The Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Lake Battle: Which Side Are You On?


Camping at a Lake in Minnesota or Wisconsin

It’s been a hot topic this summer here around Duluth, and maybe you’ve been privy to the debate — which state has more lakes: Wisconsin or Minnesota? 

If you’re a Minnesota lake-goer, you may be shocked that this is even a question! After all, Minnesota has been known as “Land of 10,000 Lakes” pretty much since the beginning of time. 

So, why are Wisconsinites suddenly trying to claim the title?


What Started This?

You can thank Wisconsin’s new Tourism Secretary Sara Meaney for the sudden outburst between the neighboring states.

“Wisconsin, many people may not be aware, actually has 15,000 freshwater lakes,” she stated during a May 2019 appearance on WTMJ radio. “More than Minnesota,” she continued. “Absolutely. We win. We win.”

Minnesotans, is your blood boiling? Wisconsinites, is it nice to have a win for once? (We’ve all seen the Packers play in recent years.)

Well, before we get too carried away, let’s get to the bottom of this! Which states actually has more lakes — Minnesota or Wisconsin?


What Defines a Lake?

First, we have to know what a lake is. Is it any body of water that fits a kayak? Must it have a name? Can it be man-made?

Well, this is exactly where the problem lies. Minnesota and Wisconsin have differing definitions on what makes a lake. 

In Minnesota, a lake is a body of water greater than ten acres. That comes to 11,482 lakes in the Minnesota Public Water Inventory.

Wisconsin, however, holds a much looser definition, calling many bodies of water a “lake.” In fact, thousands are less than ten acres, and 60% don’t have a name. Using Minnesota’s standards for lake criteria, Wisconsin has only 5,898 lakes.

What Do You Think?

Unfortunately, the U.S. Geological Survey doesn’t define what a lake is, merging lakes and ponds into the same category. That means Minnesota’s standards only have validity in Minnesota.

So, since we’re back to square one, we’re going to let YOU decide. Customers come from all over Minnesota and Wisconsin for new fifth-wheels, travel trailers, and more, so we’re sure you have an opinion! 

Settle the debate, Bullyan RV customers: which state has more lakes?

Which state has more lakes?

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