North Shore Bucket List

June 4th, 2021

A Comprehensive North Shore Bucket List

Minnesota’s North Shore remains one of the country’s most underrated four-season adventure-based destinations, thanks in large part to its countless natural attractions, including Gooseberry Falls, Oberg Mountain, and Palisade Head. Couples, families, and groups alike venture through Central Minnesota’s hearth en route to Highway 61 in hopes of rekindling their love for the outdoors while also munching on authentic Midwest cuisines, building blazing campfires, and Instagramming the whole experience. And there’s no better place to start and finish each day of exploration than Cascade Lodge, a historic basecamp central to Lutsen and Grand Marais.

A 25-Stop North Shore Bucket List

In hopes of enhancing the already-stellar experience, Cascade Lodge pieced together a comprehensive, 25-piece North Shore bucket list, complete with towering waterfalls, world-famous pie shops, and award-winning craft breweries. Don’t be afraid to print out this list and cross them off one by one—think of it as a Northern Minnesota treasure hunt!

  1. Embark on a self-guided brewery tour with stops at Voyageur Brewing Company, Castle Danger Brewery, and Bent Paddle Brewing Co (Superior’s Earth Ridger Brewery is also worth the trip)
  2. Hike the Oberg Mountain Loop, home to the North Shore’s prettiest Lake Superior overlooks
  3. Visit the immersive Grand Portage National Monument
  4. Taste-test the best homemade pies in the Midwest at the Rustic Inn Cafe and Betty’s Pies
  5. Stroll along Two Harbors Lighthouse’s lengthy jetty
  6. Spend several hours hiking inside Cascade River State Park, a 5,050-acre wilderness wonderland filled with cascading waterfalls, dense forestry, and curious wildlife, such as red foxes, whitetail deer, and a diverse array of birds
  7. Bathe underneath Tettegouche State Park’s High Falls
  8. Trek to the exceedingly underrated Bean and Bear Lakes (strenuous hike required)
  9. Climb to the top of Mount Josephine near Grand Portage
  10. Witness the tallest waterfall in Minnesota (High Falls on the Pigeon River) along the Canadian border inside Grand Portage State Park
  11. Go agate hunting north of Grand Marais at Paradise Beach
  12. Sink your toes into Onyx Beach’s black sand, a Northern Minnesota anomaly
  13. Survey the structures and landscaping near Split Rock Lighthouse
  14. Skip rocks at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park’s Pebble Beach and loop around the traversable Ellingson Island (one of the North Shore’s premier hidden gems)
  15. Picnic at the Wayswaugoing Bay Overlook, featuring faraway views of Isle Royale National Park
  16. Drive up to Palisade Head, a 300-foot-tall behemoth
  17. Try to solve the mystery of the Devil’s Kettle inside Judge C.R. Magney State Park
  18. Savor the North Shore’s finest coffee at Mocha Moose (Two Harbors), Cedar Coffee Company (Two Harbors), Fika Coffee (Lutsen), and Java Moose (Grand Marais)
  19. Spend a few hours at the world-famous Gooseberry Falls State Park (hike the trails and visit the beach to avoid droves of tourists)
  20. Devour a plate of North Shore cookin’ at Cascade Restaurant & Pub, a real-life roadside attraction with unbeatable Lake Superior views
  21. Purchase a pound or two of fresh-caught (and smoked) salmon at Russ Kendall’s Smoke House
  22. Drive along the old Scenic Highway 61 from Duluth’s Brighton Beach to Two Harbors’ western edge while jamming to Bob Dylan’s iconic Highway 61 Revisited
  23. Tour the revered Glensheen mansion
  24. Cheer on the three-time national champion University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs men’s hockey team at AMSOIL Arena
  25. Stumble your way through Ely’s Peak Tunnel (located near Duluth)

The Ultimate North Shore Basecamp: Cascade Lodge

When you’ve had your fill of adventure (if that’s even possible), return to Cascade Lodge for a home-cooked dinner, drinks at the on-site pub, and a bonfire under the stars. The lodge is a short drive from beautiful downtown Grand Marais, the Lutsen Mountains, and peaceful Cut Face Creek. And don’t forget that we’re located on the western rim of Cascade River State Park, so you’ll always be a few strides away from waterfalls, well-groomed trails, and Lake Superior lookouts. Lodgings range from the newly-renovated Main Lodge to historic lake-view cabins. To book a summertime escape to Lutsen, please check availability online (or call us at 218-387-1112).