My Incredible 3 Day Road Trip in North Shore Minnesota

For over a year, I pondered and planned a road trip to North Shore Minnesota and in September 2021, I finally made it happen.

Despite being only 3 days long, I have never in my life was able to see so much in a region like I did when I went here and in this post, I’d like to share every place I saw, each day that I spent in North Shore Minnesota. To put it mildly, I ended up seeing more in those 3 days than most people would in a week (or more). And this was because of the pace of my trip that allowed me to see and do so much there (as you’ll see).

Now some spots that I’ll be talking about in this post are places I’m going to omit the details of out of respect to locals, but I can tell you that you will be able to find them if you do the research on them (this is what I had to do to find some of the amazing areas there).

North Shore Minnesota

Prelude: How my road trip to North Shore Minnesota came about.

One of the people I follow on Instagram (Everchanginghorizons) posted an image he took from this area and I was stunned by what I saw. It was a picture of one of the many beautiful places in North Shore Minnesota.

After that, I began browsing more places on Instagram for this region and was amazed by the fact that I had never heard of this area before. To me, many of the spots I saw there looked like the Oregon Coast, and even the Washington Coast.

Some places even resembled the Maine and California Coast too. And in terms of geography, I never knew Minnesota State actually had a coast to begin with!

After learning about this, I decided to share this info with my usual road trip buddy and it just so happened, in 2021, he was moving from NYC to Minnesota. I figured such an event was an opportunity to meet up with him and explore the North Shore.

I was so excited about this trip that beforehand I even wrote a post about this place and made a note of what to see. In hindsight, I ended up exploring much more than that original list had (and only in 3 days).

Before I get to the specific spots, let me share a few important details about this area:

What is North Shore Minnesota?

It’s a 140+ mile coastal area of Minnesota State. The body of water you’ll find there is Lake Superior and the entire region presents many opportunities for road trips, hikes, kayaking and many more adventures to explore. It is a popular area and highly worth seeing.

It begins in Duluth City and ends in Grand Portage. Along the way between these 2 spots are many places to see and explore.

About kayaking in North Shore MN (Sea cave info):

kayak north shore minnesota 02

You’ll find sea caves all throughout North Shore, but getting to them is a bit tricky. It requires that:

  • You actually rent them from a nearby location that will actually do it.
  • Find a spot to take them out onto the shore.
  • Make sure the weather conditions are such that it’s even allowed (anything windy is a no go).

There are multiple locations available on North Shore to do this (kayak rentals that is), and for us, the spots we later learned were pretty good for disembarking into the water was:

  • Black Sand Beach.
  • Tettugouche State Park (you’ll find sea caves here).
  • Areas near Palisade Head.
  • Any area where you can literally walk down to a beach (a lot of spots in North Shore are huge cliffs).

So plan ahead and of course accordingly.

About finding northern lights in North Shore Minnesota (It’s not easy):

North Shore Minnesota northern lights

If you didn’t already know, you can literally see the Northern Lights in the North Shore and in terms of timing, what I heard was that it’s year round but better after October to check out. But you have to still get lucky and for us, that didn’t happen.

What I can tell you is that certain things need to be present:

  1. The northern lights actually have to be there.
  2. The more north you travel to the end of North Shore, the better your chances.
  3. Cloudy weather will prevent that from happening.

In fact, in our case, we did have such an opportunity present itself (which we took), but clouds kept us from seeing anything and it was a bummer. Given that this was my third attempt at seeing the northern lights and failing, it was one of the few disappointments in this road trip.

The first 2 times I attempted to see the Northern Lights were:

  1. In New Foundland when I did my Eastern Canada road trip.
  2. And another in Western Canada, when I traveled across the Canadian Rockies.

About North Shore’s scenic drive (61):

North Shore Minnesota scenic drive 61

North Shore’s main coastal road which is scenic drive 61 is where you’ll find pretty much all the best spots on the coast. The drive itself rarely has any actual scenic views other than the coast, but overall, this will be the main road you take when you go there.

Seeing the fall/autumn colors in North Shore Minnesota:

My research showed that fall bloom in North Shore is somewhere in mid September through early October. Logistically, I was only able to see this area in mid September and had hoped to catch the autumn colors there.

