The 150 miles of Lake Superior North Shore highway between Duluth and the Canadian border can be traveled in a few hours.
You will, however, want to set aside several days to even begin to explore Minnesota's "All American Road."
A few of the attractions along this amazing highway include the Sawtooth Mountains, stunning cliffs, dozens of cascading waterfalls, several lighthouses, and the chance to see a moose.
Minnesota is privileged to have the world's largest inland freshwater lake within its boundaries. The "greatest of the Great Lakes," with its appealing small towns, gorgeous state parks, and enchanting vistas along the shore, will have you returning time after time.
Lake Superior North Shore vacations might begin in Duluth then head on up the Lake Superior North shore that features seven of Minnesota's amazing state parks and incomparably dramatic scenery. Learn about the history of the North Shore with a stop at Split Rock Lighthouse. Travel on to Two Harbors, then to Grand Marais, and end at Grand Portage National Monument right near the Canadian Border.
Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota vacations most often begin with a visit to Duluth. Plan to spend enough time here to see the attractions before heading up the highway.
If you do nothing else in Duluth, go down to Canal Park to see the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge and visit the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. If you are fortunate you will be able to watch a ship arrive in the harbor.
Lake Superior Vacation Rentals - Perfect lodging for your North Shore adventure. Rent the whole house for a family or group, a small cabin for fewer people.
Because the North Shore area is so popular it is a good idea to book hotel reservations well in advance of the summer season and, as well, for the fall color tour season.
Top Attractions in Duluth include the shops, ships in Canal Park, the Lift Bridge, a drive up skyline drive at night to see the lights of the city, excursions on the North Shore Scenic Railroad, and tours of Glensheen Mansion.
There is a variety of museums in Duluth that includes the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, the S.S. William A. Irvin Museum, the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, and the Duluth Children's Museum.
Other attractions in Duluth include Vista Fleet Harbor Cruises, Leif Erikson Park that showcases a stunning rose garden, and the Great Lakes Aquarium.
Plan your road trip from Duluth to the Canadian border with stops at the Top 10 North Shore attractions.
When you are ready, continue on to explore the North Shore of Lake Superior from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.
If you just want to get to Two Harbors as fast as possible, stay on 4-lane Highway 61. If you want a more scenic drive, exit on to North Shore Drive (also known as old Highway 61). This is the road we always take as it offers nearly constant views of the Lake Superior North Shore and lots of tourist attractions along the way.
Stop at any one of many roadside pullouts or lookout areas and take some time to sit on the rocky shore to just enjoy the lake or sift through the rocks to hunt for Lake Superior agates.
Scenic Highway 61 meanders up the shore between Lake Superior and the remnants of the Sawtooth mountains. Along the way you will discover incredibly tall cliffs, Lake Superior lighthouses, cascading waterfalls, charming small towns, meandering moose and so much more.
The North Shore offers a diversity of Minnesota vacation destinations.
When hotels are in short supply, check out Lake Superior vacation rentals all along the shore.Read reviews of Minnesota travel destinations and tourist attractions.
Two Harbors: Even if you plan to continue on up the shore, spend some time here. This town of about 3,600 residents is the launching spot for many Lake Superior North Shore adventures and activities.
There are several gift shops, agate shops and, as well, some quaint little cafes. We always try to time our trip to stop at the Vanilla Bean Cafe and Bakery for lunch.
Minnesota state parks along the North Shore are some of the best places in the state to camp, hike, and explore this area. These 8 state parks are:
There is so much to share about the Lake Superior North Shore that we split the travel guide into three pages.
You can make the drive from Duluth to Grand Portage in a day however you will not have much time to explore the delights along the way.
Some of the best Lake Superior scenery is on this stretch of highway and you will be competing with fewer travelers for road space. At Grand Portage you will be able to visit a recreated fur-trading post. And....what I think is the best view in the state...the High Falls in Grand Portage State Park.
An amazing North Shore vacation is the Lake Superior Circle Tour
This tour will take several days as you follow the shore into Canada, back into the U.S. in Michigan, on through Wisconsin and back to Duluth.
Another way to enjoy time in this area is to book a Lake Superior Fishing Charter and get out on the lake.
If you are curious about what lies beneath the waves you might consider scuba diving Lake Superior. You may even discover a Lake Superior shipwreck.
Sea kayaking trips on the lake are another way to get up close and personal with the waves.
For all of these adventures you will want specific guidebooks and Lake Superior maps.
Your road trip along the shore will be more fun by knowing some of these fun facts about Lake Superior.
If you are driving from the Twin Cities make a stop in Hinckley.
Lake Superior ice formations all along the shore attract visitors even on the coldest days as Lake Superior shows us the unique beauty of winter on the North Shore.