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Thursday, May 22, 2014

6 Aquatic Adventures to Help Beat the St. Louis Heat This Summer

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Anne McCullough on the Mississippi near the Chain of Rocks Bridge - JASON DEEM
  • Jason Deem
  • Anne McCullough on the Mississippi near the Chain of Rocks Bridge

All week long we're rolling out content from our Summer Guide 2014. In it you'll find all the best ways to enjoy the season in and around St. Louis. Click here to read the rest of the guide or pick it up in print at the red Riverfront Times box nearest you.

According to the Farmers' Almanac, it's going to be another hot Missourah summer. There is no better way to beat the heat than to jump in the car and head out for some aquatic adventures. Whether your idea of fun includes jumping from cliffs, lounging on a deck or wending your way downriver with a cold one, we've got you covered.

See also: 6 Ways to Spend Summer Making St. Louis a Better Place

Canoe the Mississippi River Mark Twain once said that the Mississippi River is "in all ways remarkable," but our fair city often takes it for granted...or worse, spurns the legendary river as a polluted barge highway with a treacherous current. Anne McCullough of the Cherokee Station Business Association has been trying to change that perception by luring more St. Louisans to the riverbanks and out onto the water. "We don't have mountains or an ocean we can escape to, but we do have this incredible river right here," McCullough says. "It's calming and peaceful, but also so full of excitement. More people need to get out there and have this adventure." McCullough and river runner Mike Clark of Muddy Rivers Adventures (314-610-4241 or recently began leading a monthly group kayak trip on the Mississippi. McCullough says that just north of the city there are no barges to mess up your Mississippi experience, just a few quaint fishing boats, a lush shoreline, the sounds of rushing water, cooing fowl and your own lifted spirits.

Stand-up paddleboard the lakes Stand-up paddleboarding may have gotten its start in St. Louis when Shane Perrin, founder of SUP St. Louis (636-346-7473 or, took to Creve Coeur Lake with a paddleboard he made at home out of wood strips. This new sport, which has in a few short years become the water sport du jour of both coasts, started making waves locally last summer. Perrin says stand-up paddleboarding — in which an individual stands on a large board and uses a paddle to propel herself forward across the surface of the water — offers a unique perspective on rivers and lakes. "When you're up on your board, you can look down and actually see fish. Birds will fly by your head. It's a much more interactive way to experience the water," he says. Perrin teaches classes for beginners on Creve Coeur Lake and Simpson Lake in Valley Park, and leads guided trips down area rivers (including the mighty Mississippi). He also does rentals and runs a club for enthusiasts.

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