For those of you that have never been to the North Shore of Lake Superior, and for those of you that have been what feels like a hundred times – there’s one thing that I think we can all agree on…
It’s a big lake.
In all honesty though, heading up to the North Shore has and will always be one of my favourite trips to take. And whilst I could give you a thousand reasons as to why that might be, I hope you’ll be okay with knowing that some of them are better discovered on your own trip to Northern Minnesota. Even if it’s cold, I promise it won’t disappoint.
Monochrome Minimalist and it’s blog widgets use affiliate links. Any PR product or gifts are clearly marked. To read more about affiliate links, read the disclaimer.
Two Harbours is a quaint little town with Scenic Highway 61, part of a former wagon trail from 1899, running straight through. You’ll find a couple of cafés, a few classic Nordic pubs and plenty of friendly people that will chat with you as though they’ve known you for years. And that’s not even beginning to touch on the immensely beautiful views that are only steps away from most places within the town.
Take a drive up Highway 61, and you’ll find some of the most popular state parks that so many enjoy – both young and old. Gooseberry and Splitrock, to name a couple. Twenty minutes in the opposite direction will take you to industrial Duluth, home of one of the many University of Minnesota campuses, Glensheen Mansion (which comes with a bit of a spooky story for you true crime lovers) and some of the best mum & pop diners and restaurants that make you feel as though you’re back in grandma’s kitchen on a sunday afternoon. Talk about a bit of nostalgia.
For the Outdoors-person
If you’d rather escape the city – which many of us love to do, whether you’re a city dweller or not, Two Harbors acts as a nice little halfway point to some of the most beautiful state parks in Minnesota. When you’re up on the North Shore, and if you have a bit of time to add in a little drive, Temperance River, Tettegouche, George Crosby Manitou, Judge Magney and Grand Portage are the parks you shouldn’t miss.
Tettegouche is a spot to stop with the family, especially the young kiddos – you’ll see many a father/son mother/daughter “skip off” on the main rocky beach. For those of you that don’t know, a skip off is the most competitive rock skipping competition between family members that has ever existed. Trust me on this one. For more of an adventurous hiker, the other parks mentioned in the list would be my picks – Temperance River especially for some beautiful photo spots and for my lovers of geology out there.
Hygge made simple
The North Shore is full of cozy spots and simple stops, known for the hygge-like feeling that you get the second you walk across the threshold of any building. From chicken wild rice soup that will have you begging for the recipe, to the sauna culture that makes the winters seem mild – there’s something for everyone here that will be tugging at your heartstrings in no time at all. It’ll leave you wanting to come back and wishing that you never left.
All in all, it’s a place that’s hard to forget.
Plan your own trip
Whether you’re a fan of hotels or Airbnbs, there’s something for everyone on the North Shore. Typically, if I’m planning a trip to the North Shore, I’m looking for a place that has a beautiful view of Lake Superior, great access to outdoor activities (within 45 minutes drive of multiple state parks / hiking trails), close proximity to a place that serves chicken wild rice soup and last but not least, a fireplace.
Up north, a fireplace is a MUST.
They’re great for warming toes, drying clothes or just creating an all-around cozy atmosphere that gives you all of the warm fuzzy feelings. Especially when you get a fresh dusting (read: 12 inches) of snow on the ground.
If you’re more inclined to go the hotel route – there are quite a few that I’ve enjoyed, and many more that I’d love to stay at. Bluefin Bay in Tofte, Superior Shores Condominiums in Two Harbours and Eagle Ridge Resort in Lutsen are a few of my favourites. For those of you that enjoy more of a stand-alone cabin, you’ll find some of my cabin picks below.
I’d love to know – have any of you been to the North Shore, or perhaps been on a road trip that’s been impossible to forget? What is it about a place that leaves you wanting to come back time and time again? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to gather as much road trip inspiration as possible!