Water Sports Galore in the Willmar Lakes Area

By Bailey Hovland


Some drone action over Green Lake, showcasing a peaceful day out on the water.

In the land of 10,000 lakes, Kandiyohi County is home to over 100 of these beautiful bodies of freshwater. And when summer comes, that’s exactly where Minnesotans, Kandiyohi County residents included, go whenever they get the chance. Whether it’s escaping to a lake cabin for a weekend or going for an evening cruise around Lake Florida, Willmar Lakes Area residents know that being at the lake is the best place to be on a summer day.

There’s so much to do at the lake. You can sit
by the campfire and toast a s’more, maybe even light up the grill to flip some burgers. Or, for the restless and adventurous soul, you can try out water sports. As a big part of Minnesotan lake culture, water sports range from leisurely paddling a kayak around the lake to jumping across the wake on a wakeboard. There’s limitless possibilities to what you can do out on the lake, but here are just a few of our suggestions.

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A little oasis hides under some lo-hanging branches on George Lake.

Kayaking is a water sport that suits all ages and activity levels. You can race along the lakeshore to get your morning cardio in as the sun rises or hop in a double kayak with a special someone and make it a little date. Kayaks can be a little tricky to get into, but if you can recruit a family member or friend with a steady hand to hold the boat while you clamor in, you’re good to go. Once on the water, make even strokes with your double-sided paddle and the kayak will glide effortlessly across the surface. You can make your way around the islands of Nest Lake, recreate your own version of House Hunting: Lake Edition as you sail around the shores of Green Lake, or find hidden oasis under low hanging branches of trees. The adventure is up to you.

Paddle boarding is one or two steps up from kayaking, taking more concentration and balance since you’re standing instead of sitting. The easiest way to climb aboard is to top your paddleboard in the water right off the dock, and step down from the dock onto the board. It’ll take a few small, well-placed steps to get settled, but once you’re on the paddle board you can get to exploring. Once again, you can choose your own adventure as you paddle across the lake water or have a go at paddle boarding yoga. From the empowering warrior pose to the ever-relaxing child’s pose, paddleboard yoga puts a twist on classic yoga. Instead of a studio, you get the gorgeous lakeshore as your zen setting. And if you fall, there’ll be no bumps and bruises, just a splashy landing where you’re certain to get wet.


Wakeboarding into the sunset on Green Lake (photo courtesy of Grant and Elise Duininck).

If paddleboard yoga doesn’t quite meet the amount of thrill that you’re seeking, wake-boarding and wake surfing might be your next water adventure. Both water sports require boats that can create pretty big wakes, so your grandpa’s old skipper might not do the trick. Wake-boarding is similar to snowboarding in the sense that you strap your feet onto a board and lean back to keep your balance as you get going. Once you’re up, you can make your way on and off the wake, maybe even trying a few jumps if you’re feeling risky. Wake surfing is a lot like regular surfing, except there’s no way a shark is lurking under the water if you fall. To get up, you sit in the water and lean back with your feet on top of the board. Then, you bend your knees and hold on tight as the boat pulls you up. Now you too can hang loose and shred some waves.

Whether you’re staying at the brand new Hampton Inn on Green Lake or renting a small cabin out at George Lake, there are plenty of things to do on the lake. You can take the family out on a fleet of kayaks for the day or spend a few afternoon hours soaking in the sun on your wakeboard. Either way, water sports are a great way to spend a day in the Willmar Lakes Area.

Fish our lakes

The possibilities are endless on our 30 recreational lakes…boating, swimming, fishing, water skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, hydro biking, paddle boarding and so much more!

Fishing Report

Explore our Trails

Surrounded by beautiful lakes and scenery…who wouldn’t take a hike or a leisurely bike ride to enjoy the view? With miles of trials to choose from, you can always find new places to explore.

Trail Report