It doesn't get any better than Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive. One one side of the route, you have the rugged Sawtooth Mountains; on the other, Lake Superior's dramatic coast. From Grand Portage to Duluth, right on the Northeastern edge of Minnesota, you'll find pure lakeshore love. Waterfalls, lighthouses, fish, and the best pie of your life can all be found along the North Shore Scenic Drive... if you know where to look!
Grand Portage National Monument
Kick off your Lake Superior experience with a visit to the Grand Portage National Monument-- it's a must-visit. Step foot into the past and explore the historic trade partnership between the Grand Portage Ojibwe peoples and the North West Company. The Grand Portage depot was reconstructed on a site that contains a rich trading history, and the monument gives a glimpse into the lives of people who settled here long ago. Whether you walk in the beautiful Three Sisters Gardens, tour the monument, or immerse yourself in the unique Ojibwe culture and heritage, you'll find yourself amazed at the rich history of this fascinating location. It doesn't hurt that you'll have access to incredible views of beautiful Lake Superior.
Home to Devil's Kettle Waterfall, one of the most famous waterfalls in all of North America, Judge C.R. Magney State Park doesn't disappoint. There are several incredible trails to hike, including one that leads you upstream to the spot where the river splits around a mass of volcanic rock; one half of the stream tumbles down a 50-foot waterfall named Devil's Kettle, while the other half disappears into a pothole off to the side. And when we say "disappears,” we mean it... scientists haven't been able to figure out where the pothole empties! It's a bizarre mystery that remains unsolved.
Best yet, Judge C.R. Magney State Park offers plenty of state-of-the-art camping grounds for the perfect weekend getaway. The campgrounds offer camping, picnicking, hiking, and the option to fish. The park ground is open year round; however, if you want to camp, you'll be unable to do so in the winter months.
George Crosby Manitou State Park
Enjoy incredible views and hiking trails when you stop at George H. Crosby Manitou State Park. This north country wilderness park is flush with majestic waterfalls that cascade through a volcanic canyon, and the mesmerizing, lush forest is a can't-miss. Trails in the park offer views of a wide variety of trees, including fir, spruce, cedar, and northern hardwoods. You'll also be able to sight wolves, deer, moose, and bear throughout your journey. While the park offers fantastic views, the trails lean to the more experienced side, so come prepared!
The historical Split Rock Lighthouse was constructed in 1905, after several vessels met their shipwrecked fate just off the cost of Two Harbors, Minnesota. The Split Rock Lighthouse has remained standing ever since, and has become one of Minnesota's most well-known and scenic landmarks. Take a hike around the lighthouse, join a guided tour, and browse the wide-variety gift shop, all while taking in the incredible coastal views. Hearing the foghorn sound off is always a group pleaser, too.
The world-famous Betty’s Pies is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth, boasting some of the most delicious pies in North America. Even if pie isn't your thing (just kidding, everyone loves pie), Betty’s Pies serves a wide range of delicious meals and snacks as well, including hot dogs and hamburgers. It was founded in 1956 by Betty's father, Aleck, as a way to satisfy the hunger of the local fisherfolk. The once small-time shop has since satisfied thousands of locals and tourists from around the world as they make their way through North Shore. If you find yourself wondering what to order, try the French Blueberry Pie. You'll thank us later.
Along the way, you'll want to make sure to drive the 142-mile North Shore Scenic Drive to make your memories last a lifetime. Starting in Canal Park in Duluth, the North Shore Scenic Drive is two hours of some of the most incredible views Minnesota has to offer. You'll be exposed to all the elements of wilderness and nature that make the drive so memorable. The shoreline and beautiful, sweeping waters of Lake Superior won't leave your sight and you'll again be amazed by the incredible diversity of trees and wildlife.
While the route can take as little as two hours, we suggest you take your time and stop for some shopping, dining, or checking out the many fantastic places to lodge for the night. We won't judge you if you revisit the route more than once... it's that amazing.
Great Lakes Aquarium
Opened in 2000, the Great Lakes Aquarium provides fun for all ages. With dozens of interactive activities and things to entertain everyone, from adults to little ones, a quick visit to the Great Lakes Aquarium is a great addition to your Lake Superior trip. For the adults in the crowd, there's plenty to learn about the second world under the water. Be sure to check out the petting area, which is always a fan favorite.
This lake isn't called "Superior" for nothing! Exploring Minnesota's dramatic coast along the North Shore Scenic Drive is an extraordinary trip for everyone in the family. With loads to do and see, you'll be talking about this trip for years to come.
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