Sadly, this was not the case. Perhaps it was a unique year, or perhaps it wasn’t, but either way, consider late September as being the best time to go here if you wish to see the fall colors.

This 3 day road trip to North Shore MN was actually 10 days long:

While the actual exploration of North Shore was 3 days long, I decided to drive there and being that I live in New York City, it wasn’t going to be a quick trip either.

To reach the North Shore, I would have drive about 1,400 miles and while that would take quite a bit of time, I decided to make the best out of it, leave several days early and explore places along the way.

My buddy (the Minnesota resident) would meet me “halfway” and we would then explore North Shore for whatever days we had left, I would drop him off back home, and then drive home myself (while exploring other spots on the way).

And so, this is what ended up happening:

The 10 day road trip to and back from North Shore itinerary):

north shore minnesota map new 01

Day 1: I explored Finger Lakes as well as Letchworth State Park and stayed in Erie Pennsylvania.

Day 2: I explored Ohio (Cuyahoga Valley National Park) and made my way to Traverse City Michigan (my friend flew out from Minnesota to meet me there).

Day 3: We explored many areas of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan state such as Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Day 4: We finally reached the North Shore, and explored a few places there.

Day 5: We explored most of the North Shore in Minnesota and stayed in a Casino close to the border there.

Day 6: We worked our way back to the start of North Shore (Duluth city) and stayed the night there.

Day 7: We drove back to my buddy’s place in Minnesota and explored pieces of Wisconsin State.

Day 8: Explored a bit of Minnesota’s Rochester area.

Day 9: The drive back home began and I drove for 12 hours to reach Columbus, Ohio.

Day 10: I explored Hocking Hills State Park (in Ohio), and then proceeded to drive for 8 hours back home to New York to conclude this trip.

Now 3 of those days were spent in North Shore and while I saw so much in that time, I have to also admit I saw a ton of other things throughout the other regions I crossed. I’ll be making separate articles and linking them here (or throughout my site) so you can see.

But let’s focus on the 3 specific days I spent in North North Minnesota and what I saw (It was a lot).

My 3 day road trip itinerary in North Shore Minnesota:

I’ll be covering each day and the locations I explored. I won’t include all of the pictures (there’s literally 100s), but I’ll keep it to the best ones I was able to take.

Day 1: 4 North Shore locations explored.

We reached Duluth in the afternoon hours and started exploring whatever we could before the day ran out.

1) First we checked out Two Harbors and explored the train museum there.

The town was nice, the museum was pretty cool, but for us, the nearby park and marina with the giant boat harbor was what truly shined here.

2) Then we checked out and hiked through Gooseberry Falls State Park.

North Shore Minnesota gooseberry falls state park 03

Gooseberry Falls was amazing. And considering it’s location, it’s one of the best waterfalls to see near Duluth.

We did a lot of exploration here, a bunch of impromptu hiking and got a lot of pictures because how could we not?

Overall, while out trip to this park was only about 30 minutes to an hour, I strongly recommend you take A LOT longer to explore this park.

In our case, we felt we saw enough with this waterfall and got enough of the views. Plus we had a little bit of daylight left to explore some nearby spots.

3) We then explored Split Rock Lighthouse.

North Shore Minnesota split rock lighthouse 02

Split Rock Lighthouse was one of the major places I wanted to explore in North Shore and we got our chance to do it on the first day we were there!

The area is beautiful to explore, and the hike to the shore is pretty easy to reach.

Overall, this is a very picturesque place to check out for multiple reasons. Reaching this famous location involves taking about a 10 minute hike down from the parking lot to the water area.

From there, you will have a few spots where you can take nice photos of the lighthouse and/or just get a nice look of it with amazing views of Lake Superior.

4) With 2 hours before sundown, we explored Black Sand Beach:

North Shore Minnesota black sand beach

We were told Black Sand Beach was a fun place to check out and while the beach itself was not too exciting (the sand was more like dark grey than anything), there was a giant hill we climbed up to the top of right by that beach.

The climb itself was an incredible (and a bit dangerous) experience, but that was an awesome way to finish up the day! The picture you see here is from the top of the “mountain” we climbed.

It was only about 50 feet high, but involved a lot of boulder climbing and we didn’t have any gear. We just had to do this climb as is.

