN 56308
(320) 762-1124

Price: from $149 per night

If you are looking for a little bit of everything in one location, then the nearby Arrowwood Resort offers just that – a tropical-themed indoor water park, 18 holes of championship-caliber golf, an 18-hole executive putting course, two lighted sand volleyball courts, basketball courts, and indoor and outdoor tennis courts. Located on the shores of Lake Darling, you are just a few short minutes away from the Lake Miltona area with easy access to family friendly activities and world-class fishing. Even if you don’t decide to stay at Arrowwood, it offers excellent dining opportunities, including the Lake Cafe with wonderful scenic views of Lake Darling, and Rafter’s, its take on an evening snacks and cocktails menu with a modern twist on the up north motif.

Related: Waconia Set for Governor’s Fishing Opener

Rich Rein, previously featured in magazines like Midwest Outdoors and Outdoors Weekly as well as a contributor to MyBuckStory.com and covering the Minneapolis fishing scene for Examiner.com, is a Minnesota transplant doing his best to enjoy the state’s multitude of fishing opportunities while holding down a career as a software developer by day and a firefighter/EMT by night. His work can be found at Examiner.com.