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7 Fun & Best Things to Do in Silver Bay, Minnesota

Silver Bay is a scenic, beautiful town incorporated in 1956 and located in Lake County, Minnesota, along Lake Superior’s North Shore. One of the smaller cities in the state, Silver Bay, MN, has a population of close to 2,000 and is just over 50 miles north of the city of Duluth and just south of Grand Marais. Silver Bay is the state’s oldest and northernmost community on the shore of Lake Superior.

One of the most significant advantages of visiting Silver Bay is the beautiful outdoor spaces, including state parks, wildlife areas, forests, lakeside vistas, golf courses, excellent recreational activities, and other top attractions to explore.

This romantic area is an excellent escape for a restful vacation and scenic drives. However, the ideal place if your travel plans include more active excursions such as cross-country skiing or racing along snowmobile trails.

Welcome Sign to Silver Bay, Minnesota
MelissaMN – stock.adobe.com

TL;DR

CategoryActivity
Best OverallTettegouche State Park
Best for FamiliesSplit Rock Lighthouse State Park
Best for Outdoor EnthusiastsPalisade Head
Best for RelaxationBlack Beach

Things to Do in Silver Bay, Minnesota

Curious about the most popular things to do in the Silver Bay area? Read on!

1. Best Hiking Trail for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Tettegouche State Park Trail

High Falls at Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay, United States

A visit to Silver Bay, Minnesota, is best to experience by exploring the great outdoors, whether you’re a nature enthusiast or photographer or possess a sense of adventure.

A popular green space in the Silver Bay area, Tettegouche Trail offers incredible scenery, including waterfalls, cliffs, and views of the Sawtooth Mountains.

Tettegouche State Park | Things to do & Attractions [4K HD]

You’ll have access to a dozen hiking trails in Tettegouche State Park, including five easy paths for beginners and short walks. It’s a great trail system that’s worth visiting with the family, whether you’re staying for the weekend or enjoying a day trip.

Tettegouche State Park’s trail system is among the best in the area due to its vast, beautiful space and unique terrain, wildlife, and views. The park stretches just over 3,700 hectares, and Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) includes full details of the incredible park, trails, camping, lodging, and amenities on the DNR website.

If you plan to enjoy an extensive trip through Tettegouche State Park, Shovel Point is a great entry point to the short but challenging namesake Tettegouche Trail.

You’ll find lots of stairs and boards and impressive scenery you’ll enjoy on your climb on this trail. I recommend adding this as an extension to your hiking excursion in the park, and you’ll find some valuable details and maps about the park so you can plan your trip.

Pros:

  • The state park is open seven days a week, and it’s an ideal place for families.
  • Lots of activities to enjoy, including rock climbing, birding, hiking, photography, and camping.
  • Spectacular views of waterfalls, foliage, and a wide variety of wildlife.
  • The trail system and park offer connections to natural wonders and further sites to explore if you plan a more extended visit.

Cons:

  • The trails are considered moderate, which may be challenging for individuals new to hiking due to the park’s elevation, stairs, and hills.
  • You’ll need to plan if you expect to spend a long time on this trail system, as there may not be restrooms and facilities available in all areas.

See Related: Best Beaches in Minnesota to Visit

2. Best Outdoor Family-Friendly Attraction for Kids: North Shore Adventure Park

Zipline Adventure

If you’re planning on a full day of fun with the kids, I highly recommend visiting this exciting spot in Silver Bay. North Shore Adventure Park is where you can challenge your skills, endurance, and physical abilities with various activities, including zip lines, climbing, hiking, a high ropes course, and playground-style obstacles.

This place is a great way to test your physical abilities and is a fun, welcoming park for all ages. Friendly, trained staff are available to assist you anytime so that you can enjoy a safe, exciting experience. The park offers all the details you’ll need to plan your visit on its website, including seasonal specials and discounts.

Pros:

  • The pricing is reasonable considering all the activities available during your visit, from morning to early evening. A pass is worthwhile to keep your kids active and happy and avoid added fees.
  • If you’re visiting as a spectator, there is no entry fee.
  • When you book online to plan your trip, you may save on entrance fees.
  • Kids have five difficulties, so you can choose the best adventure and obstacles that match your comfort zone, from a sit-down zipline to aerial ropes courses in the forest.

Cons:

  • This popular attraction gets busy, and you may need to make reservations to ensure enough space.
  • The park sometimes gets crowded, and you might have long wait times to explore some attractions.

See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First-Class Flights

3. Best Beach to Visit for Unique Scenery: Onyx Beach (Black Beach)

Black Beach, Silver Bay in Minnesota
Amanda12 / Shutterstock

Onyx Beach (also known as Black Beach) is well-known for its unique black sand along the shoreline. Whether near Silver Bay or looking for a relaxed, calm experience near Lake Superior, it’s a great spot to visit.

The areas around this beach offer hiking trails for walking and cycling, so you can easily spend the day here. If you’re planning a trip to Silver Bay in autumn, you’ll love the contrast between the fall leaves’ colors against the stark, black sand and clear blue water. It’s a quiet, less-traveled beach ideal for enjoying the solitude and stunning natural surroundings.

