Photos courtesy of rental companies
Donut Boat Rentals offer exactly what it sounds like — a giant boat in the shape of a donut. The ride comes with a speaker and a large, ice-filled cooler in the center so all you have to supply are drinks, snacks and up to 10 friends. You can book a two-hour rental on their website and pick it up at 104 Mason Street.
Bring the tropics to the Milwaukee River by booking the Kanaloa Tiki Lounge. The 26-foot boat has a 7-foot bar, tiki-themed decorations and music to set the Polynesian-themed ambiance. You choose between a two- or four-hour rental with up to 12 friends. There’s also the option to assign a designated driver or have one of Kanaloa’s crew captain the boat. Make your reservation online and pick up your boat at 1110 N. Old World Street.
Spend some time with either Laverne or Shirly, the restored Glastron fiberglass hulls of Retro Boat Rental. Both boats come with speakers, coolers and ice and can hold up to 5 passengers. Head over to their website to book a 90-minute tour and pick up your ride at 104 E. Mason Street.
You’ve seen peddle taverns zooming around streets, but take it to the next level with a paddle tavern on the Milwaukee River. Gather up to 14 of your friends, pack some beers and sail your way around downtown. If you don’t have 14 people to rent a boat with, book a spot or two on a public tour. You can reserve the boat online online or send a text to 414-241-4394.
Take charge and captain your own adventure with a pontoon rental. The boat can hold up to 10 passengers, making it the perfect choice for large groups. Rentals are available seven days a week and you can choose to have the boat for an eight-hour day or a four-hour half day. The dock is located at Pere Marquette Park (950 N. Old World 3rd Street).
If you’re seeking a more active exploration of the river, try a kayak rental with Brew City Kayak (818 South Water Street). With four hours only putting you out $40, it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon outdoors. Brew City Kayak also offers a variety of guided kayak tours, including the Milwaukee Skyline Tour and Full Moon Paddle.
Get the full taste of Brew City and make some new friends by joining Edelweiss Cruises for their Thursday night Beer and Brat Tour. The 90-minute cruise includes a spread of local Milwaukee microbrews and Usinger brats. Book online and board at 5:30 p.m. at the Edelweiss Main Dock (205 W Highland Avenue).
Looking for options beyond a solo kayak? Milwaukee Kayak Company offers solo and tandem kayaks, canoes and standup paddle boards. To ensure availability, make a reservation beforehand at their main location at 318 South Water Street.
All summer long, Milwaukee Boat Line hosts live concerts on one of their boats and August is the last month to catch a show. The two-hour cruise includes one free drink and goes from 9-11 p.m. Check out their website for all of the bands left this summer. The boat loads at 101 W Michigan Street.