Tubing The Apple River: Slow Speeds, Fast Sunburns
Someday when the ozone layer has become more hole than layer, summer will be ruined for open-water activities like tubing, because the risk of skin cancer will be too great. So we'd best live it up while we're young and there is still SPF enough! That's a pretty dire way to characterize the best tubing spot in Wisconsin, but no man-made lazy river can compare to the Apple River's natural sloth.
The allure of this tributary of the St. Croix close to Minneapolis is passed around every summer among circles of would-be road-trippers. A few gentle rapids keep tubers moving along, and while the scenery isn't the greatest, the wide, slow rock of the Apple that once made it perfect to float logs downstream from virgin forests to busy sawmills attracts boaters from all over.
The tubing "scene" isn't for kids on the Apple -- online reports indicate a preponderance of casual nudity and beer cans -- but you can always placate them with a later-summer visit to Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells.