Over the past five-plus decades, Vista Fleet has entertained some six million passengers from all around the world. Today, the family-owned company sets sail on a pair of luxurious vessels: the Vista Star and the Vista Queen. After their early-morning Pilates classes, the two ships carry passengers across Lake Superior during sightseeing tours, dinner parties, and twilight cruises. All the while, Vista Fleet's staff members liven up the journeys with a mix of entertaining facts and games. They also point out iconic landmarks passing by, such as the Aerial Lift Bridge and the historic Canal Park.
Trek & Trail's intrepid guides lead kayakers to the 21 Apostle Islands and endless opportunities for camping, hiking, and sightseeing. The outfit provides all kayak equipment, food, and tents for each excursion, but kayakers must bring their own sleeping bags and clothing. Before each trip departs, the experienced instructors conduct a two- to three-hour basic safety course, during which students learn paddling techniques, how to deal with inhospitable weather, and how to use the boat as a battering ram to topple nearby sand castles.
Gander Mountain Academy updates its lessons in gun safety, handling, and marksmanship with virtual shooting technology that was once only available to military and law-enforcement agencies. The ladies-only basic fundamentals class gives women a foundation in the mechanics of handguns and how to use them safely. Students start by winnowing down the right type of gun for their needs, be they self-defense, hunting, or reclaiming the garage from infestations of gremlins. Next, instructors with callused trigger fingers explain the safety rules of handguns, compare ammunition options, and demonstrate proper grip, stance, and trigger control.
Located in the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Piragis Northwoods Company outfits excursioneers with all the necessities for embarking into the wily wilderness of northern Minnesota. Before outfitting adventurers, experienced outdoorsmen assist in planning routes and campsites to meet outdoorsy goals and wolf-man-sighting desires. Campers then rent accoutrements such as lightweight Kevlar canoes ($30+/day), solo or tandem kayaks ($30+/day), and Kevlar paddles ($6/day). Alternatively, woodspeople can be fully outfitted with canoes, paddles, packed food, tent and tarp, packs, witch repellent, sleeping bags, and a plethora of other gear ($100/person/day).
John and Lynn O'Kane have been dedicated to outfitting explorers for treks for more than 32 years, guided by a wealth of experience and membership in the Professional Paddlesports Association. They offer a variety of services to arm adventurers for canoeing, camping, and other outdoor escapades with complete packages stocked with all the necessary goods, from ultralight aluminum canoes to live bait for fishing. To help visitors make the most of their forays into the wilderness, they offer customized route planning service and select routes most suited to travelers? desires, experience levels, and abilities to follow bread-crumb trails. Back at base, there's a bunkhouse available for rent (upon availability) where campers can enjoy time in Ely before or after they set out on their treks.
Since first opening its doors to fishermen in 1898, Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge has remained a family-operated and award-winning resort focused on providing customers with a memorable stay. Up to two adults will receive a two-night stay in a second-floor Golf Course Studio ($410) located on the Alec’s Nine course, which offers queen and double beds, a twin sofa sleeper, a refrigerator, a coffee maker, and a private deck. Two 18-hole rounds of golf ($90) on a scenic course make for a fun-filled morning or afternoon as players soak in the striking, woods-lined terrain on foot. Additionally, visitors can dine in style or nosh on tasty sandwiches, thanks to quality dining options, or check out resort attractions such as nearby Paul Bunyan Land.