Once we were done, we then decided to drive back south to Duluth City to stay the night at an awesome Holiday Inn Express hotel.

Day 2: 6 North Shore locations explored.

Usually every day that my buddy and I are on a road trip, we’ll wake up very early because the distance we need to cover is vast (usually 500+ miles a day if not over 1,000). But in this case, being that the North Shore is pretty small in length, we decided to take our time.

We woke up around 8, got breakfast nearby and took our time traveling.

1) Split Rock State Park (not the lighthouse):

While Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the jewels in this region, we decided to explore the park itself and there is a ton to see there. There are many waterfalls, gorges and trails to check out, which we did. A few miles of hiking was done here.

2) Palisade Head:

North Shore Minnesota palisade head

Palisade Head is a giant overlook region you can drive to the top of.

In fact, I think it’s one of the highest points in all of North Shore.

Up there, you not only get great views of the surrounding area as well as Lake Superior, but you also can hike a bit and see gorges, crevices in the rocks and more.

We did explore a bunch of these spots in Palisade Head and even thought that some of the crevices could lead us down to the shoreline.

Trust me when I say it’s not possible and I don’t even recommend giving it a try because it is dangerous.

3) Tettegouche State Park (they have sea caves for kayaking the North Shore):

Tettegouche State Park in north shore 01

Only 10 minutes away from Palisade Head is this awesome state park.

It’s gigantic, and like Split Rock State Park, has a coastal hike, and in shore park to explore with waterfalls, trails and a lot of beautiful sights.

My buddy and I first explored the High Falls trail of this park and while he turned back to go to the car, I did a bigger 5 mile loop that day.

When I returned to the parking lot, we decided to explore the shoreline of this park.

One thing to note about this park is that it has sea caves and if you can find a decent rental area (for a good price that is), there are places near there where you can take the kayak and do some shoreline exploration.

For us, that particular day was a miss because it was very windy and no rental companies wanted to risk it.

We did however do the “Shovel Point” trail which was a pretty nice walk around the edge of this park on the coast.

4) Sugarloaf Cove:

This was the next spot we explored and honestly, we didn’t stay long because the views weren’t that amazing. It’s a nice spot to potentially kayak from though.

5) Secret Gorge Waterfall trail:

north shore minnesota secret waterfall hike 04

Not every area I wanted to explore in North Shore was publicly known and this particular area is an example of that. I can only say it’s between Grand Marais and Grand Portage and takes time to find, but it’s a trail that is literally in the water which you take upstream.

You’ll cross 2 waterfalls, both are small, but it’s the region they are located in that makes this all so majestic.

The first waterfall gorge is beautiful, but not quite so stunning. You have to continue walking upstream before the gorge gets tight and at the end of it lies one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen in my life.

It’s also a waterfall, but it has a cave and the views are something else folks. It’s incredible to think that the parking area that leads to this river is so simple and hardly anyone could think it would lead to such an amazing spot, but we are happy we found it (I did hours of research to get here).

This place looked like Oneonta Gorge that you can find in Columbia River Gorge. And no I will not be saying the exact location of this place out of respect to locals.

Note: You will get wet here. Wear good hiking shoes and waterproof socks too. In my case:

6) Judge CR Magney State Park (Devils Kettle Falls):

North Shore Minnesota Judge CR Magney State Park devils kettle falls

I was on cloud 9 after the gorge waterfall because the payoff for finding it was massive (and the views were incredible). But we had a few hours left before sundown and decided to make the best of it.

We visited this next state park and did a 1-2 mile hike up to see Devils Kettle Falls. It’s a beautiful 2 sided waterfall which goes into a cave. We got very close to it and really enjoyed the views. Being that it was getting close to sundown, no one else was there and it was awesome to have this park to ourselves.

From there, we traveled to Grand Portage and stayed at the Casino there (that wasn’t exactly a grand experience, but we had no choice).

Day 3: 8 North Shore locations explored.

We woke up pretty early, had breakfast at the casino and swiftly left. We continued as far north as possible to reach the border (but not cross it).

1) Grand Portage State Park:

North Shore Minnesota grand portage state park waterfall

This was a cool park to start the day.

There’s a river there that divides Canada and the U.S and besides that, there is a pretty beautiful trail there to a “High Falls on Pigeon River” available. It’s large and quite scenic.

