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Minnesota Is The Land Of Lakes.

Do you wonder how many there are?

Minnesota was the state with the most lakes. I felt pride as a child. Even though I didn’t believe we had exactly 10,000, I could see how the early explorers would have felt if there were only 9,999. As a Limnologist, which is a scientist who studies lakes and rivers of lakes, I’ve spent a lot on counting and measuring lakes. And now, I have the answer to the question, “How many lakes are in Minnesota?”

It certainly isn’t 10,000. National Public Radio in 2019 mentioned it as 11,842, but it isn’t 10,000. In my graduate school days, I counted Minnesota’s lakes and came up with 17246. But this is also incorrect.

I’ll soon get to the truth, but before that, it’s essential for you to understand why this question is important, aside from state pride.

Is Minnesota truly home to 10,000 lakes?

  • Surprisingly, yes
  • According to the Minnesota DNR., Minnesota has 11,842 lakes.
  • Our license plates’ claims of “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” are misleading us!
  • DNR considers a lake any body of water more significant than 10 acres, or 4.05 Hectares.

Minnesota would have 21,871 total lakes if it were to adjust the criteria for lakes more significantly than 2.5 acres. How many lakes are more prominent than one acre? There are 43.041 full lakes.

Using U.S. Geological Survey Data on total bodies (lakes or ponds, rivers, etc.), Minnesota boasts an incredible 124662 bodies of water!

How many lakes can you find in Minnesota vs. Wisconsin?

Ah, there’s a contentious issue.

Wisconsin has many lakes; our neighbors/frenemies claim to have more than us. However, in our humble opinion, it all comes down to your standards. (Wisconsin’s lake numbers are deficient, but that’s not what I had to say…

Wisconsin’s DNR claims it has over 15,000 lakes. However, there is one problem.

Wisconsin has no standards or measurements that determine what is considered a lake.

KARE 11 spoke with a Wisconsin DNR spokesperson who said Wisconsin has 15074 lakes. However, the state does have a lower limit. This means I assume there are many ponds in the total number of lakes.

Minnesota, as we have already mentioned, follows the same rules. Minnesotans take lake measurements so seriously that they count only bodies of water more significant than 10 acres. (Depending on the lot size, this is equivalent to roughly 20-40 suburban residences.

How many lakes in Minnesota are home to?

It’s greater than our moniker “Land Of 10,000 Lakes”, but the total depends on how it is counted. Boulay indicated that Minnesota had counted all the water basins with at least 10 acres of land in unincorporated areas and 2.5 acres in cities.

According to the state inventory, there are 11,842 lakes.

A football field is just 1.32 acres. This means a lake in a city has less than two football fields. It covers an area of approximately seven-and-a-half football fields.

But this leaves all wetlands (at least 2.5 acres) and smaller basins in unincorporated areas. If you add those, the total rises to 21,871.

List of Lakes Minnesota

I will be truthful, and there’s not enough space or time in my schedule to mention all the lakes in Minnesota.

Wikipedia maintains a list of all of Minnesota’s lakes. Minnesota’s DNR also has a Lake Finder page. This includes tons of data about the 4,500 top lakes in Minnesota.


Bowstring Lake is located just outside of Itasca County. It has a total area of over 9,500 acres. It is known for its watersports, wildlife, and tourist attractions. This is the ideal place to enjoy watching birds and wakeboarding on this lake.

Minnesota is a great place to live, no matter where it’s located. Minnesota has many lakes to choose from, making it a great place to visit. Minnesota provides a range of rentals to rent if you want to camp on one of Minnesota’s gorgeous lakes. These lakes are Minnesota landmarks. They draw tourists from the country due to their beauty, size, and grandeur. Minnesota has the correct information to help rent a house on one of these lakes. If you are interested in renting a cabin on another Minnesota lake, we can help you! Get in touch with our team today.

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