Camping is an underrated adventure. If you have not done it, you need to try it. There is something so basic and simple about living outdoors for a weekend. There is no better stress reliever. Now if you have never camped before don’t start by roughing it in the Boundary Waters canoe area. You are asking to fail and hate it. That is the equivalent of never having a swim lesson and jumping into the deep end of the pool.
Start at a State Park and preferably an electric site so you can plug stuff in and get a site close to the restrooms and showers. You can borrow camping gear from a friend, because most of us have a lot of it in our garage. Bring good food and some wine for Mom and Dad so that even if the weather is not so cooperative, the food and drink is good. Plan for good and bad weather, because both are possible and both can be fun. Come with ideas of things to do besides the usual hiking, biking, fishing and swimming. No camping trip is complete without a cooking contest over the fire. Bring prizes for best and worst food. You can judge the food based upon creativity, presentation and of course taste. Have everyone be a judge and all ages can compete. We have also had fire building contests. The person to start the fire the fastest without using any matches or lighters wins. This teaches good skills as well. There are a lot more ways to build fire without matches than you think. Google that. You can even start a fire very quickly with batteries and steel wool. This was a winner from a past adventure.
This is Minnesota. If you don’t have a boat, think about getting one or make friends with someone who has one. Speaking as a boat owner, we like taking friends along. There is nothing more relaxing than being on the water with family or friends. Many people do not buy a boat because they believe they will not be able to back it into the water to launch it. This is a learned skill like anything else. You can learn this. You can Google this too. There is a particularly good one called “back your boat like a boss” or something like that. So it is entertaining too. Take a boat and trailer and practice in a parking lot first so you become comfortable backing it. Don’t worry, like all of us, you will be awkward the first few times. Just apologize to the people waiting to launch their boat behind you and giving you that look. Remember they were once newcomers to backing boats too, so they need to be a little patient and most are. It is a great family and couples activity.
There are festivals almost every weekend. There is everything from the Spam festival to the Renaissance festival. Not all festivals are gold, but there is a festival for every interest. Upcoming events can be found on Explore Minnesota or the Newspaper web sites on Weekend outings and activities. Every state has them and they can be really fun for everybody.
Itasca State Park
This is one of the most beautiful places in our state and in the country. You can stay in their historic cottages or new condos or the historic Douglas Lodge, built from the majestic pines from the site during the lumbering days. It can be family oriented or it could be a very romantic get away. It has something for everyone including Indian mounds, biking and hiking trails, and of course, the well known beginning of the Mississippi site. Every family has to have a picture of them walking across the Mississippi as it is shallow and small at its beginnings coming out of Lake Itasca. There is a paddle wheel boat on the lake or you can rent boats and bikes and there is a pioneer cemetery and other historic sites and a fire tower to climb. I cannot say enough good things about this park. If you have not been there, you need to go. It is beautiful in any season.
Duluth is a great place to visit for a weekend or long weekend. It is our largest Port and has great hotels and restaurants and you can watch the big Ore boats going in and out of the harbor under the lift bridge. The entire North Shore has great outdoor adventures with Gooseberry Falls and historic Split Rock lighthouse. It has bed and breakfasts and great hotels, camping and cabins. It also has the Superior Hiking trail and great skiing in the winter. This is just an overview of the many things to do in the North Shore Duluth area. It can be family oriented or very romantic and it is a cool place in any season, but summer has the most things to do and see.
You get the point. Our state and the surrounding states have a lot to offer. Pack the car, plan well and practice Fun Living by seeing and experiencing all that you can to live your life to the fullest!
- If you like archeology, check out the Cahokia ancient mounds in Collinsville, Illinois. It is called America’s lost city and most people do not even know it exists. We have also gone to Ohio digging fossils on a weekend trip and to the Jeffers petroglyphs by Comfrey in southern Minnesota, and the Pipestone monument in Western Minnesota.
- Chicago is closer than you think and is a great weekday or weekend trip. During the week you can get really good rates on hotels.
- The bed and breakfast options in Stillwater for a romantic getaway are amazing.
- The Ely area on the iron range has many fun things including a mine tour and they have the Shute Bear sanctuary and the mines are now fresh water lakes for a weekend of family activities. My son and I are scuba divers so we dove in the mines which provided for some excitement. The water is very clear and there are things like discarded mining equipment left purposely so the divers have cool things to look at underwater.
There are many other ideas to practice Fun Living. I would love to have you share your ideas and photos of your own Fun Living practice. Life goes by quickly and we need to enjoy every aspect of our lives.