Best Water Activities in Minneapolis, MN: Water Recreation Guide
It's somewhat surprising that Minneapolis hasn't been renamed Water World. It's located in a state that has earned the nickname "Land of 10,000 Lakes," and the mighty Mississippi flows right through its downtown area. Minneapolis also has many creeks, rivers, wetland areas, and more than 20 lakes. It's the perfect playground for those who enjoy spending their outdoor time on the water. Here are some of the best water recreation options in Minneapolis.
Enjoy a Day at One of Minneapolis' Lakes
Lake lovers, rejoice! Minneapolis has 22 different lakes to choose from, including small fishing lakes to large bodies of water surrounded by a myriad of attractions and features. Some of the most popular include:
Cedar Lake Park
Located on Cedar Lake Parkway, this Minneapolis park is just over 288 acres. It boasts three beaches and has biking, pedestrian, and cross-country skiing trails. Anglers can fish from Cedar Lake's shore or its pier.
Lake Harriet Park
This park has two beaches, trails, a boat dock, a picnic area, and a fishing pier. Lake Harriet Park, which is 470 acres, also has a bandshell where concerts are held during the summer months and a restaurant. It also has a vendor that rents canoes, kayaks, bikes, boats, and paddleboards to visitors. The park is located at 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway.
This 405-acre park boasts two beaches, a boat dock, a fishing pier, and trails. It also has a pond hockey rink and a vendor who rents out canoes, kayaks, bikes, boats, and paddle boats. This park is located at 4955 W. Lake Nokomis Parkway.
Lake Bde Maka Ska (formerly known as Lake Calhoun)
Located at 3000 Bde Maka Ska Parkway, this 518-acre lake is the largest link in the Chain of Lakes. The park offers visitors a host of amenities, including playing fields, fishing piers, a volleyball court, a boat dock, and a service that rents canoes, kayaks, bikes, boats, and paddle boats. For those who don't want to leave the beauty of the water, there are also Minneapolis condos and homes with lake views available around this lake.
Have Fun at Jim Lupient Water Park
Jim Lupient Water Park Attractions
- Three water slides
- Log water walk
- Spray pool
- Lap lanes
- Water volleyball
Residents of Minneapolis searching for a fun and exciting way to beat the summer heat should head to Jim Lupient Water Park, one of the best places to go swimming in Minneapolis. Located in the Northeast Athlete Field Park, this water park offers three large water slides, including one tube slide. For younger children, there is a fun spray pool with interactive features. Jim Lupient Water Park also has water volleyball, lap swimming lanes, and a log water walk.
Children eight or younger must be supervised by an adult 18 years of age or older while in the water. An adult must accompany children ages 9–12 while in the facility. The park requires at least one adult for every four children 12 years old or younger entering the park.
Guests must wear appropriate swimwear in the water, and no outside food, water toys, noodles, or water wings are allowed in the park. The daily fee is $5 for guests 42 inches and taller or $3 for guests shorter than 42 inches. Non-swimming chaperones pay $3, and guests two years of age and younger are free. Season passes and group rates are also available.
Rent a Kayak at Twin Cities Kayak Rental and Tour Guide
Many people love kayaking but don't necessarily want to own one or have a place to store a small boat. Fortunately for them, there is Twin Cities Kayak Rental and Tour Guide. This service will deliver and pick up kayaks to various routes, including but not limited to the Mississippi River between River Park and Boom Island and Minnehaha Creek. The pickup service provided by Twin Cities Kayak Rental is only for the boats, so participants who rent a boat for a river trip must make arrangements to get picked up or leave a car at their endpoint. If portage is necessary to launch and exit points, participants will have to carry their own kayaks.
Other services Twin Cities Kayak Rental offers include beginner paddling lessons on Wednesdays at Lake Johanna in Arden Hills and guided tours to interesting locations all around the Twin Cities.
Reservations are required to rent a kayak, and participants must be 18 years of age or older and have a valid driver's license or state ID plus a credit card for a security deposit. Currently, the only rentals available are for single-person kayaks. Each boat comes with a paddle and a life vest. Twin Cities Kayak Rental and Tour Guide also has standup paddleboards for rent.
Twin Cities Kayak Additional Information
- Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
- Contact: (612) 708-2781
- Price: Tickets start at $49
Paddleboard with Stand Up MN
Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world. According to the New York Daily News, part of why stand-up paddleboarding is so popular is that paddleboarding is a relatively easy activity to learn. It's also a full-body workout that has a "cool" factor. In Minneapolis, potential participants don't even need to buy a board to learn how to stand-up paddle – they just need to get in touch with Stand Up MN.
Participants can choose between three different paddleboard adventures on the Mississippi River. Prices vary but can be less than $25 an hour per person for groups of three or more. The location for each tour also varies. Minneapolis paddleboard tours meet at Boom Island Park, located at 724 Sibley Street, Northeast in Minneapolis. The St. Paul tours meet at Raspberry Island, located at 1 Levee Road in St. Paul.
Stand Up MN Additional Information
- Address: Stand Up MN, 2500 Crosby Farm Road, Saint Paul, MN 55116
- Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Contact: (612) 399-6081
Fish at One of Minneapolis' Best Fishing Spots
According to Outdoors Weekly, fishing is the number one outdoor activity in Minnesota. Therefore, it's not surprising that it's also a popular pastime with Minneapolis residents. Even Minnesota's bitter winters can't keep determined anglers at home — they'll just cut a hole in the ice in search of hungry fish. Here are three popular spots for fishing in Minneapolis and some of the species of fish caught there.
This is a 54-acre lake located at 2701 E. 44th Street. Its fishing pier is at the intersection of 27th Avenue South and East 47th Street. Some of the fish species present in the lake include bluegill, crappie, northern pike, largemouth bass, and walleye.
Lake Nokomis is considered one of the best lakes for crappie fishing. Other fish that anglers can catch in this lake include bluegill, northern pike, walleye, and tiger muskie. This park, located at 4955 West Lake Nokomis Parkway, is also wheelchair accessible.
North Mississippi Regional Park
This is a great park for those who want to try their luck fishing the Mississippi River. It's located at 5116 North Mississippi Drive and has a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier. Some of the species present in the river include small-mouth bass, catfish, and carp.
In most cases, anglers 16 years of age or older must have a license to fish city parks and the Mississippi River. No license is required in most Minnesota state parks, but anglers should check Minnesota's fishing statute for more information. Before consuming fish from the lakes and rivers in Minneapolis, anglers should also consult the Minnesota Department of Health's website for water body-specific, safe-eating guidelines.
Have Fun in the Water in Minneapolis
There is something special about being near the water. Fortunately for residents of Minneapolis, the city is blessed with many beautiful lakes and rivers. Studies have also shown that living by the water can actually increase your happiness. Potential buyers searching for property in Minneapolis may want to consider looking at Minneapolis' waterfront homes.