With 11,842 lakes in Minnesota, how do you decide which one to explore? I’m extremely grateful for my friends, Craig and Cindy, as I didn’t have to make that tough decision. They recently invited me to join them at their cabin during their annual family getaway on Lake Osakis – a place they’ve returned to every year for the past two decades. This hidden gem is one of Minnesota’s top lakes to get away from it all.
And I can see why they return to Lake Osakis, Minnesota every year. It’s not crowded, it’s quiet, relaxing, and offers a lot of fun recreational activities. One of Minnesota’s top hidden gems of a lake, Lake Osakis, is also conveniently located a relatively short drive northeast of the Twin Cities (a little over two hours).
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I only stayed overnight, but absolutely fell in love with the charming small town and the beautiful Lake Osakis.
Kayaking on Lake Osakis, Minnesota
Where is Lake Osakis?
Located nine miles east of Alexandria, small-town Osakis has a population of 1,740, which does not include visitors who come to fish, boat, paddleboard, kayak and jet ski on the 6,269-acre Lake Osakis.
Things to do in Lake Osakis
I believe 99% of all Minnesota cabins include at least one Moose motif.
Downtown Osakis, Minnesota
Jacobs Lefse Bakeri & Gifts | Osakis, Minn.
Absolutely loved this charming bakery and gift shop in small-town Osakis, where their specialty is lefse – a Norwegian potato bread with cinnamon and sugar.
When I heard their lefse was the best in the state, I had to check it out. It’s quite possibly the best lefse in the world. Check out my recent blog post on the top 9 places to get your sugar fix in Minnesota.
The bakery also features a cute gift shop where they sell lefse to make at home, Nordic sweets, jewelry, handbags, crafts and more.
Tip Top Dairy Bar
For more than 60 years, the iconic Tip Top Dairy Bar has served the lakes region in Osakis. They must be doing something right.
It’s been voted the best ice cream of Minnesota so I had to check it out, of course. Such a quaint place where tourists and locals alike go not only for the desserts, but also for a meal (I had a vanilla shake and chili cheese dog – something I haven’t indulged in for years…very tasty!). And friendly and fast service!
Top things to do in Osakis, Minnesota: Bike and hiking trails
In downtown Osakis, near the lake, you can find the Central Lakes State Trail, a former Burlington Northern Railroad line. It’s 55 miles and runs through 3 counties and 10 communities. And if you’re a Garrison Keillor fan, you can bike or hike the 65-mile Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. It’s also open for snowmobiles in the winter.
Top things to do in Osakis, Minnesota: Panther Distillery
Big Ole, Alexander, Minnesota – a short road trip from Lake Osakis
My visit to Osakis was much too short so am looking forward to returning soon. If you plan to stay at one of the Lake Osakis resorts (or anywhere in Minnesota), make your reservations early. Sometimes they book a year in advance.