I may be biased as a Minnesota native, but there’s nothing like making a trip up to the North Shore. Each season brings something new to discover. So, in honor of this issue’s travel theme, I’m taking the opportunity to share my favorite stops with you, reader.
Whenever I’m headed north, I make sure to stop for a quick lunch at Ursa Minor Brewing in Duluth. It’s an easy-going place with great pizza and greater brews. Don’t miss neighboring Back Alley, a tucked-away surf shop that also boasts amazing coffee. (Pro tip: If you head north a few blocks along West Superior Street, you can also discover some cute local shops and restaurant options.)
Once you get a view of the lake up close, it can be difficult not to pull over. For a quick stop, I love Brighton Beach. It’s right off Highway 61 and is the perfect place to pause and enjoy the views before heading north. Two Harbors is the next place on my list. There’s so much to love about this small town. On one trip, I stumbled across White Pine Market, a coffee shop and store featuring lovingly curated wares from local creators and thrifted clothing. I always leave with something I treasure.
If you haven’t already, visit one or more of the state parks along the way, including Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse or Tettegouche. But if you’ve been there and done that, I have a soft spot for Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area just northeast of Two Harbors, which features two unique rock beaches and a boat launch. (It’s a fantastic place to put in the kayaks.) Another favorite series of natural wonders is in Beaver Bay. Stop first at Black Beach, a black sand beach set amidst jagged cliffs. Just a quick five-minute drive north will lead you to Palisade Head. Don’t let the lower lot fool you; you can drive all the way up to the top for epic views of the colorful cliffs and Lake Superior.