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9 of the Best Lakes to Live On in Minnesota

Lakeside living seems to be inevitable in a state that has more than 10,000 lakes, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s not only about what seems inevitable but about choosing a location that will really enrich your life. The lakes in Minnesota offer beautiful, open views; a variety of water activities; and the opportunity to just take in the scenery. Although they are all lakes, each one is unique in what it offers. Which are the best lakes to live on in Minnesota? Let’s find out!

Snowy Prior Lake; one of the best lakes to live on in Minnesota
A breathtaking, snow-covered Prior lake; one of the best lakes to live on in Minnesota.

1. Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka is one of the twenty-two lakes in the larger Minneapolis area located just west of the city, which means that it’s a really great blend of big city convenience and suburban relaxation. It gives you the opportunity to mix urban sophistication with the best of water views.

The lake covers a large area, so there is a range of different types of accommodation along its shores. To orient yourselves, take a boat trip along the lake and you will see some of the luxury homes and also some of the less affluent suburban areas. You will find an area and home that suits your pocket, lifestyle, and preferences in one of the 13 municipalities along the lakeside.

Living on Lake Minnetonka is not only about looking at the lake, or driving past it on the way to work. It is also about being out there on the water. There are many options for boating on Lake Minnetonka, including kayaking, sailing, and motorboating. Find your passion, get your boat, and use one of the facilities for keeping a boat along the lake. To add more bait to the line: If you are a keen angler, then you will find perfect spots to indulge your sport on Lake Minnetonka.

Minnetonka calls you, wanting to share herself with you.

2. Lake Superior

If you live on Lake Superior, you get to join the cool club. Literally. The climate around the area of the lake is affected by the lake itself and tends to be relatively cold. The winters are very cold and the summers are cool. In winter, make sure that you are well stocked with hot chocolate and warm winter wear, so you can cozy down and enjoy some me-time in front of the fire. The cool summers can be misty and damp, which gives you the opportunity for some mystery in your surroundings.

Lake Superior is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world, so you will understand that there are at least more than ten cities along its shore, in Minnesota alone. And other, smaller settlements. It seems pretty likely that you will find a place somewhere along these shores that suits you and what you are looking for.  In all those cities, you will definitely be able to explore some interesting jobs opportunities.

Just think about the range of places you could consider for your new home on Lake Superior, one of the best lakes to live on in Minnesota.

Aerial lift bridge in Duluth
Aerial lift bridge in Duluth

You can opt for the big city life in Duluth, the fourth biggest city in Minnesota. From apartments along the water to freestanding houses in the suburbs, the density of the city will pull you in, just as the mist cloaks it in summer. On the other extreme is Copper Harbour, with its few houses and direct contact with the lake.

This is authentic lakeside living at its rawest. Somewhere between is Silver Bay, a small town with a cool, relatively humid climate. The town is the gateway to exploring Lake Superior, both on the water and walking the shores.

Take your pick of where to settle along the shores of this greatest of lakes.

3. Forest Lake

Next on the list of best lakes to live on in Minnesota is Forest Lake. If close family life is what you value most, then living on Forest Lake is a perfect option for you. The lake and the city share a name, which is something like the closeness of the caring community.  Neighbors really care about each other and you will integrate into the town quickly and easily. So, this is a really great place to consider for a seamless transfer of home.

Just to add a bit of flavor to what you will find in Forest Lake: you will become a little part of the tasty history of Log Cabin Syrup, which originated in the area, or of the more shady past of Ma Barker. A little notoriety gives color to the town.

As a resident of Forest Lake, you will find yourself caught up in swimming, kayaking, and sunbathing in summer, then ice skating and risking a polar plunge in winter. This really is the greatest location for a go-getter family that enjoys playing together.

4. Lake Nokomis

‘Convenient’ is possibly the best word to describe Lake Nokomis. It is situated just southeast of Minneapolis and close to the airport which makes it equally convenient for business and leisure travel. Your family and friends will really not have very far to travel when they fly in to visit you.

Lake Nokomis is especially convenient if you are a physically active person or family. In fact, by moving to this town, you will simply join the many residents who specifically chose Nokomis because of the many opportunities for physical activity. The 2.7-mile walking and 2.78-biking trails around the lake make achievable targets for a Sunday morning. The water is warm enough for swimming in summer and there are lovely beaches for you to enjoy.

Taking advantage of the multiple conveniences of Lake Nokomis will mean taking advantage of so many opportunities for a busy and convenient lifestyle.

5. Leech Lake

Lakeside living can be about the excitement of the city, with waterfront apartments, or suburbs gently leading to the shore of the lake. Sometimes, though, lakeside living is about the huge open spaces and stillness of the water. It is about waking up in the morning and taking your coffee out to the porch to breathe in the silence and splendor of the lake and all it has to offer. This lifestyle is available for you at Leech Lake, which is about 200 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

Leech Lake is a quiet lake, being mostly located within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Out in the countryside enjoying the quiet lifestyle of lake living, you will still need stores and some sense of community. Whipholt is a small town on the shores of Lake Leech, that can give you the lake and all that goes along with it. Because it is small, Whipholt will not offer everything a larger town has, so this style of living may be best suited to you if you work from home, or are perhaps retired.

