7 Exciting Minneapolis Outdoor Activities To Enjoy With Friends

Minneapolis Outdoor Activities - Lake Minnetonka

Are you in desperate need of a little fresh-air getaway? It might be time to head to the Twin Cities to reconnect with the perfect combination of friendly people and awe-inspiring nature. Minneapolis is an amazing place to enjoy outdoor activities. After all, a city doesn’t earn the nickname of “City of Lakes” for no reason!

With help from hiking trails, biking paths, lake cruises, and parks by the river, Minneapolis offers outdoor fun for all ages. In fact, you can explore everything from downtown attractions to areas that feel like pure wilderness within a single weekend. As a city that experiences all four seasons in full glory, Minneapolis is an amazing place to visit during any time of year.

From the amber-and-gold leaves in the fall to sunny days spent on the lakeshore in the summer, there’s so much to savor. That might leave you wondering about where to start.

This guide to the seven best outdoor activities to enjoy with friends in Minneapolis will inspire you to balance city-slicker fun with the outdoors!


1) Explore The Beauty Of Lake Minnetonka

If you’re like most people looking for fun outdoor activities in Minneapolis, you’re probably eager to get out on the waters of Lake Minnetonka. This 14-acre body of water stands out among other Midwestern lakes due to its biodiversity and intricate basin system. If you’re like most people, you’re also probably wondering how to cruise on the lake if you don’t have your own boat. That’s where your friends at Paddle Tap come in!

Paddle Tap is the premier provider of Lake Minnetonka boat cruises and charters. When you board with us, you’ll make memories that last a lifetime. How does a LazyTap Party Pontoon that offers 300 feet of space with a huge 100-square-foot upper deck for observation sound? This is just one of many private and public cruising options we offer to our customers.

With most of our tours lasting 100 minutes to 2.5 hours, you’ll have plenty of time to squeeze this must-try experience into your itinerary. Here are some fast facts about cruising with Paddle Tap:

  • BYOB beverages are welcome on most of our vessels

  • Some of our cruises offer the option to order cuisine from Lord Fletcher’s

  • While we don’t offer fishing charters, you just might see some expert fishermen on the lake during your cruise!

  • Our state-of-the-art vessels are slender enough to get into areas that larger boats can’t access. That’s important for exploring the lake’s intricate basin system that’s teeming with wildlife and natural treasures

  • Bathrooms are available on all of our LazyTap, TikiTap, and SuperTap booze cruises

  • Our tour boats offer Bluetooth connection to let you control the playlist from your smartphone!


A voyage with Paddle Tap is one of the signature Minneapolis outdoor activities you don’t want to miss! Contact our team today to book your voyage!

BYOB Tour Boat


2) Splash At Jim Lupient Water Park

There’s nothing like the feeling of slipping and sliding in refreshing water on a hot summer day in the Midwest. Jim Lupient Water Park is one of 185 park properties maintained by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB).

For a small admission fee, guests enjoy access to three water slides, a log path, interactive spray fountains, shade structures, and grassy areas for sunbathing in one of the area’s best parks

Water Park In Minneapolis


3) Watch Nature And Art Merge At The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

In addition to being one of the best outdoor activities in Minneapolis, a visit to this exceptional landmark allows you to discover one of the jewels of the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metropolitan area.

Explore 11 scenic acres to admire a collection of more than 60 sculptures. Open from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. daily, this artistic nature park is completely free to the public.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden


4) Swim In A Natural Pool

Did you know that Minneapolis is home to one of the country’s only natural swimming pools? The Webber Natural Swimming Pool is a community water hole and lap pool that uses filters and plants instead of chemicals to cleanse the water.

The pool is a living system that holds more than 7,000 plants that are anchored by granite and limestone. This is also a great place to fit in an aquatic workout in a lap pool!

Plan your swim: Paid lap-swimming sessions are available from 11:20 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday during the park’s open season.

