Girl to the North Country
August 1, 2008 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Where can I go for an inexpensive, lake-enriched overnight escape from Minneapolis?

I'm getting a bit stir-crazy in the Twin Cities, and I'd like to get away for a day or two. Since I have no friends with lake cabins (so sad!), I need to find another way to escape. Here's what I'm looking for:

- Ideally, within a few hours of the Cities.
- Someplace woodsy, near a swimmable lake.
- Quiet is what I'm going for, so no Wisconsin Dells-type family cabin resorts.
- Someplace where I can get a room or small, bare-bones cabin under $100/night. I really don't need anything fancy. Actually, a hostel would be great if there are any that are nice and not in the middle of a town.
- Reasonably close proximity to a nice town would be good, but not necessary.
- Close to some good day hikes.

The idea is that I'd drive up in the early morning one day, spend two days reading, walking and swimming, and come back late on the second day.

I will be most likely doing this trip by myself in two weeks. I'd rather go on a weekend, but I do have some vacation days so I could go in the middle of the week if that would ensure a more peaceful trip.
posted by lunasol to Travel & Transportation around Jefferson City, MO (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, I should point out that I have looked at the Thorntree and TripAdvisor, but the number of options is sort of overwhelming, so it would be good to have some personalized recommendations.
posted by lunasol at 9:44 AM on August 1, 2008

Are you amenable to camping at all?
posted by COBRA! at 11:46 AM on August 1, 2008

I'd look for a B&B up on the north shore, or in Duluth. There are 4-5 State Parks up there that have a lot of quiet hiking trails right on Lake Superior. Parks like Tettegouche, Split Rock, Temperance River, Cascade Falls, etc.

The towns you want to look in are:
Two Harbors
Grand Marais

Pretty much any park along Highway 61 north of Duluth. If you want something a bit more resort-ish, you can try Blue Fin Bay Resort. It's right on Superior north of Two Harbors. I've stayed there before, and it was clean and decent.

The parks listed above are anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours north of Duluth.
posted by xotis at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2008

Response by poster: I don't have any gear right now, so probably not.
posted by lunasol at 12:06 PM on August 1, 2008

Response by poster: Er, that last comment was in reference to the camping suggestion.
posted by lunasol at 12:37 PM on August 1, 2008

If camping's out, xotis' list is a good one. One resort on the north shore that has some bare-bones cabins and is fairly cheap is Lamb's in Schroeder. Blue Fin Bay is pretty nice, but a bit more expensive...
posted by COBRA! at 12:47 PM on August 1, 2008

Man, if you can afford it Blue Fin Bay is totally worth it.
posted by unixrat at 12:56 PM on August 1, 2008

up this way, Duluth, it is prime tourist vacation time. If you want to do this soon, one should really be on the horn. I am guessing you would run into some minimum stay requirements if you wanted to rent a cabin. There are numerous hotels and motels along the north shore that would easily accommodate these desires. the further north you go, the nicer the hiking along the shore is. Additionally, being from Duluth, I got away once up to a cabin in Grand Marais. it was awesome. there are lots of little resorts there with small cabins to rent.
posted by Amby72 at 1:04 PM on August 1, 2008

Whoa, you have like the best lake trip just a few hours from you. I'm sure you've heard of Boundary waters since you live in Minnesota and you said you don't want a camping trip but I'm telling you it's like an unworldy experience up there. We put in somewhere on the east boundry and ending up portaging in through 4 diff lakes, took about half a day of canoing. Once you're in it's the most calming place, we saw 2 people there in 5 days. Great wilderness, great fishing, great swimming, just all around awesome. I know you don't want to camp but you should really consider going up there since you live so close, I'm from IN and have been twice and want to go again sometime in the next year, there's so much to explore that you could be in there for months and not see every lake.
posted by BrnP84 at 2:11 PM on August 1, 2008

Not to be obvious but have you looked at Explore Minnesota? They list all types of lodging and last minute deals for resorts all over the state. Also several of our state parks have cabins for rent you could see if any are available at MN DNR website. Don’t forget Wisconsin either. They have cabins in their state parks also. If you like B&B's then try here.

If you're really looking for personal recommendations, I'm sorry I don't have any except to reiterate that Bluefin Bay is really nice but a little more than you're asking price.

You can also rent all your camping equipment from REI or Midwest Mountaineering for $50-$100 bucks depending on what all you decide to get. I'm hooked on this because we camp like once every 2 years and they give you really quality stuff that would be impractical for us to buy but is very affordable to rent.
posted by thewalrusispaul at 2:57 PM on August 1, 2008

posted by arimathea at 8:59 PM on August 1, 2008

Response by poster: I hadn't looked at Explore MN, so it wasn't too obvious! :) Also, I didn't know about the REI and MM gear rentals, but to be honest, I just don't know that I'm badass enough for solo camping.

The resoundingly positive reviews for Bluefin have me intrigued, maybe I'll up my budget a bit...
posted by lunasol at 7:43 AM on August 5, 2008

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