If you are looking for just a little bit more in a town, but still keeping the sense of country and isolation that Lake Leech offers, then Walker, which is just along the lakeshore from Whipholt, will offer you a larger population, more amenities, and more options.

Sunset With A Single Boat Over Leech Lake
A relaxing sunset over Leech Lake at one of the best lakes to live on in Minnesota

6. Albert Lea Lake

Living on a lake allows you to spend your downtime and family time being active and enjoying what the lake has to offer, and Albert Lea Lake has that in spades.

If you like hiking, biking, walking, and the outdoors, then head to Albert Lea Lake.

If you enjoy the challenge of going after black crappie, yellow perch, and common carp from the shore, or on a boat, then head to Albert Lea Lake.

If you see our specialty eateries catering to every taste, then head to Albert Lea Lake.

Something for everyone, a home with every option, that sums up Albert Lea Lake.

As you explore the lake and surrounding area on the weekends, you can indulge your passion for the outdoors by visiting the Myre-Big Island State Park and the game refuge. Then, you can explore the water in the Pelican Breeze Touring Boat, or renting a kayak. Imagine this: New Yorkers come all the way to Albert Lea Lake for the angling – and you can have that right on your doorstep, every day.

7. Prior Lake

Lakeside living is not only about navigating the water or taking a trip from your suburban home to see the lake. It can also have some pizzazz, depending on which lake you choose. If you are looking for the lakeside life with a bit of glitz and glamour, then Prior Lake is where you belong. When you go out on the town, indulge your taste for the high life at Mystic Lake Casino, or take in some of the nightlife in the city.

Because Prior Lake is such a popular recreational lake, you will have ample opportunity to become involved in many activities on and around the lake, including angling, boating, wildlife viewing, and swimming. Any one of these can become a passion you can pursue when you live in Prior Lake.

Possibly the greatest gift that Prior Lake can offer you is that the safety of its citizens is a priority, both off and on the water. The lake itself is well looked after, with rules governing the use of the water, specifically boating, because the safety of the residents and visitors comes first. In and near the urban area, fishing is limited to the six public fishing docks, which also serves to protect the locals.

Some glitz, some action, and some angling – all watched over by a priority-driven municipality. What more can a lake offer you?

8. Lake Bemidji

Did you know that the great Mississippi, long associated with the paddle boats of the great South has its origins far north in Minnesota? Along the early stretches of the river, you will find Lake Bemidji, where the river takes a turn to the east and begins its journey to the south, and the stories that have made it legendary. So, living in Bemidji, on the banks of Lake Bemidji immediately connects you with the history of bygone eras in America.

The city of Bemidji has a strong sense of its history but is it also modern and progressive. It’s about education, being home to the Bemidji State University. It is also about nature, with the Bemidji State Park taking up much of the shoreline of Bemidji Lake. It is also the birthplace of Paul Bunyan, a mythical, immensely powerful lumberjack, who has grown into a folk hero. Living in Bemidji, with the statue of Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe puts you ahead of the average curve.

Lake Bemidji- a scenic lake landscape
Find your peace at the scenic shoreline of Lake Bemidji

Lake Bemidji is also an anglers’ paradise, offering year-round angling, with many specific spots that will yield almost guaranteed catches. The lake is especially well-known as the place to catch fish late in the season.

And all this could be yours. All you need is a sense of history and a little sense of adventure.

9. White Bear Lake

Last but not least on the list of best lakes to live on in Minnesota is White Bear Lake. Among all the lakes in Minnesota, White Bear Lake is known for being almost the perfect mix between the urban experience and exposure to nature. Imagine this: During the week, you and your family go to work, attend school, and shop – just like life in any city. Then comes the weekend, though, and you only have to step out of your usual urban bubble and the world of nature can be yours.

One of the most popular features in White Bear Lake is Tamarack Nature Center, where you and your family can get hands-on and participate in programs, including Discovery walks, the Forks in the Dirt Farmers Market, and the Tamarack Nature Photography Club. Why stop at looking at the lake and what it offers, when you can literally dive into all it has to offer?


What is the main attraction of the best lakes to live on in Minnesota?

As there are over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, it is unlikely that they all share one attraction. What can’t be denied is that they all offer some kind of individual beauty. There are also activities that attract visitors to most of the lakes. Among the most popular of these are angling and boating. In winter, if the lakes freeze, then skating on the lake is also very attractive.

What is the biggest lake in Minnesota?

The biggest of all the lakes in Minnesota is Lake Superior, covering over 31,000 square miles (over 82,000 square kilometers.) It is also one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the world.

Why is it important to consider living on a lake in Minnesota?

There are over 10,000 lakes in Minnesota and most of the cities are situated either next to or around, at least one lake. This means that when you are considering choosing a place to live in Minnesota you really do need to think about living near a lake.

Living on a lake in Minnesota is practically a given, what with there being over 10,000 lakes in the state. Choosing the best lake to live on is the trick. From isolated settlements to small towns to big cities, the lakes have it all. Just make the choice of what will suit you: What will be your choice of the best lakes to live on in Minnesota? Leave a comment below and let us know which one you’d choose.

Can’t get enough of Minnesota lakes? Then keep living the Minnesota lake life with the help of my info posts and guides!

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