Chippewa and Sioux legends hold, in varying accounts, that two lovers were attacked by a white bear on Manitou Island. In a fight to the death, the brave killed the bear, but both lovers were mortally wounded, and they perished. It is said that the spirits of the lovers and the bear haunt the island to this day. Great American author Mark Twain's account, in his "Life on the Mississippi" memoir, claims that the lovers did not die, but killed the white bear just in time. In the end, the tribes celebrated the white bear's fierce spirit. Today, that spirit lives on in the lake and community of White Bear Lake.
White Bear Lake's long history is one with many chapters. From its earlier settlement by the Dakota and the Ojibwe to later settlement by European migrants, soon White Bear Lake established a reputation as a resort town. Vacationers came by steamboat, then by train, once the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad extension came in 1868. To this day, White Bear Lake continues to attract travelers who'd like to get away to a cool, relaxing summer destination by the lake.
You don't have to get on the railroad anymore to get to White Bear Lake. It's easily accessible via five interstate routes and state highways. The town of just over 20,000 in population is also the headquarters of Smarte Carte baggage cart company, and International Paper has recently opened a facility in the area. Century College is also located here. Come for business or pleasure, and you'll soon see why White Bear Lake has been Minnesota's vacation resort area of choice for over a hundred years.
When to Visit White Bear Lake, MN
White Bear Lake comes alive in the warmer months, from mid-June to Independence Day. These weeks are known as Manitou Days, starting with Marketfest on Thursday nights, and ending with Independence Day food and fireworks at West Park and Memorial Beach. In between, you can't miss the Grand Parade through downtown White Bear Lake, culminating with the traditional Beach Dance at Memorial Beach.
On the weekend following Independence Day, the weekly farmer's market resumes. Each Friday morning, more than fifty local vendors bring their jams, jellies, cheeses, produce, and wares in a bountiful spread that is sure to entice. The market runs through early October.
There's also a Marketfest held each Thursday in downtown White Bear Lake, from mid-June to mid-July. This family-friendly festival is packed with vendors, food, and music performances on two stages.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in White Bear Lake, MN:
White Bear Lake by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean price trends by star rating class in White Bear Lake, MN. You can use these charts to determine the cheapest time period to book a room in White Bear Lake for any future trips.
Luxury Hotel Options in White Bear Lake, MN
4 Star Average Prices: $144.77
Just ten miles from White Bear Lake, in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, lies one of the region's highest-rated boutique hotels. The luxurious Hotel 340 is a four-star hotel that offers the best of luxury and value, in a grand historic property in the heart of downtown. It is consistently rated as an excellent hotel for groups, thanks to a range of amenities and flexible room layouts. Guest rooms include Keurig coffeemakers and four-poster beds, plus desks, dining areas, and seating in select layouts.
It's not often that you can work out under a soaring ceiling and a chandelier, but Hotel 340 offers guests that opportunity. Take advantage of free access to the adjoining (and swanky) St. Paul Athletic Club, which features a walking track, plenty of equipment, indoor swimming pool, and fitness classes. Wind down later that day with dinner overlooking the St. Paul skyline, then play a game of billiards in the lounge while enjoying a craft cocktail. When you stay at Hotel 340, you'll be staying in luxury, without paying a premium.
Affordable Hotels in White Bear Lake, MN
3 Star Average Prices: $117.10
For a hotel that's convenient to both White Bear Lake and St. Paul, not to mention affordable, check out AmericInn by Wyndham White Bear Lake St. Paul. The façade of this stone and wood hotel looks like a traditional woodland lodge, and the interior does not disappoint. AmericInn guests are greeted by warm attendants at the reception desk and an equally inviting public space with overstuffed couches, a mantelpiece, and oak detailing. Guest rooms are decorated in soothing earth tones of terra cotta, browns, and creams. From the ultra-comfortable pillowtop beds to the flat-screen television and free wireless internet service, you'll be delighted by the amenities you will discover here. Take a swim in the indoor pool beneath a vaulted, exposed wood ceiling. The light-filled space is a perfect winter escape. In the summer, grab a cup of hot coffee (free) from the lobby and sit on the patio. It's the perfect spot for bird watching and enjoying the woodland view, just steps from the hotel.
