Recreation & Outdoors

There’s no such thing as an off-season around here.

Given Minnesota’s consistent ranking among the top healthiest states in the nation, it should be no surprise we’re an active bunch in this neck of the woods, year-round.

In the summer months, water sports like fishing, skiing, wakeboarding and canoeing reign supreme. Cyclists rack up the miles on expansive stretches of open roads and the famous Lake Wobegon Trail, Munsinger Clemens Gardens bloom with abundance for leisurely walks and picnics.

Golfers (including the frisbee-throwing kind) make their rounds on dozens of area courses, including the Territory Golf Club in St. Cloud, Wapicada in Sauk Rapids, Blackberry Ridge in Sartell, Pebble Creek in Becker and many others within a couple 7-irons of each other.

Farmers Markets and berry picking, camping and cabins, backyard bonfires and BBQs, central Minnesotans know how to maximize warm, sunny days.

When the weather cools, we pile on a few more layers to pick apples and pumpkins at Collegeville Orchards or attend annual events like the Old Creamery Arts & Crafts Show in Rice, Beaver Island’s Oktobeerfest and SJU Football games. Courageous souls climb aboard heart-pounding hayrides at Molitor’s Haunted Acres or Harvest of Horror. For many Minnesotans, fall also means retreating to the woods to hunt deer and other wild game.

The snow also brings ample opportunity for recreation. Many golf courses and parks become trails for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Powder Ridge in Kimball is a go-to spot for downhill skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, while area lakes freeze into a foundation for snowmobiles, pop-up ice fishing houses and pond hockey tournaments.

During the holidays, local Christmas tree farms offer kid-friendly activities, the City of St. Cloud hosts an annual Christmas market and parade, while the Sartell Country Lights Festival is another popular annual tradition.

Springtime is earmarked with the Centra Care Earth Day Run, a half-marathon, relay and 5k routed along the banks of the Mississippi River and ending in historic downtown St. Cloud to fanfare, live music and a fitness expo. Bernick’s Family Fitness Series also takes off in the spring with themed 5k races for St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving, among others. For nearly 40 years, athletes from around the country have kicked off Memorial Day weekend with the Apple Duathlon in Sartell.