Kayaking in Minneapolis: A Big City Adventure

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The bus pulled into the parking lot and the passengers quickly exited, a surge of excitement and motivation rippling through the crowd as each foot stepped off the stairs and hit the pavement.

The guides quickly briefed us for the adventure we were about to embark on and assigned us to a tandem kayak. We were off for some kayaking in Minneapolis, yes, in the big city.

Having done this before, we grabbed our kayak, ported it to the river, loaded up and pushed away from the embankment. The group trailed behind us as they loaded up in the kayaks and each person pushed their way onto the water.

Allowing the current to take us forward slightly, we had no view of the open river to the left or right, just in front of the boat landing. As we neared the mouth, the mighty Mississippi River opened up in front of us.

Kayaking in Minneapolis

We have had kayak adventures all over the World, like the time we spent 7 days kayaking between islands and camping on beaches in the Philippines. Yet, despite the abundance of opportunity available, I can’t even fill one hand worth of kayak experiences from Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin. Kayaking in Minneapolis was an adventure that never really crossed our minds on previous visits.

It’s not like the opportunity isn’t there, we live on the largest freshwater lake in the World and these two states house some of the nation’s best rivers and lakes for outdoor recreation. Sometimes things are just too close and you overlook them.

Kayaking in Minneapolis

Kayaking in Minneapolis, Minnesota

When we decided to attend TBEX North America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, our goal was to check out some of the outdoor adventure activities that are available to visitors to the city. Kayaking on the Mississippi River came up as an option and we jumped at it.

Above the Falls Sports operates this particular tour and they’ve been showing people this side of the city since 2009. From the starting point of the kayak trip, we headed off away from the skyline of Minneapolis to get a view of some bridges and the Nicolett Island.

Along the way, the experienced guides would gather the group and chat with us about what we were seeing and why it was significant to the city.

Off the river, there are also various streams, some of them running through cave systems, that you can also explore while kayaking in Minneapolis on the Mississippi. The trip took us about 45 minutes down the river on one bank before crossing us over to the other side to head back up the river.

Kayaking in Minneapolis

The view was not apparent when we first turned around, but after we rounded the first bend, the whole of the Minneapolis skyline opened up before us. I have to admit, I was in disbelief. This was probably the coolest way we could have imagined seeing this city.

The contrast between nature and city, blue river, green forests and gray buildings was pleasing to the eye and evoked a sense of admiration for a city we have overlooked on too many occasions.

Working the channel with Above the Falls Sports is a premier urban kayaking experience that explores the Mississippi River above St. Anthony Falls and gives you a little history of the industrial side of the city while enjoying nature.

Highlights on the river include Nicollet Island, Boom Island, the Grain Belt Brewery, hidden bridges, city skyline views and more.

Kayking in Minneapolis

Kayaking in Minneapolis is a great way to enjoy the nature side of a big American city. If you want to Work the Channel in Minneapolis on the Mississippi River, don’t hesitate. You’ll enjoy a beautiful day out on the water with great history and unique views of the city. They don’t call it the city by nature for nothing.

Disclosure: We were hosted by Above the Falls Sports on this trip during our participation in the TBEX North America conference. All opinions are 100% mine.

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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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3 thoughts on “Kayaking in Minneapolis: A Big City Adventure”

  1. When I think of Minneapolis and kayaking, caves certainly never came to mind! Did you get to explore them as well? You guys have to come to Florida for kayaking- the majority of our caves are under water though!


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