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Minnesota Destinations: North Shore

Travel: From Fairlawn Mansion to Superior Zoo - Welcome to the North Shore

It's Lake Superior, the world's largest lake and it's one of the many compelling reasons to visit.

While you're here, you might explore some of our breathtaking natural beauties. Drive up the North Shore to visit Gooseberry Falls or head over to Wisconsin and explore the Superior Hiking Trail. Or, if a view is what you seek, the one from Duluth's most popular landmark cannot be rivaled; according to its legend, you can see 31.4 miles of the city on a clear day. Plan a picnic in the grounds surrounding the building, walk the winding paths through the park and ring the Peace Bell. Be sure to bring a camera and while you are at it, may we recommend our favorite ways to enjoy the Northland.

Step it up and go for a walk along Dylan's Way. Created in celebration of Bob Dylan's 65th Birthday, the 18-mile Bob Dylan Way winds through Duluth's downtown, extending from Michigan Street at 5th Avenue West to 15th Avenue East and London Road. Be sure to walk by Dylan's early childhood residence, locatee at 519 3rd Avenue West.

Take a dip in Lake Superior, then sun yourself at the beach on Park Point. Or, if you are a winter visitor, check out the ice formations at Brighton Beach.

Tour the last whaleback ship in the world. Launched from Superior in 1896, The S.S. Meteor is the last of these innovative ships, called whalebacks for their rounded hulls. To learn more, visit

St Louis River Historical Encampment. Experience living history with traders, craftsmen, music and entertainment for the whole family. This event is held at Dunlap Island in Cloquet. Call (218) 879-9151 or visit for details.

A rich tapestry of golds and greens, reds and russets blanket our mixed-wood forest, inviting you to retreat and relax. Vistas of aspens, maples and evergreens nestle snugly against the rolling landscape, waiting to be discovered at Jay Cooke State Park, 500 E. Hwy 210, Carlton, MN; (218) 384-4610.

Learn about poop decks. Visit the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and fill your mind with knowledge about the shipping industry. Open every day during the summer, the center offers films, model ships and exhibits; (218) 727-2497.

Explore the Fairlawn Mansion on the beautiful shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin and tour the 42-room mansion, which was built in the popular Queen Anne Victorian style of architecture. Open year around. Call (715) 394-5712 or visit

Lions and tigers and bears - they're all ready for you at the Lake Superior Zoo. Enjoy a stroll around the beautiful gardens or play ape with the monkeys; either way, the zoo makes for a wild time. Open daily, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit

Take a walk, skateboard or rent a bike for a tour of Duluth Lakewalk. From 60th Avenue East to Bayfront Festival Park this 7.3 mile pathway named the Duluth Lakewalk traces the shore of Lake Superior, fronting the Duluth downtown area. Along the way you can take in the beauty of Lake Superior and the fascinating lure of a working port with foreign and domestic vessels sailing nearby. At the western end are the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center complex, the Great Lakes Aquarium and the Bayfront Festival Park. In-between are the Canal Park entertainment district, the icon Aerial Lift Bridge, and sculptures representing Duluth and its sister cities in Sweden, Russia and Japan. As you continue east you will pass the Northland Vietnam Veterans and Korean War Memorials, Leif Erickson Park and the Rose Garden with 2000 rose bushes of some 99 varieties and numerous trees, shrubs and other flowers.

Visit the International Wolf Center in Ely will have you howling with laughter and fun. Learn about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and our human roles in their lives. Education programs and activities take place year-around.

Get a bird's eye view of the Northland. Bring your aviator sunglasses and let Lake Superior Helicopters take you for the ride of your life. Encompassing between 30 to 60 miles, these tours fly over Duluth, Superior and the north shore of Lake Superior.

Take a whitewater rafting tour of Jay Cook State Park. For the biggest adrenaline high, catch the river early spring when the rapids are at peak performance. For milder rides, paddle the river late in the year. To schedule your own whitewater rush, call (218) 384-4637 or visit

Pet a stingray at the Great Lakes Aquarium. With great exhibits of fish indigenous to the local lakes, the aquarium is a great way to learn about the wildlife of the Northland and to check out the marine life as well. Located in Canal Park, the aquarium is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Explore a State Park. The Northland offers a great variety for nature lovers including Amnicon Falls State Park, Jay Cooke State Park and Pattison State Park. Take in a rushing waterfall, watch the local wildlife or admire beautiful native plants.

History comes alive on the Lakefront line of the North Shore Scenic Railroad. Ride the train to the Knife River Music Festival, or follow Grandma's Marathon! The Elegant Dinner Train and the Murder Mystery Train are two of the most popular special excursions. In the fall ride the Fall Colors Tour through the autumn leaves, a Beer Tasting Train, the Pumpkin Patch Train for Halloween, and our famous Polar Express. To learn how to book your own tour, visit

For more great ideas on vacations and daytrips in Minnesota, see our entire magazine at