While there’s nothing wrong with taking your boat rental out in the fall, summertime is for sure prime time for boating in the Land of 10,000 Lakes!
However, since Minnesota actually has something like 11,842 lakes, it can be hard to choose a destination when you rent a boat. From tourist towns to hidden gems, our beautiful state has it all – how are you to choose?
Fractional Toys is here to help. With almost a decade of boat rental services, we’ve helped more customers than we can count on their way to their perfect boating weekend, and we’re not about to stop anytime soon.
Here are some of our favorite Minnesota boating destinations, in no particular order!
1. St. Croix River
You’ll find miles of water to explore along the scenic St. Croix River at the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
Wandering south from Stillwater, you’ll find numerous river towns to check out, including Bayport, Hudson, Afton, and Prescott. Along the way, there are plenty of beaches and bays to take a dip in the water.
Pro Tip: If you’re not a highly experienced boater, you’ll find weekdays to have far less boat traffic for a more relaxing, worry-free cruise. On the weekends, the St. Croix River becomes quite busy, with larger watercraft traffic to navigate.
2. Gull Lake
Just two hours north of the Twin Cities, Gull Lake in the Brainerd Lakes area offers some of Minnesota's most enjoyable boating. Whether you’re interested in some great fishing, a scenic lake home tour, thrilling watersports action, or a great place to pull in to enjoy a meal, Gull Lake has it all.
After working up an appetite on the water all day, consider checking out Ernie’s on Gull, Zorbaz, Bar Harbor, or the restaurants at Grand View Lodge. All offer a picturesque view, great food, and refreshing drinks.
3. Lake Minnetonka
Lake Minnetonka, the Twin Cities area’s largest lake, is a great destination for fishermen, watersports enthusiasts, and recreational boaters alike. With 100 miles of shoreline to explore and some of the state's largest and most beautiful homes, you’ll never run out of water to explore.
If you’re looking for a great waterfront dining experience, Lord Fletchers and Maynards are two of the lake’s most popular boating destinations. You might even end up sitting next to a professional sports player because many of them have homes on the lake.
4. Otter Tail Lake
Strange name for a lake? Maybe. But it is indeed shaped like an otter’s tail!
This shallow body of water is a great destination for Walleye anglers, though a variety of other fish also can be popular targets here. The shore area is quite outdoorsy, with various resorts on its borders.
Just like Lake Superior, Otter Tail Lake is relatively large, meaning there’s plenty to do for repeat visitors. The area has a variety of other attractions spread out over a considerable distance.
If you’re willing to do a bit of traveling, you can take advantage of the region’s ability to provide something for all kinds of vacationers, from the savvy shopper to the outdoor enthusiast to the art connoisseur.
5. Lake of the Woods
A jagged-shaped lake that borders both Canada and Minnesota, Lake of the Woods is the self-proclaimed Walleye Capital of the World. But it’s not just this prized catch that dwells here! Fish for behemoth Sturgeon or toothy Pike and stay up-to-date with weekly fishing updates from the lake’s official website.
When you’re done with the water for a bit, try your hand at some of the more eclectic pursuits available here, from Morel mushroom hunting in the spring to all-season birding. Who knows, you may just find a new favorite hobby!
6. Mille Lacs Lake
Mille Lacs Lake is the second largest lake in Minnesota, covering about 128,226 acres. It is about 75 miles north of the Twin Cities and comprises a network of trails, campsites, and a 100-foot observation tower to check out the entire landscape.
Mille Lacs Lake is also a prime fishing destination, so be sure to get your fishing license and bring your tackle along with you. In particular, Mille Lacs Lake is known for its high catch rate of walleye.
If your family loves fishing, then Mille Lacs Lake should be on your list for summertime boating destinations!
7. Lake Vermillion
Lake Vermillion is a mostly untouched destination for any boating enthusiast. With 365 islands over 40,000 acres to check out, you can easily spend a day or a weekend exploring this vast lake. You’ll even see some pine trees that have been around for centuries.
Lake Vermillion features boat-in campsites where you can rest for the night before spending the next day out on the water.
If you are visiting during the summer, you can also check out the woods and banks around the lake, where you will likely find an abundance of wild berries, including blueberries, raspberries, pin cherries, juneberries, strawberries, and blackberries!
8. Deer Lake
Deer Lake is a unique place in Minnesota. Due to the makeup of minerals surrounding the area and the clarity of the lake, Deer Lake’s water is bright blue, like you might find in the Caribbean.
Deer Lake is remote and pristine, though a bit smaller than other lake options in Minnesota. It is located in the Chippewa National Forest, and you can camp overnight to enjoy a full weekend on the water.
Deer Lake allows motorized boats with a maximum horsepower of 25, so it's perfect for your pontoon boat rental or fishing boat rental. If you're so inclined, Deer Lake is a great location for fishing, where you might catch walleye, northern pike, bass, and panfish.
9. Lake Superior
Lake Superior in Cook County is one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes. It is a perfect place for clear water and beautiful views. It holds enough water that it could flood North and South America in a foot of water.
Lake Superior is a great place to enjoy your boat rental, with plenty of space for activities like swimming, fishing, hiking, and recreational diving. There are over 350 shipwrecks in Lake Superior, and many of them are accessible to recreational divers.
Be sure to check out the lighthouses that dot the shoreline!
10. Lake Elmo
Lake Elmo is located on the eastern side of St. Paul. It is considered one of the cleanest lakes near the site and a hot spot for those looking for some summertime lake fun.
You could spend all day boating, swimming, or fishing. There are also nearby campgrounds, a boat ramp, an archery range, and a variety of trails where you can go hiking.
After you spend the day boating on Lake Elmo, you can check out Lake Elmo’s historic downtown area. The streets are lined with little shops, restaurants, and local businesses.
Make the Most of Your Boat Rental With the Right Destination
When you’ve chosen your boating destination, be sure to make the most of your boat rental. After checking out the local lakes and rivers, verify that the lake allows the boat you intend to rent. Some lakes will not allow higher horsepower boats.
If you aren’t sure which kind of boat to choose, there are a few ways to decide. Consider a pontoon if you are looking for a leisurely cruise around the lake. Pontoon boats are great for family and friends and have plenty of seating and spots for coolers and snacks.
If you are interested in fishing, you can fish off a pontoon just as easily as a fishing boat. However, if fishing is your primary goal, then check out a fishing boat rental.
Fractional Toys’ fishing boats have fish finders, a trolling motor, and room for all your gear. Fishing boats are much better at maneuvering around to find the best fishing spots. Don’t forget to check out the available fish in the lake before you go!
Fractional Toys: Your First Stop on the Vacation of a Lifetime
Experience the beating heart of the culture of all these fantastic destinations with a boat rental from Fractional Toys today! With questions, reach our Oakdale office at 651-340-0937 or our Rogers location at 763-406-2488.