Swim In A Natural Pool


5) Hit The Biking Trails On The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway

No outdoor activities quite match the rush of exploring the 51 miles of paved trails wrapping around lakes, parkways, gardens, parks, beaches, historical sites, and scenic neighborhoods that make up Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. The network of paved trails includes:

  • Cedar Lake Regional Trail

  • Columbia Parkway Regional Trail

  • East River Parkway

  • Kenilworth Regional Trail

  • Northeast Diagonal Regional Trail

  • Ridgway Parkway Regional Trail

  • Shingle Creek Regional Trai

  • Stinson Parkway

For cyclists craving bigger adventures, the Wirth off-road cycling trail provides more than 5 miles of biking trails full of twists, turns, hills, and thick woods. Don’t miss the chance to experience biking in one of the most impressive natural landscapes in the Twin Cities!

Fun fact: In the wintertime, the Wirth trail welcomes snowshoers to merrily follow snow-covered paths!

Hit The Biking Trails


6) Play A Round Of Mini Golf

One of the most wholesome outdoor activities you can enjoy during an upcoming getaway in Minnesota is mini golf. Locals will tell you that the most beautiful spot for mini golf around here is found at Centennial Lakes Park.

This 24-acre park with a manmade pond located a skip away from downtown in Edina has a world-class putting course that’s perfect for all ages. For wintertime visitors, Centennial Lakes Park features a 10-acre lake that is groomed daily for ideal ice-skating conditions!

Tip: Don’t skip this amazing spot for fun in all four seasons in Minnesota!

Mini Golf


7) Enjoy The Beauty Of The Mississippi River In Coon Rapids

Located within 15 miles of Minneapolis, Coon Rapids is a dream for nature lovers! This is a nice place to escape for a while if you want to enjoy some of the best parks and river trails in Minnesota. However, the real reason most people find themselves coming here is the chance to enjoy outdoor activities on the river.

Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park is teeming with outdoor activities centered on the Mississippi River. During your visit, you can enjoy views of the river from visitor centers on both sides of the Coon Rapids Dam.

If fishing is one of the Minneapolis outdoor activities you have your heart set on, you’ll be thrilled to discover that shore fishing from below the dam yields a variety of different fish.

Plan properly for outdoor activities: A fishing license may be required for anyone over age 16.

Mississippi River Minneapolis


Start Planning A Vacation Full Of Outdoor Fun In Minneapolis

With so many great parks, biking paths, walking trails, and river views that are fun to explore, Minneapolis is Minnesota’s capital for outdoor activities. Of course, there are some experiences you just can’t get from parks and lakeside trails.

Experiencing the wonder of Minneapolis down to your core requires some time on the water. That’s why Paddle Tap is so thrilled to offer boat tours that bring you to some of the most beautiful locations in this community!

Embrace the nature lover in you! Book outdoor activities on Lake Minnetonka with us! We take the stress out of booking an excursion by providing one-on-one service.

Paddletap Tour Boat

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
2 to 18

Gift Card

Looking to buy a tour for a gift? This is where that would happen!

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

TikiTap-Back Channel Brewing

Our 100 minute cruise our Tiki Pub (yes, its a Tiki Themed Party Pontoon Boat and has ZERO pedals) boat offer the perfect scenic escape! It's our #1 Boat Tour for Bachelorette Parties!

This is our newest boat on Lake Minnetonka for the season. This adventure is perfect for any corporate event, private birthday party or just for fun on a bachelorette or bachelor parties!

This is the newest and largest single boat we offer and is 26 feet long and almost 12 feet wide! This party boat includes comfortable bar stool seating around the custom tiki bar, and seating for maximum of 18 total guests with plenty of walking room around the almost 300 square foot deck.

Enjoy our one of a kind Tiki Themed bar to rest your beer, wine, or cocktails.

Do you have any worry about a bathroom? Don’t! this boat does come equipped with a full bathroom for you to use.

Worried about rain? Don’t! We have a large canopy that covers 70% of the TikiTap! If this boat is open, book it soon as this is for sure the first one to be reserved.

Things to Know:
What to know:

100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on board
Departs out of Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park
300 square feet of usable room
Holds up to 18 guests
Pricing: $35-$49/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
135 HSP Gas Motor

8 Reviews verify
1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

Private Tours (All Boats)

PaddleTap is proud to offer private tours on all of our party boats! These one-of-a-kind Tiki Boats, Pedal Pubs, or Party Pontoons can be rented out on Excelsior Bay or Seaton Channel! Enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Minnetonka!

