15 Best Lakes to Live on in Minnesota: Lakefront Living at its Finest

Best Lakes in MinneapolisMinnesota is renowned for its beautiful lakefronts and stunning scenery. Whether you're looking to relax in a quiet setting or enjoy an active lifestyle, the state has something to offer to everyone who loves lakeside living. From the best lakes near Minneapolis and throughout the Twin Cities area to Duluth, plenty of amazing lakes provide various recreational activities and breathtaking views. By exploring some of the best lakes in Minnesota that can make your dream home come true, you'll be one step closer to living the lake life.

Best Lakes in the Twin Cities Area

The best lakes in the Twin Cities region offer great views of downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul and various recreational activities, from winter ice skating to summer sailing.

Powderhorn Lake

At Powderhorn Lake, you'll find a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located in the Powderhorn community in Minneapolis, Powderhorn Lake spans 11 acres and is ideal for fishing enthusiasts. As you explore the shoreline, you'll enjoy a restored area that serves as an essential wildlife habitat. You can also enjoy a pleasant stroll on the paved trail following the water's edge. With all it has to offer, Powderhorn Lake is one of Minnesota's best lakes for homebuyers looking to live near tranquil waters and stunning natural surroundings. Nearby homes for sale in Powderhorn typically list from the $200s to the $600s.

Lake Harriet

Picturesque coastal areas, diverse fish species, and thrilling fishing experiences are all found within the 341 acres of Lake Harriet. The Lake Harriet areacomprises several neighborhoods, including East Harriet, Fulton, the Lynnhurst community, and more. The lake features a stunning 85-acre coastal area and a shoreline that spans 2.7 miles, perfect for long strolls. Its depths offer an intriguing opportunity for exploration, with a mean depth of 29 feet and a maximum depth of 87 feet. Fishing enthusiasts will delight in the diverse fish species in its waters, including black bullhead, brown bullhead, black crappie, and bluegill. With so much to explore from the comfort of your backyard, it's no wonder many homebuyers are choosing Lake Harriet as their ideal place to live! Homes in East Harriet typically list from $300,000 to $2 million, while homes in Fulton typically top out around $1.3 million.

Lake of the Isles

Visit Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, MN Lake of the Isles boasts 89 acres of coastal land and 3.39 miles of shoreline, with one of Minnesota's most diverse fish populations, all in the Calhoun Isles neighborhood in Minneapolis. This lake is a paradise for fishermen and nature lovers alike, with a maximum depth of 31 feet and abundant species, including black bullhead, black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, largemouth bass, northern pike, sunfish, muskellunge, and much more. Here are some highlights of this beautiful lake:
  • The scenic views from anywhere around the lake make it ideal for great summer days spent relaxing or fishing
  • It's home to many fish species that can be caught year-round
Lake of the Isles is the perfect destination for those looking to escape city life without leaving the Twin Cities area. The lakeside and lake-adjacent homes in Calhoun Isles list from the $200s to $4 million.

Lake Nokomis

Discover a paradise of aquatic beauty and adventure at Lake Nokomis—located in the Nokomis residential area—an oasis of calm where you can cast your line and explore its depths. Spanning 201 acres, the lake offers plenty of space to roam and observe the diverse wildlife that inhabits its waters. Lake Nokomis offers something for everyone looking for outdoor recreation in Minnesota, from fishing to strolls along the shoreline or observing local wildlife in their natural habitat. Homes for sale in Nokomis near the lake range from the $300s to more than $1 million.

Other Great Lakes in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis has many more incredible lakes, such as Cedar Lake and Harriet Lake. Cedar Lake is the fourth largest lake in Minneapolis, and its beaches are popular amongst locals and tourists. It boasts a variety of activities, from fishing to swimming and paddleboarding. Harriet Lake offers stunning views with its rolling hills and crystal clear waters, making it one of Minnesota's most picturesque lakes. Boaters can enjoy motorized boats here, while paddlers can take their time exploring every inch of it.

Best Lakes Near Duluth

Duluth, Minnesota, is home to some of the best lakes in the state for lake living, including Lake Superior, Island Lake, Fish Lake Reservoir, and more. Whether you're a current resident, thinking of moving to Duluth, or planning on purchasing a lakefront vacation home there, these lakes will offer a starting point for exploration.

Lake Superior

Visit Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, MN You can enjoy many activities while taking in the breathtaking scenery of Lake Superior, from thrilling water sports to laid-back beach days. Adventurers can immerse themselves in swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, and even surfing. Those seeking relaxation can find solace in the sandy stretches of nearby campgrounds, beaches, and swimming areas. Exploring the scenic wonders along the lake's shoreline offers a captivating drive with historic lighthouses and picturesque waterfalls. Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted that Lake Superior provides year-round fishing opportunities for over 80 species, including trout, salmon, and walleye. For an unforgettable experience, make sure to visit Duluth's iconic Aerial Lift Bridge and take a boat tour around this majestic lake. One of the best parts of living near Canal Park and the Aerial Lift Bridge is the tremendous Lake Superior views. With an average depth of 483 feet and certain areas plunging as deep as 1,332 feet (approximately a quarter-mile down), Lake Superior truly offers a fantastic mix of natural beauty and recreational possibilities that are hard to beat! Homes for sale in Duluth near Lake Superior range between $200,000 and $1.5 million.

