Minnesota is famed as the land of 10,000 lakes, and Lake Minnetonka is the most popular of all. Covering an area of more than 14,500 acres around 15 miles to the west and southwest of Minneapolis, Lake Minnetonka offers idyllic summer days and ice fishing in winter. Lake Minnetonka actually consists of 16 interconnecting lakes with 23 named bays and areas. The communities along the lakeshore form the most popular destination for tourists in Minnesota and the state’s most affluent area.
Gorgeous homes in eclectic styles can be found all along the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Some offer direct access to sandy lakeshore beaches, and most provide ample room for storing boats and other toys for use on the lake. What these properties all share is mesmerizing views across the gem of Minnesota’s extensive collection of lakes.
Lake Minnetonka is surrounded by 13 municipalities within Hennepin and Carver counties. Proximity to this popular body of water is a major draw for all these lakeshore communities. As well as obvious opportunities for water-based recreation, the shores of Lake Minnetonka feature many fabulous restaurants and scenic parks. Venture onto the lake to discover tranquil islands and the famous summertime party destination of Big Island’s Cruiser’s Cove.
The celebrated restaurants dotting the lakeshore rank high among Lake Minnetonka’s most popular attractions. Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge offers an eclectic choice of dining options in a scenic lakefront spot in the city of Spring Park. These include a series of elegantly decorated interior dining spaces serving a sophisticated menu of fresh seafood and signature meats, a screened porch offering the same menu on the lakeside, a delightfully old fashioned English pub and more modern sports bar, and a sprawling wharf covering a lakefront area the size of a football field.
On the waterfront in Excelsior, Maynards combines captivating wharf views with an elevated menu of classic American comfort eats. Maynards also boasts an impressive selection of domestic and international beers. Al & Alma’s has been offering refined dining both on land and on the water since 1956. Recognized as both the oldest continually operating restaurant and cruise operator on Lake Minnetonka, Al & Alma’s is undoubtedly a Lake Minnetonka must-visit. The Caribbean Marina at Tonka Bay features a famous dockside restaurant with captivating views of Echo Bay and Big Island.
The distinguished lakefront retreat of Lafayette at Minnetonka Beach offers both casual and fine dining alongside an exceptional array of sports and fitness facilities. The Lafayette Club’s facilities are usually restricted to members, but they are open to the public for festivities, including a fireworks display during the Lafayette Club Labor Day Celebration.
Lake Minnetonka and its surrounding communities form a recreational paradise with a huge variety of things to do. Excelsior Commons is a gorgeous, 13-acre lakefront park featuring two swimming beaches, docks, tennis courts, baseball fields, and a bandshell. Many events are held at Excelsior Commons throughout the year, including the Lake Minnetonka Fourth of July Celebration. The Fourth of July festivities include a fun run, kids’ parade, sand sculpture contest, popsicle social, live bands, and a spectacular fireworks display.
Boating is a big part of life around Lake Minnetonka. Big Island is popularly known as Cruisers’ Cove for the crowds of boaters that lay anchor here for energetic summertime parties. For a more tranquil island experience, you can explore the 65-acre Big Island Nature Park on the eastern side of Big Island. Goose Island is another popular Lake Minnetonka destination for boaters.
The Minnetonka Yacht Club has been promoting sailing and organizing regattas on Lake Minnetonka since 1882, making it one of the oldest yacht clubs in the United States. On the lakeshore, Deephaven Beach is one of many sandy stretches offering lifeguard-protected swimming. Gray’s Bay Dam Park features scenic trails surrounding the Minnehaha Dam between Lake Minnetonka and Minnehaha Creek.
The communities surrounding Lake Minnetonka are served by the Minnetonka, Orono, Wayzata, and Westonka public school districts. All four of these districts are ranked among the top 20 school districts in Minnesota.
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