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Great Summer Drives

A road trip is all about the journey.

Great Summer Drives
Photo by Joseph Foreman

(page 1 of 7)

From scenic North Shore routes to peaceful rural escapes, small town getaways to big-city rock-star weekends, we highlight our favorite stops. Here’s to driving with the windows down, the radio up, and finding unexpected discoveries along the way.

The North Shore Scenic Drive


Take Scenic Highway 61 from Duluth to Grand Marais, hugging Lake Superior’s rugged rocky shoreline.


Take turns driving so everyone has a chance to look out the window during this beautiful and relaxing drive. Just beyond Duluth’s city limits, U.S. Highway 61 showcases pine, birch, aspen, and wildfowers on one side of the road; views of the world’s largest freshwater lake on the other. Wooded hills, bays, coves, cliffs, and waterfalls are all part of the spectacular scenery.


Canal Park and the New Scenic Café in Duluth, Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors, waterfalls at Gooseberry Falls and Cascade River state parks, Split Rock Lighthouse, Lutsen Mountains Alpine Slide and Summer Park, North House Folk School in Grand Marais. Stop to watch ships in the harbor, stretch your legs, skip rocks, or picnic on the lakeshore.


A 20-mile drive from Duluth will bring you to Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior. For a memorable dining experience, reserve the chef’s table at Ledge Rock Grille. You’ll love the entertainment that is served with your six-course meal. Amenities include an authentic Finnish sauna, private Massage Cottage on the water’s edge, and an all-season outdoor whirlpool.

A little further up the road is Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors, where you can stay in a lake home, log cabin, or lodge room on the shore of Lake Superior, most rooms with a fireplace and lakeside deck as well as large whirlpool tub and kitchenette appliances. Guests can check out a free bike, hike along portions of the Superior Hiking Trail (the Castle Danger trailhead is just two miles away), or visit nearby Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse. Unwind in the evening with a glass of wine while dining on excellent local cuisine at the on-site Splashing Rock Restaurant and Lounge.

Caribou Highlands Lodge on Lutsen Mountains is slopeside along the Poplar River. This family-friendly resort is like summer camp, but for all ages. The free kids camp programs are fully supervised, fun, and educational. With both an indoor and outdoor pool on-site, tennis courts and playground, kids of all ages have a place to play (guests especially love the free guided canoe trips). Stay July 12-14 for the Caribou Hopped Up Beerfest, with live music, beer sampling, and a barbecue-prepared lunch under the big tent on the mountain.

A tradition of warm hospitality with Scandinavian influences can be found at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior, in the Lutsen/Tofte area. The natural beauty of the North Shore has been attracting guests to this spot since the late 1800s, when a Scandinavian family first opened their home to travelers. Over the years, the family home evolved into a favorite vacation destination, with modern accommodations including sea villas, luxury condos, log homes, and hotel-style lodge rooms. Resort amenities include a restaurant, pub, pool, whirlpool, sauna, and game rooms. For those itching to explore the area, a variety of activities and programs are available, including half-day kids camps, a par-3 golf course, guided kayaking and hikes, and naturalist programs. Once the day is done, relax at a lakeside evening campfire under a blanket of stars (if this isn’t on your bucket list; it should be).

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