Whether you are fishing a Minneapolis lake or paddling down Minnehaha Creek, we offer boat and canoe launches and canoe racks throughout the park system.
MN Watercraft License
While you do not need an MPRB permit for your watercraft, all bona fide boat owners are required to have a current Minnesota Watercraft License from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Visit the MN DNR website to register your watercraft online or find registration locations.
The waiting period for licenses is 3-4 weeks.
You may only use electric trolling motors on Minneapolis city lakes and you do not need a permit. However, we do not allow gas powered motors. If you have a gas powered motor on your boat, it must be propped up and out of the water.
Boat Launch Locations
Public boat launches provide the public easy boat and watercraft access to many of our lakes and the Mississippi River.
- Boom Island
- Bde Maka Ska – At the Refectory
- Lake Harriet – East of the Band Shell
- Lake Nokomis – South of the main beach on the west side
- North Mississippi – At the Camden Launch off Soo Line Ave
View a map of boat launch locations [PDF] throughout the park system.
2019 Boat Launch AIS Inspection Hours
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) inspections are done May 1 – December 1 by DNR trained AIS inspectors during the following hours. The public boat launches are locked during non-launch hours.
May 1 – September 15
Daily: 6 am–10 pm
September 16 – October 14
Daily: 6 am–9 pm
October 15 – November 3
Daily: 7 am–8 pm, Inspector On-Call*
November 4 – December 1
Daily: 8 am–6 pm, Inspector On-Call*
*On-Call Program (October 15 – December 1)
During our fall on-call inspection program please call the following numbers to get an inspection.
- Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun): 612-346-5547
- Lake Harriet: 612-346-5433
- Lake Nokomis: 612-346-5428
Boat launches will be open for each boater who calls for entry and exit inspections. Wait time is generally less than 10 minutes. Appointments not accepted. Boaters not exiting the lake by closing time must secure their boat and return for it the next day.
Canoe Launch Locations
- Brownie Lake
- Cedar Lake – Northwest corner
- Bde Maka Ska
- Lake of the Isles
- Minnehaha Creek (designated launches*):
- Humboldt Ave. and West Minnehaha Pkwy. on the SW bank (south of Lynnhurst Community Center South bank)
- Lake Longfellow Lagoon (Minnehaha Parkway and Longfellow Gardens)
- Lake Nokomis
- Canoes can also be set in the water at the boat launches.
Canoe and Kayak Storage Racks
Canoe and kayak storage racks are located on Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, Lake Nokomis, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake. Canoe rack permits are issued annually. Visit Rentals and Permits for canoe rack rental information.
*Thanks to the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District for funding the canoe dock improvements in 2008. For more information about canoe opportunities on Minnehaha Creek visit www.minnehahacreek.org.
All boats, watercraft and watercraft equipment entering and exiting from the public boat launches on Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis require inspections for AIS. Canoes and kayaks entering the water from storage racks, or watercraft carried over the shoreline at other access points do not require an inspection. Launches are closed when AIS inspectors are not on site.
Visit the Invasive Species section to learn more about AIS in Minneapolis lakes.
Paddleboats, canoes, and kayaks are available for rental at Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis. Visit Rentals and Permits for watercraft rental information.
Sailboat Buoys are available on Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet and Lake Nokomis. Sailboat buoy permits are issued annually. Visit Rentals and Permits for sailboat buoy rental information.