Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota with Your Kids!

the Visit Neighboring States Series

We just returned from our second visit in eight months to the Lake Superior North Shore in Minnesota. Nope, we don’t have any family up there, we just LOVE it! It’s a beautiful, remote, natural retreat!

Split Rock Ligthhouse State Park

Duluth sits at the base of Lake Superior. Here Interstate 35 ends and Highway 61 begins. Highway 61 runs all the way north to Canada. Along the way are charming little communities and stunning state parks including Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse and Tettegouche.

The best way to plan a trip is to pick up a North Shore guide which lists all the attractions, lodging and more by mile marker along highway 61 from Duluth.

Grand Superior Lodge

3 Important Tips for Visiting the North Shore

  1. There aren’t a whole lot of roads after you leave Duluth. Highway 61 is the main route. Because…It’s not commercialized! In Two Harbors there is a Mc Donald’s and you’ll recognize a few other brand names but otherwise, its local shops, cafe’s, attractions and lodging…
  2. Lodging is important on the North Shore. The main attractions in the area are outdoors in nature. Lodging, like The Grand Superior Lodge, becomes part of the destination.
  3. Even in the summertime, the weather is much cooler, so bring hats, gloves and jackets. Summer lake water temperature is about 42 degrees.

4 Reasons to Visit

Ok, after reading all that, you’re probably wondering why anyone would visit, let alone visit with young children! Because…

  1. The natural beauty is breathtaking! Think mini-version of Colorado but half the driving time. From Des Moines to Duluth is about six hours. Grand Superior Lodge
  2. Superior Hiking Trail is “Ranked in the top 10 hiking trails of the world by Backpacker Magazine!!” and you can hike portions of this trial with your kids!Superior Hiking Trail with kids
  3. Peace! The North Shore is a retreat…a calm in our busy lives.    Split Rock Ligthhouse State Park
  4. Family trips like this are more than checking items off a bucket list. It’s a time for pondering, connecting and refreshment! Lake-Superior-MN-Charlotte-Mason-quoteLake Superior North Shore Minnesota with Your Kids!

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  1. Go north young man (and women and boys and girls). You can’t go wrong with heading to Lake Superior. My family has enjoyed lodging at Lake Breeze just outside of Duluth(about 10 minutes from the Aerial Lift Bridge and a fraction of cost lodging on the canal. Kitchenettes in most units allow you to save a bundle by making your own meals. ( you can even pack a lunch if you don’t want to buy meals out. ) We would have homemade breakfast before starting our day’s adventures in the Duluth and surrounding areas. At lunch, we enjoyed local offerings and returned to our Lake Breeze to make simple, tasty dinners. Lake Breeze has a mini golf, pool and more.

    Also if you want to venture farther north to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail, there are many options for outdoor activities too. Our favorite is Hungry Jack Lodge , located on Hungry Jack Lake. There are multiple cabins of a various sizes to accommodate any number of travelers. Each cabin has its own dock too. Again a kitchenette area is available in each unit to make your own meals. They offer a campground too if you prefer camping. One of my favorites is renting canoes or kayaks for a relaxing time. Each time my family has gone, I have found quiet waters in the evening where I could effortlessly paddle clear across our end of the lake and back.

    1. WoW Kathy! Thanks for all the great ideas and locations! I am sure we will make it past Silver Bay at some point! Gunflint trail sounds interesting! We LOVE the waterfalls and hiking! I would love to know about some of the meals you made… 🙂

  2. We will be visiting Duluth/Two Harbors area next month, and I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for books (picture, chapter, or even non-fiction) to prepare our kids and get us all in the mood for a north shore vacation. I would especially be interested in titles of any books you may have come across while you were there. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Mindy, absolutely!!! We just went to the local library and checked out books. It was a lot of fun learning about lighthouses. One series we fell in love with was The Lighthouse Family - These are very sweet books and I read them aloud to the children.

      We also read – Keep The Lights Burning Abbie —

      Lighthouse Christmas by Toni Buzzeo and Nancy Sippel Carpenter —

      And a few others –

      Each of the tourist attractions, like Split Rock Lighthouse, also have neat websites and videos on youtube which we watched.

      Enjoy your trip! It’s so beautiful! 🙂

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