Take a peek at all our boating options and which locations they start from. You will truly love this experience for any Bachelorette, Birthday or Corporate outing!

All private tours are charged on a per person fee. Prices range from $35-$39/person Monday-Wednesday and $35-$45/person Thursday-Sunday with a $4/increase for prime summer on all tickets in July. 10 Tickets or more are required to reserve a private boat. We have a public option that is $55/person if you have less than 10.

Our Lowest cost boat is our Original PaddlePub out of downtown Excelsior ($35/person) the rest of our boats are closer to $39-45 most days

2 hours 30 minutes
Group Size
10 to 18

2.5 hour Private Tour-Private Tour Back Channel Brewing (18 max)

PaddleTaps longest tour of the season-2 hours and 30 minutes! This tour is new for 2024, and only being offered starting in June of 2024.

Explore Lake Minnetonka in the fall where the leaves start changing. Explore the channels and bays that the larger charter boats cannot offer. Bring your own beverages, some snacks and let us drive you around West Arm/Seaton Channel/Cooks Bay for 2.5 hour on the water, our longest cruises of the year! We will get up and close to some of the best fall colors Lake Minnetonka offers. This tour will have a bathroom on board as well with bluetooth music.

This tour will either be on our largest 30 foot LazyTap double deck boat, or the 25 foot TikiTap boat. Depending on boat availability with other tours being offered"

Pricing is $70/person for the 2.5 hours, and private bookings require 8 tickets to be purchased as a down-payments are utlizied before the season starts to reserve your boat. But you are more than welcome to book as many seats as you need up to the boat maximum of 18 guests.

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 14

Small Group/Public Tour (All Boats)

Do you have a smaller group? Or just don't want to rent the entire boat? Book our per seat boating option! Perfect for those smaller groups who still want to go out and celebrate that Birthday/Bachelorette or even just a night out! This option does have a requirement of of 6 guests to guarantee it will go out. But you only pay for as many seats as you want. This option is not guaranteed private, and it is very likely you will be paired with other people! (we offer private cruises that start with 8 ppl-18 ppl)

This public option is only available out of our Back Channel Brewing Location (LazyTap or TikiPubs) and downtown Excelsior on our original Pedal Pub Boat Cruise.

1 hour 40 minutes
Group Size
Up to 18

LazyTap Double Deck-Back Channel Brewing (18 person boat)

PaddleTap’s #1 boat tour! For the people who like to take it easy on the lake! Our LazyTap Party Boat ride has your name written all over it. This is our only double deck party boat that is massive! PaddleTap offers one boat for 2024. This boat can hold up to 18 guests!

Both boats offers two levels and covers at least 300 of deck space on the main level with an additional 100 square feet on the upper deck! This boat has zero pedals and is the true lazy experience that can hold up to 18 total guests!

These boats offer a private party bar down the middle for you to load up with your own drinks and bench seating all the way down on both sides.

We have a large wide open space in the front where people can move around and take in the views, or sit in our comfy seating all around.

This is our only boat that can allow swimming (on requests) which has a ZERO alcohol policy. If you want to swim no alcohol is allowed. but it still does only last 100 minutes. If you do choose to swim, we limit it to four people at one time and must wear a life jacket (provided) BUT ZERO ALCOHOL. Swimming on our LazyTap is only allowed out of Back Channel. We do not allow it out of Downtown Excelsior.

The LazyTap has a large 150 HSP motor, we can cover a fair amount of lake to enjoy everything that Lake Minnetonka offers! Our pickups are out of Back Channel Brewing, Lord Fletchers, Downtown Excelsior or Wayzata.
What to know:

Private boat captain
100 minutes long
Bluetooth music
Bathroom on board
Departs out of Back Channel Brewing in Spring Park
400 square feet of usable room (two levels)
Holds up to 14-18 guests (depending on the boat you select)
Pricing: $39-$45/person Private Cruise (10 or more required tickets to make it private)
*$4/more a person from July 12th-August 4th 2024*
150 HSP Gas Motor
Zero Pedals (not even an option here)

22 Reviews verify