Island Lake

Island Lake Reservoir boasts 8,001 acres of tranquil waters and is renowned for its incredible fishing, stocking over 80 species. It offers a range of recreational activities for all to enjoy, including:
  • Hiking and biking trails to explore the surrounding wilderness
  • Camping spots close to remote landscapes
  • Abundant wildlife, such as moose, black bears, and wolves
  • Boating, canoeing, and kayaking
  • Swimming, with a maximum depth of 94 feet
  • A plethora of water sports
  • Resorts for an unforgettable retreat in nature's embrace
  • Unparalleled outdoor experience in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
The area around Island Lake Reservoir is celebrated for its stunning views and remarkable recreational opportunities. Its picturesque beauty captivates those seeking solace in nature's beauty, making it one of Minnesota's best lakes to live near. Homes for sale near here are typically between $400,000 and $800,000.

Fish Lake Reservoir

Spread across 5,120 acres of tranquil waters near Duluth, Fish Lake Reservoir beckons fishing, camping, and boating enthusiasts looking to immerse themselves in nature's beauty. The reservoir boasts a maximum depth of 36 feet, providing an ideal habitat for diverse fish species. With 28 miles of mainland shoreline, the reservoir offers ample space for camping enthusiasts to enjoy the great outdoors or stay at one of two privately operated resorts. Boating access is readily available through various public and private access points. Homebuyers seeking adventure will find Fish Lake Reservoir near Duluth, an enticing destination for its wealth of recreational opportunities. Home to some of the best places to camp near Duluth, real estate here is typically between $200,000 and $300,000.

Boulder Lake Reservoir

Situated 20 miles north of downtown Duluth, Boulder Lake offers many outdoor activities, from fishing and boating to camping and hiking. Spanning 4,480 acres with a maximum depth of 18 feet, the lake is abundant in game fish species. Alongside its 22 miles of mainland shoreline are 22 primitive campsites maintained by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Boating enthusiasts have access to both public and private boat launch sites. Hikers can explore Boulder Lake's unique terrain through backcountry skiing, mountain biking, or camping at Silver Fox Resort. The Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center is an educational hub for visitors looking to learn more about the area's biodiversity or partake in guided tours and events. With its stunning natural landscape and diverse recreational activities, Boulder Lake is an idyllic destination for nature lovers seeking an escape from city life. Homes nearby typically sell for between $300,000 and $800,000.

Best Lakes in Minnesota for Fishing

Fishing is an essential pastime for many people seeking waterfront property. Here are some of the best choices when it comes to great fishing spots.

Red Lake

Visit Red Lake near Red Lake Reservation, MN Experience the immense beauty of Red Lake and its incredible fishing opportunities. This majestic lake is divided by a peninsula, split into Upper and Lower Red Lake, with the latter entirely within the Red Lake Reservation. Anglers enjoy pursuing a variety of species at this popular destination, such as walleye, northern pike, and muskie. The maximum depth of 35 feet provides excellent habitat for these species and other wildlife that inhabit this 444 square mile lake. A dam at the outflow regulates its depth and keeps it full year-round. With its natural grandeur and cultural significance, Red Lake is a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts to have a memorable fishing experience. Real estate prices typically range between $300,000 and $400,000.

Cut Foot Sioux Lake

Cut Foot Sioux Lake, located in Itasca County, offers world-class fishing in crystal-clear waters. Spanning 2,768 acres, the lake is connected to Lake Winnibigoshish at its southwest side and has an average water clarity of 9 feet. The numerous bays offer shelter from the wind and are excellent fish habitats. Anglers are drawn to this lake for its renowned walleye population, jumbo perch, crappie, and more. The jumbo perch are active all year round, giving consistent fishing opportunities and making it a favored destination for anglers seeking a memorable experience. With spectacular scenery and abundant fish populations, Cut Foot Sioux Lake is the perfect place to make memories with family or friends while enjoying nature's beauty. Homes for sale in Itasca County near the lake typically list between $200,000 and $450,000.

