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20 Biggest Lakes in Minnesota

Added: Dec 12, 2017
Category: Things to Do

20 Biggest Lakes in Minnesota


Minnesota is touted as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, although it actually has more than that. In fact, the state is home to 11,842 lakes spanning at least 10 acres. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the 20 largest lakes found in Minnesota. If you’re looking for a great vacation destination, Minnesota rents lake houses and is renting out cabins at many of these lakes right now!

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake and covers more than 31,000 square miles. It’s the largest of the Great Lakes and spans both the U.S. and Canada borders. As its name implies, Lake Superior is truly superior in regards to its size and beauty.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods also spans the U.S. and Canada borders into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. At 68+ miles 59 miles wide, it offers the world’s largest lake shoreline. If you’re looking for a fun weekend getaway, Lake of the Woods could be for you!

Rainy Lake

Rainy Lake is more than 220,000 miles and is a great destination for water sports. This beautiful lake spans Ontario, Canada, as well. This is a great stop for families!

Mille Lacs Lake

Situated 100 miles north of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Mille Lacs Lake is a large, shallow lake with plenty of fun to offer. 300+ miles of trails encircle the lake, as well as opportunities for ice fishing and snowmobiling. This lake is perfect for a romantic getaway or a family retreat.

Upper Red Lake

Upper Red Lake can be found near Waskish and is a well-known vacation destination. The lake is nearly 120,000 miles and is part of the Red Lake Indian Reservation.

Leech Lake

Leech Lake is situated in the northwest Minnesota in Cass County, where it backs up to the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. It boasts more than 300 miles of shoreline and many opportunities for outdoors fun.

Lake Winnibigoshish

Also known as Lake Winnie, Lake Winnibigoshish is a well-known travel destination for many in the Midwest. It’s located in the Chippewa National Forest and spans 58,000+ acres.

Lake Vermillion

Lake Vermillion offers a beautiful backdrop to a picture perfect getaway. Over 40,000 acres water at an average depth of 76 feet comprise Lake Vermillion. Fun fact: its original name, Nee-Man-Nee, means “the evening sun tinting the water a reddish color”. The Ojibwe Indians gave the lake this name.

Kabetogama Lake

Kabetogama Lake spans more than 25,000 acres and can be found near the Canadian border in St. Louis County. It’s a freshwater glacial lake located in Voyaguers National Park and connected to three other lakes in the area.

Lake Pepin

At 25,600 acres, Lake Pepin is the largest lake nestled along the Mississippi River. It’s a glacial lake that formed nearly 10,000 years ago. Today, it offers a picturesque sanctuary for wildlife and visitors.

Namakan Lake

Namakan Lake reaches into Ontario, offering an exciting adventure for anyone who wants to explore the lake’s many small islands. Part of the lake is within the Voyageurs National Park.

Cass Lake

Cass Lake is nearly 16,000 acres and offers a rich history, beautiful scenery, and plentiful chances for fishing, swimming, and boating.

Lake Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka is 14,043 acres and offers plentiful inlets and coves to be explored by visitors. Minnetonka translates to “big waters” in Sioux.  Make sure you purify yourself in the waters before you leave. The Purple One insists.

Saganaga Lake

Saganaga Lake is found at the border of northeastern Minnesota and Ontario. This 13,000+ acre lake is part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and offers exciting opportunities for any outdoorsman.

Otter Tail Lake

Part of the Otter Tail River Chain, Otter Tail Lake is 13,725 acres and boasts 22 miles of stunning shoreline. It’s the largest lake in Otter Tail County and draws visitors to Central  Minnesota year round.

Whitefish Chain of Lakes

Also called the Pine River Reservoir, Whitefish Chain of Lakes comprises nearly 14,000 acres and is one of 6 Mississippi River Headwater Reservoirs in central Minnesota.

Big Stone Lake

Big Stone Lake offers more than 12,000 acres to explore and is well-known for its beautiful blue waters. This captivating lake is found at the border of western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota and was formed about 20,000 years ago during the last ice age.

Lake Traverse

Lake Traverse is 11,200 acres and is the southernmost body of water found in the Hudson Bay watershed in North America and offers a stunning scenery for fishing, swimming, camping, and more.

Pelican Lake-St. Louis County

This nearly 11,000 acre lake offers over 54 miles of shoreline to discover, as well as 53 islands. There are several Pelican Lakes across Minnesota, but this one is the largest of them all.

Bowstring Lake

Found in Itasca County, Bowstring Lake is just over 9,500 acres and is a tourist attraction for its watersports and wildlife. Whether you want to watch birds or enjoy wakeboarding on the lake, this is the place for you.

No matter where you plan on visiting in Minnesota, or if you already reside here, then you probably aren’t far from a lake. With so many lakes to choose from, Minnesota offers a seemingly endless list of choices. If you’re looking to go camping on one of Minnesota’s beautiful lakes, you can find an array of rentals available through Minnestay. The lakes on this list are all Minnesota landmarks and draw in tourists from around the country for their size and splendor. If you’re looking to rent a lake house on one of these lakes, Minnestay can help you. On the other hand, if you’re interested in finding a cabin on another Minnesota lake, we make it easy to do that, too! Contact us today.

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