The first time you spot a Duffy boat cruising down the river, you might find yourself wondering, ‘what the heck is that?’ With its white canopy and navy blue cushions, this stylish rental option conjures thoughts of Thurston Howell III. The vessels are equipped with tables, perfect for hosting a very civilized cocktail hour. And since they are powered by electricity (the company compares them to water-borne golf carts), you can feel good that you aren’t leaving a giant carbon footprint in your wake.
If you want to be the engine that powers the boat, then paddling a kayak is the option for you. The portion of the Milwaukee River that flows through Downtown is remarkably easy for a novice to navigate. And there is something special about having a nature experience in an urban environment: you’re down so low to the water, with the city skyline looming above. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a Midwest sunset.
“Who said anything about skiing? Floating is all I want to do.” So goes the song “Pontoon,” a hit for Little Big Town a few years back. The band’s ode to this classic mode of transport perfectly captures the laid-back joy of savoring a summer day on the water, slo-mo style. Tool down the river, under the Hoan, and into the lake. Now cut the motor and let it drift. Doesn’t that sound appealing? Grab yourself a coozie and let’s go!
Where to Doc
Milwaukee River, 1872 N.Commerce St.; paddler-friendly
ROCK BOTTOM RESTAURANT & BREWERY
Milwaukee River, 740 N. Plankinton Ave.; high pier
Confluence of Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers, 106 W. Seeboth St.; paddler-friendly
Kinnickinnic River, 1955 S. Hilbert St.; high pier
Menomonee River, 400 W. Canal St.; paddler-friendly