7.5 out of 10

Prior Lake

44.7147214747511 -93.4424309037872
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Childcare
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Medical Facilities
Who lives here?
  • No ratings yet


Jim Berg Jim Berg PRO
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5

"Great Lake Community with Cool History!"

If you live in Prior Lake, chances are good there's a neighborhood park not too far away. Community parks like Lakefront, the Ponds, Ryan and Memorial get a lot of the attention, and rightfully so; but residents also love the smaller parks.

In the Prior Lake park and trail system, there are 38 neighborhood parks with assorted amenities such as picnic shelters, ball fields, play equipment, trails and basketball courts.
There are also several natural resource parks, where outdoor enthusiasts can go to get away amid the wonders of nature.

The City of Prior Lake operates two swimming beaches on Prior Lake for the public to enjoy. Sand Point Beach and Watzl's Point Beach offer sandy beaches and designated swim areas.

The beaches typically are open Memorial Day through Labor Day, depending on the weather and staffing.

A "Cool" History...

Covered by ancient seas, the area of what is now Minnesota emerged during a period of general uplifting nearly 100 million years ago. About 70 million years ago a deep valley started to be eroded into this emerged land. The valley gradually widened until it included the present upper and lower Prior Lake, Spring Lake, southwest to Lake Sutton and beyond. The sandstone was eroded to 350 feet beneath the present lake.

During the Ice Age, the glaciers filled in this ancient valley. Compaction left a long depression where the present lakes were formed. Much of the topography of the Prior Lake area was created by the most recent of the ice sheets.

As this glacier melted, vast amounts of melt water and glacial deposits left behind formed the land forms we now see around us -- including Prior Lake. This glacial debris included many large rocks, called erratics, including the “Big Rock” called Tun-Can by the Indians, in the northwest part of Prior Lake as well as most of those decorative granite rocks that we see in many of our front yards.

From 1870 to the 1920s there was little growth in Prior Lake. It was primarily a farming community that attracted summer residents along its shores and at the Grainwood Hotel. The 1920s to 1950s saw Prior Lake as a typical small American town experiencing the major events surrounding two World Wars. From World War II to 1960, Prior Lake experienced moderate growth with the lake being a major recreational facility. From 1960 to present, Prior Lake experienced great growth, becoming a suburban/bedroom community with the lake and Hwy. 13 development as the greatest catalyst for growth.

It's a wonderful community to live and work!
  • Offering Over 54 Parks, 100 miles of Trail
  • Wonderful Native Americal History
  • Fun at the Casinos!
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5

"Great place for a family"

Prior Lake is a fun place to live. Not only are you close to Upper and Lower Prior Lake which has great fishing, boating, and swimming in the summer, but there are also a few great parks.
Lakefront park has just about everything. They have a beach with nice bathroom facilities to use in the summer as well as good walking trails (we love taking our dog out here), a large playground for the kids, a fishing pier, and a skate park! This is a great place you can take the whole family to and please everyone. In the winter they have a skating rink as well as a great hill to go sledding on. They also have the Lakefront Music Fest in the summer with acts like Bret Michaels and Montgomery Gentry.
Just down the road from Prior Lake there is the Murphy Hanrehan park reserve where you can do some hiking, horse back riding, and mountain biking among other things.
If you like golfing there is The Wilds golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. It is a beautiful course at a reasonable price.
If you have kids and are interested in the school systems Prior Lake is well known for rating high among almost all of their schools. You can send your kids to the elementary, middle, and high schools comfortable in knowing that they are getting a good education.
Prior Lake is the kind of place you go where everyone takes care of their homes and yards. When we lived there we loved taking our dogs and daughter for walks around the neighborhood or Lakefront Park. People were generally friendly and would wave or say hi. There were a lot of kids in our neighborhood as well as parks. There were plenty of restaurants close enough that if we didn't feel like cooking we didn't have to go very far to get something good. Overall Prior Lake was a fun place to live especially those with a family. I would definitely recommend this city to anyone looking.

"Prior Lake Real Estate"

Prior Lake

Prior Lake is a developing suburb in Scott County, Minnesota. While it is among the oldest cities that have been absorbed by suburban development, some parts of the area are still included in the Shakopee-Mdewakanton Indian Reservation.

If projections are realized, Prior Lake will become a fully-developed city by 2030 with over 40,000 residents; almost triple the estimated population of the city as of the 2000 Census.

The growth in the city’s population coupled by increasing opportunities both in the commercial and industrial sectors is expected to also contribute to its development as a full community.

Population Profile

Prior Lake has a population count of 15,917 people and 4,386 families as of the 2000 Census. A great majority of the residents or 94.53% are Whites followed by Native Americans (2.08%), Asians (.94%) and those from other races. The average population is generally young with an average age of 33 years.

The $75,363 average income for every household as well as the $81,011 income for every family is quite high. It is also good to note that only 3.6% of the total population is living below the poverty line.


Much of Prior Lake’s history goes back to the glaciers during the Ice Age. These ice sheets left a huge amount of glacial deposits that formed into landed areas including the area now known as Prior Lake. Prior Lake residents have grown familiar with granite rocks, remnants of this period and which now decorate their yards.

The American Indians were the first settlers of Prior Lake and this is depicted in the effigies (showing five huge hawks with wide wings that are over 150 feet long) that were found along the burial mounds in the area called Mdemayaton or Prior Lake.

The big rock or Tun-Can referred to by the early American Indians had a significant connection to their religious beliefs and practices thousands of years ago. The Tun-Can even played a great role in community formation as most of them venerated the stone.

Prior Lake was originally known as Long Lake but was changed to Prior Lake to honor Charles Prior, one of the owners of the land where a railroad line was built. The building of a railroad meant a lot for the area since it hastened growth and development.

The construction of the railroad was followed by the survey of the Prior Lake village n 1875. Five years after, Prior Lake’s economy showed promise with the building of the first flour and feed mill, the first general store, the first newspaper, a blacksmith shop and even two saloons. The opening of Grainwood House in 1879 signaled the rise of Prior Lake’s economy albeit only a few locals were employed in this resort.

Prior Lake Village was incorporated as early as 1891 but it was only in the 1900 when it had its first telephone connection and in 1917 its electricity. Wells and pumps used to be the main sources of water in the area until the Village Council planned the installation of a city water works in 1937.

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