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There’s truly something for everyone in the Midwest boating scene, whether you’re looking for a more upscale feel or you want to get away from it all. With so many standout lakes to choose from, this list was difficult to narrow down. Thanks to their unique qualities and geography, we had to give these five lakes the edge. Let’s do a deep dive on the top five lake destinations for your Axis in the Midwest. 

Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

One of the most glamorous lakes in the United States, Lake Minnetonka is home to gorgeous real estate and some serious wakesurf talent. While not technically a chain, the sprawling lake feels that way with its multiple bays. Although it can get crazy on the weekends, early mornings and late afternoons always seem to offer a bay with glassy water. When you’re ready to relax, check out Lord Fletcher’s for a bite or pull up to Big Island for some socializing. So go ahead, purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. 

Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri

If you’ve seen the show, it’s nothing like that. Lake of the Ozarks is a massive reservoir located in central Missouri, bristling with picturesque coves just waiting to accommodate your next wake session. The lake curves in every direction, so you can almost always find a finger with calm water. Whether you’re looking for a vacation rental, camp, or resort, or just want to enjoy the outdoors, Lake of the Ozarks has something for everyone. While busier during the summer months, the shoulder season provides a little more solitude. With a history of tourism as long as Lake of the Ozarks has, this summer playground is built up enough to offer lakeside pool parties, but still secluded enough that you can always find a quiet cove.

Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri

Located in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, Bull Shoals is another reservoir with hundreds of arms extending out. With a more rugged, undeveloped shoreline and fewer people, it’s easier to get away from civilization and enjoy uninterrupted family time. On the right day, you can run for miles on glassy water without seeing another boat. From aquatic caves to cliff jumping and even scuba diving, there are plenty of activities, and Bull Shoals has some of the cleanest, clearest water in the Midwest. 

Gull Lake, Minnesota

Located in Northern Minnesota near Brainerd, Gull Lake transforms from a frozen tundra with a famous ice fishing contest in the winter to a vacation destination with plenty of North Woods fun to offer in the summer. The area manages to pull off the vacation vibe without spilling over into touristy, and it’s largely thanks to the pristine lakes. Gull Lake is the largest of the chain, and between the eight lakes, there are plenty of great riding spots as well as resorts and sandbars.  

Okoboji Lakes, Iowa

Right on the border of Minnesota and Iowa, Okoboji is part of the “Iowa Great Lakes,” which is a chain of six lakes. Spring-fed, Okoboji boasts exceptional water quality and clarity. With the scarcity of lakes in the area, Okoboji gets a lot of use—particularly in mid-summer and on holidays—so plan your trip accordingly. Tie-ups are almost legendary, but there are always early mornings and late afternoons for calm water. 

Knowing the season is shorter than some places, Midwesterners always go all out when it comes to boating. So, regardless of where you visit in the mid-west, we know you’re up for an unforgettable road trip. Ready to take your rig to the next level? Visit our Build A Boat tool or contact your local dealer to build your custom Axis and get on the road!

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Contact your local dealer to schedule your on-the-water demo & join the Axis Wake Movement. You’ll be glad you did.