As the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota offers a one-of-a-kind lakeside lifestyle. If you’re looking for sparkling lakes perfect for boating, nearby forests with hiking trails, and homes with views of it all, look no further than Minnesota.

To help you find the right lakeside retreat, Redfin has got you covered. We’ve gathered a list of the best lakes in Minnesota to buy a home this year. From the bustling shores of Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis to the peaceful waters of Rainy Lake in International Falls, each lake offers its own unique charm and lifestyle. Whether you’re in search of a cozy cabin or a luxurious waterfront estate, you’ll find it on our list below.

1. Bde Maka Ska (Minneapolis)

Nearest city: Minneapolis
Median home sale price: $330,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,561
Population: 429,000
Homes for sale in Minneapolis, MN
Apartments for rent in Minneapolis, MN

The first spot on our list of lakes in Minnesota to live on this year is Bde Maka Ska. As part of the “Chain of Lakes,” you can find Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis. This lake is the largest in Minneapolis and is a hub for outdoor activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, and running along its scenic paths. The surrounding area has a mix of cultural attractions, from the nearby Bakken Museum to the bustling eateries and shops of Uptown. With its proximity to downtown Minneapolis, living near Bde Maka Ska means having the best of city life alongside the tranquil beauty of lake living.

2. Cass Lake (Cass Lake)

Nearest city: Cass Lake
Median home sale price: $63,290
Population: 770
Homes for sale in Cass Lake, MN
Apartments for rent in Cass Lake, MN

Cass Lake is located on the Leech Lake Reservation and has a tight-knit community feel amidst the natural beauty of Minnesota. Cass Lake itself is a fisherman’s paradise, teeming with walleye and northern pike. The Chippewa National Forest surrounds the lake, providing endless opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Even with its peaceful seclusion, Cass Lake is conveniently located near Bemidji, offering easy access to larger city amenities while maintaining its charming small-town vibe.

3. Cross Lake and Lower Whitefish Lake (Crosslake)

Nearest city: Crosslake
Median home sale price: $625,000
Population: 2,300
Homes for sale in Crosslake, MN
Apartments for rent in Crosslake, MN

In the heart of Minnesota’s lake country, Crosslake and Lower Whitefish Lake are jewels offering pristine waters and lush forests. This area is a haven for boating, fishing, and swimming, with numerous bays and islands to explore. The town of Crosslake is known for its welcoming community and seasonal festivities, including the famous winter ice fishing contests. With a variety of waterfront properties, residents enjoy stunning views and direct lake access. The Whitefish Chain of Lakes area also has popular golf courses, making it an awesome destination for relaxation and recreation.

4. Gull Lake (Lake Shore)

Nearest city: Lake Shore
Median home sale price: $508,000
Population: 1,000
Homes for sale in Lake Shore, MN
Apartments for rent in Lake Shore, MN

Gull Lake, with its crystal-clear waters and scenic beauty, is a great destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat in Lake Shore. This area is renowned for its excellent fishing, boating, and water sports opportunities. The surrounding region offers luxurious resorts and golf courses, catering to both relaxation and adventure. Lake Shore, though small in population, provides a cozy community atmosphere with all the essentials for lakeside living. For example, you can find many waterfront restaurants, local shops, and markets in the town. The Gull Lake chain of lakes is a true gem in Minnesota, offering a slice of paradise for its residents

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5. Lake Superior (Duluth)

Nearest city: Duluth
Median home sale price: $268,000
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,600
Population: 86,000
Homes for sale in Duluth, MN
Apartments for rent in Duluth, MN

Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, offers breathtaking natural beauty and a rugged shoreline in Duluth, a city known for its maritime heritage. Duluth’s Canal Park is a focal point for residents, featuring the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, maritime museum, and waterfront restaurants. The city’s extensive network of hiking trails, including the famous Superior Hiking Trail, provides outdoor enthusiasts with endless adventures. In Duluth, you’ll find the perfect blend of lakeside living and city life.

