There are many reasons folks flock to Lake Superior’s North Shore in the summertime: With four majestic state parks, three lighthouses, numerous waterfalls, the scenic Superior Hiking Trail, and picturesque beaches, a visit to Lake County can check off many Minnesota travel pursuits. Be sure to hit the following must-do adventures when visiting Minnesota’s North Shore:
Take a Sail on Lake Superior
Sailing remains a popular activity on Lake Superior. In Duluth, you can catch sailboat races every Wednesday during the summer. However, why watch from the shoreline when you can experience a hands-on adventure sailing the big lake?
Amicus Adventure Sailing out of Knife River, Minnesota, provides a memorable guided sailing experience for whether you’re a beginner or an advanced deckhand. Mark and Katya Gordon, two lifelong sailing experts, lead various types of expeditions, from two-hour trips to 10-day excursions.
Charter a Lake Superior Fishing Excursion
You don’t need to travel to the salty coast to experience an ocean-like fishing adventure. Let the North Shore’s seasoned fishing guides give you a day to remember while possibly snagging a gigantic lake trout! Anglers can target multiple species, including Lake Superior lake trout, splake, salmon, whitefish, sturgeon, and other fish found in Minnesota lakes.
Visit our website for a list of Lake Superior Charters and fishing info.
Skip rocks at Iona’s Beach, A.K.A. “Pink Beach”
Named after Iona Lind—she owned the Twin Ports Resort, which used to occupy the now parking lot area—Iona’s Beach is a hidden gem. The pink beach ranks as one of the most unique scenic beaches in Lake County. The pink rocks that line the shore are rhyolite; when the wind’s just right, you can hear the beach “sing.”
Take a Panoramic Photo at Palisade Head
The striking view from the high cliffs at Palisade Head (part of Tettegouche State Park) remains one of the best Lake Superior scenic views of the North Shore. Gaze for miles in either direction, or set up your camera for a panoramic capture.
Thrillists may want to add the Palisade Head rock climb to their list; Positive Energy Outdoors hosts guided adventure outings, including gear and instruction.
This spot can get crowded on the weekends during the summer months. Additionally, you may want to skip it with small children as there are no railings along the cliff.
Kayak to the Crystal Bay Sea Caves
This beautiful location can often get overlooked as folks travel north on Highway 61. However, the hidden Crystal Bay Beach caves are some of the largest on Lake Superior. You can access the pebble beach near mile marker 60 off Highway 61; the trail is quite steep and rough, so be cautious. Once you launch from the shoreline, you can explore the caves and capture Instagram-worthy photos.
Walk the Two Harbors Break Wall to the Lighthouse
The Two Harbors Break Wall and Lighthouse make a fantastic spot to watch lake freighters get loaded with iron ore at the massive Ore Docks. Stroll the wide concrete walkway to get up close and personal quickly. A large parking lot also provides access to The Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum and B&B.
Tour the Lighthouse Museum, operated by the Lake County Historical Society, or stay at night in the Bed and Breakfast for a full lighthouse experience.
Take the Keeper’s Tour of Split Rock Lighthouse
Touring Split Rock Lighthouse is a must-do when visiting the North Shore. Although it’s one of the most photographed lighthouses on Lake Superior—usually from the state park’s pebble beach—very few have explored the nooks and crannies from within.
The Keeper’s Tour, offered Saturdays from May-October, gives guests a guided tour of the historic grounds and lighthouse. The cost is $25, or $20 for MNHS members.
That’s just the tip of the lake! View the full North Shore Summer Bucket List at LovinLakeCounty.com.