Duluth & the North Shore
For those of you unfamiliar with the idea, mini-moons are a fairly recent thing in terms of wedding trends. For many, the mini-moon serves as a quick little getaway after the wedding but before the real-deal honeymoon. You may have limited time off work (or limited funds), orrrr you may just want to save your hot n’ steamy honeymoon for the dead of winter. It doesn’t matter why you choose to take a mini-moon, all that matters is that you enjoy it! I personally love the idea of mini-moons, and since I also love living in Minnesota, I figured it’d be worth mish-mashing two of my faves into one fun series. Stay tuned, I plan to cover a few more “Minne-moon” destinations in the coming weeks!
So here’s the first: Duluth and the North Shore.
There are honestly so many reasons to travel to Lake Superior’s North Shore. To start, it has some of the prettiest scenery in the entire state. I mean, you can’t beat the rocky overlooks and the miles of open water. And visiting in the fall? Come onnnn. But let’s be real, no matter the season, you’re going to find some of the most beautiful views all in one place. For this particular locale, check out some of my best recommendations based on your interests as a couple.
For the couples who love nature:
- Check out the many trails around Duluth and all the way up the North Shore. Grab a bike, snowshoes, or cross country skis, or just pull on your hiking boots and get to trekking.
- Fall might be the best time to truly take in the beauty of the North Shore, but every season has its benefits. I honestly can’t think of a time where you’d be disappointed with the beauty of the area.
- Visit the state parks. Tettegouche, Split Rock Lighthouse, and Gooseberry Falls are just a few of the iconic parks you should hit, but don’t stop there… keep traveling up the North Shore for more of the same amazing views. In the summer and fall, you’ll find vibrant colors and lots of activity. In the winter and spring, you’ll be treated to frozen waterfalls and plenty of chances for peace and quiet.
For the couples who love local stuff:
- The North Shore is home to several fantastic breweries. Duluth obviously has the most options, but you’ll continue to find great craft brews as you follow Highway 61 north. Starting in Duluth, you can visit Bent Paddle, Canal Park Brewing, Fitgers, or a number of other stellar options. As you continue north, you’ll find Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors, then Sawtooth Mountain Cider House in Lutsen, and Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais. And if you bring your passports, you can travel a little further to Thunder Bay, Ontario for Sleeping Giant Brewing Company.
- There are also tons of great eateries that are totally Minnesotan through and through. (My rule of thumb: Always try to eat local while traveling!)
- Duluth Trading Company and Grandma’s are a few names you might recognize. Both were started in Duluth, so go check them out while you’re in the area!
For the couples who love adventure:
- Paddle boarding, kayaking, and bouldering are some exciting options for the summer months. For those who love an adrenaline rush, you can check out cliff jumping or jumping from Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum (the half-submerged brick structure near Canal Park). Paddle boarding, sailboating, and seaplane tours are all great options as well!
- Snowshoeing, ice climbing, and cross country skiing are a few fun picks for the winter. Lutsen Mountain is an obvious must if you’re into snowboarding or skiing, but
- There are literally a hundred things for you to do if you’re willing to do some research ahead of time!
For the couples who love to try something new:
- If you visit the North Shore area in the winter, you may want to consider making a day trip to Eveleth. There you can check out the United States Hockey Hall of Fame or the World’s Largest Hockey Stick before trying your hand at curling during one of Curl Mesabi’s Burger Nights!
- During the warmer months, get yourself up to the Lutsen Mountain Alpine Slide. Keep your eye on the weather, though, because you’ll have to hit it up on a day with very little wind and no rain!
- Depending on where you’re traveling from, try to snap photos with as many roadside attractions as possible. The Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to almost as many giant sculptures, and there’s no shortage in the North Shore area and the roads leading to it. For example, Remer, MN is home to an impressive collection of Big Foots. And if you’re traveling from pretty much anywhere in North Dakota, you’ve got a good chance of running into a Paul Bunyan statue in either Bemidji, Akeley, or Brainerd. And your sight-seeing isn’t done once you’ve hit Duluth–there’s still a handful of other attractions you’ll just have to stop for!
And there you have it. It’s such a tiny look at what the North Shore can offer, but I hope it gives you some inspo to plan your own upcoming vacay. Cheers Minne-mooners, and stay tuned for the next Minnesota mini-moon destination!