Water Activities

Since Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” it's no surprise that ample opportunities to enjoy the water await you in heart of Southern Minnesota.

Greater Mankato, in particular, has a number of fantastic options for you to get outside and make waves. Whether you like paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, boating or opting for quick swim or a splash of fun, Greater Mankato’s stellar reputation with outdoor enthusiasts is well earned.

Pools & Splash Pads
Looking for more options to make a splash? Not only does Greater Mankato have great lakes, rivers and ponds to enjoy, but we also offer a great splash pad and water parks as well!

Open from June through August, Tourtellotte Pool offers a more traditional and inviting city swimming pool experience for your family. Featuring an Olympic-sized pool, with both a diving well and heated wading pool, you can take advantage of the general and lap swim times as well as family nights for a small fee. The facility is outdoors, staffed by lifeguards and has concessions available for purchase. If you’d like to hang around the pool a little longer or celebrate a birthday or special occasion, the pool has fully-equipped picnic shelters and other outdoor activities on-site.

Located next to the west parking lot of Caswell Park next to the Fallenstein Playground, the 4,500 square foot splash pad with a spray area covering about 2,800 feet of fun for the whole family. 

Spring Lake Park features the newest swimming pool with a lot of bells and whistles including a zip line, climbing wall and a shallow play area for the tots.  

Rivers

Blue Earth County boasts more river shore than any other county in Minnesota. Greater Mankato’s two largest rivers are the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers. Both offer several must-see stopping points. While traveling down the Minnesota River, you’ll be able to see the incredible Silo Art mural. 

If you want more of a thrill ride, try the Blue Earth River. Between rapids, stop at Devils Gulch, a narrow, mossy-covered ravine along the riverbanks; Triple Falls, with three separate platforms and impressive height; and don’t forget Big Moe, a glacier boulder in the middle of the river, for photos or a picnic. 

Not equipped or need help finding these local gems along the river? Contact our local outfitter, Bent River Outfitter, to get a guided trip down the rivers, or rentals. 

Mankato has several spots to launch your kayak or canoe in the river, both in town and just outside of town. You can go for a short or long trip—whichever you prefer.

  • Sibley Park 
  • Land of Memories 
  • Kiwanis Recreation Area
  • Bike Trail & Skills Park 
  • Riverfront Park 
  • Seven Mile Creek Park 
  • County Road 10 & 16 Bridge
  • Red Jacket Trail Park
wander the map touring minneopa state park
Waterfalls

If you love waterfalls, you are in luck with our area featuring some of the best waterfalls in the state. These natural landmarks are a stunning sight to see all year round, especially during the springtime rainy season following the winter thaw where the water flows the strongest as it cascades over the rocky landscape.

The word Minneopa means water falling twice in the Dakota language, which is perfect considering the incredible double waterfall that can be found at Minneopa State Park with trails to hike along the bluffs or down to the bottom of the waterfall.

On the other side the Minnesota River just outside of North Mankato along Judson Bottom Road is the beautiful 42-foot Minnemishinona Falls with a scenic overlook. The best viewing of these falls can be experienced during the rainy seasons

Madison Lake's Duck Lake at Sunset
Lakes & Ponds
Since Minnesota is known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” it is no surprise that ample opportunities to enjoy the water await you to get outside and make some waves. There are more than 150 lakes within a 30 minutes of Greater Mankato. Check out some of the local and visitor favorites.

Located on the north side of town, Hiniker Pond is a natural retreat in Mankato, perfect for a day of family fishing and swimming. The 55-acre park is home to a 28-acre spring-fed pond with outstanding water quality. The sandy beach, open from 9 a.m. to sunset during the summer, draws a crowd looking for an outdoor respite and room to relax and spread out. You can fish from the handicapped-accessible pier, picnic with friends or family, or take a peaceful stroll through the trails. The pond also has a shelter that can be reserved for a dedicated space. 

Located 2.5 miles southwest of Mankato city limits, the Red Jacket Valley Park is a scenic area designed for canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, hiking, and picnicking. There is a beach area on the south side of the pond and wooded walking trails throughout the park. The pond contains sunfish, crappies, perch, and northern for some fun fishing. Across the road is access to the Le Sueur River, Red Jacket Trail and Red Jacket Trestle Bridge. 

Not only does Spring Lake Park feature a wonderful swim facility, but it also features a lake ideal for fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Additionally, two playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, ball fields, a walking trail and picnic shelters add endless hours of outdoor family fun. 

Just a quick jaunt down the road from Duck Lake is another great location to launch your boat and cast a line for some, perch, walleye, northern, bass and more! 

This popular day-use park offers volleyball, picnicking, swimming, boat launching, a playground area and great fishing for crappies, sunfish, walleye, northerns, and bass. 

This small day-use park, which is about 3.5 miles northeast of the City of Madison Lake, offers great recreation with a picnic area, swimming beach, boat launch, playground area and fishing dock to catch large-mouth bass, northern, crappies, and sunfish. 

Slightly smaller and farther northeast than Lake Washington and Madison Lake, Lake Jefferson offers water enthusiasts opportunities for swimming, boating, skiing, paddle boarding, and other outdoor activities. The lake is known to anglers as a spot that is populated with a plentiful amount of bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye. 

Situated approximately 10 miles northeast of Mankato, Lake Washington is the largest lake in the area. Residents and visitors alike flock to this beautiful body of water for fishing and water sports of all kinds like paddle boarding and jet skiing. Fishermen, in particular, are drawn here because of the plentiful crappies, bass, northern pike, and walleye. Camping and picnic spots are available as well. 

Less than 15 miles east of Mankato, Madison Lake is best known for fishing, swimming, and boating. Bray Park features camping, a fishing dock, swim beaches, and kayak and paddle board rentals. Quaint shops and restaurants offer an enticing distraction away from the heat.