Highlighting Minnesota Summers: A Realtor’s Guide

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Minnesota, affectionately known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” transforms into a vibrant playground during the summer months. With its lush landscapes, myriad lakes, and rich cultural offerings, there’s no shortage of activities to keep locals and visitors entertained. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature enthusiast, or someone who simply wants to soak up the sun, Minnesota has something to offer. Here are some of the best things to do in Minnesota during the summer.

And if you’re a Realtor looking to showcase the amazing summers in Minnesota, look no further than this complete guide of summer activities in the great state of Minnesota.

Enjoy Boating on Lake Minnetonka

a body of water surrounded by trees and rocks

Lake Minnetonka stands out as a premier destination for boating enthusiasts. This sprawling lake, located just west of Minneapolis, has been named the 43rd best boating city in America according to Get My Boat’s new 2024 rankings. With over 14,000 acres of water and more than 100 miles of shoreline, Lake Minnetonka offers endless opportunities for exploration and recreation.

Boaters can enjoy serene cruises, thrilling water sports, and scenic views of luxurious lakeside homes. Numerous marinas and public docks make it easy to access the lake, while various boat rental services cater to those without their own vessels. The lake is dotted with charming towns like Excelsior and Wayzata, where you can dock your boat and enjoy local dining, shopping, and entertainment. Whether you’re looking to fish, sail, or simply relax on the water, Lake Minnetonka is a must-visit summer destination.

Discover the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

a lake filled with lots of boats floating on top of it

For those who crave a more rugged adventure, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) offers a pristine escape. Located in northeastern Minnesota, this vast wilderness area encompasses over one million acres of forests, lakes, and rivers. It’s a paradise for canoeing, kayaking, and camping enthusiasts.

The BWCAW features a network of waterways that allows for extensive paddling routes. Visitors can embark on multi-day canoe trips, navigating through crystal-clear lakes and portaging between them. The area is also renowned for its fishing, with abundant populations of walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass. Camping under the stars and experiencing the call of the loons is an unforgettable experience, making the Boundary Waters a top summer destination.

Experience the Twin Cities: Minneapolis and St. Paul

aerial shot of concrete structures near body of water

Minnesota’s largest metropolitan area, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, offers a dynamic blend of urban attractions and natural beauty. Summer is an ideal time to explore the many parks, lakes, and cultural sites that these cities have to offer.

In Minneapolis, the Chain of Lakes – including Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska), Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles – provides a scenic setting for walking, biking, and picnicking. Rent a paddleboard or kayak to enjoy the lakes up close, or simply relax on the sandy beaches. The city is also home to the iconic Stone Arch Bridge and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, both perfect for a leisurely stroll.

St. Paul boasts its own array of attractions, such as the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, where visitors can enjoy free admission to see exotic animals and lush gardens. The Minnesota State Fair, held annually in late summer, is a quintessential experience featuring everything from food on a stick to thrilling rides and live entertainment.

Visit the North Shore of Lake Superior

The North Shore of Lake Superior is a stunning stretch of coastline that offers breathtaking views and outdoor adventures. Starting from Duluth and extending up to the Canadian border, this area is known for its rugged beauty and charming small towns.

Hiking enthusiasts will find plenty of trails to explore, including the Superior Hiking Trail, which offers spectacular views of the lake and surrounding forests. Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park are popular stops, offering picturesque waterfalls and historic sites. For a unique experience, take a scenic drive along Highway 61, stopping at scenic overlooks and quaint towns like Grand Marais.

Water activities abound on Lake Superior itself. Kayaking along the shore provides a unique perspective of the dramatic cliffs and rock formations. Anglers can try their luck fishing for trout and salmon in the clear waters of the lake.

Attend a Music Festival or Outdoor Event

people riding on amusement park ride

Minnesota’s summer calendar is packed with music festivals and outdoor events that cater to a variety of tastes. One of the most popular is the Minnesota State Fair, held in St. Paul, which attracts visitors from all over the country. This 12-day event features live music, agricultural exhibits, and a wide array of food vendors.

For music lovers, the Twin Cities offer several notable festivals. The Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis is an annual event featuring a diverse lineup of national and local acts. In Duluth, the Bayfront Blues Festival draws crowds to the scenic Bayfront Festival Park for a weekend of live blues music.

In addition to these larger events, many smaller towns host their own summer festivals, celebrating local culture, food, and music. These community events provide a great opportunity to experience the friendly and welcoming spirit of Minnesota.

Explore State Parks and Wildlife Areas

gray rocks on body of water during daytime

Minnesota’s state parks are a treasure trove of natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities. From the prairies of the southwest to the forests of the north, there’s a diverse range of landscapes to explore.

Itasca State Park, the birthplace of the Mississippi River, offers hiking, boating, and camping opportunities. Visitors can walk across the headwaters of the mighty river and explore the park’s extensive trail system. In southeastern Minnesota, Whitewater State Park is known for its dramatic limestone bluffs and clear, trout-filled streams.

For wildlife enthusiasts, the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge provides a haven for birdwatching and nature photography. The refuge’s network of trails allows visitors to explore diverse habitats, from wetlands to oak savannas.


Minnesota’s summer season is a time to embrace the great outdoors, explore vibrant cities, and enjoy a myriad of activities that cater to all interests. Whether you’re boating on Lake Minnetonka, paddling through the Boundary Waters, hiking along the North Shore, or immersing yourself in local festivals, the Land of 10,000 Lakes offers unforgettable experiences that showcase its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.