If you’re planning to travel to Two Harbors for the first time, you must be wondering about the things to do in Two Harbors. If this is the case, keep reading as my list covers everything, from popular picnic points to places to enjoy local food.
The lakeside town of Two Harbors is Minnesota’s vacationing goldmine. With a picturesque landscape, historical land sites, and vast shorelines, you can never run out of things to do in Two Harbors.
The town is a popular destination for vacationers. Because Two Harbors was originally a port town, tourists tend to gravitate towards the docks and shores. Two Harbors’ historical lighthouses are the most visited attractions, along with its national parks and hiking trails.
Before you get there, these are some of the top hotels in Duluth if you’d like to visit or stay the night before or after visiting Two Harbors, MN.
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Best Things to Do in Two Harbors
There are so many hidden gems within this port city that people often miss out on. If you read up on its history, you’ll learn that the town offers a unique story of the past. So, if you’re looking for innovative and cheap things to do in Two Harbors, you’ve come to the right place.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse is considered one of the most picturesque lighthouses throughout North America. The national historic structure sits atop a cliff on the north shore, towering over the vast Lake Superior.
After its restoration, the lighthouse came under the protection of the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Since then, it has become a popular tourist attraction. Along with the actual tower, the site also includes three of the original keepers’ lodges, the oil house, and the fog signal building.
If you’re planning on visiting the Split Rock Lighthouse, it’s best if you keep your whole day free. However, you can still get the most out of your visit in just a few hours by doing the following.
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This historical beacon is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country. Even if you’re not a seasoned photographer, you’ll find that the natural lighting, the antique structures, and the vast horizon will do most of your work for you. The best vantage points are on the tramway stairway platform and the west shoreline.
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Learn About the History
Split Rock Lighthouse is a result of the rich yet devastating history of Lake Superior. The unforgiving waters have claimed numerous ships in its depths.
The lighthouse was built in response to these tragedies. You’ll learn a lot about the history of your visit through the Split Rock Lighthouse.
The beacon light was retired a long time ago. However, you can still witness the beautiful amber glow on 10th November. On this day each year, they light the beacon to commemorate the devastating shipwrecks that happened in Lake Superior.
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Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park is a magnificent nature reserve located along the North Shore.
The North Shore encompasses some of the most beautiful lakes in Minnesota.
Here, the main attraction is the beautiful cascading streams of the Gooseberry River. The river flows into Lake Superior, which is also accessible through various hiking trails.
Built upon a whopping 1,687 acres of land, the Park is a perfect escape into nature.
- The entire waterfall system is divided into lower, upper, and middle falls. Each site is accessible through hiking trails leading from the visitors’ center. If the water levels are low, you can enjoy a swim in the plunge pools at the base of the waterfall.
- Gooseberry River is home to a vast species of trout, including Brook trout, Rainbow Trout, and Steelhead trout. The ideal time for fishing is in the spring. Catch rates for Steelhead and Brookies are particularly high inland. In winter, the estuaries become a hotspot for ice fishing.
- Skiing is one of the most popular winter activities in Minnesota, owing to its natural mountainous topography. In winter, Gooseberry Falls State Park transforms into a cross-country ski haven. It has multiple ski trails, including the top-of-the-line Gooseberry cross-country ski trail.
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Located along the stony shores of Lake Superior is this hidden gem. It is a one-mile stretch of rocky coast along the scenic North Shore. Stoney Point offers some of the most breathtaking scenes ever.
During sundown, the large stones reflect the sky’s orange and purple hues, making it look like something out of a fairy tale. As such, it offers the perfect ambiance for a small, romantic getaway.
The shore is accessible through Stoney Point Drive, off Highway 61. The drive leading up to Stoney Point is worth the visit.
- Go for a stroll. Whether you’re with someone or by yourself, taking a stroll along the shore will be a wonderful experience. The long stretch of smooth, flat rocks makes it perfect for a quiet stroll.
- Pack a picnic. The rocks are flat, non-slippery, and large. As long as the rocks aren’t covered with ice, you can easily enjoy a perfect little picnic by the water.
- Surf the Waves. During winter, the stormy waves of Lake Superior are perfect for surfing.
- Meditate. If you’re looking to escape reality, you won’t find a better spot to do it than here. There are a few isolated ledges and cliffs overlooking Lake Superior. This will be the perfect spot for some silent meditation.
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Superior Hiking Trail
Superior Hiking Trail is Two Harbors’ most extensive hiking trail and one of the best hiking trails in the United States. It totals over 200 miles of paved trails, starting from Duluth, and traversing Canada’s border.
As the name suggests, it runs alongside Lake Superior. As such, the Superior Hiking Trail has multiple water streams, cascades, and floral life. The trail has 50 access points and connects various state parks, including the ones mentioned in this post.
This means that you have a straightforward path between the most popular lakeside parks. Since the trail is so long, it also has multiple campsites for long-distance hikers. A total of 93 campsites are dispersed along Superior Hiking Place, allowing you to rest for a few hours. Along the way, you’ll witness some beautiful scenery:
- The trail is home to multiple species of trees. Pine, Aspen, Birch, Cedar, and Fir are among the most vastly present tree species that you can find. It’s not common for so many floral species to populate the same area, so take it in while you can.
- The diverse flora is home to a diverse species of wildlife, so have your camera ready.
- Waterfalls, Brooks, and streams will pop up occasionally throughout your trek.
- The trail leads to a vantage point from where you can see the full range of the Sawtooth Mountains.