However, because we had to make it all the way back down to Duluth that day, we couldn’t stay long.

Plus certain limitations on where and how we could hike here made us leave pretty quickly and by limitations, I mean a lot of the park is gated for safety reasons (including the views of the waterfall) and it was also raining a lot the morning we got to this park.

2) Grand Portage National Monument:

North Shore Minnesota grand portage national monument 03

A cool little spot we found heading south on 64 (the scenic drive in North Shore).

It’s an old museum of colonial houses and more.

I rarely explore these things, but in this case, it was a nice area to check out.

It’s right by the shore and on a good day, you can even look out into Lake Superior and see Isle Royale National Park (we didn’t see it that day).

Exploring this spot was a nice “shakeup” to our usual “see only the most exotic nature destinations” habits.

3) A small Easter egg (Hollow Rock):

This is a natural bridge you’ll find off the North Shore, but it’s hard to spot unless you actually stop there and look. For us, we drove past it, but later realized what it is.

4) Return to the secret gorge waterfall:

I wanted to do some video filming in this area and did a quick hike through this gorge again. I rarely am so enthralled by a location that I keep coming back to it, but I don’t know when I’ll actually be able to see this place again, so why waste it? I re explored it again and it was certainly worth it!

5) Manitou River Falls (the only North Shore coastal waterfall):north shore minnesota Cascade River State Park 02

One of the “secret locations” I wanted to find was this place and I literally looked through all of North Shore on a satellite map to do it. I saw tons of people posting pictures of this area and basically here is what you need to know:

It’s a waterfall that goes into Lake Superior, and the only one of it’s kind. To get there, you can either kayak (find nearby spots to do it), or you can try to ask locals if you can visit the roads nearby to hike there.

A lot of this area is private land and there were no trespassing signs all around. We couldn’t get in and it was a bummer, but you will find a lot of Instagram posts of this waterfall and it’s one of the best beaches with waterfalls to explore (if you can reach it that is).

Next time I go there, I’ll do my best to make it but not only is it the actual waterfall, but also there are sea caves to explore there too.

6) Cascade River State Park:

This was a park we missed on Day 2’s trip and decided to make up for today.

It’s a beautiful park with scenic waterfalls, gorges and tons a lot to hike through and see. Highly recommended.

7) Temperance River State Park:

north shore minnesota Temperance River State Park 01

This was the last spot we explored before heading down to Duluth.

It’s a beautiful park with a nice gorge and bridge crossing it (road 64) that you can hike under.

Additionally, if you go further upriver, you’ll find more waterfalls, hikes and places to check out.

For us, we had done so much hiking that by that point it was enough.

We had enough of a good time seeing the gorge and coastal area here to be satisfied with what we saw.

Here is a picture from this area:

There’s even swimming holes and places in this small region where you can fish and even kayak on.

We felt after this area, we wouldn’t have much else to see, but we were wrong!

8) Cross River Falls:north shore minnesota cross river falls 04

This area felt like a better version of Temperance River (and it’s close by too).

It’s another bridges with huge waterfall underneath and it’s even bigger than the one in Temperate River.

There is a less official path here and it’s less known about like the others, but I am glad my buddy and I stopped here to check it out.

It was a nice way to end the day’s trip.

Overall, in a matter of 3 days, we saw nearly 20 iconic spots on Minnesota’s North Shore and explore one or more spots within those regions.

This certainly made for an eventual road trip, being that so many of these spots were so close to one another.

And it’s a trip I look forward to doing again in the future!

Finishing up our road trip to North Shore:

On our way back, we did find another area which I can’t disclose because it’s on private land, but we only saw it on the satellite map, which is basically the same image I found from that Instagram guy I told you about that originally brought me to this place.

I can’t disclose where it is (only include an Instagram post), but it is possible to kayak there.

Staying in Duluth (again):north shore minnesota duluth city 07

Duluth itself has some really nice spots worth checking out. At night though, I’d be a little more careful though, but other than that, there’s cool restaurants, pretty good food and bars to explore there.

