In the North, summer is the time to get outside and experience something new. If you find yourself inspired by our annual ode to adventure, here are Minnesota’s top 5 adventures to get your adrenaline pumping this season.
Rated the No. 2 aerial adventure in America, Kerfoot Canopy Tour (named for the founders’ grandmother, legendary Minnesota northwoods pioneer Justine Kerfoot) offers zip lining experiences in two locales: southwest of Minneapolis in Henderson and on Mount Ski Gull in Brainerd. At the Henderson outpost, tours range from 1.5 (seven lines) to 2.5 hours (14 lines) and include elements like a spiral staircase, a suspension bridge over the Minnesota River Valley, and zip lines up to 1,200 feet in length. Don’t fret if you’re a newbie; the excursion begins with ground school taught by profession guides. Ages 10+
The mission of this Ely institution is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about the creatures, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The organization does an excellent job of this with its live exhibit with ambassador wolves, daily programming, and even adventure programs like Wolves After Dark and Jr. Wolf Biologist Mini Camp. If you’re passionate about the cause, you can become a member of the pack to show your support beyond your visit. All ages
Whitewater rafting is physical, wet (really wet) and a heck of a lot of fun. And thanks to this Minnesota company, you and your crew can give it a try near Duluth on a dam-controlled section of the St. Louis River. Above the Thompson Dam, a 4.4-mile stretch offers eight sections of Class I–III rapids (beginner-friendly) while below the dam is a shorter section with Class II–V rapids (reserved for experts). Oh, and did we mention you’ll get wet? Ages 11+
Situated alongside a skilled certified tandem instructor, you can soar up to 3,000 feet above Lake Pepin with the help of a specially designed boat that tows and launches you. Air time lasts anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes depending on conditions, allowing you plenty of time to take in the surrounding scenic views. The company’s claims to fame are “fun, adventure and experiencing the purest form of flight known to man.” Count us in. Ages 12+
Scuba diving? In Minnesota? It might seem counterintuitive if you only picture tropical destinations when it comes to this water sport, but yes, the state is home to a PADI five-star training facility. Scuba Center is the largest such school here, offering classes for everyone from beginners to experts at its Eagan locale, complete with a pool, classrooms and more. Once you’ve developed your sea legs, you can sign up for group scuba trips to those tropical destinations (the Caribbean, the South Pacific) with other center students. Ages 12+