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Agate Bay Beach and Lighthouse
Having a fun beach day is the best thing to do on the weekend in Two Harbors. If you’re looking to plan a day trip with your friends, Agate Bay is one of the most popular and accessible beaches.
But it is more than just a beach. As the name suggests, it was originally a bay for freighters and other ships. Visitors can still catch these mesmerizing vessels sailing by. Besides, there are so many other things you can do at the beach.
- Freighters/boat watching. If you’re a boat nerd, Agate Bay is the perfect spot for some casual boat-watching. The most common sighting is that of large freighters and other shipping boats.
- Swimming. From spring until autumn, the waters are extremely pleasant for swimming.
- Fishing by the pier. A long and wide wooden pier leads up to a small lighthouse. On the pier, people often set up camp and spend hours casting lines into the lake below.
- Exploring the lighthouse. The lighthouse isn’t nearly as impressive as the Two Harbors Light or the Split Rock, but it’s still a mesmerizing structure. Also, it is still operational, so it’s actually very beautiful to witness at night.
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While you’re exploring Two Harbors, you will undoubtedly work up quite an appetite. Luckily, just downtown is a cozy and quaint little place for breakfast and lunch.
Louise’s Place is a cabin-style cafe and pantry provision store. It prides itself on its delicious, homemade food. Whether you’re headed out on an early-morning adventure or need to refuel during the day, Louise’s Place offers the best menu to satisfy your petite.
- Louise’s Place is most famous for its freshly-baked bread and homemade dessert treats.
- The breakfast items are their strongest points. Minnesotan breakfasts are known for being hearty and heavy, and Louise’s place stays true to this reputation.
- Additionally, Minnesotan coffee also has a distinguished taste that you can only find in small shops such as Louise’s place.
- They also offer pantry provisions that can be delivered to your doorstep.
- They provide a range of Minnesotan staples such as hot sauces, cheese, honey, condiments, kombucha, summer sausages, and organic tea. All of these items are homemade for a Minnesotan palette.
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Northwoods Pioneer Gallery and Gifts
No trip is complete without some obligatory souvenir shopping. The Northwoods Pioneer Gallery celebrates the crafts of local artisans. The wide selection of hand-crafted goods makes this a perfect stop for shopping in Two Harbors.
Minnesota is known for its sense of community. Northwoods Pioneer Gallery was originally made to benefit local craftspeople and bring together the community. Even today, all earnings go to the original crafters.
The gallery is also a great source of culture and history. You’ll find that many artifacts on display have a rich historical significance for Two Harbors and its residents. Everything in the gallery is homemade and is equally unique.
- Buy something for yourself. You can find a wide selection of vintage, and handmade furniture, house decorations, and clothing.
- Buy a gift for someone else. Gift shopping isn’t easy, especially from
- Witness the creation process. A lot of the time, you can find an artisan or painter displaying their talent through the actual work process.
- Ask questions. The artisans take great pride in their crafts’ history. As such, they’re always eager to share their knowledge with visitors.
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Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum
Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum is the oldest operating lighthouse in the whole of Minnesota. As such, it has preserved much of Two Harbors’ history.
The red-bricked structure is open to tourists. It is surrounded by well-maintained amenities that were only built recently for tourist accommodation.
- Take a tour of the lighthouse. The lighthouse tours are self-guided. You can access parts of the main lighthouse, the Pilot House, and the Assistant Keeper’s House.
- Enjoy a picnic in the park. The lighthouse is a small structure compared to the lush green park that surrounds it. The park is open during visiting hours. After you’re done with the tour, you can set up a picnic under the open sky and enjoy the sunset over the lake next to the park.
- Explore Two Harbors’ history through the lighthouse museum. This Minnesota museum has a small gift shop with exciting merchandise and unique souvenirs. Additionally, you can find a selection of informative books written by regional experts.
- Stay overnight in the Bed and Breakfast. The original keeper’s quarters were transformed into a cozy little Bed and Breakfast service.
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North Shore Architectural Antiques
If you’re big on antique architecture and collectibles, take a gander at Northshore Architectural Antiques. This 10,000-square-foot antique store boasts a treasure of regional architecture from the 1850s to the 1950s. This means that you’ll find a lot of Victorian-style crafts embodying Two Harbors’ history and culture.
Minnesota’s architecture is very unique to its climate. It favors a lot of wooden and iron structures. You can find a plethora of historical building elements for your next DIY home makeover.
Whether you’re looking for home decor inspirations or complete renovations, this antique store is a godsend. The homeware items range from doorknobs and window frames to columns and decorative stonework. It also includes
However, North Shore Architectural Antiques is more than just an antique homeware store. They actually provide a range of other services, alongside their inventory of antique decorative items. This includes complete deconstruction services, should you be looking for a complete home makeover.
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Many people will make the mistake of confusing Two Harbors’ quaint and peaceful life as boring, unlively, and mundane. If you were one of those people, I hope to have changed your mind. The truth is, there are so many things to do in Two Harbors that you probably won’t even get around to doing all of it.
Still, this picturesque lakeside town is ideal for nature lovers. If you’re into skiing, snowboarding, fishing, and camping, you’ll have a lot of fun exploring Two Harbors. The delicious food is a decided plus.
And if you haven’t caught on yet, there’s something to do for every season. Skiing and ice fishing are just one of the few things to do in Two Harbors during the winter. So, are you ready to explore the great outdoors?
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