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Best of Summer 2011

Everything you have to eat, do, and see

Best of Summer 2011
Photo by Darrel Eager

(page 1 of 5)


Watch a regatta.

Head to Wayzata on a Sunday afternoon, park yourself at a bench along Lake Minnetonka’s shoreline, and enjoy a front-row view of one of the weekly regattas. ★ lakeminnetonka.com/1regattas.html

Ride a wave at soak city.

To simultaneously sate your cravings for an adrenaline rush and a day spent submerged in water, head to Valleyfair’s Soak City, which opens May 28. Between the massive wave pool, water slides, lazy river, and tube and raft rides, the only option not available is staying dry. ★ valleyfair.com

Captain a sailboat.

Can’t tell starboard from a Starbucks? Develop some nautical know-how by enrolling in Minneapolis Parks and Recreation sailing lessons at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis. Coaches from the city’s parks department teach students the basics, from tacking to knot tying, in just four lessons. Ships ahoy! ★ minneapolisparks.org

Take a dinner cruise.

Climb aboard one of Afton Hudson’s three cruise vessels for one of its weekly Friday night cruises or any of its myriad special events. With a drink in hand and a band playing in the background, you’ll be leading sea shanties in no time. ★ aftonhouseinn.com

Relax on the river.

Nothing beats kicking back with a cocktail on a hot summer night. Well, nothing except sipping that drink out of a coconut at Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge. Their new location overlooks the majestic Mississippi, offering the perfect backdrop for the perfect mini getaway. ★ psychosuzis.com

Catch a water-ski show.

Agile cheerleaders doing fancy formations at high-school pep rallies ain’t got nothin’ on the Twin Cities River Rats, who routinely create four-layer pyramids—on waterskis. You can check out the team’s impressive acrobatics at their weekly Thursday night show near the Broadway Avenue bridge on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, from the end of May through August. ★ tcriverrats.com

Rent a cruiser.

Want to play skipper without drowning in the monthly payments? Call On Trailer Boat Rental in Delano and lease the boat or equipment you need. The business has everything from fishing boats to pontoons, waterskis to wakeboards. All you’ll need is your credit card—and a captain’s hat. ★ ontrailerboatrental.com

Learn to Scuba dive.

To fully experience the state’s 10,000 lakes, you need to get below their shimmering surface. St. Paul’s Air Down There Scuba offers certification classes that end with a splash in Stillwater’s Square Lake. There’s no coral or tropical fish to ogle, of course, but you will see the submerged tail of a Cessna plane. ★ airdownthere.com

Tube down a river.

Pack a cooler, don your swimsuit, and make your way to the Cannon River in Welch. Once there, grab an inner tube, kick back, and get ready to go with the flow. A trip down the river takes roughly four hours. ★ welchmillcanoeandtube.com

Explore a wild and scenic riverway.

The St. Croix River, which separates Minnesota from Wisconsin, offers 164 miles of canoeing heaven. The lower St. Croix, in particular, has no major rapids and is officially designated as a wild and scenic river. Enjoy a backdrop of heavily wooded, steep-sided valleys peppered with bluffs as you paddle down the 52-mile stretch. Multiple canoe rental options are available. ★ dnr.state.mn.us/watertrailsoutfitters.html#rum

Hit the beach.

Ready to splash in the waves and soak up some sun?
slather on the sunscreen at these Eight metro hot spots.

Bush Lake Beach, Bloomington
Floating docks, a playground, a volleyball court, a beach house, and concessions make it so you’ll never want to leave.

French Regional Park, Plymouth

Ideal for kids with a large beach, canoe rentals, a large jungle gym and rope playground, concessions, and a trolley.

Excelsior Commons, Minnetonka
Complete with playgrounds, a floating dock, tennis courts, grassy knolls, baseball diamonds, and a band shell, this beach is the total package.

Thomas Beach, Minneapolis
The clear waters of Lake Calhoun are the ultimate urban getaway—skyline view included.

McCarthy Beach, Side Lake

Voted one of the top 17 beaches in North America by Highways magazine, this sandy spot offers half a mile of shoreline and—especially good for those new to swimming—lots of shallow spots.

Phalen Beach, St. Paul
A large sandy beach and water with little to no weeds make for the perfect relaxation destination.

Snail Lake Beach, Shoreview
Great for quiet picnics and a relaxing day in the sun.

Square Lake Park, Stillwater
With 950 linear feet of sand, this beach is ideal for young swimmers.

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