All Things Minnesota Travel

North Shore Getaway

Have you been to the North Shore?  As in up at Lake Superior in Minnesota.  What is the North Shore?    The North Shore runs along Lake Superior starting at Duluth, MN, up to the Canadian border. Living in Minneapolis, it is just a jump, hop and a skip to get there.   Well not really… But close enough.  🙂 

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We make it a point to get up there at least once a year.  It does not matter what season you go as it is beautiful any time of the year with lots of activities to do.

North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore Scenic Drive (Highway 61) is one of the most beautiful drives you will experience in Minnesota. You have the massive Lake Superior on one side and nature/ mountains on the other side. This scenic drive starts at Duluth and ends at the Canadian Border at 148.8 miles long. There are many places to stop along the way to explore, take pictures or just take in the sights.

Map of North Shore Scenic Drive via USDA Forest Service

Duluth

Duluth is always our first stop at the North Shore. It is the perfect place for a stop for lunch and to stretch our legs.  There are so many things to do and see in Duluth.  

Stop at Canal Park for some lunch and walk along the shore.  Such a lovely place to explore and relax.  A lot has changed in this area over the years.  It was once a warehouse district.  It has now turned into one of the best places in Duluth filled with restaurants, souvenir shops, coffee shops, breweries, and hotels. 

 Known as Duluth’s playground, there is just about everything for everyone.

We stopped at Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar for lunch. It was a nice day to dine out in their patio. The food was great and the service was awesome. Very attentive toward their guests.

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For your sweet tooth, stop by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I could stay in there all day long… Yummy!

While in Duluth, take the time to stop by the North Shore Scenic Railway for a train ride along Lake Superior. If you hit Duluth in the summer, be on the lookout for Day Out with Thomas. It usually takes place at the end of July/ beginning of August.

It is full of activities for the kids including entrance to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. The activities include imagination stations with sandboxes, Mega Blocks, building stations and so much more. This was definitely a favorite with the boys.

Tofte

After a full day of fun, we headed up to our home away from home in Tofte, MN. We stayed at Chateau LeVeaux on Lake Superior.  Staying anywhere on Lake Superior is always the right choice. We decided on this spot because it was central to a lot of things we planned for this trip. 


Our vacation rental was perfect for us. It had everything we needed. A full kitchen, dining room, sofa bed for the boys and a bedroom for us.

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We had a very nice view of Lake Superior from our balcony.

I love waking up to a fresh cup of coffee and watching the sunrise on the balcony. The calm and peace I get to have before we head out on our adventures. 

There is also an indoor pool that we were able to enjoy after a long day of fun as well.

Lutsen

Lutsen is located in the Superior National Forest on Lake Superior. Lutsen Mountains is known as Minnesota’s Mountain Vacation spot. The place to go to in both summer and winter for families.

We were able to enjoy the Alpine Slide and the Summit Express Gondola ride. Both are must do while here. The Summit Express Gondola Ride will take you up 1000 feet above Lake Superior on a scenic ride to the top of Moose Mountain.

During the ride, you will have the best vantage point of the Sawtooth Mountains on one side and the coastline of Lake Superior on the other side.

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Also the awesome view down below of the Poplar River.

Once you get to the top, there is the Summit Chalet where you can take in more of the sight and fresh air. You can have lunch, dinner, or drinks either inside or outside of the chalet.

Enjoying the view from the Summit Chalet

No matter where you are on the chalet, you have the views of Lake Superior.

Another fun thing to do up here is some hiking on these mountain top trails where you can enjoy the views on the scenic overlook and just relax.

Grand Portage State Park

This is such a beautiful place to visit. With a short hike, you will get to one of the most beautiful and tallest falls in Minnesota.  There are three viewing decks at the High Falls providing various vantage points for photo ops or just to relax. This 120-foot fall is located on Pigeon River, part of the international boundary with Canada. To get to the top of the falls, you would have to be on the Canadian side to get there.

We also ventured off the trails and explored the areas right on the waters.  Getting our feet wet here and just being able to soak it all in.  

The entrance to the state park is so close to the Canadian border that we almost entered Canada. We, unfortunately, did not have our passports with us so will have to get back up there and see the falls from the Canadian side. 

Hovland

Hovland is a small unincorporated community about 16 miles southwest of Grand Portage and 18 miles northeast of Grand Marais. It was a quick stop for some sightseeing. It’s so much fun stopping at areas we did not originally plan to stop. We met a family who just reunited after many years of being away. They grew up in the area and came by to visit their hometown.

Grand Marais

Grand Marais has got to be the smallest coolest place in Minnesota. It is a small town located right on Lake Superior with a population of 1351 per the 2010 Census. This place is bustling in the summers. Only here you will find authenticity in every nook and cranny. All the shops and lodging are within walking distance on the harborside of Lake Superior.

We stopped at Angry Trout for dinner. This is the place to go for some good locally sourced food. It was quite a busy time when we went and there was a little bit of a wait but it was well worth it. This place came highly recommended by locals as well as friends back home. We enjoyed sitting out on the dock and taking in the relaxing sights.

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After dinner, we took a walk along the shores and enjoy the vastness of Lake Superior.

Oops… Did not see that coming… All wet but so much fun. 🙂

The next morning, we stopped at the World’s Best Donuts for some coffee and donuts. It is quite a popular place.

You can’t go to Grand Marais and not stop here. This was our last stop before we head back home.

We love the North Shores as there is never a shortage of things to do which always brings us back year after year.

Pin it for later!

Beautiful waterfall at Grand Portage State Park

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51 Comments

  • Reply Kyndall Bennett May 22, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    My 5’0″ behind would probably try to get on that slide too!

