Lake City boasts that it’s the birthplace of waterskiing. The key factors in making the sport possible—25,000-acre Lake Pepin and the length of the Mississippi—provided enough space and distance for a strong motor to go fast enough to pull a skier upright.
Lake Pepin still draws hundreds of boating enthusiasts, who made the Lake City Marina the largest one along the Mississippi. Visitors shouldn’t miss a scenic stroll along the harbor and sandy beach, within walking distance of downtown. Look for casual restaurants such as Rhythm and Brew and colorful Chickadee Cottage Cafe, or splurge on upscale seasonal dinners at Nosh, which also serves stellar sunset views of the marina.
Pop into The Pearl Button Factory antiques shop to see the pearly clams that were once made into luminous buttons before being replaced by plastic. Want more history? Pearl of the Lake, a replica paddle wheeler, takes passengers on 90-minute tours throughout the summer.
If you visit in late summer or fall, don't miss Pepin Heights Orchard for their explosively juicy SweeTango apples, another delicious Minnesota invention.