Growing up in the Detroit Metro area, we went on many trips Up North including visits to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The past 30 years we’ve lived in the Twin Cities, and have explored the spectacular State Parks along Minnesota’s North Shore. This fall we decided to circle the whole lake, focusing on our previously uncharted territories! The Lake Superior Travel Guide, with editor and reader suggestions for almost each mile of the trip, was a great resource for planning things to see and do, and picking places to sleep and eat. We paged through it as we planned our trip and referred to it frequently as we drove. Day 1 Highlights – Twin Cities to Grand Marais, MN We enjoyed a terrific fish lunch at the Rustic Inn Café in Castle Danger before a stop at one of our favorite spots on the North Shore: Split Rock Lighthouse State Park’s Pebble Beach. On our way to Grand Marais, we drove up the winding road for a view of Palisade Head. Once in Grand Marais, we stopped at the Ben Franklin for a bathing suit and the Lake Superior Trading Post for hiking pole caps. These two stores had an amazing array of outdoor gear, tourist delights and so much more. We wrapped up our first day with a great dinner at the Angry Trout. Overnight at Best Western Superior Lodge. Day 2 Highlights – Grand Marais, MN to Terrace Bay, ON Just north of Grand Portage, MN, we stopped at the Mt. Josephine State Wayside Rest for breathtaking views. We enjoyed our accessible walk in MN Grand Portage State Park to the High Falls of the Pigeon River. Once we crossed into Ontario, our first stop was at Kakabeka Falls ON Provincial Park (20 miles west of Thunder Bay) for more gorgeous views. We had dinner and stayed overnight at Drifters Motel and Restaurant. The rooms were modestly priced and a basic motel. The Italian restaurant was very good. Day 3 Highlights – Terrace Bay, ON to Sault Ste. Marie, ON Although we made limited stops this day due to the distance we were traveling and incessant rain, we were awed by the rugged beauty. We hopped out of our car into the rain at White River, ON to take two pictures: one of the town’s sign claiming to be the coldest spot in Canada and another of a statue of the real-life inspiration for Winnie the Pooh. Overnight at Delta Hotels by Marriott. Day 4 Highlights – Sault Ste. Marie, ON to Munising, MI We were fascinated by the Two-hour Soo Locks Boat tour from Sault Ste. Marie, MI. It was a beautiful day which made the two trips through the locks, rising and falling the 21′ between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, very enjoyable. After checking in at the Holiday Inn Express in Munising, we enjoyed a Spartan Football victory! Day 5 Highlights – Munising, MI to Copper Harbor, MI We enjoyed another cruise this day: the 2 ½ hour Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Cruise from Munising, MI. Beautiful formations and colors in the rocks. We stopped only for lunch in Marquette, MI. The largest city in Michigan’s UP and home to Northern Michigan University, this beautiful and friendly city is worthy of a weekend visit which we’ve done in the past. Onward to the Keewenaw Snow Stick which documents the +390” of snow received in the winter of 1978-79. We luckily arrived in time for an early seating for a delicious dinner at Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor, MI. Overnight at Bella Vista Motel. Day 6 Highlights – Copper Harbor, MI to Duluth, MN We started our morning with fresh coffee and excellent baked goods from Jamsen Fish Market & Bakery on the waterfront in Copper Harbor. As we left the charming town, we drove up to the Brockway Mountain Lookout for a beautiful view. On our way to Duluth, we drove out of our way for a quick stop in Bayfield, WI, promising ourselves that we will come back for a concert at Big Top Chautauqua and a visit to Madeline Island. Overnight at Hampton Inn Canal Park. Day 7 Highlights – Duluth, MN to Twin Cities On our short drive home, we talked about the many places we enjoyed around the Big Lake and our hopes to return soon: Copper Harbor, Bayfield, and the North Shore. Recommendations: 1. Most of the places we stayed were sold out by the time we arrived, so booking in advance for late September paid off. It limited our flexibility, but it was worth knowing there was a bed waiting for us, especially in smaller towns with limited options. 2. Take more than six nights for this fantastic trip!
Joan & Mark McCormick, White Bear Lake, MN