Concluding the trip:

The next day we excited Duluth and continued home to my buddy’s place as the above itinerary showed. Overall, the 3 day trip I had in North Shore was very satisfying and frankly speaking, out of all the road trips I’ve done, this is the one where I managed to see and do pretty much most of what I had intended to (with a few extra surprises).

That itself made the trip well worth it and possibly something I’ll redo in the future.

Note:

tripadvisor north shore minnesota ideas 02Yes, I am fully aware that North Shore has many more spots to explore, both on the coast and further west with the many lakes there were, but given the tight schedule we were on, I think what we accomplished in 3 days was pretty extraordinary and completely satisfying to say the least.

Now of course if you are planning your own road trip to the North Shore, I hope I’ve given you a lot of ideas to add to your itinerary but I have also included this post on TripAdvisor North Shore tips to help with that. You will find a lot more ideas there and be able to mix it up with what suites your preferences.

Thanks so much for reading this road trip post on North Shore Minnesota and I hope it helps you explore this area if you decide to go there too!

I’ll be doing more posts on this area including:

  • Cabins to stay at.
  • Campgrounds to stay at.
  • And much more stuff I find.

In the meantime:

Plan on doing North Shore hikes? My recommended gear for that:

Questions about the North Shore Coast of Minnesota:

north shore mn photo of coast

What is considered North Shore in Minnesota?

The North Shore in Minnesota is just the coastal side of the state by Lake Superior.

How long is the North Shore of Minnesota?

The Minnesota North Shore is about 150 miles long.

Where is the North Shore of Lake Superior?

The North Shore of Lake Superior is on the east side of Minnesota State.

What is there to see between Grand Marais and Duluth?

There are many places to see between Grand Marais and Duluth including Tettegouche State Park, Palisade Head, Black Sand Beach, Split Rock State Park and much more.

Is Duluth consider the North Shore?

Yes, it’s actually the bottom most part of the North Shore (that’s where it begins).

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28 thoughts on “My Incredible 3 Day Road Trip in North Shore Minnesota”

  1. Hi, as a native of Duluth MN we refer to the Lake Superior adventure you have taken as a drive up the North Shore, there is no north shore MN so this is a gentle reminder that no one has ever heard of North Shore Minnesota. Its always up the shore or we are going for a ride on the North Shore today! Please do not be offended, but as a Duluth native, I wanted to thank you for enjoying what we have to offer. I was home for an Easy High School Reunion there and I was happy to be go up the Shore and be amongst the tourists for a bit, so fun.Thank you again for writing and enjoying The Big Lake on your adventure. I hope you be were able to see our Ore Boats filling up at Two Harbors also!

    Reply
    • Hi Barb thank you for your comment and no offense taken. Just so you know my blog is based on travels all over so if I were to refer to the North Shore as a drive up the shore, it would be confusing as there are many spots in the US where you can say that like the Oregon Coast or Maine Coast. But North Shore is pretty clear and I always add details because other than local residents, I doubt most people would even know that it’s in Minnesota. Would love to know your thoughts on when the best time to see the Northern Lights there are.

      Also I did see the Ore boat area while I went to the train museum but missed seeing any boats there.

      Reply
  2. Thank you! Those waterfalls are so beautiful, I’ve never been there. I want to go once. The images also reminded of adventure and nature.

    Reply
  3. I am not from the US but I have been there several times as a tourist. It’s incredible how many great natural spots the US has, which are frankly my favorite part (even though most people prefer going to the big cities). I have been to the great lakes area and to some nice natural areas near the east coast but this looks like another magic destination to add to the bucker list!

    Reply
    • North Shore is connected to one of those lakes (Lake Superior) which is the largest and I would argue also offers access to the best natural spots in all of them.

      Reply
  4. Hi Vitaliy,

    I have never visited Minnesota so your detailed account of your many explorations carried me into those areas of interest. Besides your trip, I did some research to get a good feel for the geographical location of this North Shore in relation to Lake Superior and Canada. I learned that the Lake Superior coast that Minnesota bordered was the western shore. My biggest surprise was that the Canadian Province it touched was Ontario! 

    Having lived in Toronto which is near the eastern end of Canada, it is easy to forget that the bulk of its landmass is in central Canada. Since Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes, it must have had the feeling of being along an ocean. 

