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13 Fun & Best Things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota

Looking for some activities and things to do in Grand Marais? We’ve got you covered after staying an entire week in this Northern lakeside town.

After spending a week in this glorious North Shore town, I’ve compiled the best things to do in Grand Marais, including fun attractions and places to stay.

Welcome Sign to Grand Marais, Minnesota

Fun & Best Things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota

Grand Marais, Minnesota | Things to do & Attractions [4K HD]

1. Grand Marais Lighthouse

Grand Marais Lighthouse

Address: Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

The Grand Marais Lighthouse is a regal tower that emits a navigational light aid from its rear range light and serves as an attraction in Grand Marais, Minnesota. It was created from the bill for harbor improvements at Grand Marais as an initiated project in 1879.

Grand Marais Lighthouse

The lighthouse is one of the most excellent and great spots to visit and explore on Minnesota’s North Shore, where the vast picturesque sea is within reach. Following the breakwater, the path leads visitors to the beautiful lighthouse, a little adventure to enjoy.

Lighthouses are majestic and beautiful to view from afar. The beauty of Grand Marais Lighthouse is not a view only to admire from afar but even up close. It is a view to behold where the sky, sea, and trees meet in perfect harmony with one another.

The best time to visit the Grand Marais Lighthouse is during dawn or dusk when the sun casts a beautiful glow on the tower.

See Related: Best Museums in Duluth, Minnesota

2. Artist Point

Artists Point - Grand Marais, Minnesota

Address: Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

Artist’s Point is a beautiful scenery of jagged rock formations located along Lake Superior. It’s one of the best free things to do in Minnesota. It is a lovely destination a few blocks from Grand Marais downtown, a favorite local art scene spot for artists and famous painters in the town.

Artist Point
image by Robin Férand is licensed under CC BY 3.0

It was formed and perched billions of years ago, providing excellent access to a lovely seashore along with a narrow but spacious enough walk-through pathway where the fascinating rock formations and tide pools meet.

Artist Point is a great place for artists to get inspired because of its picturesque scenery. The panoramic view of the jagged rocks and the shore is breathtaking, and the vibrant colors mixing into the mist are unique. The rock formations are also mesmerizing silhouettes.

This makes Artist’s Point the best place for artists to gain inspiration and run their creativity wild.

See Related: Best Minnesota Family Vacations

3. Pincushion Mountain Trail System

Address: 1 Pincushion Dr, Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

The Pincushion Mountain Trail System is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. The North Superior Ski and Running Club (NSSRC) established the trail system to provide a lifetime of adventure for locals and visitors alike.

With miles of trails winding through scenic forests and open meadows, the Pincushion Mountain Trail System is ideal for hiking, biking, running, and nature trips. The range of activities available caters to all interests, from mild to extreme.

In addition, the Pincushion Mountain Trail System is home to competitive and recreational events throughout the year, making it the perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, the Pincushion Mountain Trail System has something for everyone. The Pincushion Mountain Trail System has competitive and non-competitive events, but visitors who want to explore the mountain can join tours.

Dogs are welcome on the trail, where dog lovers can bring their pets on a great adventure, but they need to be kept on a leash.

See Related: Best Things to do in Two Harbors

4. Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail

This area is a popular tourist destination in all of Minnesota. The trail is 80 miles long and takes up to four days to complete. For the most part, the trail follows an old railroad grade for logging purposes that was originally built in the 1940s. You will find many scenic vistas and detours along this route.

Free maps are available in the local shops, and you can also purchase a more detailed map from the Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce. The trail can be accessed in many locations, so you have your choice of where to start. It is also near or adjacent to numerous lakes that are great for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming as well. You should allow yourself at least three days for a trip on the trail.

This will give you plenty of time to explore all that the trail has to offer. So pack your bags and head to this amazing area of Northern Minnesota for an unforgettable adventure.

You should allow yourself at least three days for a trip on the trail. The trails are off-road, but you will find forest roads that can get you back to civilization quickly if needed. The area is ideal for walking, hiking, and biking. Additionally, there are many people riding horses along the trail as well. Camping is allowed, and you may have a campfire in most areas.

There are many interesting shopping opportunities only a few miles off the Gunflint Trail. You will find several antique shops, a glassblower shop, and an art gallery, to name a few. The trails run through Little Marais, Canyon, Deep Creek Lake, and the Gunflint Trail State Forest.

If you’re thirsty, you should not miss the History and 4-Bar Crawl Guided Walking Tour in Minnesota.

5. Historic Cook County Museum (MN)

Address: 8 S Broadway Ave, Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

Historic Cook County (MN) is a spectacular museum in Grand Marais, Minnesota, that houses great history exhibits in a 19th-century lighthouse keeper’s residence. Preserving collections of knowledge about Cook Country and the State of Minnesota’s history is the purpose of the Historic Cook County Museum.

