Minnesota Nature September 23, 2017
This 150-Mile Drive Is the Best Way to See Minnesota’s Stunning Coast
Summer is winding down, but there’s still plenty of time to see Minnesota’s best attractions at their most beautiful. While there are great things to see in every corner of the state, it is the North Shore that often gets the most attention – especially in the summer and fall months. The North Shore is the closest thing Minnesota has to a coast, and this 150-mile trip up the state’s most iconic road is the best way to see it all. Take a look:
From Duluth to Grand Portage, this trip covers 151 miles. Without any stops, it'll take just under 3 miles of driving. You'll find the entire route and directions
1. Canal Park - Duluth
This trip starts at the southernmost point of the North Shore - and in its largest city. There is a lot to see in Duluth, but it's unthinkable to leave the city without wandering around Canal Park. Lots of shops and restaurants line the edges this popular attraction. But the most important sight is Lake Superior. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the Lift Bridge rise to let a boat through.
2. Betty's Pies - Two Harbors
After you've had your fill of Duluth, it's time to head north on Highway 61. If it's breakfast or lunchtime, you may want to stop at one of the North Shore's most famous restaurants. Betty's Pies overlooks Lake Superior, making it a great spot to grab a bite to eat - especially if you get a window seat. The restaurant serves standard diner fare, and its wall of pies is truly something to behold. No matter what you get, you'll want to take part in this North Shore tradition.
Address: 1633 Highway 61, Two Harbors.
3. Gooseberry Falls - Two Harbors
Gooseberry Falls is the first - but not the last - waterfall on this trip. The state park is full of hiking trails, but the main event is only a mile or so from the parking area. Even if you're not up to a long hike, the beauty of Minnesota's most popular waterfall is not to be missed
Address: 3206 Highway 61, Two Harbors.
4. Split Rock Lighthouse - Two Harbors
The final Two Harbors stop is one of the most iconic stops on the North Shore - and in Minnesota in general. Split Rock Lighthouse is visible from Highway 61, where you can see it tower on a 130-foot cliff above Lake Superior. For a more in-depth experience, tours of the lighthouse are available at the state park.
Address: 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors.
5. Tettegouche State Park - Silver Bay
Not far north from Split Rock is Tettegouche State Park, one of the most beautiful places along the North Shore. While this park is also home to a waterfall - the High Falls of the Baptism River - the views of Lake Superior may be even better. Hiking trails lead to some truly breathtaking views of the water, with some of northern Minnesota's most famous cliffs and rock formations on display.
Address: 5702 Highway 61, Silver Bay.
6. My SIster's Place - Grand Marais
For the next 50 miles, the route leads further up Highway 61 along the lake. There are plenty of fantastic views of the water along the way, all leading to the next stop on the drive. Tucked away in Grand Marais is a cozy restaurant that would make a great lunch or dinner stop. From burgers to pizzas to fresh fish, My Sister's Place will satisfy your hunger after a long day in nature. It'll be just what you need for the last leg of the journey.
Address: 401 East Highway 61, Grand Marais.
7. Grand Portage State Park - Grand Portage
Just 35 miles north of Grand Marais is the final stop on our drive up the coast. This northernmost settlement along Highway 61 is the final stop before the Canadian border. The main attraction is Grand Portage State Park, a 291-acre park that is home to Minnesota's largest waterfall. The 160-foot-tall High Falls of the Pigeon River is a sight to behold. Luckily, it's less than half a mile to reach the falls along a well-maintained boardwalk - and it's 100% worth it.
Address: 9393 Highway 61, Grand Portage.
What would you add to this drive up Minnesota’s coast? Do you have any favorite North Shore destinations? Let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking for another unique road trip, check out our
train-themed road trip through Minnesota.
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