Duluth and the surrounding region are chock-full of natural beauty. And each of our four distinct seasons offers different options when it comes to excursions. Whether by foot, kayak, canoe, bike, snowshoe, or ski, there are adventures to be had - and amazing sights to be seen - around every corner.
But sometimes there are adventures we haven’t tried, for one reason or another. Perhaps we don’t own a kayak or canoe. Or maybe we don’t know how to mountain bike safely. This is where Day Tripper of Duluth comes in. “Our goal is to continue to provide our customers with the safest and best outdoor experience possible,” co-owner Jake Boyce shared.
Day Tripper, which was founded in 2013, describes itself as an “outdoor guiding service,” offering safe, guided adventures of all kinds. All necessary equipment is provided with each package.
The business is owned and operated by two skilled guides, Jake Boyce and Matti Erpestad, who each possess a veritable alphabet of certifications and skills. Interestingly, the two are also brothers-in-law. Together with their team of five additional guides, the Day Tripper team can lead your next expedition or even teach you a specific new skill.
Day Tripper’s primary demographic is tourists who want to get out on Lake Superior. However, local residents who want to “show our area off” to visitors are another important part of their customer base.
Adventures are open to all ages and abilities, from beginner to advanced. “Our youngest kayaker was two years old, and our oldest was 91,” Boyce noted.
Day Tripper does the majority of its business in the summer. However, they offer cold-weather adventures, too. “We operate by weather, not by the calendar,” Boyce said.
Guided options available through Day Tripper include hiking, private mountain bike lessons and clinics, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, fat-tire biking, and snowshoeing. Boyce explained some of the most popular choices.
“Our most popular, by far, is a kayaking trip on the North Shore by Split Rock. People can choose a 2 or 4-hour excursion, and we see the cliffs, the lighthouse, and a shipwreck as long as the conditions allow. We partner with Split Rock and the Minnesota Historical Society to obtain general admission passes for the museum and grounds.”
Another popular choice is the Glensheen mansion paddle, taking place on Lake Superior, on the shores of Glensheen. At 90 minutes long, it’s a great option for beginners.
Private mountain biking lessons are another offering. Each lesson is tailored to the specific rider and the skills that the individual or group wants to learn. Whether you’re just starting out, or have been riding for many years, a lesson may be a great option to make you a happier rider.
A voyageur canoe trip is another well-utilized offering. “The boat is a replica of canoes used by voyageurs in the region during the fur trade,” Boyce noted. “It can hold up to ten adults.”
Day Tripper adventures take place at a variety of locations, but Boyce advised they are always subject to change. “We don’t have any truly set locations for any of our tours,” he noted. “It really depends on the day, since Lake Superior does what it wants.” Exact departure points are emailed at the time of a tour booking but may change based on weather.
Overnight excursions are also available upon request.
Guest safety is of primary concern. “We give our guides complete control of the final say on all tours,” Boyce explained. “They are very skilled and good judges of conditions, approaching weather, and group skill level. It is important to note that we try to see certain highlights on each tour, but sometimes, due to conditions, it may not be possible,” he added.
Customers are provided with PFDs (personal flotation devices) for each water-based excursion. Wetsuits are also provided, and on most kayak tours, required – at the guide’s discretion.
Jake Boyce is himself a native Duluthian. He attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where he earned an undergraduate degree in German with a minor in business. He has always loved the outdoors. “I like to mountain bike, ski - uphill and downhill – and, when conditions allow, surf,” he noted. “I enjoy playing outside in general.”
Boyce and his wife, Laura Francis, have two children: Geoffrey (6), and Charlie (4). The family also has a Vizsla named Klaus.
Boyce juggles working more than full-time with Day Tripper, along with his other careers as a paramedic and working in sales and service at Ski Hut. “I decided I never wanted to sit behind a desk,” he noted with a chuckle, explaining his career choices.
Getting people into the outdoors is a fulfilling endeavor for Boyce and his team. Among other perks, Boyce enjoys watching mountain bikers’ skills progress throughout a lesson, providing employment in the area, and just being outside.
“The most fun thing for me is to be able to provide employment for our guides so they too can share their passion of playing outside,” he said. I’m also super proud of our customer reviews on social media, Trip Advisor, and Google.”
Boyce enjoys keeping a keen sense of humor about his profession. Every year on April 1, they get inquiries about whale-watching on Lake Superior after posting the photo below.
Day Tripper is a home-based business with no public storefront. Therefore, all excursions are booked online. Please visit daytripperofduluth.com to learn more and book an adventure.