Snelling Lake

Equidistant from downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, anglers can cast a line at the peaceful Snelling Lake. There are also miles of biking trails that provide breathtaking views while allowing visitors to explore the beauty of nature. If you're looking for more fun in the sun, head to Fort Snelling State Park nearby for a picnic and swimming session at their designated beach. However, remember that you need an annual or daily vehicle pass to enter the park. Whether you're looking for an outdoor adventure or simply want to admire picturesque scenery and enjoy some peace and quiet, Snelling Lake has something for everyone! Homes for sale in Mendota Heights, which are among the closest to Snelling Lake, typically sell from the $200s to $800,000. Mendota Heights' luxury homes, however, can list for more than $3 million.

Lake Vermilion

Leaving the pristine shores of Snelling Lake, one may embark on a journey northward to discover the mysterious beauty of Lake Vermilion. Located in northern Saint Louis County and surrounded by the Superior National Forest, this breathtaking lake is home to 365 islands, making it an ideal destination for island-hopping excursions. Spanning 40,557 acres with a maximum depth of 76 feet, it also boasts 290 miles of shoreline. During summer, its waters are carefully marked with numbered buoys and channel markers for safe navigation as boaters explore its majestic depths. In winter, snowmobile trails meander across its frozen surface as ice fishing enthusiasts take advantage of its icy depths until March, when all ice houses must be removed from the lake. With plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained year-round alongside stunning views and serenity that can only be found in nature's embrace, Lake Vermilion provides an idyllic escape for homebuyers seeking a peaceful refuge away from city life. Homes often sell for between $200,000 and $2 million.

Best Lakes in Minnesota for Swimming

Swimming is a fun activity for everyone, and it's a great way to spend a hot summer day. Here are some Minnesota lakes known for being great places to swim.

Quarry Park and Nature Preserve

Visit Quarry Park Nature Reserve Near St. Cloud, MN Quarry Park Nature Preserve is a nature-lovers paradise in Stearns County with majestic woodlands, expansive prairies, and stunning quarries. The 683-acre park offers two designated quarries for swimming: Quarry #2, with high rock formations and a depth of 116 feet, and Quarry #11, which features a sandy beach with a depth of 40 feet. People looking to explore the outdoors will find plenty of activities here, too, as the preserve showcases diverse natural features such as wetlands and unquarried bedrock areas. Additionally, visitors can enjoy over 20 granite quarries encircled by remnants of quarried rock alongside informative exhibits about the industry. With so much to offer in one place, it's no wonder that people from all around flock to Quarry Park Nature Preserve for their outdoor adventures! Homes for sale in Stearns County near the Preserve list from $200,000 to more than $2 million.

Square Lake

Located less than 10 miles north of the city of Stillwater, Square Lake—one of the best lakes near Saint Paul—boasts an impressive 116-foot depth and is renowned for its exceptional water quality, making it a great spot for scuba divers! A public boat launch is available at Square Lake Regional Park with no access fee, and the lake offers a no-wake zone restriction on water use. Shore fishing is limited to the county park shoreline, where a fishing pier is available. Homes typically range between $450,000 and $1.5 million.

Pokegama Lake

Pokegama Lake is an idyllic spot to enjoy various outdoor activities, from swimming and picnicking to fishing and exploring the trails. Tioga Beach is a public sandy beach situated on the shores of Pokegama Lake, perfect for those looking for a day trip or weekend getaway. The lake has two pavilions for rental or first-come, first-served use, playgrounds, grills, bathrooms, and water and electric hookups. Additionally, visitors can take advantage of the nearby boat access point, which provides further recreational opportunities. Visitors are invited to revel in the natural beauty of this picturesque lake while engaging in various activities that cater to their interests. Pine County homes for sale near Pokegama Lake typically range between $250,000 and $900,000.

Other Great Lakes in Minnesota for Swimming

From the sandy shores of Pokegama Lake to the crystal-clear depths of Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota's lakes are like diamonds in the rough, providing countless opportunities for swimming and recreation. To the east lies another gem, primarily located in Mille Lacs County: Mille Lacs Lake. Spanning over 132,000 acres, this large lake is home to some of the best fishing in Minnesota, and its beauty makes it an ideal spot for swimming. With its panoramic views and tranquil waters, it's easy to see why people flock here year after year to escape from their hectic lives. From paddleboarding and kayaking to swimming or just lounging on a beach towel, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this magnificent lake!

Land of More Than 10,000 Lakes

Minnesota offers diverse lakeside living options to cater to everyone's preferences. Whether you prefer the vibrant urban atmosphere and things to do in Minneapolis and Saint Paul or the serene tranquility of Duluth and beyond, there is a lake in Minnesota for you. Boasting over 10,000 lakes, more than any other state in the US, Minnesota stands out as an exceptional choice for lakefront property. With its abundant wildlife and wide range of recreational activities like fishing and swimming, Minnesota provides an ideal destination to fully embrace the joys of lakeside living. If you are seeking the finest lake living experience, Minnesota is the ultimate destination to consider. #hw-pillar-formatting# #hw-pillar-cta-bottom-minnesota#

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