The Lightkeeper’s House was built in 1896 and served as the home of the U.S. Coast Guard Commander until 194. In 1966, the Cook County Historical Society acquired the property and began to use it as a museum.

The museum features a variety of exhibits on Minnesota’s musical heritage, Cook County military history, Lake Superior history, and the stories of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp. The Lightkeeper’s House is a fascinating glimpse into the past that is sure to interest visitors of all ages.

Today, the Historic Cook County (MN) is the main grand history museum of the Cook County Historical Society containing over 50,000 collections of historical memorabilia like important documents, classic photos, and artifacts. The exhibit in the museum depicts the history and development of the North Shore region.

See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota

6. Harbor Park

Harbor Park

Address: 110 Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

Harbor Park is one of the best places to explore, tour, and witness Minnesota’s natural beauty. Situated in the picturesque town of Grand Marais, the park provides visitors with a wealth of recreational opportunities, including walking, jogging, picnicking, and simply admiring the scenery.

Harbor Park is also an excellent place for families to enjoy quality time together. With its playgrounds, picnic areas, and beautiful setting, the park offers something for everyone. Best of all, admission to Harbor Park is free.

The stunning location offers a scenic view of the beautiful Lake Superior. The perfect location for various community gatherings and a focal point for generations of residents and visitors to experience, Harbor Park also has a garden where various wonderful plants, green sounding, great music, and arts to enjoy.

The garden within Harbor Park is a sanctuary for artists and art enthusiasts, making the park more extraordinary at livelier. The next time you are looking for a place to gather with friends or family or simply want to enjoy a gorgeous view, be sure to check out Harbor Park.

So whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a visitor searching for a unique way to experience Minnesota’s North Shore, be sure to add Harbor Park to your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Looking for a side tour in Minnesota?

Book the Complete Twin Cities Walking Tour.

See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in Minneapolis, MN

7. Artist Point Trail

Aerial View of Artist Point Trail in Grand Marais, Minnesota

Address: Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

The Artist Point Trail, located near Grand Marais and Lake Superior, is a wonderful trail that is essentially used for various outdoor activities like hiking and access to the beach. The course is known to be the state’s best viewpoint providing incredible and breathtaking picturesque scenery.

Every outdoor activity enthusiast will enjoy an inclusive hike at the Artist Point Trail, for it is one of the most satisfying trails to take in alongside incredible scenery and landscape view.

The Artist Point Trail, anytime time of the year, during winter or not, is a great trail to hike and see the beauty of nature, making the hike grand and unforgettable.

Even though there are many other trails in close proximity, this particular trail is definitely one of the most popular for both locals and tourists due to its well-known name and convenient location to make it out to Artist’s Point.

For a side quest, you can book and experience the scenic Aerial Helicopter Tour over Duluth and Superior.

See Related: RVShare Review

8. Visit Cook County – Visitor Information Center

Address: 116 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

Cook County is a wonderful destination for tourists looking to experience a wide variety of activities and adventures. The town of Grand Marais is situated in a beautiful location, and the tourist information center is full of helpful staff that can assist visitors with planning their trips.

There are a wide variety of great places to tour around Cook County, including the stunning scenery of the North Shore, the many hiking and biking trails, and the numerous lakes and rivers that are perfect for fishing, swimming, and canoeing.

In addition, there are a number of fascinating museums and historical sites that provide insight into the area’s rich history. Whether visitors are looking for an exciting adventure or a relaxing vacation, Cook County has something to offer everyone.

Visiting the Cook Country is the ultimate trip up to take in the northern part of Minnesota. Northern Minnesota’s wonderful and exciting small towns of Lutsen, Schroeder, Grand Marais, and more are the lovely places in Cook County. These communities are all gems in their own way.

Cook County is home to a variety of stunning landscapes and exciting adventures. From the breathtaking views of Lake Superior to the epic hiking trails, there is something for everyone to enjoy. And with so many different sceneries to explore, there is always something new to discover.

The events, great food, music, and other pleasing entertainment make Cook County a one-of-a-kind destination to visit.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Cook County is the perfect destination. So come and explore all that this beautiful county has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends

9. Superior Hiking Trail

The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) is a wilderness route, extending more than 350 miles through Minnesota’s North Shore. The SHT is about halfway between the northern and southern borders of the continental United States. The trail was built over a fifteen-year span from 1979 to 1994 and consists of two loops connecting Duluth, Minnesota, to the Canadian border in northeastern Minnesota.

Along its route are portions of many federally designated wilderness areas, including the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and Quetico Provincial Park.

