Water Sports

  • Cheat the heat

    When heat wraps itself around your shoulders like an electric blanket with static cling, there’s only one thing to do: Look for cold water. You'll find it tubing on a spring-fed river, such as the South Branch of the Root River, which takes a short cut through Mystery Caverns and heads toward Lanesboro chilled to 48 degrees. On Minnesota's North Shore, plop yourself into one of the Baptism River’s potholes and let the cool waters swirl around you. Or go whitewater rafting — a fast cool-down is guaranteed.

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  • Duluth's other waterfront

    Once, a wind-whipped sand spit was not the most desirable address in Duluth. Today, tourists want to hang out on Canal Park and stay in beach cottages on Park Point, just beyond the Aerial Lift Bridge. But the Ojibwe preferred the calmer estuary of the St. Louis River, which flows into Lake Superior at what today is Duluth-Superior Harbor.

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  • Summer's last resort

    By the second week, football and band practice has started at schools, and back-to-school sales are in progress. In Minnesota, everyone wants to go to the State Fair. Not many people are thinking about vacation — which is precisely why it’s a great time to take one. The weather is still warm and sunny, the crowds are gone and, best of all, prices drop, usually on the second or third Sunday.

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  • Swimming holes of Duluth

    In Duluth, there's water, water everywhere — and nary a place to swim. In Lake Superior, anyway. If you try to cool off in the frigid lake, you'll probably run out immediately, shrieking. Early tourist brochures touted Duluth as "The Air-Conditioned City,'' and the vast waters of the big lake keep it cool, usually until July. Then it heats up, and the locals — few of whom have actual air conditioners — head for water.

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  • 20 great rivers for tubing

    It’s almost magic, the power of wind and water on a hot day. It's enough to give you goosebumps. Tubing Minnesota's Rum River on an oppressively hot afternoon, I was amazed to see goose flesh rise on my legs when a breeze sprang up and a cloud crossed the sun. We’d entered a microclimate that seemed to exist only along the river’s surface. “I don't even feel the heat here,” said my friend Adele. “You'd never guess it was 95.”

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  • Watching a water-ski show

    Watch a water-ski show, and you'll want to climb into your Thunderbird and go get a chocolate malted. There's something deliciously retro about spending a balmy summer evening listening to '50s party music and the roar of marine engines as spangled, sun-bleached teen-agers fly by.  A corny comedy routine is part of the show, but it's the tricks that keep the crowd enthralled: double flips, dance lines and pyramids that can go up to five tiers.

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