Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It’s hard to get the full Minnesota experience without taking a trip to at least one of them. A lake has a funny way of making you feel both calm and excited. They have a deep sense of nostalgia surrounding them that is somewhat difficult to explain to someone who’s never experienced it. Overall, they’re all kinds of awesome.
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So Many Options, So Little Time
Lakes offer a multitude of ways to have fun and relax, and enjoying them doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. It’s easy to find a free beach and they’re usually not too terribly crowded. Many offer picnic tables and grills, so you can pack a cooler and make a whole day of it. Some of the nicer beaches even have pavilions and playgrounds. You can also find plenty of dog-friendly beaches if you want to bring your furry friend with you.
One of the best ways to get the most out of a lake experience is by camping or renting a cabin. This is on an entirely different level than a simple trip to the beach. There are gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over the water. The campfire makes comforting crackling sounds and emits the most delightful smell (one of my personal favorites). The night sky is full of twinkling stars. If you’re really lucky, you might even get to see the dancing Northern Lights. All the while, you’ll hear water lapping against the shore and crickets chirping cheerily. In the stillness of the night, you might get to hear a loon call in the distance.
Looking out over the water is satisfying enough on its own, but getting out on the lake is even better. Cruising along in a speedboat while watching the shoreline whip by can be exhilarating. Tubing, waterskiing, and other water sports are invigorating (partly because initially jumping in the water can be a bit of a shock). Slowing things down by exploring via kayak, canoe, or even paddleboard brings an altogether different type of enjoyment. It allows you to enjoy the stillness of the water and the calm quiet of the lake. Sitting in a boat all day with a line in the water is wonderfully relaxing. There are so many ways to enjoy the lake it’s hard to imagine not being able to find one.
However you choose to get out on the lake, you’re bound to have an overall enjoyable experience. There’s a certain type of friendliness on a lake that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else. For example, if you wave at another boat and they don’t wave back, it’s a sure sign they’re from out of town. Almost everyone gets along at the lake. After all, it’s hard to be crabby when you’re surrounded by natural beauty.
Wintertime at the Lake
Some of you may be thinking, “Aren’t lakes covered in ice for a big portion of the year?” Yes, they are, but this doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy them. Wintertime at the lake can be cold and unfriendly at times, but it can also be beautiful. Winter on the lake opens up new opportunities for relaxation and fun.
Ice is cool (no pun intended). When the lake freezes in shallow areas, you can look straight down to the bottom. You can also see trapped air bubbles, which are fascinating to look at. As lake ice shifts and cracks, it makes unbelievable that are simultaneously unnerving and awesome. Plus, watching ice break up and come off the lake is weirdly satisfying. I think part of this is due to how interesting it is, while another part is due to being very sick of winter by the time it happens.
A solidly frozen lake brings the possibility of going ice fishing, which is a very laid back endeavor. You can clear off the snow to make a skating rink and throw together a pickup game of boot hockey. You can also rip across the lake on a snowmobile, which makes you feel truly alive. Plus, standing on the ice in the middle of the lake, knowing how deep the water is below you makes you feel pretty great. There’s something entirely unique about walking over an area you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Another wonderful thing about the lake in the wintertime is the sheer beauty of it. Looking out over newly fallen snow sparkling brightly in the sunshine is magnificent. Seeing the pine trees along the shore heavily laden with snow is wonderful. Wrapping up in a blanket by a fire and watching big snowflakes fall from the sky is calming and peaceful. Throw in a warm mug of hot chocolate or cider, and it’s simply divine.
Worth a Visit
I love Minnesota, specifically the northern part. It will always have a little piece of my heart. I have countless amazing memories of the times I spent at the lakes. I feel strongly that just about anybody can have a good time at one if they’re willing to give it a try. In my opinion, it’s well worth it.