Hit the open highway alongside Lake Superior on this unforgettable midwestern highway journey. On Minnesota’s North Shore, you’ll discover loads of pleasant pockets of nature, scenic lookouts, and a lot extra.

For non-Minnesotans seeking to get outdoor, think about beginning your journey in Minneapolis the place it’s best to hire a automobile or camper van. From there, head north and uncover the great thing about the North Shore.


The southernmost level on this epic journey, Minneapolis has lots to supply by itself when you have the time to discover. The Minneapolis Sculpture Backyard is an area favourite and a must-see. There are many museums, starting from the Minneapolis Museum of Artwork to the distinctive American Swedish Institute.

From Minneapolis, get out of town environment by heading north on I-35 in the direction of Duluth. It is a lengthy stretch of roughly 150 miles, however price each minute of the journey!


Catch your first glimpse of Lake Superior as you arrive in Duluth and don’t neglect to cease on the harbor and stroll alongside the lakeshore whilst you’re there.

  • Lighthouses: This small metropolis is understood for its iconic lighthouses. As you discover, you’ll discover that the historical past of those well-known buildings is actually price studying up on.
  • Enger Tower: This 5-story construction is by far one of the best place to get a view of town. Climb up and have a look!
  • Congdon Park: A terrific place for a picnic, this fast cease is understood for its lovely waterfalls and bridges at Tischer Creek.

Maintain heading north on Freeway 61 for about 20 miles the place you’ll discover a candy shock and a spot to relaxation your head for the evening.

Knife River

Knife River is the right place to stretch your legs, get a chunk to eat, and relaxation up earlier than the second leg of your journey.

  • Nice Lakes Sweet Kitchen: This lovely sweet retailer is understood for its outdated fashioned-style confections and wealthy historical past. Get pleasure from certainly one of its many candy treats that are made in small batches in copper kettles.
  • Russ Kendall’s Fish Market: A visit to the North Shore is incomplete with out stopping in right here (sorry vegetarians!). It is strongly recommended to attempt the sugar-cured silver smoked salmon which is an area staple.
  • Knife River Campground: Whether or not you want a spot to park your camper van or a comfortable cabin to relaxation, this place is a favourite for campers and non-campers alike.

Persevering with north, you’ll discover the following cease lower than 10 miles away at Two Harbors.

Two Harbors

Break up Rock Lighthouse

As the biggest city on the North Shore, Two Harbors is an fascinating cease and is certain to please guests with its pure magnificence and historical past.

  • Gooseberry Falls: Often called the “gateway” to the North Shore, this state park has over 20 miles of trails. The highlights of the park are its 5 waterfalls, Agate Seaside, and the Picnic Move.
  • Iona’s Seaside Scientific & Pure Space: Have you ever ever been to a pink seashore? This small seashore space of Lake Superior will get its coloration from the pink rhyolite shards that litter the shore. Make it a fast photo-op or keep some time and wade within the calm waters. Phrase on the road is the rustling of the stones makes a gorgeous singing sound!
  • Break up Rock Lighthouse: A historic gem and must-see, this lighthouse is perched on a 130-foot rocky cliff and is surrounded by climbing trails.
  • Two Harbors Gentle Station: Because the oldest working mild station in Minnesota, this lighthouse has a nationally acknowledged museum to discover.
  • Betty’s Pies: After a protracted day of climbing (or actually any time of day, we don’t choose!), having a slice of pie at Betty’s Pies looks like a ceremony of passage.

The following stretch of open highway is simply 25 miles lengthy earlier than reaching the following vacation spot on this listing–Beaver Bay!

Beaver Bay

This kitschy little cease is one for the stone and crystal lovers on the market. With a small strip of eclectic outlets and mother and pop eating places, Beaver Bay is a good place to get out and stretch your legs or seize a chunk to eat.

  • Beaver Bay Agate Store and Museum: The oldest rock store in all of America, this distinctive place can’t be missed (actually–they’ve a large signal proper on the freeway to draw guests). The museum boasts quite a lot of native sorts of agate and different stones, together with loads of academic supplies.
  • Beaver Falls: Because the river drops 300 toes at Beaver Falls, it turns into a surprising sequence of cascades which give option to a bay on the backside. There are trails alongside the cascades in addition to a motorcycle path that goes all the best way again to Gooseberry Falls, in case you need to get out and see the websites out of your bike!

To get to the following cease, you don’t should go very far. Simply maintain heading north and also you’ll get to Silver Bay in a matter of minutes.

Silver Bay

Silver Bay is price spending a while in, as there are such a lot of locations to see in and round city. That is the height of the journey and the midway level between Duluth and Grand Marais and an awesome spot for some epic outside adventures!

