Minnesota’s North Shore: 10 places that’ll leave you speechless

Check out travel blogger Emily Rose‘s favorite spots on the North Shore — and drop us a line at info@voyagercampervans.com if you’re interested in being a guest writer on our blog! Without further ado, here’s the low-down on her Minnesotan adventure:


Minnesota is an incredibly diverse and beautiful state, yet somehow, many tourists don’t visit for fear of the cold and snow. As we road tripped up the scenic Highway 61 in our Voyager Campervan, I could hardly keep count of all the jaw-dropping locations we encountered on the North Shore.  It was a non-stop action packed itinerary of waterfalls, rocky cliff sides, spectacular hikes and scenic overlooks! 

So without further ado, here are 10 places that left me speechless on Minnesota’s North Shore:


Palisade Head


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While searching online for destinations in Minnesota, I came across a photo of Palisade Head and immediately began making plans to see it in person. I hope this photo does the same for you! The rocky drop off is enough to put butterflies in the stomach of even the bravest hikers. Try coming here for sunset or sunrise if you want some extra beautiful views. 


High Falls at Tettegouche State Park


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A beautiful hike will lead you through Tettegouche State Park to this gushing waterfall! Anywhere else in the world, a waterfall of this size and epic proportions would be overrun with tourists. But the day we arrived, we nearly had the place to ourselves. There is so much underrated beauty on Minnesota’s North Shore.


Split Rock Lighthouse

Split Rock Lighthouse

Photo Credit: Emily Rose

Perhaps the most iconic landmark on the North Shore, Split Rock Lighthouse towers over Lake Superior from a treacherous cliffside that was once the site of many shipwrecks. Now you can tour this historic structure, camp at the campgrounds nearby, and hike to different viewpoints of this beloved lighthouse.


Grand Marais Lighthouse at sunset 

Grand Marais Lighthouse

Photo Credit: Emily Rose

Here’s another lighthouse on the North Shore you won’t want to miss! The little town of Grand Marais boasts some beautiful sunsets, rocky shores lines, and a large beaver population. While sitting at the foot of this lighthouse, we ate a picnic dinner and watched a very playful beaver swim all around the area as the sun began to set. 


Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge

Duluth Aerial Bridge

Photo Credit: Emily Rose

Complete in 1905, this historic landmark has become a Duluth icon. In approximately one minute, the bridge can be raised to its full height of 135 feet, which is necessary to allow ships to pass.. The legendary bridge raises around 5,00 times per year, so it’s still plenty busy nowadays. 


Tischer Falls at Congdon Park


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Located in Duluth, this short easy hike through the scenic Congdon Park results in the first of many waterfalls you will encounter along the North Shore. 


Gooseberry Falls

Probably the busiest hotspot during your North Shore road trip, Gooseberry Falls understandably draws a lot of visitors. The falls are a very short walk from the parking lot so you can make it a quick pit stop, or stay and enjoy the hiking trails around the park.


Pellet Island

This was a surprise favorite for our Voyager Campervan road trip! Although the hike is only 1 mile round trip, it’s an adventurous scramble over large boulders and rocks piled together allowing you to walk across Lake Superior and explore the tiny uninhabited island, Pellet Island. The day we did the hike, the fog was so thick we couldn’t see more than 15 feet in front of us. When you arrive at the island, be prepared to crawl up a makeshift ladder and soak in the views from above.


Two Harbors Lighthouse

We parked our Voyager Campervan in the nearby lot so we could cook breakfast from our van at sunrise with a fantastic view of the Two Harbors Lighthouse. After we finished our meal, we went for a stroll down to the lighthouse through the thick morning fog. It was surreal, enchanting, and unforgettably beautiful. 


Black Beach

Prepare to feel as if you’ve been whisked away to Iceland or some faraway beach on a rocky ocean shore. When you’re standing on the pebbly shore line of the Black Beach it feels a whole lot more like you’re somehow at the ocean instead of a very landlocked lake.  But that is the beauty of Lake Superior! This beach is not to be missed.


The North Shore is truly a best-kept travel secret.


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While it’s loved by many Minnesotans, most out-of-state travelers have never heard of it.  If you’re planning a road trip, check out my 3 day itinerary with Voyager Campervans for what route to take and plenty of tips! Enjoy the views, you’re going to love it.


Emily Rose

Travel Blogger and Writer for The Wanderlust Rose 

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