Taking a drive along Minnesota’s North Shore, from Lake Superior to Ontario, Canada, is an incredible way to uncover hidden gems in the state. With its picturesque shoreline, filled with ridges, rivers, hillside forests, cobblestone beaches, and waterfalls, North Shore Drive is a nature lover’s paradise. If you’re planning a trip, here are the 6 must-do things to make the most of your journey.
#6: Duluth Harbor and Canal Park
Duluth is a beautiful town that you shouldn’t miss when driving through the area. Start by visiting the famous Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge, one of the most popular bridges in the world. It lifts up every day to allow cargo ships to cross Lake Superior. Take some time to explore Canal Park, the town’s warehouse district, which is home to local attractions, restaurants, and shops. Don’t miss the Great Lakes Aquarium or the Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center.
#5: Grand Marais
Grand Marais is a charming lakeshore town on the banks of Lake Superior and has gained national notoriety. Explore the town’s boutique shops and restaurants, and indulge in outdoor activities like camping and hiking. Don’t forget to visit Artists Point, a half-mile hike from the Grand Marais harbor. Artists Point offers breathtaking views, a historic lighthouse, and inspiration from the local geology and birdlife.
#4: Cascade River State Park
Make sure to include a visit to Cascade River State Park, located about ten miles south of Grand Marais. This park is perfect for cross-country skiing during the winter months and offers hiking trails, stunning waterfalls, and black volcanic rocks. Immerse yourself in nature’s beauty and enjoy the serenity of the Cascade River.
#3: Gooseberry Falls
As you drive between Duluth and Grand Marais, stop by Gooseberry Falls, the first major attraction along the route. This scenic spot is perfect for travelers who prefer shorter routes and want to enjoy stunning views without a lengthy hike. Park your car at the visitor parking area and take a walk to the Lower Falls. For a more adventurous experience, continue up to the Middle and Upper Falls. Whether you’re taking pictures, playing in the ponds, or having a picnic, Gooseberry Falls has something for everyone.
#2: Lutsen Mountain
For adventure seekers, Lutsen Mountain is a must-visit destination. This adventure park offers alpine slides, hiking trails, gondola rides, and more. During the winter, it transforms into a ski resort, ensuring year-round fun for visitors. With on-site lodging available, you can plan a weekend getaway at Lutsen Mountain. Additionally, the park is home to the Cascade River State Park, which showcases magnificent waterfalls, gorges, and captivating landscapes. Enjoy birdwatching, hiking, and fishing while surrounded by nature’s wonders.
#1: Tettegouche State Park
Make sure to visit the enchanting Tettegouche State Park, located in the Silvery Bay area. It boasts the highest waterfall in Minnesota, reached by hiking a three-mile trail to the High Falls. If you prefer a more relaxed experience, stay at the bottom and enjoy the breathtaking view of Lake Superior meeting the Baptism River. The park offers ideal spots for photography, rock-skipping, and picnics. If you’re RV-ing, Tettegouche State Park has several campgrounds available, such as Illgen Falls, Lake Superior Cart-In, and The Lodge.
As you drive along Highway 61, visiting these incredible attractions, you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with the North Shore. Share your favorite things to do in the area in the comments below.
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