How would you like to paddleboard for a few miles down the Mississippi, either in Minneapolis or St. Paul, with a tour guide who will not only make sure you have a great time and ensure your safety, but also share some nuggets about the great river?
Well, now you can with Stand Up MN, a paddleboard tour company that launched in the Twin Cities just three summers ago.
What started out as an idea scribbled on a napkin became a reality for company owner Austin Aho in 2011, and since that time, Stand Up MN has provided paddleboard tours to hundreds of people, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who was their first client!
So why paddleboard tours on the Mississippi? For one thing, no one else is doing it the way these guys are. And, Aho has a passion for the river. He grew up in Minneapolis and spent plenty of time not only in the lakes in the city, but also up in the boundary waters. After he graduated from college, he spent some time abroad but eventually felt the pull of the Twin Cities luring him back.
Since his return, he has developed somewhat of a kinship with the river. He volunteered some time taking underprivileged children canoeing on the river, and realized what a real treasure we have in our backyard. He wanted to share that with as many people as possible, in a fun and engaging way. Plus, paddleboarding is a great activity that people can do together and is gaining in popularity.
Stand Up MN’s mission is simple. It is to provide the best paddleboard adventures in Minnesota, and they do that by providing everything you’ll need to have a great time with lasting memories.
We were lucky enough to go on sunset tour in St. Paul and we can say from the experience that they fulfill their mission.
All tours are booked online on the Stand Up MN website. Your confirmation email will include directions to the tour’s end-point, where you will meet the guides who will drive you up river 4-7 miles to the tour’s starting point. Once there, you will receive an orientation and talk about river safety. After everyone’s questions are answered, off you’ll go.
Don’t feel like you have to stand up on the paddleboard though. You can be on your knees, or even sitting on your bottom. But if and when you are ready to stand up, the guides will be right there to walk you through it and assure you that your legs will stop shaking in about one minute.
These tours are great for groups celebrating a special event, couples on a double date, or just a group of friends looking for something new and exciting to do. Each tour group has between 6 – 12 people, and each tour lasts about 2 hours.
During each tour, the guides will snap pictures of you and your tour mates, which they will then post on Facebook and other social media sites for you to share. At the same time, they also will point out interesting facts about the city, the river, or anything else that might come up. And don’t be surprised if you see a bald eagle or two.
The cost of the tour depends on how many people sign up with you. One to three people costs $65 per person; four to eight people is $49 per person; and nine people or more costs $45 per person.
The tour season is June 1 through October 13, so there is plenty of time to sign up and get paddling. For more information, please visit the Stand Up MN website and if you do, let us know. We love hearing from our readers.
Stand UP MN At-A-Glance
What: Paddleboard tours on the Mississippi in Minneapolis and St. Paul
When: Check the schedule, but they have morning tours, sunset tours and more
Why: Because it’s fun, it’s a great work out, and it’s a great way to get acquainted with the Mississippi
How: Learn more and book your tours online at StandUpMN.org
** Also check out their corporate team building and health & wellness programs