Minneaplis to Grand Marais and Back

Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 09:53 AM
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Minneaplis to Grand Marais and Back

Hi, I am going to Grand Marais in a few weeks with my 10 year old son. We are flying into Minneapolis, and driving to Grand Marais. We will make a few brief stops along the way. Any suggestions?
The next day will be spent in Grand Marais then the following day we will get back in the car and drive back to Minneapolis. I plan for us to spend some time in Duluth before making our way all the way back to Minneapolis.
We've never been to Wisconsin, is it worth it to drive through Wisconsin on our way back to Minneapolis?
What about driving up to Grand Portage or the border?
We have a national parks all access pass but do not have time to do Isle Royale.
Places to eat in Grand Marais? or anywhere along the way?

We have a hotel in Grand Marais and that's about all I have planned.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 10:44 AM
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Here are some tips. Note that Grand Marais is quite small and neither motel is particularly exciting.

There are a couple of museums between Minneapolis and Duluth right on the interstate about the time (1870-1920) when there were really bad forest fires and 400-2000 people died in a single fire, either the Hinckley Fire Museum in Hinckley or The Fires of 1918 Museum in Moose Lake.

You should try the Lake Superior Whitefish somewhere along the lake, and the walleye in MN, if you eat fish.

Worth stopping at for high tea or lodging near Grand Portage, https://www.naniboujou.com/

A large famous resort on the lake for lodging or a meal https://www.lutsenresort.com/

While driving along Lake Superior it's worth a stop at both Palisade Head (no hiking) and Shovel Point at Tettegouch SP (light hiking). There are many short hikes to various waterfalls all along the shore, which can be nice, water flow in the summer is variable. Split Rock Lighthouse is probably the top attraction in this part of the state.

Popular stops are Gooseberry Falls SP and Temperance River SP, and many others.

Wisconsin: From Duluth it would be possible to drive to the Apostle Islands and do a kayaking trip, and return the same day.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 11:02 AM
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Adding:

A day canoe trip off the Gunflint Trail would be great on a nice day. https://gunflintcanoeing.com/canoe-day-trips/

Grand Portage for the National Monument museum and nice views is worth it, 30 minutes from Grand Marais. Could also hike to the High Falls of the Pigeon River, on the border, left turn immediately before hitting the border don't miss it or you'll end up in Canada.

The overlook getting close to the border is very nice.

Getting obscure but the Devil's Track River canyon is interesting, a mile hike in from parking on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, or right up the river bed https://northshoreexplorermn.com/dev...river-explore/

Last edited by tom_mn; Jun 3rd, 2022 at 11:04 AM.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 02:55 PM
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Hi, I saw on the other site you are only in Grand Marais for one day and that you are taking a class. Is that correct?

Can you drive to Duluth on the day you land? If you can drive there you can spend a couple of hours walking around the canal area, go to Grandma's for food and explore the shipyard and canal area. There is a Lake Superior museum/zoo near there with Otters and other fish/animals in it for the 10 year old. There's a couple of cool ice cream shops near the freeway, Loves Creamery and Portland Malt Shop.

From MSP to Duluth is probably 4 hours or so, especially with a 10 year old and having to fetch your rental car.

Close to Duluth there is a rest stop that offers a great view of the harbor as well as maps etc.

Duluth to Grand Marais is 3 to 4 hours, I don't care what google maps says for time, it takes longer. On the way from Duluth I would stop at Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls. Check out Russ Kendall's Smokehouse by Knife River (near Two Harbors) for some smoked fish and jerky. 10 year olds love it. My wife and I always stop there and we picnic our way up the shoreline.

Grand Marais offers "The worlds Best Doughnuts" and "Sven and Ole's Pizza". Plenty of restautant options, probably all pretty crowded in the peak of summer.

You don't have time for Grand Portage, nothing there except Native American Museum, a casino and the highlight, High Falls. It's a couple of hours past Grand Marais. Nanibough Lodge is cool but it's East of Grand Marais and the food/lodging is not consistently available.

You also do not have time for Wisconsin. Driving speeds are slower 'up there'.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 02:58 PM
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After Two Harbors is a famous restaurant called Betty's Pies. Just look for the full parking lot. It's worth stopping there just to read the history of the restaurant as well as get a slice of pie, even for breakfast. They will have some unique pies to sample.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 05:20 PM
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Ziggy is not a fast driver, from the Twin Cities:
2-1/2 hours to Duluth
5-1/2 hours to Grand Marais
6 hours to Grand Portage and the Ontario border

Duluth is a weekend getaway for the city for the cooler weather and to see the port and ships, itís not really worth your time.

Grand Portage NM has the museum and a reconstructed fort with several buildings. I think itís quite interesting. Thereís no fee.

Last edited by tom_mn; Jun 3rd, 2022 at 05:26 PM.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2022, 10:08 PM
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Grand Marais is my hometown and we get back there every year, and I stlil have family there, We can easily drive from Duluth to Grand Marais in 2-1/2 hours. We also can drive from Mpls, to Duluth in about 2-1/2 hours. Yes, if there is construction it will slow you down, but it never takes 4 hours to Duluth or 4 hours from Duluth to Grand Marais, There are a number of restaurants in GM and all are busy in the summers and the past two years, including this year, they are very short staffed at all of them but they are doing the best they can. Tom-Mn, I don't know how long it has been since you have been to GM but there are more than 2 motels there and there sre many condos, cabins and Air B & B's, but they do fill up fast at certain times in the summer. As far as a motel, The Best Western is very nice and right downtown and right on the lake, . Duluth is always fun and it is great to see the ships come intio the Duluth Harbor and you can also tour the Museum at the Ship Canal. When driving between Duluth and Two Harbors, take the scenic route along the lake shore, rather than the expressway. I would definitely tour Split Rock Lighthouse between Two Harbors and Silver Bay. If you like to hike stop at Gooseberry Falls and Tettagouche Park for great views and falls and hiking. It is also fun to hike along Cascade River which is just west of Grand Marais. I have not taken a class at North House but many of my friends and family have and they have enjoyed them. Grand Portage is about 45 minutes east of Grand Marais and you can tour the old Fort and there is also a museum. You also could go up the Gunflint Trail and there are many lakes and lodges and you could possibly see moose on the side of the road. Trail Center which is half way up the Trali has very good food. Your trip is really quick so I don't know how much time you will have to do much sightseeing. Enjoy!!.
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Old Jun 5th, 2022, 07:48 AM
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Wow is this going to be a lot of driving in 3 days! My plan is to do the nature stops past Duluth on the way to Grand Marais. I think we will be in Duluth about lunch time so we may stop there. Then on Saturday, depending on how we feel, we could drive up to grand portage first thing in the morning, then start the very long drive back to Minneapolis stopping for a couple of hours in Duluth to break up the drive.

The very long days will be in our favor.

and I should have added I am gluten free and dairy free and my son is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts which always makes finding food more complicated.

thanks for all the suggestions, I'm going to check out all the suggested stops.

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