North Shore (Minnesota)

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The North Shore is a region of Northeastern Minnesota. It runs along the shore of Lake Superior from Duluth, Minnesota at the southwestern end of the lake, to Thunder Bay, Ontario in the north. The shore is characterized by alternating rocky cliffs and cobblestone beaches, with rolling hills and ridges covered in boreal forest inland from the lake, through which scenic rivers and waterfalls descend as they flow to Lake Superior. Americans often refer only to the Minnesota shoreline between the city of Duluth to the international border at Grand Portage as the North Shore.

Cliffs Along Lake Superior

Cities[edit]

Other destinations[edit]

  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is popular for its historic Split Rock Lighthouse. Since the lighthouse is separately run by the Minnesota Historical Society, there is a separate fee for admittance.
  • Tettegouche State Park lies at the base of the Baptism River and is famous for the high cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. Palisade Head, the highest cliff in Minnesota, is accessible outside the main entrance to the state park.
  • Grand Portage State Park, includes the High Falls on the Pigeon River which separates Minnesota and Ontario. Unlike every other state park on Minnesota's North Shore, there are no camping accommodations in this park.
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park has campgrounds fairly close to Lake Superior, but its main attractions are the five falls on the Gooseberry River and the Gitchi Gummi Trail, which overlooks the north face of the river gorge.
  • Temperance River State Park has camping very close to the shore of Lake Superior. The main attractions are the falls on the Temperance River.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

The main access into the North Shore area is MN Highway 61, an All-American road and national Scenic Byway. It begins where MN Interstate 35 ends, at the northern end of Duluth, MN. It is not the smoothest or best-maintained highway, but it offers many spectacular views of Lake Superior along its approximate 150 mile stretch within Minnesota.

By plane[edit]

Duluth International Airport (IATA: DLH) (ICAO: KDLH), [1]. The international airport in Duluth is the closest major airport serving the North Shore. Duluth also makes for a great base camp from which to start your vacation. Offering daily non-stop service to Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Detroit and Chicago. In addition service is offered occasionally and sometimes seasonally to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Orlando.

Airlines serving Duluth International Airport:

  • Allegiant Air
  • Delta Airlines
  • United Airlines

Get around[edit]

A car is a necessity for getting around the North Shore. Other than Duluth, there is no public transportation available to the average visitor to the region. There are chartered bus trips, many small municipal airports, and marinas on Lake Superior at Duluth, Silver Bay and Grand Marais.

See[edit][add listing]

The North Shore is an incredibly scenic region with plenty to see no matter what season. There are many state parks in the area, most of which allow camping. Some of the more popular parks are listed below.

  • Split Rock Lighthouse State Park is popular for its historic Split Rock Lighthouse. Since the lighthouse is separately run by the Minnesota Historical Society, there is a separate fee for admittance.
  • Tettegouche State Park lies at the base of the Baptism River and is famous for the high cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. Palisade Head, the highest cliff in Minnesota, is accessible outside the main entrance to the state park.
  • Grand Portage State Park, includes the High Falls on the Pigeon River which separates Minnesota and Ontario. Unlike every other state park on Minnesota's North Shore, there are no camping accommodations in this park.
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park has campgrounds fairly close to Lake Superior, but its main attractions are the five falls on the Gooseberry River and the Gitchi Gummi Trail, which overlooks the north face of the river gorge.
  • Temperance River State Park has camping very close to the shore of Lake Superior. The main attractions are the falls on the Temperance River.
  • Jay Cooke State Park is on the Saint Louis River, which enters into Lake Superior through the Duluth harbor several miles away.
Split Rock Lighthouse

Do[edit][add listing]

Camping[edit]

  • As mentioned above there are plenty of camp grounds located around the North Shore. There are also private and municipal campsites as well. Most State Parks require reservations for camping. To ensure a campsite, reservations can be made by calling 866-85-PARKS (72757) 7am-10pm daily or online at the Minnesota DNR's webpage.Reminder: Protect our trees from bad bugs - Don't move firewood!

Fishing[edit]

  • The North Shore is a very popular place for fishing. Lake Superior and it's tributaries offer up lake trout and a variety of salmon, while inland lakes provide walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, perch and brook trout. In order to fish in Minnesota anyone over the age of 15 is required to have a fishing license. Fishing licenses are offered in 1 day, 3 day, 7 day and year long increments. Year long licenses are valid from March 1 through February 28 of the following year. Licenses can be purchased through the DNR's website or through select gas stations and bait shops. (Gas stations near lakes or popular fishing destinations are more likely to offer fishing licenses)

Hiking[edit]

  • The Superior Hiking Trail, also known as the SHT, follows the shoreline of Lake Superior from Two Harbors, Minnesota to the Canadian border. Many spectacular vistas overlooking Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Ridges that run along the shoreline can be accesses by the SHT. In addition to the SHT there are many trails throughout the North Shores state parks and forests. Many of of the trails can be great for Mountain Biking, Snowshoeing and Snowmobiling all of which are extremely popular.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Locally (and not locally) grown wild rice, fresh Lake Superior fish (including salmon), and pies are what the region is best known for. Duluth offers plenty of dining dining options of various styles and price ranges. Local bakeries and fish smokehouses are popular destinations for locals, tourists, and cabin goers alike.

  • Betty's Pies, 1633 Highway 61, Two Harbors, +1 218 834-3367, [2]. Famous pies and short-order menu; open mid-May into October.
  • Dockside Fish Market, 418 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais, +1 218 387-2906, [3]. Best fish 'n' chips in town! Delis soups, sandwiches, wraps, salads and desserts or pick up smoked fish, tasty spreads, cheeses and crackers. Fresh local fish.
  • The Pie Place Cafe, 207 Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, +1 218 387-1513, [4]. Informal, cozy family-owned restaurant, serving year round breakfast, lunch, dinner, and, of course, pies!
  • Honey Bee Bakery, 711 MacDonald Ave, Beaver Bay, +1 218 226-9651. Giant, and not-so-giant caramel and cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, fresh bread and sandwiches; all made from scratch.
  • Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen, 223 Scenic Drive, Knife River, +1 218 834-2121. Handmade chocolates and candy made the old-fashioned way by third generation candy makers. Open Seasonally.
  • Russ Kendall's Smoked Fish House, 149 Scenic Dr, Knife River. One of the most popular smokehouses on the North Shore. Smoked fish, jerky, and cheese; with a daily fish dinner.

Stay safe[edit]

Dial 911 for emergencies.

The North Shore is overall a very safe region. Crime is very low throughout the entire North Shore, but isn't unheard of. Use common sense when traveling alone at night, and keep valuables inside cars out of sight and locked. In winter months, make sure to check the ice thickness before going out on a frozen lake or pond. Do not park your vehicle on a lake or pond unless it is deemed safe by the local DNR officers. Never walk on river ice. It may appear safe but may not be thick enough to support your weight, due to the river current flowing underneath. While driving be watchful for both whitetail deer and the local moose. Both are most active at dusk and dawn.

Get out[edit]



This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!