Hiking outdoors with friends

17 Outdoor Activities for Buddies in Minnesota

The lakes, trails, and natural beauty of Minnesota provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures with your best friend.

National Best Friends Day is coming up on June 8th! Do you have any special plans to celebrate your closest friendship? Whether you’ve been inseparable since kindergarten or just met your new “person,” spending quality time together outdoors is one of the best ways to make memories.

Minnesota is the perfect place for adventurous best friends outings. From hiking panoramic trails to paddling scenic waterways to tackling extreme outdoor challenges.

Some of my best memories are out there on the trail, exploring. I love getting out there.

This year, skip the fancy dinners. Instead, get outside and experience an epic day full of laughter, shared thrills, and friendly competition with your BFF. These are the moments that fortify lifelong bonds. So gear up and get ready to make your bestie adventure dreams come true right here in Minnesota!

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Grab Your BFF for These Epic Minnesota Outdoor Adventures

Hiking the Superior Hiking Trail

Stretching over 300 miles along the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior, the Superior Hiking Trail offers breathtaking views and hiking opportunities for all skill levels.

The 4.2-mile section from Silver Bay to Split Rock River offers a moderate day hike with incredible vistas of the lake and river gorge. Pack a picnic and enjoy quality friend time in one of Minnesota’s most scenic spots.

Want to stay closer to the Twin Cities, check out these great trails: 21 Best Hikes Near Minneapolis and St Paul

Superior Hiking Trail

Biking the Gateway State Trail

This 18-mile paved trail connects St. Paul to the charming river town of Stillwater. Rent bikes (or bring your own) and cruise along the Gateway‘s flat, car-free path while taking in views of the St. Croix River valley. Stop in Stillwater for lunch at one of the town’s sidewalk cafes or riverside restaurants.

Don’t forget to check out these other great trails around the Twin Cities: 40 Scenic Bike Trails in the Twin Cities

Stillwater MN

Kayaking on Lake Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun)

Located in the heart of Minneapolis, Bde Maka Ska offers easy kayak and canoe rentals for a paddle around the city lakes.

Enjoy the skyline views and look for birds and other wildlife as you glide across the water together. Afterwards, relax at one of the many lakeside eateries.

Lake Calhoun

Paddleboarding on Lake Superior

If the water is calm, rent standup paddleboards and take in incredible views while cruising the clear waters of Lake Superior together near Duluth or Grand Marais.

There is also a great bay in Two Harbors, called Burlington Bay that provides calm waters to start off in.

Fog rolling in off Lake Superior at Temperance River State park

Walking through Caponi Art Park

Not all adventures need to be adrenaline filled. Take a walk through the 60 acres of wooded hills and natural trails of Caponi Art Park. They have over 55 sculptures along the paths just waiting for you.

Caponi Art Park

Wakeboarding on Lake Minnetonka

Spend a day being towed wakeboarding, wakesurfing or kneeboarding on this popular lake just outside the Twin Cities metro. There are plenty of rental companies that will make sure you are setup with everything, including a boat. Or you can even sign up for lessons with Wakegenius.

Lake Minnetonka

Surfing at Park Point Beach

Yes, you heard right, Surfing in Minnesota. Catch waves together on Lake Superior at this famous Duluth surf spot when winds come in from the northeast. UofM students can even sign up for lessons.

Surfing at Park Point Beach in Duluth

Cliff Jumping at Quarry Park

Get your adrenaline fix by leaping off the cliffs into the old quarry swimming hole at this scenic park in Waite Park. There are designated quarry within the park where swimming is allowed, #2 and #11. Quarry Two has a depth of 0 – 116 feet with a 20 foot cliff ledge. The “Melrose Deep 7” is the best place, look for signage.

*There is no lifeguard on duty and cliff jumping can be very dangerous. Please use caution.

Swimming in St Cloud Quarry Park

Mountain Biking in Cuyuna

Shred the technical, ridgeline mountain bike trails winding through repurposed mine lands in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. This park is amazing for skilled bikers. They also have some lakes if you’d prefer to paddle around after.

Mt Bike Trial at Cuyuana Trail

Sea Kayaking in the Apostle Islands

Paddle together along sea caves, lighthouses and rocky arches in this scenic Lake Superior archipelago off the Bayfield peninsula.

You’ll need to schedule a tour to get out to the caves. If you prefer not to kayak, they have scenic tours too that are phenomenal.

Technically in Wisconsin, but this is just too cool to pass up. And you can day trip from Minnesota there.

The best things to do in Bayfield Wisconsin

Whitewater Rafting on the St. Louis River

Face class IV and V rapids as you and your friend whitewater raft down the scenic St. Louis River near Jay Cooke State Park. Minnesota Whitewater Rafting company has guided tours.

Whitewater Rafting on the St Louis River

Sailing on Leech Lake

Spend a day sailing the vast waters of Leech Lake near Walker, one of Minnesota’s largest and most picturesque inland lakes.

Rock Climbing in Blue Mounds State Park

Tackle challenging traditional and sport climbing routes together on the unique quartzite rock formations in this scenic state park. The park is located in southwestern Minnesota and has some of hte best rock climbing routes around.

If you prefer a water backdrop, Palisades Head is also a good choice along Lake Superior.

blue Mounds State park

Picnicking at Minnehaha Park

This iconic Minneapolis park offers a picturesque waterfall, creek, and plenty of green spaces to roll out a blanket and enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch with your bestie. Walk off your meal on the 5-mile loop trail while taking in views of the Mississippi River gorge.

Minnehaha waterfall next to a river

Strolling the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Wander through this vast 1,200-acre arboretum and gardens in Chanhassen filled with sculpture gardens, wildflower trails, waterscapes, and the iconic impressionist-style Monet bridge over a water lily pond.

It’s a beautiful place to meander and catch up. The Twin Cities also offers lovely rose gardens and conservatories like the Marjorie McNeely in St. Paul.

MN Landscape Arboretum

Floating the Cannon River

About an hour south of the Twin Cities, the Cannon River offers a serene tubing experience perfect for a hot summer day with your BFF. Gently float past towering limestone bluffs, hardwood forests, and maybe even spot an eagle soaring overhead as you relax in your tube.

Other popular rivers for floating include the St. Croix and Rum River closer to Minneapolis/St. Paul. 7 of The Best River Tubing in MN for a Summer of Fun

Group Floating down the river
Flickr photo by chumlee10 shared under a Creative Commons license

Rock Climbing at Taylors Falls

For the adventurous duo, Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls offers top-rope rock climbing with stunning views of the St. Croix River valley. Routes are available for all skill levels. Grab your gear and harnesses for a day of scaling these unique rock formations together.


With so many ways to enjoy the great outdoors, Minnesota provides the perfect place to create new memories with your best friend. Get out there and explore!

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