Pros:

  • Onyx Beach is not crowded, so you can enjoy this serene place to enjoy some much-needed solitude or spend time with the family.
  • There’s convenient parking nearby, so you’ll only have to walk a short distance to find this beach.
  • If you want to spend more than a day at this beach and explore the nearby trails, campgrounds are a short drive from the coast, though no camping is permitted on Onyx Beach.
  • It’s free! There are no fees to access the beach.

Cons:

  • Some visitors find the black sand coarse and pebble-like rather than finer, “softer” sand.

See Related: Things to Do in Saint Cloud, Minnesota

4. Best Marina for Boating: Silver Bay Marina

Silver Bay Marina, Minnesota
Management / Silver Bay Marina

Silver Bay Marina is a beautiful place to enjoy lakeside views up close, with excellent facilities and a boat launch that’s available to the public. This marina is well maintained, with picnic areas, adequate space for many boat sizes, and restrooms with showers.

The facilities are very accommodating and allow for boats up to 100 feet, which is available seasonally at one of the marina’s 110 slips. The marina’s website offers information about the area’s facilities and nearby attractions.

You’ll find all the convenience you need to enjoy boating and great storage options for your boat, trailer, and related equipment during winter, so you don’t have to haul them away. Silver Bay Marina offers electrical and water hookups, laundry facilities, gas sales, and sewer pump-outs.

Pros:

  • A full range of top-notch facilities for boaters.
  • You’ll love the spectacular views from the marina and the spacious areas that dock your boat.
  • Convenient winter storage during off-season months.
  • You’ll find everything you need to know on the website, including current fees, monthly rates, and available services.

Cons:

  • The marina is a popular place to visit, and it’s commonly busy during the summer and special events.
  • There are no kid-friendly recreational areas or playgrounds available.

See Related: Best Lakes in Minnesota (Ranked!)

5. The Best Lighthouse for Spectacular Views: Split Rock Lighthouse

Things to do in Silver Bay, Minnesota

The coastal location of Silver Bay allows for close access to incredible lake views, including several lighthouses, cliffs, and elevated points for professional and amateur photographers. Split Rock Lighthouse is among the most popular spots to capture great lighthouse pictures.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park | Things to Do [4K HD]

Suppose you’re a fan of historical sites. In that case, I recommend visiting Minnesota’s Historical Society website, where you’ll find details on the region’s history, including specific sites (such as this beautiful lighthouse), open hours, and when you can visit.

Pros:

  • The views from this lighthouse are the most picturesque in the area, and it’s also the best place to view Lake Superior from 360 degrees.
  • This historic site offers a peek into older lighthouse equipment and technology.
  • It’s a family-friendly site and an exciting place to visit with the kids.
  • You’ll find this site one of the least expensive attractions in the Silver Bay area.
  • Guided tours and accessible access are available.

Cons:

  • The lighthouse is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which may limit your plans if you want to visit during the week.

See Related: Things to Do in Duluth, Minnesota

6. The Best State Park for Nature Enthusiasts: Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls at Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls State Park is a fantastic place to visit year-round, whether you enjoy hiking through a winter wonderland, the beautiful autumn colors, and excellent summer recreational activities.

Gooseberry Falls State Park | Attractions & Things to Do [4K HD]

It’s an ideal place to plan your next camping trip if you’re looking for outdoor adventures and family-friendly excursions on the bike, on foot, or the lake, and one of the most popular state parks in the state.

One of the main features of this state park is the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, a paved path that’s perfect for cycling so that you can access picnic areas, campsites, parking, and a visitor’s center. The state trail stretches for 2.5 miles, so you can move through the park quickly and find all the spectacular sites.

Pros:

  • Gooseberry Falls State Park offers a convenient mobile app to navigate quickly and reference all the spots you want to see and explore.
  • This well-known park that’s received attention from National Geographic.
  • Electrical charging stations for vehicles are installed near the state park’s visitor center parking lot.
  • Birdwatching is popular at this park, and it’s a fantastic place to discover a wide range of wildlife.
  • Lots of multi-use trails and access to the Lake Superior shoreline.
  • Waterfalls, historic structures, and a nature-themed store.

Cons:

  • While the park is open all winter, there is limited access for safety reasons during this season.
  • The ranger station’s hours may vary, though there may be self-service options to buy supplies, including firewood, for camping.

See Related: Best National Parks in the United States

7. Best Museum for Historical Sites: The Lake County Historical Society Museum

This historical museum is more than you expect, with three operational sites that include a variety of exciting and unique sites. These sites include the 1892 Two Harbors Light Station, the 1907 Duluth and Iron Range Depot Museum, the Dwan Building, and the 3M Birthplace Museum in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

The county offers many great features to accommodate you while exploring these historical sites, including seasonal events and year-round bed and breakfast service. There’s also a gift shop at the Lighthouse Museum site; ongoing displays are always available to visitors.

Pros:

  • An excellent place for the whole family and ideal for kids.
  • There is a research and archives department where you can request photos and images of historical sites in the area for a fee.
  • The fees are inexpensive for both members and non-members.
  • Lake County’s Historical Society’s website provides a current calendar with events, including special occasions with free or reduced admission.
  • Two of the three sites include gift shops at the Depot Museum and Light Station so that you can purchase unique items.

Cons:

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