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Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

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Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

Is there a good lake to spend a few days at that's about an hour south of Minneapolis? We are traveling with a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. Husband wants to do some fishing... any kind of beach would be great for me!

We are traveling from Chicago, so Minneapolis is about as far as we want to go this time. Figured we could go into the city for a day or two, but want peace and quiet for most of the trip... open to all suggestions!

Thanks!

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1. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

Is there a reason it has to be south? What level of fishing are we talking about? Do you have a boat?

How about Lake Minnetonka where there are several nice beaches and fishing guides available (Jaspers).

40 minutes west of Mpls

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2. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

There is Lake Pepin, beautiful area with lots to do on the MN and WI sides...

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3. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

Will you also be camping or where is your lodging going to be, that would be helpful to know so we can recommend both if need be or find a place near the chosen location for lodging.

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4. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

We were just thinking south of Minneapolis because of the distance. My husband would love to rent a boat and spend all day, every day out there... but with two little kids I know we are going to need some other activities!

Not looking to camp, but willing to rent a cabin/house/condo or stay in a hotel. Not a huge deal if we aren't right on the lake.

I will look into both recommended lakes... thanks! If you have other suggestions, please keep them coming! =)

Edited: 3:00 pm, June 13, 2017
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5. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

For the most part, the lakes in southern MN are kind of nasty for swimming. Southern MN is farm country and the phosphates that drain into the lakes make for toxic turquoise algae blooms. It doesn't smell good, either. The topography changes north of the metro as it transitions into the North Woods and the lakes get cleaner.

I grew up boating on the Mississippi River. If you decide to swim there, only swim in a designated area that is away from the main channel. The current in the main channel can suck you downstream.

I'd venture north of the metro area or stay within the metro as suggested by others.

Alexandria is about two hours NW of the metro. Lakes Carlos, Darling and LeHomme Dieu (I'm botching the spelling on the last one) are clean, popular lakes for recreation.

Lake Minnewasksa is a very large lake kind of all by itself near Glenwood, MN. It's also pretty clean and has a swim beach with a lifeguard on the west end of the lake by Starbuck.

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6. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

The typical route from Chicago to Minneapolis is I-94, so if you're planning to stay on the 'Chicago side' of your drive, I'd suggest looking at western Wisconsin, such as Menomonie or near Hudson?

I'm not a fisherman, so I can't comment on what would be a good lake.

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7. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

Stillwater is less than an hour from downtown on the St Croix River which borders WI. It's a quaint old town with little shops and several restaurants and various River excursions.

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8. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

Lake Minnewaska, mentioned earlier, is a large lake, and it's known for good fishing, but it's about 2.5 hours drive beyond the Twin Cities. You shouldn't have to go that far. And, if you did want to drive 2.5 hours beyond Minneapolis, there are better options for kids in the Brainerd area or in Duluth.

Also, Minnewaska is also in farm country (several of those farms belong to my relatives) and that lake is infamous for lake itch in the summers. Starbuck is a cute town, my parents grew up there so I've been many times. Starbuck is really small though. There's not a ton of entertainment available other than the lake. Glacial Lakes State Park is nearby but you might not want to do a ton of hiking with little ones. The DQ there was voted best ice cream in the state, so there's that. :-)

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9. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

I have to politely disagree about Duluth. The OP asked for good fishing and a beach. Lake Superior is far too cold for swimming. We've been to Duluth twice in August and my kids wouldn't venture in past their ankles.

I do agree about Brainerd if the OP can find availability at one of the resorts. That's one of our favorite areas.

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10. Re: Spot to Vacation South of Minneapolis

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