My Favorite Places on the Lake Superior North Shore MN

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I have spent a lot of time in Northern Minnesota on the Lake Superior North Shore.  To help you plan your next North Shore MN trip, I am going to share some of my favorite Lake Superior North Shore MN spots with you.

Lake Superior North Shore MN

Great Spots on the Lake Superior north shore MN:

Lou’s Fish Smoke House:  On your way up the shore, make sure to make a stop in Two Harbors if you are a fan of smoked fish.  Lou’s Fish Smoke House has been in Two Harbors for as long as I can remember, and they have heavenly smoked fish.  A great place to stop for a snack and a leg stretch.

Bluefin Bay, Grand Marais:  Bluefin Bay is a true  north shore institution.  I have warm memories of staying here when I was young.  It has a prime spot right on the edge of the lake, so the rooms on that side of the resort have a beautiful view.  The facilities include a heated, year round outdoor pool and hot tub, children’s play area, campfire and smores on Saturday nights, outdoor ice rink in the winter, spa, fitness faclities and free wifi.  It’s location is convenient to Lutsen mountain and Grand Marais.  A great place for a family getaway, no matter what the season.

Lutsen Mountain:  Lutsen Mountain the place that I learned how to snowboard, and I have many memories (although I won’t call them “warm”) of skiing and snowboarding here with my dad.  We would get up early in the morning to get an early start and there were mornings whre temperatures were well below zero. Lutsen is also an excellent base for accomodations on the North Shore, and offers a wide range of activities.  In the winter, they offer cross country skiing, showshoeing, campfires, live music and kids activities (all complimentary).  Summer activities include golf, hiking, swimming, campfires and kids activities (as well as a convenient shuttle so that you can hike a section of the Superior Hiking trail without having to backtrack.) Round this out with a spa and a beautiful location along the shore, and you have family memories waiting to be made.

The Superior Hiking Trail:  The Superior Hiking Trail is a 277 mile trail that follows the North Shore from Duluth to the Canadian border.  My dad took me hiking on many parts of the trail, and some of my best memories from my teenage years were made along this trail. This trail is filled with beautiful vistas around every corner.  There are frequent spots with parking to access it, so it can be used for day hikes or for longer, overnight hikes.  There are free use campsites at regular intervals along the trail.  The trail is maintained by the Superior Hiking Trail asociation, a volunteer based oragnization.

Carlton Peak:  Carlton Peak is a particularly beautiful portion of the superior hiking trail near Tofte, MN (close to Lutsen and Grand Marais), this rock dome makes a great day hike, too (it is a 2 mile hike, one way).  From the top, you have beautiful, panoramic views of the shore line and the surrounding wilderness.  A great place to take a picnic lunch to and enjoy the views. You can choose to hike all the way up from the shore (there is parking there) or (at least last time I was there) you could drive part of the way up ahd hike the rest of the way.

***[Note: This information directs you to trail heads along the Superior hiking trail.  I have never gone this way.  We have always parked on the lake side of Highway 61 in a parking lot just before the Tofte Ranger station and hiked up the fire access road from there.  The road is not labeled very well…next time I am up there I will take some pictures to make this more clear).  Unless you are up for adventure, it is maybe easiest to follow the directions in the handout linked above.***

Lake Superior Shore, near Grand Marais

Lake Superior Trading Post, Grand Marais:  I LOVED the Lake Superior
Trading Post
as a kid (and still have a great time stopping here today.)  They have so much neat stuff that I can’t even list it all here.  Hiking equipment and area maps, gifts, candy, housewares and other just plain odd, neat stuff.   My mom always bought me this incredibly yummy maple syrup candy here, and I still buy some when I go up.

The Angry Trout, Grand Marais:  The Angry Trout Cafe  is my favorite restaurant on the north shore.  Last time I was there, I had a wonderful meal of fish and chips made from fresh, lake Superior caught fish and organic apple cider.  They specialize in local, sustainable food and it is WONDERFUL! They are open from May until mid October, and are defiltely worth a stop next time you are in the area.

Sven and Ole’s Pizza:  I have seen Sven and Ole’s bumper stickers on cars clear across the country from Minnesota.  You aint nobody till you’ve been to Sven and Ole’s and have the bumper sticker to prove it! Seriously, though, they do have aweome pizza, you should stop in.

Have you been to the Lake Superior north shore MN?  What are your favorite places for family memories in the area?

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