5 Things to Do Outside in Summer

When the warm, sunny weather beckons, answer the call! Get outside and enjoy those summer-only activities. Allow the fresh air and gentle breezes to once again clear the mental cobwebs and fill your energy reserves.

Staples boasts of many great things to do outside – golf, biking and hiking trails, baseball games, fishing to name a few – but summertime has its own special “do not miss” activities.

Tubing the River

Gather the group and hang out on the Crow Wing River. Tubing is always a popular warm-weather activity. Lay back, chill out, and enjoy the hot sun and cool water. Bring your own tubes or rent them from Staples True Value or Wahoo Valley.

There are various landing points along the Crow Wing River. You can download or print the Crow Wing River Water Trail Map from the DNR. A popular family-friendly tubing route is from McGivern Park to Orville’s Landing.

DIYers will need to organize transportation from one landing point to another. For those looking for more convenience, Wahoo Valley offers tubing services for a small per person charge. They will drive you to your starting point, supply twine for hooking tubes together, and remove your garbage when you get back to the restaurant. Reservations are recommended especially on the weekends. And if you are hungry after tubing, Wahoo Valley has some of the best burgers in the area.

As always, please use caution when taking children and pets with you on the river. If the river is high, the currents can be strong with the deep water.

Swimming and Boating

Summer wouldn’t be summer without time at the lake. And in Staples, you can enjoy the natural beauty of Dower Lake Recreation Area (DLRA). It is located a quick 2 miles west of town and has everything your family needs for a great day on and at the lake.

Put the boat in the water for a quiet day of fishing or get the kids screaming as you pull them on a tube. Then head to the swimming beach and wiggle your toes in Dower Lake’s sandy shore. Before you leave, remember to take your picture on MN’s longest fishing pier!

Music in the Park

Sundays in July and August feature amazing music in an extremely relaxed environment. Head to Northern Pacific Park at 7pm, bring some chairs or a blanket, and enjoy watching the show. The Staples-Motley Arts Council brings a wide variety of local, regional, and national performers to Staples for their summer Music in the Park series. Previous performers have included The Woodpicks, Kate and Bill Isle, Jessica Vines, and so many more. A list of upcoming dates is available on the events calendar.

Music in the Park is a great event for the whole family. If the little ones get tired of sitting, they can enjoy playing on the playground or running around this large, grassy park.


Camping out is a summer staple. Campfires, roasted marshmallows, telling stories, and sleeping under the stars.

Want to go “old school” and pitch a tent? Rustic camping is available at both Dower Lake Recreation Area (DLRA) and Old Wadena Park.

Need the creature comforts of your RV?  DLRA’s campground has 14 seasonal sites and 20 electric sites available for rent. Enjoy free firewood, hot showers, and full-utility services.

Camping gear and supplies can be found at Staples True Value and Staples Ace Hardware. Stock up on groceries – remember the marshmallows! – at either Jon’s Family Foods or Ernies’ Food Market.


In August, Staples’ visitors can participate in two festival traditions. These family-friendly events have something for everyone to enjoy.

Old Wadena Rendezvous and Chautauqua Celebration

Step back in time and see history come to life at Old Wadena Park. Time travel happens on the 2nd weekend of August each year. The two-day festival includes a fur traders’ encampment, musical performances, kids’ activities, tools of the 1840s, educational speakers and demonstrations, an artisan tent (blacksmith, spinning wool, making pots, making crafts, etc.), and, of course, food!

Railroad Days

Celebrate Staples at Railroad Days the 4th weekend of August. It’s four full days of activities, events, and fun for everyone: games, food, contests, a parade, musical performances, a street dance, fireworks, CLC’s Field Day, and so much more. Make your hotel reservations early to get in on all the festivities!

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