Population (2010)



Big Lake is one of the communities on the exurban fringe of the Twin Cities metro area; visitors will find a couple of reasons to pull off the highway, especially if you like craft beer.

Visitor Information

Direct your questions to the Big Lake Chamber of Commerce (763.263.7800).


Early settlers in the area, arriving as early as 1847 included several Vermonters and other New Englanders. Joseph Brown was among that early group; he built a home on Big Lake that he called Humboldt that served as the county seat from 1856 to 1865. The park and pavilion at Big Lake was a popular retreat for tourists in the 1920s and 1930s who wanted a quick vacation. Almost from the beginning, Big Lake residents described their town as a community of commuters, although today’s highways make the trip easier than yesterday’s trails.

Entertainment and Events

Farmers Market

Big Lake hosts a farmers market on Wednesday afternoons from early June through September at Lakeside Park (101 Lakeshore Dr.).


Since 1972, residents of Big Lake have been coming together in late June for Spud Fest, an event that also raises money for youth recreation programs; events include a talent contest, bingo, parade, live music, fireworks, and a potato pancake breakfast.

**Big Lake is covered in the Headwaters Region Guide; other places in northern Minnesota are covered in Road Tripping Along the Great River Road, Vol. 1. Click the links above for more. Disclosure: This website may be compensated for linking to other sites or for sales of products we link to.

Where to Eat and Drink

Sample craft beer at the Lupulin Brewing tap room (570 Humboldt Dr.; 763.263.9549); at any given time they could have 10 or more beers to choose from.

Getting There

The Northstar Line commuter rail (612.373.3333) runs trains from Big Lake (198th Ave. and County Road 43 NW) to downtown Minneapolis (ending at Target Field), with stops in several river towns (Elk River, Anoka, Coon Rapids, and Fridley); riding the entire distance takes about 50 minutes.

Where to Go Next

Heading upriver? Check out Becker.

Heading downriver? Check out Elk River.

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©Dean Klinkenberg, 2015