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Top 10 North Shore Attractions

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The top 10 North Shore attractions will take you from Canal Park in Duluth to the highest waterfall in Minnesota.

Sometimes we choose Duluth as our "base camp" for a few days and make forays to our favorite top 10 North Shore attractions.

When we have more time we like to reserve a hotel room in several towns along the way and really explore each area.

After many years of doing this there is still more we want to see and do.

Top 10 North Shore Attractions

Most family vacation destinations in Minnesota include beautiful family vacation resorts, cabins, and dozens of state parks and many other top family vacations spots.

Canal Park is the place to begin exploring Duluth.  The Aerial Lift Bridge, arriving international ships, and the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center are the best  introduction to Duluth attractions.

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Knife River

Lake Superior Vacation Rentals - Settle in to your lovely rental home and enjoy the adventures along the shore.

Knife River is a small town with a big attraction. It is one of the few places in Minnesota that still has a commercial fishing industry.

If you are interested in booking a fishing charter on Lake Superior you can do that at the Knife River Marina.

If you just want to sample the fish, Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse is a must stop. Don't leave town without several bags of sweets from the Candy Kitchen.  

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Two Harbors

Two Harbors is just 30 miles north of Duluth. A major attraction near the waterfront is the lighthouse that is also a bed & breakfast inn. 

Near Two Harbors is world famous Betty's Pies. We make it a point to get to town in time for lunch at the Vanilla Bean Cafe and Bakery.  When we need a cup of the best coffee in town we get that at the Mocha Moose. There are many attractions you will enjoy from Two Harbors to Grand Marais.

Reviews of Two Harbors Attractions
Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park is easily Minnesota's most visited state park. At least 600,000 people visit it every year.

The three segments of the falls begin where the Gooseberry River flows over the Upper Falls, then spreads out over the 100 foot wide Middle Falls and, finally, drops over the Lower Falls and on to Lake Superior.

From this park you can hike several trails. The River View Trail will take you on a beautiful trek that ends at Agate Beach. The Gitchi-Gami Trail winds a high ridge above the river. The Fifth Falls Trail is part of the Superior Hiking Trail. 


#1 of Top 10 North Shore Attractions

Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the most iconic symbols of Minnesota. It is likely at the top spot on everyone's list of top 10 North Shore attractions since it is one of the most visited sites in the state. If you want to spend some extended time here you can reserve one of the campgrounds in Split Rock Lighthouse State Park .

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Palisade Head

Palisade Head is not only one of the Top 10 North Shore attractions, many would agree that it is one of the top attractions anywhere in Minnesota. The cliffs here jut up 350 feet above the water.

Shovel Point and Palisade Head jut out from the Lake Superior shoreline at Tettegoucche State Park. A short hike will take you to a spot where you will have stunning views of the great lake. Be careful in this high spot.

Eight of our most beautiful state parks are along the North Shore, including several that feature lighthouses.  

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Lutsen

Lutsen is a top Minnesota vacation destination in all seasons.   

The town of Lutsen is tiny however this is one of the busiest recreation destinations on the North Shore. Lutsen Mountains is a popular ski area in winter. In other seasons you will want to visit for the bike trails, horseback riding trails, and Alpine Slide. Lutsen is also a perfect place to view autumn color from the Gondola Ride.

Read review and get tips from others about what to see and do when you visit Lutsen, Minnesota.

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Grand Marais

Grand Marais is both a recreational and cultural paradise. Galleries in town are filled with the works of local artists. The Johnson Post Heritage Art Gallery features local and regional artists. Enjoy the beauty of the area with a stroll along the breakwater to the Grand Marais lighthouse. Pack a picnic and hike to Artist's Point. Sweetheart's Bluff is just across the bay.

The Gunflint Trail Historical Society recently opened the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature center.  Take a side trip from Grand Marais along the Gunflint Trail. There are more attractions to enjoy from Grand Marais to Grand Portage.

Grand Marais Minnesota Vacation Ideas

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Grand Portage

Grand Portage State Park  is one of Minnesota's smallest state parks with one of Minnesota's top attractions. A relatively easy short hike, and a climb up the staircase, will take you to our state's highest waterfall. Pigeon Falls, also known as The High Falls, drops 120 feet from its source in the Pigeon River. I did this hike after recovery from double hip replacement to celebrate my new-found mobility. While you are here, you will also want to visit Grand Portage National Monument

Top 10 North Shore Attractions - Lake Superior Circle Tour

The Lake Superior Circle Tour is on the Top 10 North Shore attractions list as the attraction that encompasses all the others and, as well, can be extended to one of the best road trips anywhere.

Top 10 Vacation Destinations

Lake Superior North Shore

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Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay