Summer in Minnesota is the best time to be in the State. It’s the perfect place to go boating, take beach trips and everyone is on a serious quest for outdoor activities. Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed in my home state over the years, in case you’re looking for some adrenaline in the beloved warm months.
For free fun, try the classic outdoor game that anyone can do: Frisbee (or disc) golfing, also known as frolfing. Disc golfing is less time-consuming and is much cheaper than playing real golf, and in my opinion, way more fun.
There are lots of courses scattered throughout the Twin Cities and it is a popular way to get outside on the weekend or even after work. Most courses are completely free to play, which leaves the only expense to be a purchase of some discs, most average about $10 in price.
My friends and I went to Acorn Park in Roseville to play all 18 holes on the course. It is a nice course, we had most of it to ourselves as we played through each round.
Frisbee golf is a great way to spend some time in nature, enjoying the outdoors and maybe cracking a beer or two along the course. It’s a laid-back activity, and a lot of courses are shaded, but it’s still a good idea to wear sunscreen. Disc golf is not physically demanding, but closed-toe shoes are a good option when hiking through the woods.
Get out and frolf! Buy your discs here or check out local sporting good stores.
Pedal Pub Minneapolis
In 2014, for my friend Kira’s 21st birthday (link to her blog here) a group of friends embarked on a two-hour excursion known as the Pedal Pub in Minneapolis.
The pedal pub is well-known downtown, many people have experienced or at least seen the massive keg-toting trolley slowly cruising down the busy streets of Minneapolis.
The cost when split between 12-15 people for the Pedal Pub is between $20-30. That is the base price to have the traveling pub for two hours with a guide, no included alcohol, you typically bring your own. Hard liquor and glass bottles are not allowed for safety reasons.
A good method for BYOB is to used a big Gatorade cooler/dispenser to make some sort of punch, our group had an awesome sangria that people pitched in money to share. There are speakers with an auxiliary cord attachment so parties can bring their own music in the pub.
The pub pedal starts downtown, close to Target Field (Twin’s stadium). There are different routes the pub can go on. We pedaled down toward the north loop and went to two different bars over the course of two hours.
Pedaling around Minneapolis while drinking beer and sangria was awesome. It’s so much fun to enjoy these types of activities in your own city. We were cruising during a busy time, making the adventure even more exciting. My favorite part of the tour was when we pedaled down Nicollet Mall.
Skydive Twin Cities
Skydiving is the quintessential cliché “bucket list” item that (almost) everyone claims they want to do before they die, but so few people work up the courage to actually suit up and jump out of a plane. Understandable, since throwing yourself at the earth from 13,000 feet in the air is less-than-rational in terms of entertainment preferences.
For our skydiving experience, we drove to Skydive Twin Cities which is technically in Wisconsin but is the closest reputable skydiving operator close to the metro area.
This company provided a great first time skydiving experience. They are professional and have a huge commitment to safety. We watched a video on the details about skydiving safety, learned the basics on how it would feel when we jumped out of the plane, and then suited up before climbing aboard the mini-plane for our first skydiving adventure.
Once in the plane, my heart started to throb and I was having serious second thoughts about this whole decision. At this point, I was already strapped at several points of contact with my tandem partner, so it was too late to turn back. He was calm and composed, important attributes in anyone that you jump out of a plane with.
Then came the jump. I was last, so I had to watch everyone else fall out of the plane first. I hobbled up to the edge of the opened door, crouched down and before I knew it, there was nothing but atmosphere below me.
Much to my surprise, the sensation of falling with the G-force stomach drop that usually happens on a rollercoaster never happened. The actual time spent in free-fall was surreal, and almost relaxing as I did not have to think about doing anything. After a few moments, my tandem guide pulled our chute and we glided over the landing area, a beautiful view of the skyline on the horizon.
Scuba Dive at Cuyuna Mine Range
Since obtaining my Scuba certification, I have been determined to not let it go to waste. Scuba certification is a neat thing to have because once obtained, it is valid for life. No need for renewal every 5-or-so years like many licenses and certifications.
In Summer 2014, my friend Molly and I rented some equipment ourselves and embarked on an adventure solo, without any instructors. I said yes without any hesitation, knowing it would be great to get in a few dives to keep up our skills.
We rented our gear from Midwest School of Diving in White Bear Lake and then made the trek up north to the Cuyuna Mine Range. My #1 tip for navigating this area would be to have a good map, as it’s a confusing region. The specific mine pools are not clearly labeled, so we had to rely on a bit of GPS and printed map cross-checking to finally get to a dive spot that was recommended by an instructor.
All the frustration was well worth it, as Molly and I were able to get in two dives and had a lot of fun exploring the depths of the old mine pool. We gained confidence in our ability to scuba without a seasoned instructor.
Mines are great for scuba diving because they are large, man-made bodies of water, so the conditions are very controlled and there are few environmental risks. The only downside is that they are not extremely ecologically interesting, with few plant species and fish species inhabiting them, there isn’t a whole lot of life to see when compared with diving in a big lake or on a reef.
Diving is a fun skill to have, and it’s an important skill to maintain through routine practice. I would definitely go up to the mine range to dive again, it’s the perfect spot to keep your skills in check if you don’t have many chances to dive during the year.
These adventurous activities are just scratching the surface of things to do in Minnesota during the summer months. I’m looking forward to trying new things and exploring more of my own state. Do you have any top things you do during the summer in MN? Please leave a comment!