North Shore Scenic Drive

State: Minnesota
Length: 154 miles / 246.4 km
Time to Allow: Take a day to enjoy this shoreline drive.

Stay close to Lake Superior on the North Shore Scenic Drive. The 154-mile scene byways is the All American Road paralleling the lake coast. It’s the largest freshwater lake with rock formations and acre after acre of forests for incredible views where ever you look. Choose this byway if you want trails, waterfalls, historic sites, parks, quality lodging, dining, and culture. Take a day or a week to enjoy the drive; however, to enjoy the whole lake, you will need a passport and a large amount of time to visit properly.

The byway starts in Grand Portage, just at the border to Canada. At the Grand Portage State Park, find an awe-inspiring waterfall jutting over rocks and flowing into the lake. At the Five Mile Rock, watch for whales on the way to Grand Marais. The little island of Artist’s Point provides a lighthouse and a break wall with gorgeous foliage right on the water. A cobblestone beach nearby makes this the perfect place to spend a day. Check out the panoramic views at the Thomsonite Beach with views of the Good Harbor Bay and Seagull Rock.

Hovland is next on the docket with the Devil’s Kettle waterfall. It’s right on the water and provides easy access for kayaking. Some of the spots offer sand while others do not, but you can find places to picnic. Stop at Kadunce Creek Beach for spectacular views. Paradise Beach offers a pull-off spot perfect to set up with the family. Check out the nearby Judge C.R. Magney State Park, too, for bridges over the Kadunce River and hike to a waterfall.

Find a few other parks nearby, including Pigeon River Provincial Park in Canada. The town offers a casino, too, along with a few lodging options. Follow the lake border down to Grand Marais filled with opportunities for adventure. Take a tour on a Segway, and make sure to check out the Beaver House, a local landmark where you can find all your fishing necessities along with much more. In town, you can also find fishing tours, art galleries, antique shops, and hotels.

Down the way sits Cascade River State Park, a lush area filled with forest, waterfalls, and wildlife. When open, the area offers hiking, camping, skiing, fishing, and scenic views worthy of an audience. Call before traveling to make sure the park is open. Nearby is the own of Lutsen with mountains and incredible skiing options. Take a gondola up the mountains to get more views. Stay at the Woodlands Spa at Caribou Highlands or one of several resorts and eat at some local restaurants for culinary delights.

As you descend down the coast, find several other smaller towns ripe with water activities and gorgeous scenery. End your trip in Duluth, a larger town with tons of options for entertainment both indoors and outdoors. The whole byway will keep you young and energized as you explore the water and forests, searching for your personal haven. Adventurers can even find shipwrecks along the cold waters and learn the history of the lake.

More Minnesota Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Minnesota by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Minnesota Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.