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5 Places to Drop your Kayak, Canoe, or Paddle Board this Summer

As the summer heat kicks into high gear, it’s no surprise that our waterways become ever more enticing to utilize. With creeks, lakes, and rivers at our fingertips, Minneapolis parks offer many safe, convenient, and scenic opportunities to experience the city landscapes from the water. Whether you’re on kayak, canoe, paddle boat or board, these five places to drop in your preferred watercraft will give you both wonderful views and a reliable outlet for your day’s water activity.

#1. Chain of Lakes
For any first time kayaker, the Chain of Lakes will surely be one of the most recommended places to launch your canoe/kayak. As one of the most popular destinations in the city, the five lakes here offer great loading, easy paddling, and plenty of hidden inlets to explore.  In addition, kayak rentals are available at Bde Maka Ska at Wheel Fun Rentals, where you can launch from and then travel through the intimate channels to three of the other lakes.

#2. Lake Nokomis
Lake Nokomis offers a bit more space and sometimes more challenging paddling during windy days. Rentals are also available here with Wheel Fun Rentals at the main beach, with a launch site just to the south of the beach house. After a paddle around the lake, a quick stop at Sandcastle, located at the Nokomis main beach, offers a delicious and replenishing bite to eat.

#3. Minnehaha Creek
The Minnehaha Creek flows 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls. Along its path, the scenery offers quiet wooded areas, expansive wetlands, urban landscapes, and some beautiful residential areas. It is very important to gauge the water flow in Minnehaha Creek before paddling here, as high water levels and a fast flow present risks such as tipping or not having clearance under some of the bridges, while low and slow water flow will have you portaging and hiking through many places. You can view real time Minnehaha Creek flow here. And check out this map for a great source of information about access points, conditions, and points of interest.

#4. North Mississippi Regional Park
The mighty Mississippi River is one of our city’s greatest natural resources, and getting the chance to experience its magnitude from eye level is really something spectacular. There are many places to drop your canoe/kayak into the river, starting north of the city, all the way south to St. Paul. One great option is North Mississippi Regional Park down to Boom Island Park. On this route, you’ll get epic city skyline views and a peaceful 1.5 hour float. Check out Mississippi Paddle Share for more river routes!

#5. Bohemian Flats
To experience a more wooded stretch of the Mississippi river, you can launch your boat from Bohemian Flats Park, which is centrally located on West Minnehaha Parkway on the south side of St. Anthony Lock and Dam. You’ll paddle past the University of Minnesota and through the stunning Mississippi River Gorge. Head to land is the at the Minneapolis Rowing Club on Lake Street (it is important to note that this is the last Paddle Share location along the river).

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