Welcome to Lake Minnetonka

Nestled 16 miles southwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lake Minnetonka is a picturesque destination for a relaxing getaway. With its scenic landscapes, lush greenery, and diverse wildlife, this beautiful lake offers a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

As you explore the region, you’ll find more to Lake Minnetonka than meets the eye. This location has been a haven for generations with a rich cultural history dating back to the Dakota people. With 23 named bays and areas, the lake provides exceptional opportunities for various outdoor sports, from fishing and boating to hiking and bird-watching.

In the vicinity of Lake Minnetonka, you’ll also discover numerous amenities, attractions, and local businesses that cater to any taste. Throughout the 13 municipalities that surround the lake, you’ll find ample opportunities for shopping, dining, and accommodations. No matter how you spend your time, Lake Minnetonka will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression with its natural beauty and vibrant, welcoming communities.


Best time to visit

Top 3 Facts about Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota


Historic Resorts and Travel

In the post-Civil War era, Lake Minnetonka was a prestigious destination, home to grand hotels like the Hotel Lafayette and Hotel St. Louis, which attracted visitors from the South seeking respite from the heat.


A Rich Tapestry of History

Lake Minnetonka has a deep historical significance, once serving as a critical center for trade and transport. Its waters were essential for interactions between Native American tribes and European settlers and played a pivotal role in the region’s cultural and economic development.


The Great Minnetonka Loop Trail

For nature enthusiasts, the Great Minnetonka Loop Trail offers a splendid 15-mile journey around the lake. This trail is a paradise for hikers and bikers, providing breathtaking views of Lake Minnetonka’s diverse landscape and serene beauty.


Must-See Attractions

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Back Channel Brewing


Relax on the shores of Lake Minnetonka and savor some of Minnesota’s finest small-batch craft beers, including expertly crafted Lagers, IPAs, and Imperial Stouts. The brewery boasts a welcoming atmosphere with a spacious outdoor area overlooking the lake, dog-friendly vibes, and a rotating selection of food trucks.

Walker Art Center

Contemporary Art

Treat your inner art lover to a trip to the Walker Art Center, which offers a diverse range of visual arts exhibitions, performances, and film screenings. Its outdoor platform provides stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline, and the adjoining sculpture garden, open for leisurely strolls, is also a favorite amongst visitors.

Big Island

Natural Landscape

For a serene and natural getaway, Big Island on Lake Minnetonka offers the perfect escape with its sandy shores and rich ecosystems. This idyllic spot is a haven for nature lovers, inviting you to explore its lush forests and observe a variety of wildlife, from birds flitting among the trees to eagles soaring high above, all set against the backdrop of the lake’s tranquil beauty.

Annual Events and Festivals

June 8 & 9, 2024

Excelsior Art on the Lake

Immerse yourself in artistic splendor at the Excelsior Art on the Lake festival, a gathering of over 120 talented artists in the charming lakeside village of Excelsior. This event, free to the public, features a fusion of art, live music, and regional cuisine, creating a vibrant atmosphere where art lovers can explore unique shops and galleries, and indulge in unique culinary delights.

September 20 – 22, 2024

Excelsior Apple Day

Excelsior Apple Day is a festive celebration of the area’s rich apple heritage, offering a family-friendly atmosphere filled with apple-themed games, foods, and music. Since 1935, this beloved event has been a highlight of the lakeside calendar, featuring craft booths, a kid’s corner, food vendors, history tours, apple pie contests, live entertainment, and a bustling beer and wine garden, all culminating in a classic street dance.

July 4, 2024

4th of July Celebrations

Celebrate the 4th of July in style with a day full of festivities and a spectacular fireworks display on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. The day includes the Firecracker Fun Run, a kids’ parade, a sand sculpture contest, a popsicle social, and free concerts leading up to the grand fireworks finale, making it a cherished tradition for over 135 years.

