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Summer Guide 2024: Pontoons, Kayaks, Paddleboards, and Fancy Swan Paddleboats

Live that boat life without buying a boat.

Mississippi River Paddle Share

It’s not just bike season, it’s boat season too. Think you’re not a boat person? Well, maybe you haven’t found the right type of boat yet. There are pontoons, which are kinda like a living room that you drive around a lake. There are fishing boats, where your adventure (hopefully) ends in dinner. There are kayaks and canoes for people who want an arm workout, and paddleboats for those who never skip leg days. There are night boats, like the neon-lit swan boats for rent. Or paddleboards, which is kinda like that skateboard of the lakes.

 There’s a little bit of everything here, so explore and find something you like. 

Baker Park Reserve

Canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, rowboats, and paddleboard rentals on 917 acres of water. 2309 Baker Park Rd., Maple Plain, 763-694-7860;

Bde Maka Ska

Canoes, solo and double kayak boats, and stand-up paddleboards via Wheel Fun Rentals. 3000 E. Bde Maka Ska Pkwy., Minneapolis; 612-823-5765;

Bryant Lake Regional Park

Canoe, kayak, paddleboat, rowboat, and stand-up paddleboard rentals on 178 acres of water. 6800 Rowland Rd., Eden Prairie; 763-694-7764;

Carver Park Reserve (Lake Auburn Campgrounds)

They’ve got tons of kayaks and canoes here, plus a rowboat. 7400 Grimm Rd. (Lowry Nature Center), Victoria, 763-694-7650;

Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park

Canoes, kayaks, and paddle board rentals. 25875 Juniper Ave., New Prague, 763-694-7777;

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Canoe, kayak, paddleboat, and stand-up paddle board rentals on 137 acres of water. 18106 Texas Ave., Prior Lake, 763-694-7777;

Fish Lake Regional Park

Row boat, canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals on 244 acres of water. 14900 Bass Lake Rd., Maple Grove, 763-694-7818;

Rod M via Unsplash

French Regional Park

Canoe, kayak, and rowboat rentals on 866 acres of water. 12605 Cty. Rd. 9, Plymouth, 763-694-7750;

Gale Woods Farm

Canoes on 558 acres of water. 7210 County Rd. 110 W., Minnetrista, 763-694-2001;

Howard’s Point Marina

Fishing boats, pontoon, and tritoon rentals. 5400 Howards Point Rd., Shorewood; 952-474-4464;

Hungry Jack Canoe Outfitters

Providing advice, equipment, and rations for wilderness canoeing in the boundary waters. 318 S. Hungry Jack Rd., Grand Marais, 218-388-2275;

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Canoe, kayak, paddleboat, and rowboat rentals. No gas motors on 84 acres of water. 10145 Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington, 763-694-7687;

Lake Auburn Campground

Rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and tandem kayaks. Carver Park Reserve, 7290 Victoria Dr., Victoria; 763-694-1112;

Illuminated night swan paddleboats with Wheel Fun Rentals.

Lake Como

Choose from two-person swan-shaped paddleboats (they light up at night!), kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards via Wheel Fun Rentals. 1360 N. Lexington Pkwy., St. Paul; 651-487-8046;

Lake Harriet

Canoes, solo and double kayak boats, paddleboats (not the swan ones though), and stand-up paddleboards via Wheel Fun Rentals. 4135 W. Lake Harriet Pkwy., Minneapolis; 612-922-9226;

Lake Nokomis

Rent one of those paddleboats that seats five and looks like a swan, or be boring and go for a kayak, canoe, or a standup paddleboard via Wheel Fun Rentals. 5022 W. Nokomis Pkwy., Minneapolis; 612-729-1127;

Mississippi River Paddle Share

Summer recreation program featuring self-serve kayak rentals along the Mississippi River featuring a variety of routes, from nature-bound to city views. Entry points include Mississippi Gateway Regional Park, River Park, North Mississippi Regional Park, Bohemian Flats Park, Lilydale Regional Park; exit stops include North Mississippi Regional Park, Boom Island Regional Park, and Minneapolis Rowing Club/Lake Street Bridge. Find more info at

North Country Canoe Outfitters

Guided canoe adventures in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. 474 Kawishiwi Tr., Ely, 218-365-5581;

Seagull Canoe Outfitters

Boundary Waters tours, rentals, and outfitting. 12208 Gunflint Tr., Grand Marais, 218-388-2216;

Paddle with a Ranger

Silverwood Park

They have canoes and kayaks here. 2500 County Rd. E, St. Anthony; 763-694-7707;

Tally’s Dockside

Pontoon, fishing boat, paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals. They also offer a variety of food, wine, and beer boat tours. 4441 Lake Ave. S., White Bear Lake; 651-429-2633;

Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rentals

Wild mountain provides canoe and kayak equipment for exploring scenic Taylors Falls. MN Interstate State Park, 307 Miltown Rd., Taylors Falls; 651-465-1080;

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

Tours and equipment for your next Boundary Waters adventure. 189 Sag Lake Tr., Grand Marais, 888-226-6348;

Wild River Outfitters Canoe and Kayak Rental

Canoe and kayak rentals and advice for exploring the Upper St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers. 15177 State Rd. 70, Grantsburg, WI, 715-463-2254;

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