Edit ModuleShow Tags

6 Great Things To Experience While Escaping to the North Shore


Published:

As a true Minnesotan, "going to the lake" is in my blood. Every summer (and winter for that matter) my family packs up and heads "North." Now that I’m older, my days at the lake have become few and far between, but when given the chance, you can find me at my family’s cabin in the tiny town of Hovland, in Cook County on the shore of Lake Superior.

Just a few weekends ago my family, complete with dogs in tow, made the trek to the lake. The five-hour car ride has become old hat. Sure, it may be tedious, but we know what’s waiting for us and we know the end result is worth every mile and every minute.

Admittedly, having a cabin on Lake Superior is a different experience than having a cabin on other Minnesota or Wisconsin lakes. We don’t have a motorized boat, water skiing is out of the question, and there is no Big Island. But, in my humble opinion, what we have is even better—sea kayaking, hiking and navigating rock formations, close proximity to state parks, reading on the rocky shoreline, and making s’mores under a starry sky. Plus we have the advtantage of scenic views of the largest freshwater lake in the world. 

Here are some highlights from my recent trip:

Donuts from World’s Best Donuts in Grand Marais
There's no such thing as a bad decision when it comes to these donuts. I’m partial to the old standby—the raised glazed, but my sister likes their bismarks. And they have the best coffee in town!Dog and donuts

Dinner at the Naniboujou Lodge
The stunning interior of this building warrants a visit in and of itself, but it’s also a great spot to grab dinner. Besides having a great view of the lake, Naniboujou has a history that is both entertaining and sad. I spent the majority of our meal pestering my dad with questions about the history of the Lodge and how in the world they could possibly paint the ceiling in such an intricate design.

Cinnamon rolls from the Chicago Bay Marketplace
Located in Hovland, the Chicago Bay Marketplace has everything you could possibly need while on vacation (pizza, a bakery, a little grocery store, a deli). Our absolute favorite is their homemade cinnamon rolls. If you get there early enough, they'll be served still-warm.

Hike up to the High Falls in Grand Portage State Park
The hike itself is fairly easy (albeit, full of stairs), and the view from the top is ridiculously impressive. We particularly enjoyed the impromptu shower from the mist coming off the falls—very refreshing!

lupine flowers

Admiring the wlld lupine  
I spent the better part of the drive staring out the car window at the smattering of purple and pink wild lupine flowers growing on the side of Highway 61. My oohs and ahhs were met with equal excitement from my dad as we stopped on the side of the road to take photos. The color variations and sheer volume of these wildflowers were an unexpected and beautiful surprise (like many aspects of the North Shore).

Kayaking on Lake Superior
A trip to the lake isn’t complete without spending some time on the water. My dad and I spent every morning and every evening paddling along the shoreline. The Big Lake never ceases to amaze me. If you're going to venture out on Lake Superior in a kayak, stay close to the shoreline and stay on the shore if it's windy. The waves can look deceivingly smaller from the shore and when you're in such a small boat they can easily overpower you. That said, it's fairly similar to kayaking on any other lake or river. Just be aware of where you are and the conditions of the lake!

I came home from my week at Lake Superior a little sunburnt, smelling of campfire, and FULL of mosquito bites. Although it’ll be awhile until I can return, spending a week in my happy place with my family was the perfect mid-summer treat. Should you have the opportunity to escape to the North Shore, have fun and enjoy the slower-paced lifestyle. And don't forget the bug spray!

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: December

Sue Z.'s ideas for giving back this holiday season include donating food while taking in the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train—and perusing food trucks

Join the Fun at the Best of Minnesota Party 2017

Celebrate the best of Minnesota with food, drinks, live music, and games downtown Minneapolis November 30.

"So Bright the Star": Singing in the St. Thomas Christmas Concert

The University of St. Thomas sings at Orchestra Hall this Sunday

Alternatives to Black Friday Shopping During Thanksgiving Weekend

Skip the Black Friday crowds this year and celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with one of these family-friendly events.

Minnesota Love in 3 New Books

The Boundary Waters, First Avenue, and fun facts about Minnesota—all highlighted in these recent publications

Holiday Volunteer Opportunities Around the Twin Cities

While counting your blessings on Thanksgiving, think ahead to helping others in December by volunteering your time at one of these locations around the Twin Cities metro.

What Else To Do on Black Friday: Alternative Plans across the State

Things to do on Black Friday in Minnesota—other than shop

Where to Run a Turkey Trot in Minnesota This Thanksgiving

Burning off those Thanksgiving Day calories is a great way to start the day before giving thanks for what you have. Join one of these fun (and local) turkey trot races on Thanksgiving morning.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: November

Sue Z.'s ideas for getting charitable this month include baking with North Minneapolis teens and the annual Taste of the NFL

Finding Neverland Brings the Story of Peter Pan to Life

There was never a dull moment during the performance of Finding Neverland, the story of how Peter Pan came to be.

Drag Queens Fill First Ave for Puerto Rico

Flip Phone and drag queen Phi Phi O'Hara team up for a First Avenue show in Minneapolis with all proceeds benefiting victims of Hurricane Maria

Photos from Nigeria: A Series with a Cause by a MN Resident

MN photographer Bre McGee's series "Stolen Lives: The Lost Futures of Nigeria's Trafficked Youth" raises money for victims of child labor and sex trafficking

Calhoun, Mud Lake, and Pig’s Eye: A Brief History of Renaming Minnesota Places

Lake Calhoun is on its way to becoming Bde Maka Ska, but it's only the latest in the history of Minnesota place renamings, which includes N-word lakes, Pig's Eye, and a middle school almost named after Prince

Staging a Magazine: A Storytelling Pop-Up in St. Paul

St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater hosts a "live magazine"—where journalists become performers
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags