So you’re interested in getting out on a boat this summer to soak up some sun and enjoy time with friends and family. This is a good thing — it means you have hardy Minnesota genes.

But if you don't own one, here are a few tips to enjoy a boating experience on one of Minnesota’s biggest and most entertaining lakes.


There are a variety of businesses on Lake Minnetonka from which people can rent pontoon boats and fishing boats.

Know which side of the lake you want to set out from when picking a business, and plan where you’ll park in advance. Several of the rentals can be arranged online; follow this link to look at just a few of the options available:


One of the more popular boating hotspots on Lake Minnetonka is Big Island. The site of an amusement park and veteran’s camp back in the day, the island sees strings of boats line up on summer’s most blistering afternoons and best holidays.

It’s inevitable when you’re out that friends and family will start to get hungry, or will have an interest in walking around one of the lake’s downtown areas. Lord Fletcher’s restaurant, Maynards Restaurant, and CoV Wayzata are more recognizable for having docks in their backyards. However, any Lake Minnetonka native would tell you there’s a dozen places you could try, especially in Excelsior and Wayzata.

Some of the Twin Cities’ best restaurants, breweries, ice cream shops and boutiques have their cozy niches around Lake Minnetonka, so you can’t go wrong. Plan where you’ll make your stops beforehand.


Look through the Minnesota Boating Guide for 2019 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Among the advice for exercising safety are wearing life jackets, staying sober and being weather-aware.

Children under the age of 10 by law must wear a life jacket, and every person aboard should have an accessible and wearable life jacket available to them.

Taking a boat safety course is recommended as well. Boat operators under the age of 18 must have a watercraft operator’s permit or the presence of someone onboard who is 21 or older.

Also important to read through within the guide: waterway markers, water laws, and rules regarding water-skiing, tubing and wakeboarding


Research beforehand is key to a great boating experience on Lake Minnetonka. Residents value respect from the lake’s visitors; sound levels, litter and a lack of awareness about boating laws can detract from the experience for others.

That said, it’s pretty difficult to not have an amazing time out on Lake Minnetonka. Go forth with your Minnesotan summer!

Lara is a regional reporter for Southwest News Media.


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