North Shore Trip Itinerary

Before we went up North, Mike and I both had a handful of things we knew we wanted to do, just from him either visiting them as a kid, or us hearing about them from others. To fill in some of the gaps, I also dug around the wild wild internet to see if I could pull up any blog posts or other recaps of people's trips, but sadly, I came up pretty empty. So instead, when we got to the resort, we asked for a few ideas from the front desk, and we also asked for recommendations from some locals we met on a maple syrup farm tour.
So for anybody looking to take a similar trip, here's what we did:


  • Morning breakfast by the lake. 
  • Toured Caribou Cream and Wild Country maple syrup farms. These are more "stops" than "tours," but it was fun to see the operations and talk with the farmers to learn more about the process.
  • Drove one of the many "Fall Colors Tours" - just pick up a brochure from any resort or tourist information center for more info on these.
  • Hiked Oberg Mountain trail in the Sawtooth Mountains
  • Took a ride on the Lutsen Mountain Tram
  • Had dinner in Grand Marais (a pretty 20 minute drive) at the Angry Trout
  • There's also a Redbox in Grand Marais so we picked up a couple movies for the evening, rather than rent the overpriced ones at our resort. Since Eli goes to bed at 8 p.m., it was nice to have a movie to pop in. 
  • Spent the day in Grand Marais visiting shops and walking around. It's a small artist/tourist town, that feels like it should be on the East Coast. Be sure to hike around Artist's Point
  • Snagged lunch at Dockside Fish Market and Deli.
  • We headed back to our condo in late afternoon since it was raining and so Eli could get a solid afternoon nap.
  • Hiked along the shore around our resort before dinner at Coho Cafe.
  • Well, this was supposed to be a day full of hiking, but Eli got the flu. Yes, it is horrible-terrible-awful-terrifying-sad to see a six month old throw up. We stayed in our condo all day to take care of him. 

  • Before going back to Twin Cities, we snagged coffee and breakfast at Coho.
  • On our way home, we also stopped at Split Rock Lighthouse. With the $9 admission/person, there's a short video (skip it), small museum, guided tour and you can also hike around the state park for the day. It's a worthwhile stop. 

Accommodations: We stayed at Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior and overall, it was great. We had a view of the lake, although I wish I could have cut down a few trees to see it a bit better, but - as the front desk assured us - it was visible from our room. It was one room, with a small kitchenette, fireplace, TV and some spotty free WiFi. Eli slept in the bathroom since we were too cheap to get a living room/second bedroom for us to hang out in while he slept. After Mike went to the bathroom three times outside in the woods one night, we started a strict no drinks after 8 p.m. rule. My only frustration was that the walls were pretty thin but Eli's a heavy sleeper so thankfully we survived.

Food: As you can see we didn't eat out for every meal. I brought a lot of snack-type food and a simple pasta salad for us to eat, as well as yogurt/fruit for breakfast every day. It was nice to have a small kitchenette to keep things cold.

There are a lot of other things we could have done, but this is what made the cut for the first trip. We went the last weekend of September, and while it supposedly wasn't peak season for the leaves, it was pretty darn beautiful. Mike and I kept talking about how perfect this spot will be to take future kiddos and we'll definitely be back.

For more photos, visit this post. 


  1. My folks took my brother and I up to the North Shore for a long weekend once or twice a year every year as we were growing up. So many good memories from our times up there and so many traditions we made. I've already taken my husband up there a few times too. It's fun to see your pictures, they're gorgeous. Check out Enger Tower above Duluth next time for some beautiful views! And Gooseberry Falls has some great hiking trails.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations Susan - I'll definitely add those to the list for next time. I already can't wait to go back!