family travel guide ft. lake minnetonka

boat on lake minnetonka
as soon as the sun melts away the remnants of winter, a transformative energy awakens along the shores of lake minnetonka, a retreat for minneapolis residents. nestled in the heart of the north star state, where crystal-clear lakes intertwine with lush greenery, lies a place where culture, nature and a warm sense of community converge to create a place unlike any other.
our senior content manager, julia burke, shares her favorite places to stay, eat and things to do while visiting her husband’s hometown during the summer.
couple walking dogs on dog

the hotel landing

inspired by the nordic heritage, this lakeside retreat is conveniently located in wayzata and only fifteen minutes from downtown minneapolis.

image of couple walking dogs on dock

hotel excelsior

just two blocks off the lake and in the center of downtown excelsior, this boutique hotel is a perfect spot for families looking for both short or long-term stays. there are plenty of local shops and restaurants to experience right at the doorstep.

rent a house

whether you’re traveling with a large group or want to fully experience the lake life, there are plenty of amazing properties available on the waterfront.

where to eat image

new to wayzata, the hospitality and ambiance is unmatched. complete with a market, cafe and wine bar, they offer a seasonal menu with locally sourced ingredients. this is our neighborhood go-to. we love to grab a coffee and fresh pastry, then walk around the water-front downtown.

ice cream images outside licks unlimited ice cream parlor

business & pleasure premium cooler

licks unlimited

a small family-owned ice cream shop located on water street in excelsior that offers over 40 flavors. this is hands-down my favorite! a trip to minnesota isn’t complete without a double scoop of cotton candy ice cream.

mccormick’s beachside

a seasonal outpost at wayzata beach that serves lobster rolls, hot dogs, fresh squeezed lemonade and more. stop here after a bike ride on the dakota trail or pack a picnic for a family boat ride!


an intimate italian restaurant perfect for any occasion. the homemade pasta, wood-burning pizza and cocktails are a must!

landscape view of green trees

spend time on the lake

its charm lies in its unrivaled collection of pristine lakes. commonly referred to as the ‘land of 10,000 lakes’, summertime boasts endless opportunities to enjoy the water. from the tranquil majesty of wayzata bay to the lively atmosphere of excelsior, each cove possesses its own distinctive character ready to be explored. sailing regattas, leisurely paddle boarding, waterskiing…the lake is a playground to all!

polaroid images from vacation


go to a game

an all-american summer pastime — baseball! spend an afternoon at target field and watch the minnesota twins play or join the electric crowd at the allianz field for a minnesota united fc soccer game.

polaroid images from vacation

the dakota rail trail

a 13.5 mile stretch that starts in wayzata and ends in lester prairie. a fun activity for everyone in the family, park at any of the designated areas, hop on the trail for a bike ride and take-in the beautiful landscape.

the minnesota state fair

joyful camaraderie at the annual state fair, also known as ‘the great minnesota get together’, is where the community gathers to celebrate its rich heritage and good food. from pronto pups and fresh corn on the cob to sweet martha’s cookies with a glass of cold milk – there are endless food options. the 4-h horse show, butter sculptures and logroll are a must- see for the whole family. hurry and visit — the fair is open through september 4!

polaroid of fair images

noerenberg gardens

home of the former wilkommen estate, this tranquil garden is situated right along the shore of crystal bay. a serene spot and one of the finest formal gardens in minnesota is open for tours or you can scope it out on your own.

polaroids of norenberg gardens

other things to do

if you’re in downtown minneapolis, visit the walker art center (home of the famous spoonbridge), first avenue (where prince performed), the stone arch bridge and the guthrie theater. if you find yourself in minnetrista, be sure to stop by gale woods, a 410-acre park that features a working educational farm. then, play a friendly round of putt-putt at big stone mini golf. there is always something to experience in minnesota!

style guide for lake

women’s white eyelet one piece | women's navy and cream stripe knit sweater | hat attack rope tote | men's freshwater & navy colorblock boardie