96.7 The River logo
Get our free mobile app

Sure, Minnesota may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes but is it really true that we have more shoreline than the entire state of California?

I have to confess my curiosity about Minnesota and its 10,000 Lakes probably stems from my having grown up and lived in Wisconsin for my entire life before moving here nearly 10 years ago.


But Wisconsin has more lakes than Minnesota right?  Not so fast.

Not so fast. If you're not familiar, many Wisconsinites, and I used to be one of them, believe -- falsely -- that Wisconsin actually has MORE lakes than Minnesota. THIS story shows why that's not true-- because Minnesota defines a lake as a body of water 10 acres or bigger. Wisconsin doesn't, and also counts 'flowages' (wide, shallow parts of rivers) as lakes. But using the 10-acre minimum, Minnesota definitely has more lakes.

Okay, so what about Minnesota vs California?

Forget Wisconsin, though. Because when I first moved here, I remember seeing a commercial for Minnesota's official state division of tourism, Explore Minnesota, around the same time I moved here that claimed Minnesota had more shoreline than CALIFORNIA does. Check it out:

So, it must be true, right? I mean, Explore Minnesota wouldn't have used that line in their commercial if it was false, right? I was satisfied with that answer, but according to this MPR News story, Minnesota native Chris Finke wasn't.


A fellow Minnesotan writes a special program to find the answer.

Seeing as he's a computer programmer, he set about writing a program that compiled that shoreline of both states. That's right, he computed the shoreline of ALL of Minnesota's lakes (which actually total 11,842, not 10,000) and compared them to California's shoreline total from lakes, plus the Pacific Ocean as well.

And, as Chris found out, Minnesota DOES have more shoreline than California! Check out the math, according to MPR: Minnesota had a total of 44,926 miles of shoreline, all consisting of lakeshore. California, on the other hand, had 35,477 miles of shoreline, a majority coming from lakeshore (3,427 miles were from ocean shores).

So, even though it seems a little tough to wrap your head around, given that California's entire west coast borders the Pacific Ocean, Minnesota DOES have more shoreline than the Golden State. (And more lakes than Wisconsin too.)

If you want to get out and take a look at some of those 10,000 lakes, checking out one of Minnesota's 75 state parks and recreation areas is a great place to do it. And this Saturday, April 24th, you can get in for free! So keep scrolling to check out the 6 state parks closest to Rochester!

Listen to Curt St. John mornings from 6 to 10 on Quick Country 96.5
and afternoons from 2 to 6 on 103.9 The Doc

The 6 State Parks Closest to Rochester (Where You Can Get in Free This Saturday 4/24)

Minnesota's state parks and rec areas are offering free admission Saturday, April 24th, so here are the 6 closest parks to Rochester

More From 96.7 The River