The small communities that line North Shore’s Highway 61 are chock-full of history with can’t-miss pit stops ranging from well-maintained railroad depots to fully-functional lakefront pioneer villages! The summertime is the best season to visit the North Shore’s best museums, heritage centers, and historical monuments because their hours are often extended to meet the needs of traveling groups, families, and couples. Start each day at Superior Shores Resort, home to the premier lakefront Two Harbors lodging, before exploring our beautiful slice of Northern Minnesota. We’re just a short drive from Split Rock Lighthouse, Glensheen, Gooseberry Falls, and so much more! We’ve pieced together a two-day travel itinerary to help ensure that your well-deserved getaway to our rustic yet contemporary Two Harbors lodging is nothing short of flawless!
7 a.m. – The sun typically rises between 5-6:30 a.m. depending on the summer month here in Two Harbors, MN. If you’re an early bird, we highly recommend rising with the sun as it subtly peeks above Lake Superior! Otherwise, pour yourself a cup of fresh-brewed coffee, and take a seat on your private balcony to enjoy the early-morning colors.
8:30 a.m. – Before venturing north on historic Highway 61 for a day filled with absorbing history and beautiful natural scenery, make a quick stop at Cedar Coffee Company for a light breakfast and a mocha latte (if you skipped coffee earlier in the morning). Their back patio is the ideal place to enjoy your latte and a breakfast sandwich or fresh-baked scone!
9:15 a.m. – Start your self-guided museum tour at the Duluth & Iron Range Depot Museum, located just 1.5 miles from our Two Harbors lodging on the eastern edge of Burlington Bay. Entry to the Depot Museum costs only $5 where you’ll learn about early pioneering, archaeological digs, logging, iron ore, and so much more! Most visitors pose for photos next to the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range locomotive on the grounds.
10:15 a.m. – Approximately 19 miles north of our lakefront Two Harbors lodging rests one of Minnesota’s crowning jewels: Split Rock Lighthouse. Join an educational 20-minute tour of the light station before gawking at the grand views of Lake Superior. Make sure to purchase a keepsake in the gift shop before setting your GPS for the Finland Minnesota Historical Society.
11:40 a.m. – The Finland Minnesota Historical Society is one of the last remaining hidden gems along the North Shore! The Historical Society has meticulously preserved a 40-acre homestead and heritage village that celebrates Lake County’s early settlement, pioneer families, and remarkable old-world craftsmanship. Go back in time with a relaxing stroll through log homes, blacksmith shops, a sauna, and an orchard.
1:40 p.m. – Before driving north to Grand Portage National Monument, stop for lunch in Grand Marais, MN, at Harbor House Grille. We recommend the half-pound duck bacon burger, “Real McCoy Reuben,” and Canadian walleye sandwich!
3:30 p.m. – Yes, the trip up to Grand Portage National Monument is worth the drive. First of all, you cannot complain about 115 miles of sweeping Lake Superior views. Secondly, this national monument’s pioneer village is one of the best attractions in Northern Minnesota! The Ojibwe heritage village has three log buildings, including a canoe warehouse, as well as a live-action encampment, historic gardens, and a lengthy dock with jaw-dropping lake views.
5 p.m. – Treat everyone to ice cream cones at Gunflint Mercantile in Grand Marais, MN, on your journey back to our Two Harbors lodging.
7:15 p.m. – Hopefully, you didn’t spoil your appetite at Gunflint Mercantile, because it’s dinnertime at Kamloops Restaurant & Lounge! Pair your juicy Burlington Burger, creamy Kamloops Chicken, or fresh-caught walleye with a refreshing pint of craft beer from Castle Danger Brewing Company.
8:45 p.m. – Stroll down to our main lodge’s agate beach for a complimentary lakefront bonfire at dusk!
8 a.m. – Start day two with a stack of fluffy pancakes or a scrumptious breakfast skillet at Kamloops Restaurant & Lounge!
9:45 a.m. – Arguably the most memorable stop during your North Shore getaway will be at Glensheen, a sprawling, glamorous 39-room mansion in Duluth. Book the 10 a.m. “full mansion” tour, which grants you access to the third floor and attic. With 27,000 square feet of living space, the Glensheen tour is worth every penny! Don’t forget to stroll through the grounds along Lake Superior before trekking to nearby Superior, WI.
11:50 a.m. – Glensheen and Fairlawn Mansion should be visited back-to-back to truly grasp the magic of the vastly superior Glensheen mansion. But that doesn’t mean that Fairlawn isn’t worth the $10 admission fee. Fairlawn is known for its charismatic tour guides, diverse history, and 100-year-old antiques inside this 1889 Queen Anne Victorian house.
1:15 p.m. – Stop for lunch at Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar in Duluth’s Canal Park. The “Minnesota hot po’ boy” features fresh-caught perch smothered in hot sauce, buttermilk slaw, pickles, and tomatoes. Lake Avenue’s mussels, roasted Brussels sprouts, and housemade soup are also to-die-for!
2:20 p.m. – Before exiting Canal Park, we recommend strolling over to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center (if you’re on schedule) for a quick step back in history at this free museum.
2:50 p.m. – Hop aboard the 3 p.m. Duluth Zephyr standard train excursion which starts its northerly journey at the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. This 75-minute train ride coasts through downtown Duluth, along Lake Superior’s shoreline, and through historic Congdon’s wooded area.
4:30 p.m. – The last stop along this two-day historical journey on the North Shore is the SS William A. Irvin. This gorgeous lake freighter underwent several vital restorations this winter and is scheduled to be available to the public once again this summer. The SS Irvin first launched back in 1938 and was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989!
6:25 p.m. – Before returning to your Two Harbors lodging for a soak in our outdoor swimming pool, enjoy lakefront dining at New Scenic Café on Old Highway 61. Fresh-caught fish is always a good choice at this North Shore staple. Choose between the miso seabass and the mouthwatering trout, both of which pair perfectly with a bottle of fine wine!
8:10 p.m. – After slipping into your bathing suit inside your comfortable Two Harbors lodging, walk down to the outdoor swimming pool and sauna area for a late-night dip. There’s nothing quite like a swim while the day’s last-remaining light slowly fades underneath the trees.
9:20 p.m. – Cap the extended weekend off with a bottle of champagne inside your private, two-person hot tub!