OH BABY! We’ve waited all year for the summer sunshine. We’ve dreamed of hot days, warm nights, fireflies, picnics, baseball, bopping on the river. And yet, as the routine of heat and humidity settles in – we call them the ‘dog days’ – we start seeking out a respite. “Help us find some relief,” we say. “Where can we go to cool off?” “(Where’s the nearest body of water)”
Fortunately, Dubuque lies beside a pretty darn good recreational waterway. Relief, and a whole bunch of water fun, can be found right at our doorstep.
Let’s begin with an amenity many probably don’t even know exists. The Dubuque Water Trail extends 11 miles from A.Y. McDonald Park on the north past downtown, the Julienne Dubuque Bridge, and the Mines of Spain, ending just above Massey Station Road on the south. The Water Trail offers several access points for kayaks and canoes. Let in up north and let the gentle current glide you downstream, or earn yourself one heck of a workout by paddling north. And there’s always the cool water at your beckon call if you should feel the need for a splash!
Then there’s the latest summer sport craze that’s sweeping the nation… and if you noticed, many sporting goods stores. It’s called SUP and it stands for Stand Up Waterboarding. Think kayaking on your feet atop an oversized surf board, SUP got started in Hawaii and worked its way to the mainland. And now, you’re seeing SUPers popping up on all manner of bodies of water, including on the Mississippi and its backwaters!
A local company, Big River SUP Tours and SUP Yoga, is all about teaching folks how to safely use their paddleboards then turning them loose on the waterways. It’s a fitting test of strength and balance amid the beauty of our Midwestern Driftless. You want something completely different? Join in Big River’s SUP yoga classes. Check out the photos on their website – www.bigriversup.com. Yoga on water is really beautiful.
Yeah, there’s always something new to do on the river, but for us traditionalists, nothing beats a relaxing boat tour. In Dubuque, we have several purveyors of riverboat cruises including S.W.A.T. River Cruises, Dubuque River Rides, Celebration Belle and Riverboat Twilight. Depending on the time of year and weather, you might be able to take a dinner cruise, moonlight ride, wedding tour, autumn color excursion, or even a company outing. Cruise directors are eager to please!
Finally, you know how it is when you have guests from out of town. If there are youngsters in the horde with more energy than a pack of adults can possibly match, pack up the flotation devices and beach towels and head for Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark. Their website says: Make a splash at Grand Harbor Resort’s onsite indoor waterpark! We offer 25,000 square feet of wet fun for the entire family – including waterslides, tube rides, rope ladders, waterspouts, water chutes, squirt guns, and powerful water cannons, as well as a lazy river, activity pools, and two giant hot tub whirlpools. Grab a snack at the River’s Edge Café, or experience the “four story splash” – 350 gallons of water, dumped every eight minutes from our four-story Huck Finn II Treehouse!
I’m sorry, but that sounds like TOO MUCH FUN! Back when I was a kid, we had an 18-inch wading pool and we liked it. Is my jealousy starting to show? Well, they don’t have any age limits as Grand Harbor. So guess where I’m headed!
Have a great summer, everybody!