Families love staying at this affordable property, as its numerous room and suite layouts can accommodate parties of all sizes. You can extend the value even further by stowing snacks and light meals in your guest room fridge, snacking at the hotel's free guest receptions, and by taking advantage of the free daily breakfast served up each morning. With just under 50 guest rooms, you'll want to book early at AmericInn by Wyndham White Bear Lake St. Paul to ensure you secure your spot, especially during the peak summer months.
For even more affordable hotel rates, geared towards seniors and AAA members, check into the Quality Inn & Suites Arden Hills Saint Paul North. Clean, bright, and modern, this property welcomes guests with efficient add-ons that include mini-fridges, microwaves, free wireless internet, and flat-screen televisions.
2 Star Average Prices: $91.34
Which White Bear Lake hotels have real discounts?
AAA members planning to travel White Bear Lake should consider Country Inn & Suites by Radisson St. Paul Northeast Minnesota. With your discounted rate, you can choose from select two-bed guestrooms or suite layouts. This hotel chain is known for its welcoming country-style feel, translated through a stylish and clean design. From its open-layout lobby and reading nook, with a free lending library, to the calming guest rooms, this property shines from every angle.
Families rave about the winding indoor pool and water slide, which combines the fun of a water park without the high price tag. There's even a poolside basketball goal, so you can challenge your family or fellow travelers to a rousing game of water hoops. You can also work out in the well-equipped fitness center. Be sure to indulge in the free daily breakfast before setting out for the day's adventures in White Bear Lake.
Best Value Hotels in White Bear Lake, MN
Right outside White Bear Lake in Vadnais Heights, you'll find the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott St. Paul Northeast. This hotel offers contemporary style, a convenient location, and plenty of exceptional amenities, all at an exceptional nightly rate.
The value starts with the guest rooms, which include a refrigerator, LCD television, satellite programming, free wireless internet, and more. Suite-style layouts and pull-out couches ensure there is room for the whole family to sleep comfortably. The value continues throughout the property. Fairfield Inn guests enjoy 24-hour access to the fitness center, as well as use of the indoor pool and spa. Fill up on a free daily breakfast downstairs, while you catch the latest news on the lobby television.
If you plan to head to White Bear Lake or other area sites for the day, Fairfield Inn & Suites' free shuttle service will get you there, so you can just relax and enjoy the ride. When it's time to depart, express check-out service gets you on your way, hassle-free.
The Best of White Bear Lake, MN
There's plenty to entertain in White Lake, even beyond the fishing, boating, swimming, and outdoor activities. The Lakeshore Players Community Theater has produced theatricals since the 1950s, and today they perform in a facility next to the White Bear Center for the Arts.
The city is dotted with numerous parks, each boasting their own amenities, from gazebos, benches, and ball fields, to smaller ponds and fishing docks. Several of the parks also offer boat access to White Bear Lake, including Matoska Park and Veterans Memorial Park.
When it comes to dining, White Bear Lake offers no shortage of options. You can eat vegan, Mexican, Thai, or American fare and more. Breakfast fare includes bagels, bakeries, and barista-made coffee shop favorites, all easily walkable options in downtown White Bear Lake. Nighttime in downtown White Bear Lake comes alive with lounges, bars, and pubs to suit your mood.
For the outdoors enthusiast, there is fishing on the lake or by boat, golfing at Oneka Ridge Golf Course, and walking at Tamarack Nature Center.
Offering the best of small-town life, just twenty minutes from metro St. Paul, White Bear Lake invites every visitor to dive into the lakeside lifestyle. Whether you plan to kick back and relax or get active in the great outdoors, White Bear Lake offers endless entertainment for everyone.