Best of Summer Guide 2012

One hundred and five ways to do summer with a splash in the Twin Cities.

Best of Summer Guide 2012

More (Great) Lakes

Lake IndependenceLake Independence

Every lake is a great lake in our book. But since we can't include all 10,000, here are a few more of our fave places to sunbathe, picnic, dive, fish, canoe, and relax.

Brownie and Cedar Lakes
Cedar Lake has one of the best (and most crowded) beaches in Minneapolis, but the best way to experience it is to paddle by it. Rent a canoe at nearby Lake Calhoun and continue through Lake of the Isles to Cedar’s connecting waterway. Proceed under Burnham Road to Cedar and veer to the northwest corner. There you’ll find a small passageway that leads you under Cedar Lake Road and into Brownie Lake, one of our city’s hidden treasures. Cedar Lake Pkwy. & Basswood Rd., Mpls., 612-230-6400

Bush Lake
Fish for largemouth bass in the morning and spend the afternoon playing at Hyland Play Area. With some slides running more than 50 feet long, parents can laugh their way through the park’s intricate maze of climbing structures and slides right alongside their kids. And if your little one fears the lofty slides, worry not: A tamer section caters to tiny tots. 10145 Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington, 763-559-9000

Lake Independence
Escape the crowded inner-city lakes on Lake Independence, just 15 minutes north of Lake Minnetonka. Baker Park Reserve is idyllic for nearly every summer activity imaginable, including camping, golfing, geocaching, rollerblading on the area’s 30-plus miles of trails, and even horseback riding. 2309 Baker Park Rd., Maple Plain, 763-694-7860

Medicine Lake
The second-largest lake in Hennepin County, Medicine Lake is known for adjoining French Regional Park. The area boasts a large swimming beach, fishing pier, lighted trails, and a netted play structure to inspire the little pirate in everyone. 12605 Rockford Rd., Plymouth, 763-694-7750

Normandale Lake
You’ve heard of the Lake Harriet and Excelsior bandshells, but have you ever been to the one at Normandale Lake? Home to Bloomington’s Arts in the Park programs, the 5,000-seat venue offers an eclectic mix of music: bluegrass, ’80s hits, blues, and symphonies. 5901 W. 84th St., Bloomington, 952-563-8877

Prior Lake
Lakefront Park is the heart of the community. It’s the scene for summer celebrations, and it includes a beach, floating boardwalk, amphitheater, skate park, and more. 5000 Kop Pkwy., Prior Lake, 952-447-9800

Shady Oak Lake
Shady Oak Beach offers the best diving board in town. The diving dock—a long wooden plank platform flanked by a low diving board on one side and a high dive on the other—provides endless entertainment whether you’re taking the plunge or looking on from the sandy shore. The beach area also boasts a tasty concession stand, a volleyball court, a new playground, and canoe and paddleboat rentals. 5200 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka, 952-939-8200

Wirth Lake
Nestled inside Theodore Wirth Park, the property has been part of the Minneapolis Park Board since the early 1900s and hosted the Aqua Follies from 1941 to 1964—complete with diving towers and a 6,000-seat grandstand. Today, catch a view of downtown on your way into the park, and then enjoy all it has to offer: biking, walking, swimming, volleyball, fishing, and more. 3200 Glenwood Ave. N., Mpls., 612-230-6400

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