7 Creative Ways to Enjoy Minnesota’s Summer
The Minnesota Summer Season Has Arrived
As the heat rages on, it can be tricky to find ways to stay cool this summer. But it can be done! Below are seven creative ways to enjoy the Minnesota summer season.
1. Rent Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards
I love being by the water. It’s refreshing, especially when it’s super humid. I’ll take any opportunity I can to go kayaking, boating or swimming. I love kayaking so much that my husband and I bought two kayaks a few years ago. We rent a spot on a kayak rack so we can leave them there all season. I do, however, like to rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards at other lakes to experience new locations without having to drag our kayaks around Minnesota. A few great places to rent include:
- Wai Nani Surf & Paddle in Wayzata on Lake Minnetonka
- Wheel of Fun Rentals in Minneapolis on Lake Harriet
- Lebanon Hills, a park in Eagan, offers rentals as well
2. Breweries with Outdoor Patios
We love checking out new breweries. I especially love getting a flight so I can sample multiple options. The good thing about breweries is that most have outdoor seating and patios, which I love. Some places require reservations so call ahead. It’s usually a great environment to bring kids too! Some of our favorite breweries with outdoor seating include:
- Bald Man Brewing in Eagan
- Boom Island Brewing in Minnetonka
- Imminent Brewing in Northfield
- Wild Mind Ales in Minneapolis
3. Go Golfing or Visit a Driving Range
There are tons of golf courses and driving ranges all over Minnesota. It’s a great way to be outdoors and get fresh air. My husband is an avid golfer and has played at many courses around Minnesota, and elsewhere. I’m a beginner and I practice my swing at driving ranges, like Chalet Golf, a driving range in Burnsville. It’s $8 for a small bucket and $10 for a large bucket.
4. Take a Hike Off the Beaten Path
Taking a hike is an obvious way to enjoy summer, but it can be tricky to find trails that aren’t crowded. There was even a period of time where it seemed like many hiking trails in rural Minnesota were crowded because everyone was heading away from the Twin Cities during the peak of the pandemic. There are three trails we have found to be consistently less populated. Keep in mind the day of the week and time of day you go plays a huge part.
- Vermillion Falls in Hastings
- Lebanon Hills in Eagan
- Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve in Burnsville
5. Check Out a Drive-In Movie
How cute are movie drive-ins? Bring a lawn chair and blanket, or stay in your car with the air conditioning on. Bring your own snacks and drinks and maybe even get a nice view of the stars. Some places even let you bring a grill to tailgate before the film begins.
- Elko Drive-In in Elko New Market
- Vali-Hi Drive-In in Lake Elmo
- Verne Drive-In in Luverne
6. Pick Strawberries and Blueberries
Depending on the month and what’s in season, you can pick a variety of fruits and vegetables. The strawberry season is ending soon, and then we will be in blueberry picking season. And of course apples in a few months. It’s a really fun and relaxing way to be outside.
- Little Hill Berry Farm in Northfield
- Afton Apple in Hastings
- Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake
- Blueberry Fields in Stillwater
7. Have a Picnic at a Pizza Barn
Picnics in general are a fun way to be outside, but why not do it at a pizza farm! When we went to the Red Barn in Northfield, we brought our own chairs, blanket, wine and dessert. There are also horses and chickens and they encourage visitors to walk around and enjoy the property. The pizzas are prepared in a wood-fired oven and served piping hot!
- Red Barn Farm in Northfield
- Pleasant Grove Pizza Farm in Waseca
- Two Pony Gardens in Long Lake
I hope these ideas help you find creative ways to enjoy the Minnesota summer season! Minnesota is beautiful during all four seasons, and each one allows us to enjoy Minnesota in a fresh way.