Sunday’s Site – Lake Minnetonka

NOTE: see the bottom of Sunday's Site posts for homes for sale in the area

When we visited the St. Croix River in Stillwater on the far east side of the Twin Cities last week I talked about how water plays an important role in Minnesota life. As a Realtor I am constantly criss-crossing the metro area and this week found me doing a showing on the opposite side of the metro around Lake Minnetonka…Queen of the Inland Lakes!


What really sets this 23-square-mile lake apart is its irregular shape and resulting vast shoreline of 110-140 miles or so. Not everyone agrees on how many miles of shoreline there actually are…you can see how it would be hard to measure!

It got me wondering just how many lakes there are in the Twin Cities. According to, there are approximately 1,000 lakes in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Add to that the creeks and rivers, including the mighty Mississppi River, and it is no wonder that water plays an important role in our lives!

I tried to do a search to see how many lake front properties are currently listed in the metro and it maxed out the search with no answer.  Searching only for Lake Minnetonka listings yielded 193 active listings, ranging from a studio condo for $55,000 to an 8,470 custom home to be built on 7.7 acres with 222 feet of Lake Minnetonka shoreline for $8,450,000!

Driving through Lake Minnetonka is sort of like driving through a beautiful maze. Its roots as a summer resort destination are evident, with a wide range in home size, style, age and condition. A lake held sacred by native Americans long before it was "discovered" by a Fort Snelling drummer boy in 1822, its name "Minnetonka" means "Big Water" in the Dakota language.

By the 1880's Lake Minnetonka had become a famous summer resort for the rich and famous of the world, including US Presidents. At that time big excursion boats would transport thousands of visitors from docking points at Excelsior and Wayzata to elegant hotels or summer homes. The arrival of the automobile ended the great hotel era and marked the start of the evolution from summer cottages to permanent homes.

My client yesterday was trying to decide whether is was worth a 45-minute drive to work every day to move from Minneapolis out to Lake Minnetonka. In comparing the two areas, she brought up a point which became even more evident as I was trying to take some pictures and had a difficult time finding someplace to stop.

Where the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes are really public lakes, with trails around them for everyone to enjoy, Lake Minnetonka is more about private lake access, with a vast portion of the shoreline privately owned. Many of the surrounding communities still have a small-town, resort area feel…'lake country' within commuting distance to the city!

Lkminnetonka-house Click here to see homes currently for sale in the Lake Minnetonka area. Please be patient while the link searches for the most current listings…click on the map to zoom in until you see icons on the dots, then pass your cursor over them for property information, click for property details. 

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results -


Written By

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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