    Your pictures illustrated the scenic beauty of the places you visited so well. Some of those views reminded me of Yosemite National Park

    I noticed that a railway track was located in one of your pictures. Do you know if they have pleasure train rides available there? My wife and I love train rides. If we ever visit that region it would be a fun thing to do if available. 

    The amount of driving you did blew my mind away. The longest I ever drove in one day was from Logan Utah to Los Angeles which is about 780 miles. I don’t feel I could handle several days of consecutive long drives. Unless it was in an autonomous vehicle.

    I get the feeling this website of yours is a labor of love in sharing your experiences with others. As well as documenting some amazing experiences. Keep up this awesome long-term project. I will have to read more about your wonderful trips. 

    Cheers!

    Edwin

    Reply
    • Hi Edwin, the train ride you speak of is in regards to Duluth. I’m not sure if they have casual rides there, but this area is often supplied by nearby trade and ships and it’s one of the things which makes this area and Michigan/Wisconsin (the neighboring states) so popular. 

      Also had the pleasure to visit Yosemite myself and I loved it, thanks for sharing that!

      Reply
    • Hi, native Duluthian here.

      It’s always nice to hear that people have enjoyed it here or would like to visit! Edwin, there are actually two tourist train options in Duluth; the North Shore Scenic Railroad is by far the more popular and goes from the old Union Depot (now St. Louis Co. Depot) in downtown Duluth to Two Harbors. If you’re into trains the Depot itself is worth checking out as it houses the Lake Superior Railroad Museum.

      The other tourist train is the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad, which goes from West Duluth to Gary-New Duluth. It’s a short trip along the St. Louis River estuary mostly through defunct industrial areas. It’s interesting if you’re already familiar with the history of Duluth but I’m not sure if it really appeals to out-of-towners (it’s also closed until 2023 because it goes through a former US Steel site that’s being cleaned up as a Superfund project.

      As I said, maybe not for the average tourist ?). And as an FYI, I’ve never heard people here refer to it as anything but the North “Shore,” rather than “Coast.” I think the shores of the Great Lakes CAN be correctly called “coasts,” but at least in the local vernacular only oceans have coasts. But, call it whatever you like, it’s beautiful and worth a visit, in my humbly biased opinion!

      Reply
      • Hi Elisabeth thank you for sharing all of this! I actually did visit that railroad museum you mentioned. I did enjoy it, but more so the outer area and park nearby with the giant ship dock thing (I’m not sure what it’s called). As for the shore thing, I totally get it, but from what I have seen and how I discovered this area, it was either by typing up the Minnesota Coast or North Shore.

        Reply
  5. Thank you! I loved the article about traveling in Minnesota. It has been on my bucket list for a while, and I hope to get there someday. Living in South Carolina it will be a challenge to make the time, but your descriptions and accounts of your adventure have motivated me. 

    Again, that was a great article. I will visit Minnesota as soon as possible.

    Reply
  6. Hi Vitaliy,

    I am a huge fan of scenic views. but I have never been to North Shore Minnesota! Thanks to you, it is now on my bucket list. Sea caves are probably my favorite places to go to and I would love to go explore the caves there. 

    Thank you for sharing this information with us, now we know what to expect there. I am going to start planning my trip soon and I know it’s going to be awesome!

    Reply
    • Glad you found more travel ideas from this Johnny! To be fair, MOST people have no clue a place like North Shore even exists, let alone that it’s stunning, has sea caves and even northern lights. The moment I saw the first photo from this place, I imagined it was somewhere overseas or on one of the coastal regions of the United States. I was stunned when I saw that it was in Minnesota and was truly fortunate to explore this area the few days I was there. Hope your trip there is an awesome one!

      And if you really love sea caves, I would recommend checking out the sea caves in Oregon, and also California and Washington. There are plenty there too.

      Reply
      • On lake superior some of the best sea caves off Meyers Beach in the Apostle Island National Lake Shore park. Kayak from shore. Also nice trail to hike/view from above. If winter is severe enough access them iced over by walking across the frozen over Lake. Natural land bridge too. Great place!

        Reply
        • Thanks for sharing. Yes before my friend and I hit the North Shore, we crossed the South Shore in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then Wisconsin where we saw signs for Apostle Islands. In hindsight I wish we went because I heard incredible things about it post research, and that is now further confirmed by your comment!

