Summer days in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota
There is a lake that lies not far from Minneapolis that is well-loved by Minnesotans and visitors alike. Lake Minnetonka, or “great water” from it’s Dakota Sioux name, is the perfect place to spend your days soaking up the sun and enjoying the best of summer. Lake life is the focus here and in the towns along it’s shores and the lake is popular for fishing and for swimming, kayaking, water skiing, and paddle boarding. If you don’t own your own boat, there are places to rent pontoon boats, kayaks, and paddle boards.
Nature and history abound in this area and you can enjoy so much of both. Three Rivers Regional Parks has more than 27,000 acres of parks and recreational trails to hike, fish or camp. The popular playground is massive and the beach and boat launch are great for families. Big Island Nature Park, located in the Lower Lake, is a popular place that the locals like to dock.
Shaver Park in the town of Wayzata is the location of the 18th century Trapper’s Cabin. You can get a real sense of what the pioneers experienced in the wilderness of Minnesota by walking the trails to the cabin in the park.
The town largest towns along the shoreline are Wayzata to the north and Excelsior along the lakes' southern shore. There are plenty of activities in both towns to keep you busy. You can board the historic Steamboat Minnehaha in Wayzata and see all of the beautiful homes from the water. Wayzata Beach is centrally located where you can enjoy digging in the sand, a playground, volleyball nets, or relax in the adirondack chairs. The trailhead for the Dakota Trail also starts in Wayzata where you can run, walk or bike this 13 mile paved trail. Or you can join up on the Luce Line trail and bike it’s 63 mile length. The local stores and restaurants make mid-week fun by offering happy hour specials and evening concerts every Wednesday through the summer.
The town of Excelsior still retains feelings from the Victorian age, when vacationers rode around the lake on steamboats and visitors arrived on electric streetcars. You can still ride the streetcar from May through Labor Day. Excelsior Commons is one of the best public place on the lake, with its sand beach, baseball diamond, and bandshell for outdoor concerts. The town is full of cute cafes and boutiques and shopping and strolling Water Street is a great way to spend an afternoon.
There are so many great places to eat around the lake that it is hard to choose. If you’re looking for lake views though you can’t go wrong at Lord Fletcher’s in Spring Park, Maynard’s in Excelsior, or COV in Wayzata. You can always finish with dessert at Adele’s Frozen Custard Yum!
Lake living has been perfected on Lake Minnetonka and it is a great destination for a summer weekend or vacation!