Ever been to Grand Marais, MN?
February 26, 2016 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Ever been to Grand Marais, MN? where did you go? What did you do?
posted by drzz to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Super important question - when are you going? Your answers will be quite different if you are going up there in January versus July.
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:51 PM on February 26, 2016 [3 favorites]

I've been through there a few times. I really like the Angry Trout Cafe, and World's Best Donuts are pretty good (not sure they're actually the world's best, but not at all bad).

How far outside of Grand Marais are you willing to travel? There's a number of Minnesota State Parks at various points along the North Shore, several with good hiking, and some with beaches, although Lake Superior is pretty cold even in the summer.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:56 PM on February 26, 2016

I'm a foreigner who went to Grand Marais last year for their art weekend in early August. I would Green Card marry any USA person to be able to move to that wonderful town. Rooftop bar with live music, antiques, otters swimming by, friendliest people. The Split Rock Lighthouse trail is a perfect length walk/hike and STUNNING.
posted by honey-barbara at 4:13 PM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

We just went this past summer, and really enjoyed it. Grand Marais is a lovely little town -- plenty of interesting shops and restaurants, even a well-stocked co-op. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Superior Inn & Suites, which is right on Lake Superior and has really nice rooms. The Gun Flint Tavern had an excellent fish stew; My Sister's Place was okay but not great. There are indeed quite a few parks up that way -- Grand Portage National Monument is interesting, if small, and from there it's just a short drive to the border, and Grand Portage State Park, which has a nicely maintained trail leading to a waterfall on the Pigeon River.

Split Rock Lighthouse is on the way up and is definitely worth a stop. Tettegouche State Park is nice too. And if you can stop in Duluth, Northern Waters Smokehaus is worth it.
posted by Janta at 4:48 PM on February 26, 2016

Staying in a cabin on the lakeshore is wonderful. The Superior Hiking Trail is fantastic. As I type, my coworker is up there snowmobiling and my sister-in-law is snowshoeing. Their local independent radio station WTIP is good to listen to while cooking, playing cards, reading, or hanging out. It is gorgeous country, and the drive up along the north shore is beautiful.
posted by jillithd at 6:52 PM on February 26, 2016

Many times. I was in the area twice in the past month.

Mostly we stay with local friends, but sometimes if we are with a group we camp at the municipal campground which is right on the lake and near downtown. About 30 miles south of Grand Marais, I can recommend Superior Ridge . It is closer to Tettegouche Park and Split Rock Lighthouse than Grand Marais is, and closer to Lutsen if you are into downhill skiing.

Food wise, I recommend:
Dockside Fish Market. They supply fish to some of the other seafood places in town, so why not get it directly from the source? Besides, my friend works there.
Harbor House Grille for wood-fired pizza and delicious microbrews. The upstairs dining area has a great view of the lake.
South of the Border Cafe for a cheap greasy spoon breakfast, ideal the morning after too many microbrews.
Trail Center is well worth a stop if you go up the Gunflint Trail.

For winter, if you snowmobile, there is a very nice trail system. I've heard Steve's Sports rents sleds but haven't done business with them personally. Don't ride alone, there's generally no cell reception on the trail so if you have trouble with no one else to go for help it can get really bad.

I think a dog sled ride would be really neat, but haven't tried it yet.

In the summer, highway 61 is a gorgeous motorcycle ride, as long as you don't get stuck behind a bunch of campers.
posted by superna at 7:16 PM on February 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

We just were there last week. We had a great fancy meal at the Crooked Spoon (north woods fancy, no need to dress nicely). I love Blue Water Cafe for the Angler breakfast. It's a fried walleye filet with hashbrowns and eggs. The new brewery is excellent and Gunflint Tavern started a great microbrew program too.

We spent most of our time cross country skiing at Pincushion. Those trails has trail running and mountain biking in the warmer months.
posted by advicepig at 7:21 PM on February 26, 2016

Another "nearby" (by northern MN standards) attraction from Superior Ridge: the Trestle Inn, a dive constructed of old railroad trestle timbers, located in Superior National Park.

If you are a fan of quirky dives in the middle of nowhere, also check out Wildhurst Lodge. I just spent a few hours stranded there with a broken down snowmobile, so can't speak to the state of their cabins or campground, but the beer is cold, the decor is neat, and the owner is quite a character.
posted by superna at 7:28 PM on February 26, 2016

I love Blue Water Cafe for the Angler breakfast. It's a fried walleye filet with hashbrowns and eggs.

Oh yeaaaah! I had that and it was scrumptious.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:20 PM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Its a 2 hour drive, but Soudan Mine State Park is worth it. There are two tours -- one of the historic mine (1500 feet underground) and one of a modern underground physics lab. At Bear Head Lake nearby there's cheap water sports rentals, and there are nice restaurants in Ely. So that's an easy way to spend a whole day.
posted by miyabo at 8:33 AM on February 27, 2016

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