          Reply
  7. Hi Vitaly, Thanks so much for sharing your adventures in North Short Minnesota. Wow! you certainly covered a lot of fabulous places in your three day trip. I love trips like this and love exploring, but given my advanced years, I’m wondering what would be the best for a non-hiker? Would you suggest 5-7 days to see most of the beautiful places? Fantastic photos, too. Thanks. Jenni.

    Reply
    • Honestly, just traveling through the main scenic road and making the main stops is enough for this particular trip. Most of the hikes available off the road (into the mountains left of the shore) are generally easy hikes you can plan your trip based on that.

      Reply
  8. The pictures of the sites and locations you visited there look incredible! I personally have never been to North Shore Minnesota. I would enjoy doing a lot of similar things that you did like hiking and site seeing there, it looks beautiful. I live on the west coast, so I have only been to certain states on this side of the country. I visited Carlsbad caverns and got to see the rock formations and learn about how the bats live there which was fun. Thank you for sharing your amazing experience.

    Reply
    • Hi Wes, the west coast is beautiful and I’ve done a road trip through most of the 3 states there. A lot of how the California and Oregon Coast looks is how the North Shore looks in some parts so if you like that type of scenery, make sure to visit this area too (North Shore).

      Reply
  9. Wow! This sounds like an amazing trip and you saw so much in such a short time. I gather that you are both very fit guys and love your hiking but the pictures of that gorge were amazing and I bet it was really tranquil. What a great way to see so much and I can tell that you did a lot of research before setting out. One of the things I love to do is find these special places that even some of the locals don’t know about and sneak in for a peak.

    You really found some lovely places on your trip, the photos were wonderful.

    Reply
    • Hi Lily, I did a ton of research on this place, and it certainly helped, but I made the mistake of missing a lot of places along my trip to the Minnesota Coast. For instance, a huge chunk of area I passed was the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and I had only recorded 2 places to see there before going, thinking that there wouldn’t be much. 

      But I was wrong and in hindsight, I wish I spent an extra day there to see at least 5 other spots. So while I do recommend researching spots, always be prepared to explore new areas and ask locals about what else there is to, because sometimes, impromptu locations can pop up out of nowhere and lead to some amazing adventures!

      Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing your adventures and your love of nature with us. Your site and your energy and willingness to travel so many miles in few days are very inspirational. 

    My friend and me have a plan to visit another friend in US, Minneapolis, next spring, and would like to see some places around. You helped us to decide which one, and hope that we will have more luck than you and  will see northern lights. 

    But we worry if some places such as Grand Portage state park and Devil Kettle falls will be reachable for us, since we would like to hike, but not heavy distances. Are they easy or heavy to reach? I know that it is relative thing, depend on who hikes, but what is your opinion?

    Reply
    • Grand Portage State Park is easy to reach and the hike to the waterfall there is pretty short (1/4 mile). 

      As for Devils Kettle, the trail to get to it is about 1 mile, and pretty easy in my opinion too. 

      Most of the destinations in North Shore have similar difficulties and unless you have injuries preventing you from doing that, you should be good to go. If not, I would stick to the shoreline destinations as they require much less hiking in most of those places. Hope this helps! 

      Reply
  11. Oh my goodness! Those falls are absolutely beautiful. I have never been to North Shore, so I have no experience to share. However…some of the photos do remind me of the Maine Coast. One of these days, I will need to leave the desert and visit this beautiful place in MN. It looks like a peaceful place where you can relax, but it also has a lot of nature to explore.

    Reply
    • The Maine Coast is very familiar to me Kelly and it is indeed a beautiful region to visit, particularly Acadia National Park. You will find a lot of similarities in the Minnesota Coast to Maine. 

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  12. Wow! North Shore Minnesota is a beautiful area! Especially by looking at your trips photos. I must definitely go visit there very soon. I want to see splitrock lighthouse in person and the beautiful hidden waterfalls. Love to find those hidden locations. What would you recommend a person must pack with on their trip to North Shore Minnesota?

    Reply
    • Unless you’re looking to camp out on the North Shore, you don’t really need to pack much, only for simple day hikes (water, energy bars, ect…). In our case, we just jumped from spot to spot using my car, and hiked the other areas.

      Reply

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