With a passion for boating the waters of Lake Minnetoka to take in views of the region's natural beauty and lush green landscapes, Wayzata Bay Charters' owners charter their 60-foot lake cruiser to make the experience accessible to all. The owners decked out their two-level cruiser—which can host up to 60 people—with a full bar, two satellite TVs, satellite radio, a 2,000-watt sound system, and enough helium balloons to keep both the boat and the party afloat. Believing a jaunt on the lake makes for an ideal event whatever the occasion, they've designed packages specifically for weddings and bachelorette parties, and they still offer public cruises to assure everyone has a chance to take to the water.
Though they've only been leading paddling tours for a few years, the certified guides of Stand Up MN have already helped thousands of people explore the Twin Cities' local waterways up close. After equipping their guests with standup paddleboards, personal flotation devices, and ample training, they embark on trips along the quiet stretch of the Mississippi River that cuts through their urban landscape.
From St. Paul, groups glide under bridges and pass idyllic natural areas—and from Minneapolis, they can take a break from paddling to high-five low-flying birds from a rope swing over the water. Stand Up MN also leads extended paddling tours to Taylors Falls, where state parks and tumbling waterfalls abound. These excursions are complemented by the company's special events, which include speed-dating events at which participants spend most of the time hanging out while paddleboarding.
As you navigate the winding paths through the corn maze, you hear the wind rustling the stalks of corn behind you. At least, you hope it's the wind and not something more sinister. But you press on, a little more quickly, past the strobe lights and fog machines, hoping that you find the exit before a chainsaw-wielding lumberjack or the ghost of a humorless SAT proctor finds you.
Shafer Corn Maze's Stalkers of the Corn is just one way to experience the three corn mazes spread across 12 acres. The mazes feature a Paul Bunyan–themed design that was cut into nearly half a million corn stalks by professional maze designer MazePlay. The largest maze winds through 3.1 miles of paths and the smallest maze winds through 1.1 miles of paths.
Families with young kids or those who don't want to outrun ghouls and goblins can check out the mazes during the daytime. Both the largest and smallest mazes have six checkpoints where explorers can punch a ticket to mark their progress.
After finding their way out, guests can head to the petting zoo, straw-bale jump, or obstacle course.
In the early 20th century, trains chugged along the St. Croix Valley Railway, rolling over scenic bridges and past rolling waterfront vistas lined with trees. Today, an old-fashioned locomotive still runs from Osceola, Wisconsin to Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota?a 10-mile route that transports passengers across state lines and into the past. Inside the period-accurate passenger cars, Minnesota Transportation Museum staff relay facts about area history and refute the wildly inaccurate science in The Little Engine That Could. Regular round-trip rides run twice every Saturday and Sunday from May to October, but special-event trains and rides with dining service often round out the schedule.
Since purchasing a used limo in 1993, Leland ?Lee? Casto has had the same job: transporting clientele on trips and tours throughout the Twin Cities. His fleet, however, is now significantly larger, with numerous vehicles including stretch limos that fit 6?22 passengers. Guests can sip refreshments from tumblers and champagne flutes as Lee whisks them off on all types of journeys, from bar-hopping excursions to airport-bound jaunts. He also accommodates patrons on several tours, which include winery visits, two gangster-themed expeditions, and guided treks past ghost-filled mansions and twinkling holiday lights.
Every time Tiny Footprint Coffee uses a little bit of earth's resources, it also puts a little bit back. Since roasting coffee produces CO2, the staff have taken it upon themselves to donate a portion of the proceeds from every pound of coffee they sell to reforestation efforts in Ecuador. In this sense, they've established their business as a "carbon negative" one?the carbon they produce is eliminated by the trees that are eventually planted. And that's not even getting to the coffee itself. Workers dote on the artisanal beans every step of the way, from the family-owned farms where the coffee cherries are picked to the carefully trained baristas who eventually transform the roasted beans into the perfect cup.