Top Hiking Trails

Minnehaha Creek Trail

4801 S Minnehaha Dr, Minneapolis, MN

Discover the beauty of Minnehaha Falls and the surrounding gardens on the Minnehaha Creek Trail, where a short hike from the parking lot leads you to the stunning 53-foot waterfall. This 2.1-mile moderate trail, adorned with picturesque gardens, winds alongside the creek and passes historical landmarks like the Longfellow House and John H. Stevens House, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue.

St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail

704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN

Embark on a scenic journey through Minneapolis’s history on the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, a 3.2-mile easy hike that begins behind the Mill City Museum. Cross the pedestrian-only Stone Arch Bridge, wander through Father Hennepin State Park, and take in breathtaking views of St. Anthony Falls and the Mississippi River, with optional detours to explore historic Main Street and the venerable Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

Pike Island Hiking Trail

200 Tower Ave, St Paul, MN

The Pike Island Hiking Trail at Fort Snelling State Park offers a unique experience where the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers converge, creating a scenic confluence. This easy 3.7-mile loop trail meanders along sandy beaches and through lush woodlands, offering peaceful walks and opportunities to enjoy the area’s vibrant wildflowers and diverse ecosystems.

Best Golf Courses

Glen Lake Golf Course

14350 County Rd 62, Minnetonka, MN

Glen Lake Golf provides a fantastic opportunity for both practice and leisure play, featuring a nine-hole course that caters to golfers of all skill levels. Its layout, complete with sand and grass bunkers, subtle mounding, strategic water hazards, and dramatic elevation changes, makes for a moderately challenging and enjoyable round, perfect for a casual day on the greens.

Brent Creek Golf Club

14490 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie, MN

Bent Creek Golf Club, set on 106 acres of rolling, wooded terrain, offers a picturesque and challenging 18-hole course that appeals to golfers of every age and skill level. With its mix of tight and open fairways, sloped greens, well-packed bunkers, and natural and artificial water hazards, the course is as beautiful as it is demanding.

Deer Run Golf Course

8661 Deer Run Dr, Victoria, MN

Deer Run Golf Club stands out as a public golf club that carries the charm and elegance of a private club but with a more relaxed atmosphere. The course is renowned for its pristine conditions and arboretum-like landscaping, offering a delightful and engaging play experience that winds through scenic terrain. Adding to its allure is the charming clubhouse, housed in a former farmhouse, featuring an Irish Pub and an award-winning Golf Shop.

Water Sports

Wai Nani Surf Paddle & Pedal

Water Sport Rentals

If you’re looking to dive into the world of stand-up paddleboarding or want to try your hand at eFoil Surfing, then you’ll love what Wai Nani Surf, Paddle & Pedal offers. This popular spot also rents out kayaks, bikes, and e-bikes, and even hosts paddleboard yoga sessions. It’s a fantastic choice for both beginners and advanced outdoor enthusiasts looking for a fun way to enjoy Lake Minnetonka’s beautiful scenery.

Bay Rentals, Inc.

Water Sport Rentals

For a thrilling day on Lake Minnetonka, Bay Rentals, Inc. has you covered with their jet ski rentals. They also offer paddle boards and kayaks if you’re in the mood for something more laid-back. Their unique beachfront location, complete with a park and picnic area, makes them an ideal pick for a family day out or a fun gathering with friends.

Howard’s Point Marina

Boat Rentals

Planning a fishing trip or a leisurely day cruising around Lake Minnetonka? Howard’s Point Marina offers a variety of boats, including pontoons and tritoons, perfect for groups of all sizes. They’ve been a staple on the lake for nearly a century, known for their quick, friendly service and a wide range of rental options, making your boating experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible.

Winter Activities

Ice Fishing

Embrace the winter charm of Lake Minnetonka by ice fishing, a peaceful yet entertaining activity where you can catch a variety of fish like walleye and northern pike. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the serene winter landscape while possibly bringing home a fresh catch for dinner. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or trying it for the first time, ice fishing on the lake offers a unique and memorable winter experience.

Cross-Country Skiing

Strap on your skis (or rentals) and set off into the winter wonderland surrounding Lake Minnetonka, where cross-country skiing trails weave through the picturesque landscape. This activity is perfect for experiencing the quiet beauty of the area’s snowy forests and open fields, providing an invigorating workout coupled with the chance to spot local wildlife in their winter habitats.


