Northern Mid West

Old Jun 27th, 2013, 09:56 AM
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Northern Mid West

Hi all ,

I'll be flying into KC on 7/4 and out of KC on 7/14. Taking a road trip in between.

We are from Long Island; been to many parts of the country, East and West, but, except for Chicago, never been to the plains or great lakes states.

I had previously posted, that the goal of my road trip was to see as many states as possible. That's my wife's thing.

Now, my trip has been cut to 10 days, and my focus has changed to try to see as many interesting things as possible including cities and beautiful country side.

So now I'm thinking we'll spend a couple of days in KC, possibly hit Madison, WI or Milwaukee, then a couple of days in Minneapolis.

The next part I need help on , is to drive north somewhere, to see the beautiful northern mid west. I'm not sure if I should do Northern Minn., Wisconsin, or Michigan, or a little of each.

I guess I'll have 3 or 4 days for that part of the trip.

Any recommendations? What parts of the Northern Mid West are most scenic?
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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Instead of going to Minneapolis right after Madison, save that for later. Head north to Bayfield, visit Madeline Island for a day. Then drive over to Duluth and go north along the shore of Lake Superior (that area is called the North Shore). Spend a couple days doing that, then head south to Minneapolis and then back to KC.

There are a bunch of state parks and some little towns north of Duluth along the North Shore.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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WhereAreWe,

Do you think I should skip Madison to give more time to the North Shore, and save some driving time, or, is Madison worth the detour? Or is Milwaukee a better destination over Madison?

How far up the North Shore do I need to go, to see the most beautiful parts of the North Shore?
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 11:43 AM
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One more thing, do you think I should try to go to Isle Royale NP, or can I see the same beauty from the North Shore MN State Parks?

If anyone can recommend where to stay on the North Shore, that would be helpful.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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Do not skip Madison!. Minneapolis and the North Shore above Duluth are beautiful, Bayfield, WI too.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 12:43 PM
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I wouldn't go to Isle Royale, that's pretty far out of the way. Madison is nice, you could go to Milwaukee but for just a quick visit there's no compelling reason to continue on to Milwaukee.

You should go at least 2-3 hours past Duluth.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 03:00 PM
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I've been to Isle Royale NP twice, and hope to return -- I love the place.
However, I do NOT recommend going there unless (like me) you are enthralled by being in isolated wilderness for a few days. It is NOT a place for a casual visit, unless you want to spend a lot of money to check a national park off some list. It is also not a particularly beautiful or historic place -- just an isolated and undeveloped one.

I also strongly recommend the North Shore -- another place I love to visit.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 06:44 PM
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Any specifics on the North Shore? What state parks have the best scenery? Recommendations for places to stay? Interesting restaurants?
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 08:12 PM
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http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/map.html

There's a map of state parks in Minnesota, if you click on each park you get more specific info.

For reference, Jay Cooke is just a little bit south of Duluth (and suffered a fair amount of damage last summer due to flooding). The first one along the North Shore is Gooseberry Falls - worth a stop to see the waterfalls, very easy short walk to get to them.

Split Rock Lighthouse has a lighthouse (not surprisingly) which is run by the State Historical Society and has a separate entrance fee over and above the park entrance fee. There are some trails that run along the lake with great views - one starts near the lighthouse but the others are further away by a picnic area and the camping area. There's a bike trail but not sure if there's anywhere to rent bikes - I think the bike trail goes all the way to Gooseberry Falls but not sure.

Tettegouche also has trails with great views of the lake. In general, if you head onto trails that are further inland you'll probably run into lots of bugs and won't have much in the way of views, so I'd recommend sticking with trails along the lake. Also, as you're driving north before you get to the main entrance for Tettegouche you'll pass a place on the right side of the highway (right/lake side) called Palisade Head. Stop for a few minutes to take a look, you'll be right on the cliffs overlooking the lake. The next state park past Tettegouche is George Crosby but it is inland and mostly for backpackers/hikers. I wouldn't go there on this trip.

Past that, you could drive all the way to Grand Marais and stay overnight. There is a good restaurant called the Angry Trout. You'd pass two state parks (Temperance River and Cascade River - both are more inland-type parks with trails leading up into the forest along the river(s). By the time you get to Grand Marais you're less than an hour from Canada - you could go all the way up to the border if you want and visit Grand Portage State Park. It has the highest waterfall (120 feet) in the state. Just not sure if you'd want to drive that far for a waterfall. There's also a small casino and Grand Portage National Monument in town. The National Monument is fairly interesting, I've never been in summer when the outdoors exhibits are up and running.

http://www.nps.gov/grpo/index.htm

Grand Portage is about 3 hours from Duluth so it's not a day trip, you'd definitely want to stay overnight either or in Grand Marais or some other little town. I can't really give lodging recommendations as I've only stayed in cheap places.

The other state park on that route is Judge C.R. Magney but I haven't been there, it was closed for some reason when I took my trip to visit all of those parks. I think it's fairly similar to Temperance and Cascade River.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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Do a loop of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, taking US-2 across the top of Lake Michigan to St. Ignace, north to Sault Ste Marie, then west again on M-28.

Outstanding stops along this route would include Kitch-iti-kipi Big Spring, Fayette ghost town, the Mackinac Bridge, sday trip or overnight to Mackinac Island, Soo Locks, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Tahquamenon Falls, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and a lighthouse here or there.

Although you could spend much longer, this could be done in about 3.5 days.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Grand Marais used to have Sven and Ole's Pizza...loved the name.
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