6. Lake Minnetonka (Tonka Bay)

Nearest city: Tonka Bay
Median home sale price: $1,850,000
Population: 1,500
Homes for sale in Tonka Bay, MN
Apartments for rent in Tonka Bay, MN

Lake Minnetonka is a 14,000-acre waterway dotted with islands and bays. The lake is a hub for sailing, fishing, and water skiing, attracting both year-round residents and seasonal visitors. The area’s rich history is reflected in its historic estates and the vibrant communities that line its shores. Tonka Bay, nestled on its shores, offers waterfront properties and boating amenities. The city is also close to the Twin Cities, making it a great location for those looking for lakes in Minnesota to live on.

lake vermillion at night with moon in minnesota

7. Lake Vermilion (Tower)

Nearest city: Tower
Median home sale price: $115,000
Population: 500
Homes for sale in Tower, MN
Apartments for rent in Tower, MN

Lake Vermilion, set against the backdrop of Minnesota’s wilderness, is a paradise for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. The lake’s clear blue waters and forested shores provide a tranquil setting for fishing, boating, and cabin life. Lake Vermillion is near the Kabetogama State Forest and the Superior National Forest, making it an amazing lake town to consider if you’re looking for easy access to nature. Tower, the nearest city, is a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, offering a blend of outdoor adventure and small-town charm.

8. Leech Lake (Walker)

Nearest city: Walker
Median home sale price: $150,000
Population: 1,000
Homes for sale in Walker, MN
Apartments for rent in Walker, MN

Leech Lake is a great destination for fishing and boating in Minnesota. The lake’s vast water is home to a variety of fish species, making it a great place to fish. The area around Leech Lake is also known for its trails and outdoor activities, including hiking and biking in the Chippewa National Forest. Walker, the closest city, offers a quaint downtown area with local shops, dining, and events. You can find breweries, lakefront parks, and a country club in the Walker area.

9. Mille Lacs Lake (Wahkon)

Nearest city: Wahkon
Median home sale price: $95,000
Population: 200
Homes for sale in Wahkon, MN
Apartments for rent in Wahkon, MN

Mille Lacs Lake is a vast body of water known for its walleye and pike fishing. The area is popular for ice fishing in the winter and boating in the summer, making it a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts. You can also find parks like Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, which has cross-country skiing in the winter and hikes in the warmer months. Mille Lacs Lake is surrounded by small towns, including Wahkon. This village has stunning lake views and a great community feel with its local markets and restaurants.

rainy lake in minnesota north border

10. Prior Lake (Prior Lake)

Nearest city: Prior Lake
Median home sale price: $559,218
Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,080
Population: 28,000
Homes for sale in Prior Lake, MN
Apartments for rent in Prior Lake, MN

Prior Lake is a vibrant community with a blend of suburban living and natural beauty, located outside of Minneapolis. The lake itself is a focal point for recreation, offering boating, fishing, and sandy beaches, like Sand Point Beach, Lake Front Park, and Knotty Oar Marina. The city of Prior Lake is known for its parks, waterfront restaurants, and events, including the annual Lakefront Music Fest. For homebuyers looking to be close to Minneapolis, Prior Lake is a great option to consider.

11. Rainy Lake (International Falls)

Nearest city: International Falls
Median home sale price: $85,000
Population: 5,800
Homes for sale in International Falls, MN
Apartments for rent in International Falls, MN

The last spot on our list of lakes in Minnesota to live on is Rainy Lake. This picturesque spot is on the US and Canada border and is renowned for its pristine wilderness and world-class fishing. International Falls, often referred to as the “Icebox of the Nation,” due to its cold winter temperatures, serves as a gateway to Voyageurs National Park. This park offers outdoor adventures like boating, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and stargazing. With its tranquil lakeside setting, Rainy Lake is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the great outdoors.

Note, this list is not comprehensive of all the lakes in Minnesota. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during April 2024. Average rental data from April 2024. Population data sourced from the United States Census Bureau.

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