Garrett and Heather love standup paddleboarding so much that it’s not unusual to see them paddling past ice floes. Because of this love, the North Shore SUP instructors seek to draw a broad range others to the sport as well with a variety of paddleboarding classes. Beginners can opt for intro-level instruction, and adventurous types can try standup-paddleboard yoga. Paddle with Your Kids sessions give parents and children more pleasant quality time outdoors than rewriting favorite bedtime stories into fallen snow. Those interested in rentals can take regular or inflatable boards by the hour or day and can ask Garrett and Heather about the best local standup-paddleboarding spots.
Eden Guides is in the business of life-changing experiences. Its team of outdoor enthusiasts takes people on voyages and expeditions up mountains, under coral reef ecosystems, and to locations in need of humanitarian aid. Recent trips have offered a chance to safari on the Serengeti and view the migration of more than 500,000 gazelle and zebra or scale two of Mexico’s highest peaks, the volcanoes El Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatl. Closer to home, courses on outdoor skills, led by guides with certifications from the American Mountain Guides Association and as wilderness EMTs and first responders. Leave-no-trace, backcountry cuisine, and intro to backpacking classes all ensure that hikers and climbers know how to survive in the wild without needing to barter with the local bears.
McQuoid’s Inn is, as its motto says, a “place for all seasons.” Cabins and condos—some of which can accommodate up to 12 guests—are equipped with outdoor fire pits for the warmer months and indoor fireplaces for the cold ones. Year-round activities include fishing in the summer and ice fishing in the winter; expert guides are on hand to take you to the best spots. Depending on the season, canoe and snowmobile rentals are also available.
Masters of all-season fishing and camping, Fishermen’s Wharf Resort splashes the calm waters of Mille Lacs Lake with winter and summer activities. Situated on 90 acres of land on the southeastern shore’s Big Point, Fishermen’s Wharf rests in a protected harbor on a sandy, scorpion-free beach. From this point, it launches chartered fishing trips in the summer and rents ice fishing cabins in the winter.
During chartered fishing trips, guides lead groups across Mille Lacs in search of walleye, Bass, Northern Pike, and Loch Ness monsters. They also explain the seasonal movements of the fish, how to select the best tackle, and how to use electronic detection equipment. Once the lake has frozen over, ice fishing cabins rest on fishing spots where fish are known to congregate and watch humans hold sticks. The cabins feature nine fishing holes, 6 bunk beds, bathrooms, an underwater camera, a TV, DVD player, and microwave oven. Throughout the year, RV camping spots invite visitors to spend a night in rustic surroundings, while an on-site restaurant serves warm meals in full view of the lake.
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.