Northeast Minnesota Itinerary at a Glance
Experience the beauty of Lake Superior and inland lakes and forests as you travel on highways with scenic views at every turn. Visit Duluth and its seaport vibe and big city options or explore small towns with delightful downtowns.
You’ll experience these great activities and more:
- History is on full display at the St. Louis County Depot
- Tour the historic Glensheen Mansion
- Visit the World’s Largest Floating Loon
- Explore the Minnesota Discovery Center
- The Judy Garland Museum is full of great exhibits
Details and Tips
Length: 3 Nights
Suitable for: Adults and families looking to enjoy outdoor activities and museums
NORTHEAST MINNESOTA DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY
Arrive in Duluth, Minnesotaand connect with the culture and people. Its rich history is on full display at the St. Louis County Depot, the home to several organizations, including the Lake Superior Train Museum, St. Louis Historical Society, Tweed Museum of Art and Duluth Art Museum. There’s a wide choice of dinner options and live entertainment at Duluth Playhouse, presenting a year-round season of drama and musicals since 1914.
DAY ONE: Minnesota State Parks, Animal Centers and More
Fuel up for outdoor attractions in Minnesotawith breakfast and begin at Canal Park Lakewalk with stunning views of Lake Superior and the city. A centerpiece of the fully accessible four-mile paved trail is the Aerial Lift Bridge.
Tour the historic Glensheen Mansion, which depicts the life of the Congdon family in the early 20th century. The family’s collection is intact, from furnishings to books on the bookshelf. Outside, the 12-acre estate offers magnificent views of Lake Superior. Depart for the 40-minute drive to Two Harbors.
Anchored on the rocky shore of Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse is Minnesota’s oldest still-operating lighthouse and one of the state’s most photographed icons. Visitors can take guided tours of the tower, Assistant Keeper’s House and Pilot House. Just north is Gooseberry Falls State Park in Minnesota and its spectacular waterfalls. Continue on scenic Hwy. 61, 15 minutes north to Tettegouche State Park and Minnesota’slargest waterfall. Depart on scenic Hwy. 1 through Finland State Forest for the 90-minute drive to Ely.
Arrive at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota for an introduction to the facts and fictions of domestic and international wolves. Next is the American Bear Center, the only black bear educational facility of its kind. You might prefer the Grand Ely Lodge Resort Event Center for dinner and overnight, or take the 20-minute drive to Tower and the Fortune Bay Resort Casino for dinner, live gaming action and overnight.
Extend your Minnesota trip to five days by continuing on Hwy. 61 for an hour to Grand Marais and visits to North House Folk School and Johnson Heritage Post Art Gallery. Depart on day two for the 40-minute drive to Grand Portage and the Grand Portage National Monument. Have lunch and depart for the 4-hour drive to International Falls. Check into the Cantilever + Distillery for a high-quality hotel, dining and sampling experience. Begin the day at Rainy Lake VisitorCenter with stunning views across the water to Kabetogama Peninsula.
DAY TWO: More Fun Things to Do in Minnesota
For more fun things to do in Minnesota, the first stop is Virginia and the World’s Largest Floating Loon. Now, that’s a photo op. Sharpen your sweet tooth at Canelake’s Candies for a demonstration and shopping. Allow time for a windshield tour of Virginia’s Building Murals. In Eveleth, visit the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum, a shrine to the players and the game.
In Chisholm, enjoy lunch at Snickers or Choppy’s. Begin your afternoon at the Minnesota Discovery Center for an introduction to the area’s minesand the work of miners. The scene has been set for the Hull-Rust Mineview, a sweeping view overlooking an active iron ore mine. In Hibbing, take a guided Bob Dylan Walking Tour, including the singer/songwriter’s childhood home and hangouts. On the way to dinner and overnight at The Lodge at Giants Ridge, stop at Irma’s Finland House, a gift shopping experience.
DAY THREE: Final Must-See Minnesota Attractions
Arrive in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and visit the Itasca County Historical Society. Next, go to the Forest History Center to learn how we depend on forests for food, shelter, building materials and recreation. There’s plenty to see and do there, from paddling adventures to the logging camp, but it all starts at the visitor center.
Head to historic downtown Grand Rapids for lunch, shopping and a visit to the Judy Garland Museum in her childhood home. Exhibits of Judy Garland and the Wizard of Oz collection honor the talent of the 20th-century artist.