Minnesota may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but it has its share of scenic rivers, too. Several of them conveniently run near the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, so it's easy to spend a day floating downstream in an inner tube. Tubing is the perfect cool summertime activity for the whole family.
Country Camping Tent and RV Park offers kayaking, canoeing, and tubing as well as a place to camp and park RVs. They have all sizes of tubes for rent, including small tubes with bottoms for the kids and even a separate tube for the all-important cooler. A shuttle takes you to the starting point for a relaxing 2-mile float back to camp. The ride takes between one and a half and three hours depending on river conditions. Don't forget to bring sunscreen and water. There are even hot outdoor showers for rinsing off when the ride is over. Country Camping is located in Isanti, approximately 40 miles north of Minneapolis.
Welch Mill Canoeing and Tubing offers tubing, kayaking, and canoeing on the Cannon River. You can choose from long or short tubing trips, but the length of the trip can vary depending on fluctuating water levels. You must have a valid driver's license to rent tubes, and life jackets are available at no charge. Welch Mill Canoeing and Tubing is located in Welch, about 45 miles south of Minneapolis.
- Apple River Family Campground has camping, waterslides, a swimming pool and, of course, tubing on the Apple River. Tube rentals include free access to the swimming pool and waterslide on most days. The ride down the river takes between two and a half and three and a half hours. Exit at the end of the rapids and catch the return shuttle. Then you can do it all over again if you choose. It's located in Somerset, WI, about 45 minutes east of the Twin Cities.
- Float Rite Park boasts the longest tube ride on the Apple River at over three hours. It ends right at the park, where you can head for a hot shower. On weekends, things get lively at the full-service bar with live music and dancing. There's even a mechanical bull. But the place calms down for family fun Sundays through Wednesdays. Float Rite Park is located in Somerset, WI.
- Apple River Hideaway offers camping, cabins, and tubing on the scenic Apple River. Rides can be as short as one and a half hours if the current is very fast. But tube rentals last all day until 8 p.m., so you can take all the time you want to stop and enjoy the river along the way or go down a few more times. Head to the river from the camp and just start floating. At the end of the trip, buses will pick you up and shuttle you back to the top of the river and the Hideaway. Apple River Hideaway is located in Somerset. WI.