the olive tree: Must Sees in Minnesota!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Must Sees in Minnesota!








SPLIT ROCK LIGHTHOUSE AREA (cliff jumping in the background) 

Minnesota is still one of my top vacations. We took our daughter to Mall of America on her 9th birthday...we loved what little we saw of the state we decided to retreat there the following summer. Late summer in temperatures in the upper 90’s...and it’s humid.

Destination northern Minnesota! (What is known to the locals as the north shore drive...more specifically.)

First stop Duluth, MN. This city is about 7 hours from home so this was the ideal place to break up the drive and rest for the night.

The first night we stayed at the Radisson. Meh. I will give this hotel the benefit of the doubt...they were under a major renovation...but seriously it looked like someone was murdered in the hallway. The price was right though...what can I say...affordable. If you want to stay near the waterfront it will cost a good $200+ a night. The hotels by the waterfront are dreamy! I would have splurged but we only needed a place to lay our heads.

Duluth has a truly neat waterfront! 

We rented a family bike. THIS WAS A BLAST! I've never laughed so hard. Maybe we were slap happy after being in the car for 7+ hours...or maybe it was the way our baby REFUSED a helmet...either was money and time well spent. We rented from Wheel Fun Rentals  There is a huge pathed path to hike around the lake, and you can even bike out to the light house. This is still one of my top favorite memories of all time.

The lake front is filled with restaurants and attractions for all ages. I honestly wish we would have had more time to hang out and sight see more. 

We left Duluth...and headed up north. 

Next stop Lusten, Minnesota. We stayed at the Caribou Highlands...such a lovely place! The price was spot on! I would highly recommend staying here...or any ski resort during the off season! The staff was amazing, the rooms clean and spacious, and the grounds were beautiful from all directions. There was an indoor and outdoor pool, hot tubs, tennis courts, and games all around the campus. 

There is so much fun to be had along the north shore drive. Here is a quick list of must see stops along the way. 

1.) Gooseberry Falls  : (Hikes, beauty, waterfalls, swimming holes) 

2.) Split Rock Lighthouse State Park : 

There is cost of admission to get into the light house during the spring + summer + fall sure to check the website and plan accordingly. We opted to not visit the actually lighthouse due to cost and very small children that would most likely cry and complain the whole time. We simply pulled off on the side of the road...swam...jumped off cliffs...and could still see he light house in the distance.

We found a gem of a swimming hole...water so clear you can see your feet...we skipped rocks...swam...jumped off cliffs...this was way more fun than hiking up a lighthouse in my opinion.

3.) Two Harbours: Beautiful turn offs, hiking trails, and darling shops.

4.) Lusten  Mountians: 

 Breath taking beauty in the hills of these mountain. They are stunning in the summer looking out onto the lake...I cant imagine how lovely they are filled with snow!

5.) Silver Bay: Plenty of stops in this sweet little city...just pick a spot and pull'll find beauty!

 6.) Betty's Pies: (located in Two Harbors)

These pies are amazing and the milkshakes are even better. We ended up getting milkshakes to go and we enjoyed our treats by the water. Be prepared for a wait if you visit this darling restaurant. 

7.) Grand Marais:

What a darling little town! This may forever be my favorite town in America. There is a local pizza shop ( Sven and Ole’s ) I still dream about, Dairy Queen from the 1970’s, shops, festivals, sail boats in the bay daily, a pier to walk, and the friendliest people I’ve ever met. The nights spent in the town walking the pier, being terrified of the pizza eating seagulls, waiting for the one bathroom in Dairy Queen will forever hold a special place in my heart.

8.) Putts N Pets : 

This is a mini golf place my whole family enjoyed! And...they have actually real life goats you can feed while playing 18 holes...need I say more? 


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