Experience the thrill of snowmobiling around Lake Minnetonka, where well-maintained trails offer the perfect setting for this exciting winter sport. The area’s trails wind through stunning forests and open spaces, providing an exhilarating way to explore the winter wonderland. Suitable for both beginners and experienced riders, snowmobiling is a fantastic way to discover the region’s beauty during the colder months.

Where to Eat

The Lake Room

$$ – $$$ • New American

Minnetonka Drive-In

$ – $$ • Classic American

Joey Nova’s Pizzeria

$ – $$ • NYC-style Pizza

Where to Shop

Ooh La La Boutique

Women’s Clothing Store

Lake Minnetonka Store

Clothing Store

General Store of Minnetonka

Gift Shop

Where to Sleep

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Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Lake Minnetonka

Select the Perfect Location

The eastern shores of Lake Minnetonka are closer to Minneapolis, offering easy access to urban amenities and attractions. In contrast, the western shores provide a more secluded, tranquil experience, ideal for those seeking peace and quiet.

Recreational Activities and Access

If boating, fishing, or watersports are your interests, look for properties with lake access, docks, or boat rentals. For those keen on hiking, biking, or exploring nature trails, check the proximity of your rental to local parks and trails.

Seasonal Planning

Lake Minnetonka offers different experiences throughout the year. Summer is ideal for water-based activities and enjoying the vibrant lake life. In contrast, fall brings stunning foliage, and winter offers ice fishing, snowmobiling, and serene snow-covered landscapes.

Local Attractions and Dining

Explore what the surrounding area offers when it comes to dining, shopping, and local attractions. Lake Minnetonka is dotted with charming towns like Wayzata, Excelsior, and Deephaven, each boasting unique shops, restaurants, and cultural experiences. Planning a few outings to these local spots can enhance your lakeside vacation experience.

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Going Deeper on Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka’s history stretches back thousands of years. It was once home to the Dakota people and mound builders. The lake played a significant spiritual role for the Dakota, who believed it was a sacred place. Spirit Knob, a prominent peninsula near Wayzata, held particular spiritual significance for the Mdewakanton people, a subdivision of the Dakota Nation.

The natural history of the lake goes back to the last Ice Age. Glacial activity carved out the intricate landscape, and the receding Laurentide Ice Sheet left depressions that later filled with water, forming the lake’s irregular shape.

In more modern times, Lake Minnetonka is celebrated for its beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities. As settlers began to populate the area, it quickly became a popular destination for tourism. Notable establishments like Hotel Lafayette, Minnetonka Yacht Club, and Lafayette Club were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, serving as prominent tourist attractions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lake Minnetonka

At Lake Minnetonka, you can enjoy various outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and swimming. Additionally, you can explore the multiple biking and hiking trails around the lake. Remember to check out the Steamboat Minnehaha for a historical experience!

To find directions to Lake Minnetonka, use your favorite GPS app or online maps, like Google Maps or Apple Maps. Simply search for “Lake Minnetonka,” and you’ll have the best route from your current location.

Lake Minnetonka is a large lake covering more than 14,000 acres. It consists of a system of basins with a range of depths. Some areas may have shallow water, while others may be deep enough for diving or advanced boating.

Yes, there are several popular beaches on Lake Minnetonka where you can relax, swim, or sunbathe. Some popular choices include Wayzata Beach, Excelsior Commons Beach, and Long Lake Regional Park.

Lake Minnetonka is in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and is surrounded by numerous cities and towns. Some cities near Lake Minnetonka include Mound, Wayzata, Excelsior, and Minnetrista.

Mall of America is approximately 25-30 minutes from Lake Minnetonka, depending on traffic and your starting point. The distance is roughly 20 miles, so it’s a convenient destination for a day trip while visiting the lake.

When visiting Lake Minnetonka, you’ll find various accommodation options, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals—book in advance to secure the best choice for your needs and budget.

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