As the weather warms up and the ice melts on the lake, it’s time to tow your boat out of storage and hit the water. And, there’s almost no better metropolitan area in the U.S. than Minneapolis/St. Paul for those that love to fish, water ski, swim or just lounge surfside. With so many options to choose from — the Twin Cities has 102 boating-approved lakes, alone — it’s tough knowing where to start.
As such, here are our recommendations for the best lakes for boating in and around the Twin Cities. Let’s take a look.
You can’t have a list of best Minneapolis lakes for boating without mentioning the massive Lake Minnetonka. Covering over 14,000 acres, this is the largest body of water in the metro area. You can find pretty much anything here, from the party destination known as “Big Island” to dock-side restaurants to miles of explorable shoreline. But, it can get quite choppy on the weekends with the many cruise ships and jet boats, so it’s not the best for a peaceful day of fishing.
White Bear Lake
Nestled north of St. Paul, White Bear Lake offers nearly 2,500 acres of boatable water and conveniently covers area in both Ramsey to Washington counties. For more than 150 years, this lake has been a top tourist destination in the Twin Cities, and continues to offer impressive scenery, fishing and beaches.
This medium-sized lake is great for a day of laid-back boating. At 900 acres, it is Hennepin County’s second largest lake behind Lake Minnetonka, giving it a more relaxed feel, but still large enough to tool around in. Also, find a number of parks along the shoreline, including French Regional Park, West Medicine Lake Park and East Medicine Lake Park, perfect for anchoring and taking a swim.
Bald Eagle Lake
This quaint, quiet lake is located in the northeastern town of Anoka. Great for fishing, you’ll find a large abundance of walleye, pike and bluegill. And, it’s considered the best muskellunge lake in the east metro. Make sure to get there early as the parking lot fills up quickly on weekends.
Phalen Chain of Lakes
With three great lakes to explore, including Phalen to the south, Gervais to the north and Keller in the middle, you’re sure to have a fun day on the water at this chain in northern St. Paul. Although mostly recreational based — you will find a lot of water skiing, wakeboarding and tubing — anglers may find some opportunity for walleye early in the morning or after traffic has cleared out around dusk.
In the southwest suburbs sits a quaint lake with a ton of party potential. Although it’s just 300 acres, that’s enough room to open up the throttle. Stretching across both Carver and Hennepin counties, you’ll find diverse fishing, scenery and friendly crowds at this small yet worthy lake. It’s also home to Bearpath Golf Course, a prestigious and exclusive country club.
This picturesque lake offers stunning views, clear water and is regularly stocked with northern pike. However, this isn’t an easily fishable lake, as limited underwater structures make it hard for novice anglers. Regardless, this is an open and beautiful lake to enjoy for the day. Find boat access in Lake Elmo Regional Park. Note, an entrance fee is required.
Are you searching for more great lakes to explore this summer?
Take a look at our round-up of the best lakes in Minnesota. And, if you’re looking for a new way to travel from lake to lake, seeing the natural wonders of our state, consider going through the pilot certification process. At Inflight Pilot Training, we give you the proper training to become privately licensed so you can fly to your favorite destinations.
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