best minnesota lakes

One of the best parts about living in Minnesota is the lakes. The state is known for having over 10,000 lakes, which means there’s no shortage of beaches, even in the city. The ten metropolitan lakes listed below are perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing, swimming, boating, and even fishing. Whether you live in Minnetonka or Minneapolis, chances are there’s an excellent lake nearby that your kids will love visiting. Here are the ten Twin Cities metropolitan lakes we will explore in this article:


1. Lake Minnetonka

When buying or selling lakefront property in Minnesota, Lake Minnetonka comes to mind right away. Not only is it a great place to live, but the lake is perfect for spending a day near or on the water. Lake Minnetonka has become a major boater’s destination in Minnesota, seeing as the lake is one of the largest in the greater Twin Cities area. Your kids will enjoy swimming at one of the beaches or taking a boat ride to enjoy all the lake has to offer.

2. Bde Maka Ska

A proper lake within the city, Bde Maka Ska draws people to its shores daily for the great bike paths and variety of beaches. There are also playgrounds to enjoy and volleyball nets for playing games. Kids of all ages will enjoy the beach and the opportunity to paddleboard or kayak with rentals located right on the shore. Bde Maka Ska is one of the best lakes in Minnesota, thanks to its prime location in Uptown, Minneapolis. If your family gets hungry after a long day at the lake, try one of these nearby St. Louis Park burger joints for dinner.

3. Lake Harriet

Located in the heart of some of the most historic neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Lake Harriet is another beautiful Twin Cities lake to bring your family. The famous Lake Harriet bandshell hosts concerts when the weather is nice and even has a food stand that doles out popcorn, ice cream, sandwiches, and other goods all summer long. You can rent kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and pedal boats for the lake, or enjoy one of the beaches with your kids.

4. Lake Nokomis

Another attractive Twin Cities lake for families with kids is Lake Nokomis. Enjoy the fantastic bike trails that wind around the lake and the nearby Minnehaha Creek, or stop to enjoy the beach and the great rentals just like Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska offer. Your kids will love the proximity of the playgrounds to the beach, and since there’s also a concession stand at the main beach, you won’t ever have to leave. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

5. Lake Josephine

Arden Hills, a first-ring suburb near Roseville, is home to Lake Josephine. If your family is looking for a quieter beach to spend the day at, then Lake Josephine is the perfect one. There are restroom facilities, picnic tables, a playground, and a beautiful beach to enjoy. It’s one of the best metropolitan lakes for kids, that’s for sure. If you get thirsty after a long day spent playing in the water, try one of these Twin Cities breweries or make a trip across the street to the conveniently located Dairy Queen for some ice cream.

6. Prior Lake

Like Lake Minnetonka, Prior Lake is located a little further outside of the Twin Cities but is still considered a metropolitan area lake. It is 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis and is a great lake for boating and fishing. People who live in the nearby suburbs love to enjoy all that Prior Lake offers when they want to take their kids to the lake. Your family can take advantage of the pristine beaches, sand volleyball courts, and other amenities provided at Prior Lake.

7. Lake of the Isles

Heading back into the city of Minneapolis, Lake of the Isles is another great metropolitan lake located in Uptown. It connects to Bde Maka Ska, so if you rent a paddleboard or kayak from there, you can make your way over to this lake. Lake of the Isles is known for its islands and long, curved shape. Like the other Twin Cities lakes, there are excellent bike and running trails that surround it. Your kids will enjoy biking around the lakeside paths and stopping for a break on the shores of Lake of the Isles. Come winter time, the lake turns into one of the best places to skate in Minnesota.

8. Schulze Lake

Another perfect lake to bring the kids to is Schulze Lake at Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Much like the other metropolitan lakes listed, Schulze offers a variety of amenities in addition to their beautiful beach. Those who love nature will find this lake to be in the perfect setting, surrounded by hiking trails and available to explore by canoe, too. Everything you’d want to rent is available right at the beach, which offers plenty of space to make a camp on the sand or grass.

9. Cedar Lake

With three sandy beaches and easy bike access, Cedar Lake should definitely be included in this list of family-friendly Twin Cities lakes. This beach offers updated restrooms, a foot wash, and bike racks, and is surrounded by parkland on the west side, making it a quieter option than some of the other city beaches. Your kids can enjoy playing in the water and on the beach at this metropolitan lake.

10. Lake Hiawatha

Lake Hiawatha is truly a neighborhood lake, surrounded by a golf course, ball fields, and playgrounds in Minneapolis, just north of Lake Nokomis. If your family is interested in playing in the field and at the beach, Hiawatha is the perfect destination. The kids will enjoy all of the open space in addition to the beautiful lake.

beaches for kids minneapolis

Enjoying Twin Cities Lakes With Your Family

There is nothing better than spending a day at the lake in Minnesota, especially after the long winter. With so many amenities and activities, it’s no wonder families flock to these metropolitan lakes whenever the weather is nice. Whether you live in the cities or the suburbs, there are so many great lakes to enjoy with your kids. From paddleboarding and swimming to boating and canoeing, you will be able to find something fun for everyone in your family this summer.

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