  • Pellet Island: Think about parking your car within the Silver Bay Marina earlier than embarking on the rocky hike out to the island. The one means onto the island itself is a rickety wood ladder, so be ready to climb!
  • Black Seaside: One other nice seashore on this listing, this one is black as an alternative of pink or white because of the silver ore dumped from a close-by mine.
  • Palisade Head: Often called probably the most instagrammable locations on the North Shore, this picturesque cliff is without doubt one of the finest locations to catch a sundown due to its panoramic views. It’s an awesome spot for artists, rock-climbers, or actually any outside fanatic.
  • Tettegouche State Park: This superior state park is a North Shore important cease. Scenic lookouts over the lake, waterfalls, and a river-meets-lake beachfront make this an awesome place to spend the day. For those who’re on the lookout for a spot to camp, you too can discover just a few campgrounds close by.

The second half of this journey begins as you permit Silver Bay and proceed north on Freeway 61 for slightly below 25 miles earlier than arriving for a fast cease in Schroader.


Temperance River State Park

Spend as a lot time as you want in Schroeder exploring the parks and taking within the websites.

  • Cross River Falls: Maybe one of many extra underrated waterfall stops alongside the North Shore, Cross River Falls can really be seen from the freeway as you drive. Get out for a fast hike to the falls or benefit from the view from the consolation of your individual car.
  • Temperance River State Park: One other great spot to benefit from the waterfalls of the realm, this park can be situated proper off the freeway and straightforward to entry.

After passing by means of Schroeder, you’ll arrive in Lutsen simply 13 miles later.


The view from the Summit Gondola at Lutsen Mountains

Whether or not you’re taking a visit by yourself, with buddies, a companion, or your loved ones, Lutsen is a good cease to get out and have some enjoyable!

  • Lutsen Mountains: This journey park is understood for its stellar snowboarding choices within the winter and canoe excursions in the summertime. There are additionally loads of climbing trails and a Summit Gondola experience which presents one of the best view of the Sawtooth Mountains within the space.
  • Cascade River State Park: This park is dwelling to five small waterfalls and the Lake Superior Shoreline Path the place hikers can discover some critically superior lake views. There may be tenting on-site, making this an awesome place to relaxation.

As you get nearer to the tip of your trek, benefit from the epic views on the fast 18-mile drive as much as Grand Marais.

Grand Marais

The final official cease on this journey is Grand Marais, a small city which feels loads like a gathering level for outdoor lovers from close to and much.

  • World’s Finest Donuts: Sure, you learn that accurately. Apparently, the world’s finest donuts are in Grand Marais and you may attempt them at this cute regionally owned store which boasts 52 years of service and 30 totally different donut varieties.
  • Artist Level: Discovered within the quaint harbor of the city, a go to to Artist Level is an effective way to absorb the great thing about the lake with its colourful rocks and picturesque lookout level.
  • Decide CR Magney State Park: This park is dwelling to the well-known Satan’s Kettle Falls which has been puzzling guests due to its waterfall that appears to vanish into an abyss.
  • Naniboujou Lodge: A neighborhood favourite, this lodge is adorned with vibrant colours and boasts distinctive structure and a scrumptious menu. Go for a chunk or keep within the lodge for the evening.

This pretty city is the final cease earlier than making it to the Canadian border, however for those who’re nonetheless on the lookout for some journey think about extending your journey a bit inland for extra outdoorsy enjoyable!

Bonus: Gunflint Path

This Nationwide Scenic Byway was initially utilized by merchants and retailers to carry items inland again within the day. Now it’s a paved freeway that can take you thru the Minnesota wilderness, ultimately touchdown you within the Boundary Waters Canoe Space Wilderness. The realm is expansive and superb for anybody who actually needs to get out and maybe off the grid.


Earlier than you go

Impressed to rise up to the North Shore and begin your highway journey? Superior! Right here are some things to remember:

  • State park move: Most state parks in Minnesota require guests to have a allow, which you should buy for limitless visits inside a calendar yr.
  • Campsites: For those who’re travelling in the summertime, it is suggested to order your spot at any campsites forward of time as they have a tendency to replenish throughout peak season.
  • Climate: Even in the summertime months, temperatures can drop rapidly on the North Shore, particularly at evening. Deliver plenty of layers and brace your self for the nippiness!

This route is such a unbelievable highway journey as a result of you might have the liberty to take it as rapidly or as slowly as you’d like. Spring and summer time are the perfect time to go as much as the North Shore, however you possibly can nonetheless get pleasure from this journey within the winter with just a few climate precautions and a bit of additional flexibility.

**COVID-19 Precautions: As of the time of this put up, a lot of the parks and points of interest talked about are open with the security measures mandatory. Nevertheless, just a few are usually not but working together with just a few lighthouses and museums. Be sure to examine every attraction’s web site earlier than your journey.

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