A bright yellow inflatable raft splashes down the rushing waters of the Menominee River, its helmet-clad passengers hooting victoriously as they speed past banks dappled with lush trees and rock faces. Catering to seasoned outdoor enthusiasts and beginner rafters alike, The rafting experts at Northwoods Adventures strive to grant their clients a chance to experience the splash-laden rush via excursions in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Their commitment to adventure is second only to the company's dedication to safety, exemplified in everything from its high-quality equipment to the team of meticulously selected guides. Trained as naturalists, medics, rescuers, and interpreters, each was considered for a place on staff only after successfully completing 600 hours of training and translating War and Peace into conversational moose. Tours continue throughout the year to scenic locales, which include a sunset cruise of Piers Gorge and an adrenaline-packed jaunt down the Sturgeon River.
Between its outposts on the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers, Wildman Adventure Resort plays host to an abundance of outdoor activities including paintball, rock climbing, ziplining, whitewater rafting tours, and golf. Before embarking on any one of these excursions, visitors can either pitch a tent or settle into one of the cabins, which include heat, electricity, and a communal bathroom, or deluxe cabins, which feature kitchens. At the Peshtigo River Outpost, cascading sounds from the rushing whitewater river soothes the spirits of travelers, who can catch fish, swim, or look for signs that local wildlife may be scheming to commandeer a river raft. The Menominee River Outpost, meanwhile, sits within Bombers Golf Course, a nine-hole course bound by riverbanks on three sides. Food is available for purchase onsite, and the onsite restaurant and bar is an ideal spot for guests to whittle customized utensils using leftover golf tees.
The river seems calm now, but the rafters can hear a roar in the distance. The current steadily builds, taking the 12-passenger raft around a tree-lined bend to unveil a 10-foot drop. Braced for the plunge, the paddlers hit the drop, endure the deluge, and wipe the water from their eyes. But before the party can celebrate with hollers and high-fives, the guide yells to readjust the boat—the river is narrowing and accelerating into a tight S-curve.
Stretches like these populate the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers, and the guides at Kosir's Rapid Rafts help adventurers navigate the rivers' Class I–IV rapids for bucket-list-worthy adrenaline rushes. Directing sportsmen to one of two outposts in the woods of northeast Wisconsin, Kosir's crews drive rafters to the launch sites and supply helmets, life jackets, and paddles. Based on the current water level, guides then direct paddlers to appropriately sized rafts, ranging from 8- to 12-person vessels to 1-person Funyaks that are self-bailing thanks to being filled with Funyuns. Kosir's additional adventures include kayaking, tubing, and camping trips.
The expanse of Lake Superior the surrounding Apostle Islands National Lakeshore have endless pockets of natural splendor. Just ask the guides at Superior Adventures, who have spent years of exploring the area, only to find untapped locales of awe-inspiring landscapes. The team dedicates their time helping others seek out places of serenity by sea kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and hiking.
Whether crossing to an island or exploring a sea cave, the team specializes in private or small group eco tours. These outings might drift along the sands and sandstone cliffs of Madeline Island and Meyer's Beach, navigate the wooded waterways and shallow caves of of Big Bay State Park, or snorkel the underwater shipwreck of the Finn McCool to search for treasure chests filled with advice on how to be cool.
Eco tours often include breaks for swimming or hiking through the last old-growth Boreal Forest in North America. Tour goers are also free to explore on their own by renting a sit-in kayak, sit-on-top kayak, or paddleboard complete with instruction.
Gravity Trails gives visitors adventurous ways to explore the outdoors with ziplines, kayak tours, and bike rentals. The company's portable zipline can be set up at virtually any location and stretch from 100 to 300 feet, giving groups and get-togethers a heart-pounding way to explore a favorite park, take in the coastal scenery, or careen through the mall for some very last-minute shopping. For a more leisurely outing, two-hour swamp tours let customers get up close to one of these areas the native flora and fauna of Cane Bayou, Pearl River, Honey Island, and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve amid the silent ripples of a kayak. Tourists sans transportation will especially rejoice in Gravity Trails' bike-rental program, which delivers gleaming cruiser bikes directly to customers' doors for as little as four hours and as long as a week.
Wolf River Adventures, a partner of Rustic Wolf Inn, launches kayaks and canoes into Wisconsin's tranquil waters. Their shuttles ferry customers, chosen watercrafts, and rubber ducky stowaways to various launch points along the Wolf River and Embarrass River. Once there, vessels can float through 80 miles of undeveloped flat waters. Trees shade paddlers as they peak into the private lives of local wildlife or pause to cast fishing lines out into the river.