They don’t call Minnesota the “Land of 10,000 lakes” for nothing. Plus, we’ve got more than a few to explore right here within city limits: You don’t have to travel far for a body of water to paddle through, down, or around. Strap your kayak to the top of the car, or rent one if you don’t own, and head to these six Minnesota spots for a fantastic day on the water.

Rice Creek

A popular destination for paddlers in the north metro, Rice Creek Waterway is a great way to explore the metro waterways from a distance. The trip can be a bit dicey at times depending on the season, rainfalls, and fallen trees, but always worth the scenic view.  You’ll end up finishing the trip back in the Mississippi river near Fridley, MN.

Minneapolis Chain of Lakes

If you’re looking for a nice relaxing day paddling around in the sun, the chain of lakes is the place to do it. You can rent kayaks on Lake Calhoun to start, and then paddle under the lake st bridge into Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, and Brownie Lake. Explore the connecting waterways and even jump in for a swim if needed. It’s a fun water filled activity to do in the heart of the cities.

Rum River

Whether you’re a kayaker or canoer, the Rum River State Watertrail is one to try out this summer. You’ll start your journey at Lake Mille Lacs and continue south amongst the shaded canopy and lakes until you meet up with the Mississippi near Anoka. Many enjoy the natural wildlife and especially the fishing spots you’ll encounter along the way

Cannon River

Just south of the Twin Cities, you’ll encounter the scenic and recreational Cannon River Water Trail offering over 80 miles of river paddling. You’ll find tubers floating, kayakers, and canoers alike exploring the banks. It’s definitely a trip to bring the whole family on since the water is so calm throughout and there’s plenty of places to stop along shore to picnic and hang out.

Snake River

Less than an hour from St Paul, the Snake River is a great place to put the kayaks in and experience a trip ranging from rapids and falls to very calm water. You’ll find rapids in Classes I-IV throughout, but also some spots to sit back and relax on your trip from Mora down to Pine City. There’s also a plethora of wildlife, scenic landscapes, and some great places to camp along the way if you choose.

Mississippi River Recreation Area

What’s a better way to do some urban kayaking then on the Mississippi River in the cities? Similar to NiceRide bike sharing programs, the Mississippi River Paddle Share is a new kayak sharing rental with stations throughout the Mississippi in the cities for you to paddle the great river with great views of Minneapolis.

You can paddle 3.9 miles from North Mississippi Regional Park to the return stations located at Boom Island Park. Or, for more experienced paddlers, you can rent one at Bohemian Flats station and head down to the lake street bridge and back.

If you bring your own kayak you can do the whole thing, but since St Anthony Falls lock closed in 2015, you’ll have to portage the 1 ½ miles from Boom Island to Bohemian Flats – a fun trip with a beautiful urban view nonetheless.

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