Detroit Lake, Minnesota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Detroit Lake MN — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Detroit Lake MN cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Detroit Lake MN

Minnesota’s Detroit Lake offers visitors an impressive number of things to do, both in and out of the water. The lake offers 3,067 acres of year-round enjoyment, including fishing, wind surfing, water skiing, jet skiing, snowmobiling, golfing, and wildlife viewing. Resorts, real estate, and private vacation rentals alongside the lake’s 12 miles of shoreline provide a place to stay while Detroit Lake provides the rest of the entertainment.

Detroit Lake is found in Becker County, Minnesota’s northwest tourism region, among towering trees and a steady growth of wildlife in the state parks surrounding the area. The lake has a maximum depth of 89 feet, as anglers probe the waters with fishing line in the early hours. Andrenaline-junkies are seen skittering across the lake’s surface atop wakeboards, water skis, or jet skis. However, Detroit Lake also offers quieter areas for the solitary kayaker and canoeist.

Pelican River flows from the north into Detroit Lake, exiting the lake at its western tip. The lake is connected to other bodies of water by way of Pelican River, which travels 80 miles before joining with other rivers to the north. A lock and dam system used to be in place near Detroit Lake to allow boat traffic, such as steamboats, through the river corridors in the late 1800s, but over the years the system fell into disrepair. Rock rapids are now used instead of locks and dams to maintain water levels and to allow fish to pass through the river corridors.

Not to be confused with Detroit Lake itself, the city of Detroit Lakes flourishes under a steady flow of tourism throughout the year. Visitors and locals stay busy with outdoor music festivals and family carnivals in the summer, while also bundling up in the winter to take part in ice fishing and curling (similar to shuffleboard on ice). Hundreds of lakes surround the Detroit Lakes area, each offering its own version of peaceful paradise.

Over a century ago, 100-pound sturgeon lurked beneath Detroit Lake’s depths, creating quite the battle when reeled in. Due to overfishing and a decline in water quality, these water giants declined steadily in numbers until an effort to reverse the effects was put into motion. Now, lake sturgeon have been reintroduced, though there are restrictions against harvesting the species until they are mature — approximately 15 to 25 years. Anglers today still find themselves reeling in other large fish species such as muskies measuring over 50 inches long and weighing over 30 pounds. Walleye, bluegill, largemouth bass, black crappie and northern pike have also been hooked by anglers.

Not far from Detroit Lake are a number of picturesque outdoor settings providing just the right environment for a day of solitude. Looking for camping? Head an hour northeast to hit Itasca State Park, with over 32,000 acres for pitching your tent underneath the stars. Only 25 minutes to the south of Detroit Lake is Maplewood State Park, where maple trees offer a dazzling sight during their autumnal metamorphosis. The park has horseback riding, mountain hiking and hiking trails in the warmer months, but keeps the activities moving in the winter with groomed snowmobiling trails.

For wildlife buffs, the call of the wild is as close as the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, a quick 18 miles northeast of Detroit Lake. Over 250 bird species avail themselves to curious eyes. Trumpeter swans, bald eagles and ruffed grouses are just a few avian species which can be seen. Larger wildlife found in the safety of the refuge include moose, black bears, porcupines, and the ever-alert timber wolves.

Exploring the city of Detroit Lakes is easy, since it is within walking distance of the northern portion of the lake. Playhouses and theaters offer cultural and historic entertainment during the day, making it simple to catch a bite to eat in one of the many diverse downtown restaurants. Or make a day of seeking out fiberglass sunfish, 50 of which were made by local artists and are scattered throughout the city.

Detroit Lake is never found lacking in quality entertainment. So, try your hand at something new this year, be it wind surfing, snowmobiling or camping out alone in the woods filled with wildlife.

Things to Do at Detroit Lake MN

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Detroit Lake MN

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sturgeon
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Find Places to Stay at Detroit Lake MN

If you’re considering a Detroit Lake MN lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Detroit Lake MN Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Detroit Lake MN lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Detroit Lake MN Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 3,067 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,334 feet

Maximum Depth: 89 feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

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