Water Activities on Lake Superior and Inland Lakes

Water is a critical part of what makes Cook County so unique. Between Lake Superior and the thousands of inland lakes and streams, no visit is complete without interacting with water. Whether boating, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, sailing or swimming, time on the water is time very well spent.

Inland Boating - Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Superior National Forest are both excellent places to get out on the water. Canoe or kayak through 1,000+ pristine, glacially-carved lakes with 2,200 campsites. Portages connecting lakes offer unlimited routes of various lengths and difficulties. Grab a permit (they’re required) from the US Forest Service or at one of our expert outfitters and get ready to paddle! 

Want to use a motor? Our inland lakes are well-marked and have easily accessible public access ramps. Browse the DNR’s comprehensive LakeFinder tool and plan your visit today. 

Boating on Lake Superior

Cruise the stunning shoreline. Venture out to deeper, colder waters. Experience some of the best fishing in Minnesota. When you're out on the water, remember that Lake Superior has inland sea qualities. Never underestimate its power, as it can turn dangerous fast. Use these tips to ensure your day on the lake is fantastic.

  • Check the forecast to be prepared for whatever the weather may bring.
  • Pack smart. Fog or an east wind can quickly drop the temperatures - keep warm layers on board, even in summer.
  • Keep Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) on board for all passengers. State law requires all children under 10 to wear a PFD at all times. 
  • Bring a VHF-FM two-way marine radio and a compass for communication and navigation. 
  • Do not drink and boat. The state of Minnesota and the US Coast Guard are cracking down on BUIs (Boating Under the Influence). Licenses and registrations are necessary.
  • Prevent aquatic invasives. Make sure to check your boat before you launch and after your time on the water.

Boating on Lake Superior is a big responsibility. Remember you can always enjoy a truly beautiful day on the water by hopping on a charter navigated by seasoned Lake Superior mariners.

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