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Your guide to North Shore
Welcome to Minnesota’s North Shore
From Duluth and the Wisconsin border extending to Grand Portage and the Canadian border, Minnesota’s North Shore is a glorious landscape of jagged cliffs, thick forest, and coastal getaways along Lake Superior. Small towns dot the scenic highway that brings visitors to this unique stretch of waterfront. The road winds along the dramatic, sharp cliffs as they drop steeply to the water, with a backdrop of forested hills hiding the many rivers and waterfalls making their way to the world’s largest freshwater lake. Snowmobilers, hikers, skiers, and campers flock to the parks that turn the natural features into all-season playgrounds for outdoor recreation, with opportunities to spot migrating birds, the Northern Lights, and stunning displays of fall colors. Vacationers choose this route through the quaint North Country towns to stop for smoked fish, admire old lighthouses, and find inspiration at an art colony.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in North Shore?
The cool air that rolls in from the lake keeps the North Shore summers delightfully moderate, making it a great time book one of the area’s cabin rentals and explore the region on hiking trails, by canoe, or as a road trip through the small towns. Fall in the North Shore is made for nature lovers, with migratory birds and moose to spot among the foliage painting the hills of the Sawtooth Range, while winter can challenge you to find your inner warmth as temperatures stay cold and the snow falls endlessly. Not that low temperatures should stop you from enjoying the region, which is riddled with snowmobile and cross-country ski trails, has a major alpine ski area, and boasts a wealth of ice-fishing opportunities.
What are the top things to do in North Shore?
North Shore Scenic Drive
This 154-mile road connects Duluth to the Canadian border, passing through the small towns and wilderness of Lake Superior’s northern coast and unveiling stunning views of the rugged cliffs and forested mountains behind them. Wherever you end up based on the North Shore, this drive is an essential part of the journey ― as is stopping to admire the waterfalls, picnic in the parks, and shop in the small towns.
No need to choose between a beach vacation and a hiking trip, as Grand Marais offers both the sandy shores of Lake Superior and the forested — or frozen — trails of Pincushion Mountain. And in the charming town itself, you can tour an art colony or learn traditional crafts at a folk school.
The Midwest’s largest ski area has a long season thanks to the cold winters and big dumps of lake effect snow, but it also operates as a summer resort, with a gondola bringing you up the mountain for an impressive panorama of Lake Superior.