The SHT passes through some of Minnesota’s most beautiful scenery and yet offers solitude for hikers seeking a getaway. Sections of the trail travel near several large lakes which offer opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. In addition, the SHT provides access to several backcountry campsites for those looking to extend their hike into an overnight adventure.

Quetico Provincial Park
image by Omnijohn is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hikers looking to experience the wild beauty of the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) can start their journey in Grand Marais. This small town on the shores of Lake Superior is the starting point for the first section of the SHT, a long-distance footpath that traverses some of the most scenic and remote areas in Minnesota.

As hikers make their way along the trail, they will pass by historic sites such as Hole in the Day’s Cave and ascend to Marias Pass, the highest point on the trail at 2,475 feet.

To help protect this natural area, hikers are required to carry out all garbage they have packed in, and there is minimal signage along the trail. Hikers should also come prepared with a map for navigation. However, despite these challenges, the SHT is a rewarding experience for those who are looking to get away from it all and immerse themselves in nature.

See Related: Tettegouche State Park

10. Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply

Address: 22 1st St #818, Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

If you are looking for a place to buy high-quality outdoor gear, Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais, Minnesota, is the store for you. They offer a wide variety of supplies for different outdoor activities, as well as consulting services and year-round guided tours.

No matter what level of experience you have with outdoor activities, the staff at Stone Harbor will be able to help you find the gear you need and answer any questions you have.

From simple fishing to more stimulating activities such as rock climbing or kayaking, you can find anything necessary for your outdoor adventures in the store.

Camping gear, fish holes, and comfortable snowshoes are some of the outdoor gear that can be bought in the store. Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply is a unique and great store because aside from selling wilderness necessities they also allow customers to rent tools from the store. They have all sorts of equipment for different activities like backpacking, canoeing, and bird-watching.

You don’t even need to own equipment to participate in these activities; the store has you covered. They provide everything you need to have a fun and safe experience in the great outdoors. So next time you’re planning a trip into nature, make sure to swing by Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply first.

See Related: Best Camper Accessories

11. Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park is one of the most popular state parks in Minnesota. The park offers five trails that range from easy to challenging, a picnic area, restrooms, and drinking water.

Cascade River is a beautiful river that runs through the park and is home to a waterfall. The lake at Cascade River State Park is also a popular spot for fishing and boating.

The park is open all year round, but the best time to visit is during the fall when the leaves are changing color. Dogs are welcome at Cascade River State Park as long as they are leashless and human waste disposal bags are available at the beginning of each trail or visitors can bring their own sacks.

The park also has several loops for mountain biking, but bikers must stay on the designated path. Cascade River State Park is a great place to explore Minnesota’s natural beauty.

See Related: Best Things to See and Do in Minnesota

12. Grand Marais Campground & Marina

Grand Marais Campground & Marina

Address: 114 S 8th Ave W, Grand Marais, MN 55604, United States

The Grand Marais Campground & Marina is a fantastic and perfect base camp for camping enthusiasts in the Grand Marais area. It’s an awesome campground with excellent access to Minnesota’s most beautiful lake, Lake Superior, and its beautiful surroundings.

Gunflint Trail
image by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Grand Marais Campground & Marina offers a variety of campsites, all with incredible scenery and amenities. The campground includes sites on the lakeshore, in town, and at the edge of Lake Superior, each offering different levels of hiking access and great facilities.

All campsites have fire pits and tables, public water access, and toiletries. The showers have hot water, and shampoo is provided by Reedy Creek Outfitters. It also has a boat launch for those who want to explore the lake.

There’s also a comfortable tent platform that accommodates two four-person tents or one 10-person tent. Plus biking trails galore! Hiking trails and biking trails are closed and accessible to the campground, a small side adventure to take while waiting for the sun to set.

The camping ground has all the necessities, the panoramic scenic view of Lake Superior, and an extraordinary caping experience not to miss in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

See Related: Best & Fun Things to do in Duluth, Minnesota

13. Sven & Ole’s Pizza

Sven & Ole's Pizza

Sven & Ole’s Pizza is an absolute staple of downtown Grand Marais and even the entire state of Minnesota and is close to a number of other great restaurants and shops such as the Angry Trout Cafe and Lake Superior Trading Post, respectively.

The pizza is delicious, and the staff is friendly. The prices are reasonable, and they have a great variety. They have amazing toppings like ricotta cheese, spinach, artichokes, and basil pesto to add to any pizza.

Their specialty pizzas include ‘The Italian’ and ‘Crazy 4 Cheese.’ The pizza dough is made fresh every day, and it tastes as if they use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. Consequently, their pizzas are healthy as well as delicious.

I strongly urge anyone looking for a fantastic pizza experience to go to Sven & Ole’s Pizza in Grand Marais, Minnesota. You will not be disappointed! Craving for more? Check out the Twin Cities Walking Tour and Ghostly Private Tour of St. Paul.

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