By Water

With more than 132,500 acres of water, you’ll have plenty of room to swim, splash, and fish on Lake Mille Lacs—but the area’s rivers and smaller lakes also offer scenic views of wildlife and their habitats, as well as history and culture.

Lake Mille Lacs

Lake Mille Lacs Water Trail

Paddle your way around the lake! Explore bays, islands, wildlife sanctuaries, and state parks. Break up your 75-mile journey by staying overnight at one of the many lakeside resorts and lodges.


Spirit and Hennepin Islands (Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge)

Established in 1915, the one-half acre of Spirit and Hennepin islands makes up the smallest wildlife refuge in the country—the Mille Lacs National Wildlife Refuge. It’s also one of only four Common Tern nesting colonies in Minnesota.

Rum River

A Minnesota State Wild, Scenic, and Recreational River, the Rum River is perfect for paddling or boating for all skill levels. The Rum River takes you through scenic woodlands and wetlands where you can see plenty of wildlife, rare plant species, and sometimes a part of history—thousands-of-year-old Native American artifacts have been found throughout the area.