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 7:01 pm

      LOL 🙂 That would be fun for sure!

  • Reply Katie May 23, 2019 at 8:14 am

    What a beautiful part of the country! One of my goals is to travel to all 50 states, so I’ve pinned this for later 😉

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm

      You will love it!

  • Reply Chris May 23, 2019 at 8:33 am

    I never knew there were so many great places to visit on the North Shore. Thanks for the fun and informative post!

  • Reply Laura May 23, 2019 at 10:23 am

    The water looks amazing! What a great trip 🙂

  • Reply Charlene May 23, 2019 at 10:42 am

    That looks like an incredible drive! Can you see the ocean from the road the whole time?

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:59 pm

      Not all the time but the drive is beautiful nonetheless. Lake Superior is huge!

  • Reply angela May 23, 2019 at 11:34 am

    What an amazing adventure! My best friend is originally from Minnesota and she still loves to visit in summers. I may have to tag along if she ever hits North Shore. Love the photo of them all getting caught in the wave!

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:58 pm

      Thank you for stopping by. It was a beautiful evening for a stroll and getting caught in the wave 🙂

  • Reply Suzan Ferreira May 23, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Such a beautiful area. Thank you for sharing this virtual trip with me 🙂

  • Reply Karla May 23, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Our country is such a vast, beautiful place! Thanks for let us join your adventures!

  • Reply Ramae Hamrin May 23, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Being from northern Minnesota, the North Shore is one of my favorite places to visit. I even went on my honeymoon there and stayed in a cabin overlooking Lake Superior. Belisios is the very BEST place to eat (and drink wine!) in Duluth. I plan a trip to Duluth sometimes JUST to eat there!

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      The North Shore is one of my favorites as well.

  • Reply Brittany May 23, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    What a fun family trip! I always enjoy looking at all your photos you take!

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Robin May 23, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of this great stuff to do!

  • Reply Stacey May 23, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    This looks like such a beautiful place! We need to spend more time up north. That chocolate looks yummy, too!

  • Reply Lisa May 23, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Wow, these views from your vacation are amazing!! I never knew Minnesota had such beautiful, breathtaking views.

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Minnesota is such a beautiful state!

  • Reply Jane May 23, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Wow! I love roadtrips like this. I didn’t know there’s so much to see do and it’s perfect for everyone. I love the fact that there are trails where you can hike , rivers and falls (whoaaa) to explore. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Kymberly Irwin May 23, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Lake Superior is breathtaking. You had a wonderful view!!! Your children are precious!!

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you!

      • Reply Carolina May 24, 2019 at 8:20 pm

        That looks so beautiful and relaxing. Looks like you guys had an amazing time there. Love seeing all your pictures.

        • Reply Lina May 25, 2019 at 8:55 pm

          Thank you! It was 🙂

  • Reply Leigh Ann May 23, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I don’t know anything about this part of the country so your post is super informative. The North Shore sounds great.

  • Reply Emily May 24, 2019 at 9:41 am

    The North Shore is one of the most gorgeous and amazing places ever! WE LOOOOOOOOVE going there! 🙂

  • Reply jen May 24, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Looks like a lovely excursion

  • Reply Heather May 24, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    What a great trip! Such gorgeous scenery. Your boys are so cute and looked like they really enjoyed themselves.

    • Reply Lina May 24, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you! It is so beautiful there so matter what season.

  • Reply Junell DuBois May 24, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    What a pretty area. Look like such a great place to visit!

  • Reply Sharon May 25, 2019 at 9:24 am

    So beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply T.M. Brown May 25, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    You guys packed a lot into this trip! Looks like another fun adventure. I’ve been to Minnesota once, but would love to go back, especially along Lake Superior.

    • Reply Lina May 25, 2019 at 8:55 pm

      Lake Superior is a great place to visit! So so beautiful.

  • Reply Tiffany May 25, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    We have such an amazing country to explore! This all lookings like an amazing adventure!

    • Reply Lina May 25, 2019 at 8:57 pm

      We have a beautiful country and we would love to explore everything our country has to offer. One state at a time. Slowly but surely 🙂

  • Reply Cindy May 26, 2019 at 12:14 am

    What a beautiful area! I’ve visited Duluth but nothing beyond that. Thanks for making me want to do more exploring.

  • Reply Angela Greven | Mean Green Chef May 27, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Wow, so beautiful! We have friends who live in Egan, MN when we get up that way we’ll be sure to check out the north shore. Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    • Reply Lina May 28, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Eagan is not too far from us!

  • Reply Pauline May 27, 2019 at 9:12 am

    I just love all your outdoor adventures. It’s so great that your kids get to experience this.

    • Reply Lina May 28, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Eileen May 27, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    This looks like such a great area to explore with young kids! Perfect family trip in my eyes!

    • Reply Lina May 28, 2019 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Annette May 29, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    What a FUN trip!!! I love seeing all those stops along the way. I’ve got to say the photo of your two boys with the arms around each other is priceless – they are best friends!! Thanks for sharing your journey!!!

    • Reply Lina May 29, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. They really are each other’s best friend.

  • Reply Shanna June 3, 2019 at 3:37 pm

    This looks so lovely! I’ve always wanted to visit the Great Lakes. You’ve captured it beautifully.

  • Reply Amanda June 5, 2019 at 12:11 am

    Wow! What a beautiful place! Those falls look amazing!!

    • Reply Lina June 5, 2019 at 6:27 am

      It is so beautiful!

  • Reply Kristen February 11, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Perfect article. I will pin as we are looking to travel there next summer.

  • Reply Yuri February 11, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    Amazing photos. We definitely need a vacation. Minnesota looks very interesting.

    • Reply Lina February 15, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      Thank you! It is a lovely place 🙂

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