For over a hundred years, since the late 1800s, Minnetonka has been a destination playground for the world's rich and famous, as well as a summer home and cabin area for many Minneapolis residents. Streetcar service from the Twin Cities brought visitors and residents to a fleet of seven steam powered Express Boats. These departed from Excelsior and Deephaven to the many luxury hotels and lakeside cabins scattered around the lake.
During the early 1900s, nearly every hotel was lost to fire, and over the years, cabins were gradually replaced by magnificent lakeside mansions, which seem to grow bigger and more opulent every year.
The 14,500 acre Lake Minnetonka is made up of more than 30 separate bays and lakes connected by a series of channels and boasts of nearly 150 miles of shoreline! Long the land of the Sioux Indians, the area was the site where Sioux worshipped the "Great Spirit- Manitou." The Indian reference to "minne" is water, and "tonka" means great. The lake has been called one of the most beautiful in the world, with sparkling clear water, hundreds of lovely islands, and secluded bays. Fishing is rated in the top 10 nationally for largemouth bass. There are also countless northern pike, walleye, muskie, crappie, and panfish, all of which will eagerly "bite" for even novice fishers.
Sailing and powerboating have always been hugely popular here and the variety of watercraft, both antique and modern is amazing! But, due to the proliferation of new residences and marinas around the lake, public access has become very limited. A group of larger charter cruises are available, including a refurbished original steamboat, which offer sightseeing cruises around certain areas of the lake.
Tonka Bay Marina
Lake Minnetonka Marina
Howard’s Point Marina
Gray’s Bay Marina
Wayzata Bait and Tackle
City of Excelsior