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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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