Are you the kind of person who would get outside more if you could meet up with others? If you are, there are many local options for you, no matter what your favorite outdoor activity.
Being active outdoors—in our parks, on our trails, on our lakes and rivers—is so healthy for us in so many ways.
Physical activity and being in nature have proven impact on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being (We’ll link to some articles below for more on that).
Even though we know that, it’s often hard for us to take the time or find the motivation to get out there as much as we’d like.
Sometimes it’s a boost just to have someone else plan it for us! If all we need to do is say “yes” and show up, often that’s enough to get us going.
Or maybe you’re completely fine with getting outside on the trails and in the parks alone, but you know it’s more enjoyable with others. Maybe you don’t have outdoorsy friends or family to invite along.
Take a look at our Digital Guide Series
Here are a few of the many recreational clubs and groups based right here in the Twin Cities. These all exist to help get people outside more often—and to have fun doing it with others who also love outdoor activities:
Groups & Clubs that Offer a Wide Range of Outdoor Activities
There are a couple groups that have expanded over the years to include whatever outdoor activities its members wish to participate in.
These include all the ones we cover here on Twin Cities Outdoors: hiking, biking, paddling, camping, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Minnesota Rovers Outdoors Club
Minnesota Rovers is a well-organized not-for-profit that’s been around for almost seven decades. They have several hundred members, including those just beginning their outdoor adventure life to those who are very experienced.
They offer local outings, day trips, weekend trips in and outside of Minnesota, and overseas trips. Membership is $25 a year for those living within the 7-county metro area, $10 for out-state members and $10 for students.
You’ll find all you need to know about the club, about their trips and about membership on their website: MNRovers.org.
North Star Ski Touring Club
Not far behind the Rovers in longevity is North Star Ski Touring Club, in existence for more than five decades. As their name suggests, it started as a cross country ski club then gradually added other activities as their members wanted more than just winter outings.
The North Star folks also organize day, weekend and multi-day trips locally, in the region and overseas. Hike, bike, paddle, ski, snowshoe…it’s all available. Memberships include both individual and family at a wide range of rates, starting with $20 for an individual annual membership.
Take a look at their website for all the details: North-Stars.og.
Last Minute Outings
If you prefer extremely informal and love to live your life off-the-cuff, Last Minute Outings might be a group for you! This is a local public Facebook group, founded by John Schulte, owner of Twin Cities Kayaking.
The idea is exactly as its name implies: check in to see if others want to do a local hike, bike or paddle the same day or that weekend.
Twin Cities Hiking Clubs and Groups
Minneapolis/St. Paul Backpackers Meetup
One of several local groups from Meetup, the Backpackers Meetup has more than 1,300 members. Members of all experience levels are welcome, from beginner to advanced.
Minnesota Walking Meetup
This Minneapolis-based Meetup walks “at a moderate pace” and is open to all adults, sans dogs. Explore local parks and natural areas.
Twin Cities Hiking Club
This club, founded by Twin Cities Kayaking owner, John Schulte, is a Facebook-based group. This private Facebook group is three years old and is open to all who love local hiking.
Learn more about Twin Cities Hiking Club here. There’s no cost to join.
Twin Cities Hiking Meetup
With lots of events happening and over 18,000 members, Twin Cities Hiking Meetup is a great place for just about anyone to find others to hike with locally.
Twin Cities Hiking & Trail Running Guide
Published in 2020 and updated in 2023, our 48-page digital Hiking & Trail Running Guide is the easiest way to find hiking and running trails in all seven counties of the Twin Cities metro area.
Twin Cities Bicycling Clubs and Groups
Hiawatha Bicycling Club
Sponsoring several rides every week at varying mileage and speeds, Hiawatha Bicycling Club is ideal for recreational bikers looking for social cycling events. Membership is $25/individual and $35/household per year.
Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists
If you’re a mountain biker or want to enter the world of singletrack, look this organization up. They don’t just ride, they advocate for and help maintain trails all around Minnesota, including the Twin Cities. Memberships start at $30/month.
Twin Cities Bicycling Club
The largest recreational bike club in the metro, Twin Cities Bicycling Club hosts tons of events around the local area. Membership for this 501c3 non-profit is $30 annual for a single membership or $45 for a household.
Twin Cities Biking Guide
Published in 2020 and updated in 2023, our 54-page digital Biking Guide is the easiest, most convenient way to find bike trails in all seven counties of the Twin Cities metro area.
Twin Cities Paddling Clubs and Groups
Inland Sea Kayakers
If you’re a sea kayaker or would love to enter this world of kayaking big water like Lake Superior, this is the group for you. Local lake paddling, big water trips and instruction are all part of this club. They even do pool sessions during the winter. Membership is $20/individual, $35 for family of up to 3, $45 for family of 4+.
While Minnesota, not Twin Cities, based, if you’re interested in whitewater kayaking, this club would be a great fit. Their emphasis on education makes it a great place for beginners. Destinations include whitewater stretches in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Rice Creek Boat Club
While this club began to help get teens into racing, it’s since expanded to include adult recreational kayaking, canoeing and SUPing. No membership fee, and they have a fleet of rentals available for you to use for their Adult Boat Club, as well as optional instruction. They meet at Long Lake in New Brighton.
Twin Cities Paddle Club
This club, founded by Twin Cities Kayaking owner, John Schulte, is a Facebook-based group. It’s been around for five years and is a private group that’s open to paddling enthusiasts of all levels, including those who want to learn. Kayakers, canoeists and paddle boarders are all welcome.
Learn more and join Twin Cities Paddle Club here. There’s no cost to join.
Twin Cities Paddlers
A club whose members paddle together on both flat water and rivers around Minnesota and into Wisconsin, based in the Twin Cities. Thanks to a local business partnership, membership is free.
Twin Cities Paddling Guide
Published in 2020, our 52-page digital Paddling Guide is the easiest way to find local lakes and river trails in all seven counties of the Twin Cities metro area.
Twin Cities Cross Country Ski Clubs & Groups
Cross Country Skiing – Twin Cities Meetup
This Meetup group welcomes skiers of all ability levels to join them on local trails in the evenings and weekends through the winter. Groups like this are a great way to glean technique wisdom from experienced members.
North Star Ski Touring Club
North Star Ski Touring Club (listed above in the “wide range of activities” section, too) is a well-established non-profit organization that welcomes skiers of all ability levels. Local, state, regional and overseas trips are all offered.
Twin Cities Ski & Shoe Guide
Published in 2021, our 55-page digital Ski & Shoe Guide is the easiest way to find cross country ski and snowshoe trails in all seven counties of the Twin Cities metro area.
No matter what season we’re in, there’s a group out there waiting for you to join it.
It’s just another reason to enjoy our local parks, trails and waterways—with others who also enjoy them!