Grand Marais MN of the North Shore may be a town of estimated 1,500 people, but it’s overflowing with trails to hike, waterfalls to follow, local foods to enjoy, art to discover and memories to be made. The following post features some of our favorite things to do in Grand Marais over the years.

  1. Throw back a couple of cold ones on the rooftop at Voyagers Brewery.
Photo credit: Voyageur’s Brewing Company Facebook page.

Voyager Brewing Company offers a series of delicious flights of beers in their tap room accompanied by a beautiful view of Lake Superior (check out the rooftop view!). The tap room also hosts special events such as beer release parties, bean bag tournaments, craft beer festivals and live music.

Click here to visit their website when planning your trip to view special and seasonal events!

2. Hike Gunflint Trail to Mount Pincushion overlook.

During spring time, you can walk gunflint trail for the beautiful views and to explore the wildflowers along the way. We completed a 3 mile hike to Pincushion Mountain overlook and it was well worth the hike! The first two miles were on a dirt trail that was pretty even. When we got towards the end, it became rocky and we had to do some climbing. However, the view is worth the hike!

Click here for more information about Gunflint’s trail system and other activities during different seasons.

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3. Explore the flavors of the North Shore MN at North Shore Winery.

Enjoy a tour and tasting at North Shore’s Winery in Lutsen. While this is 15 minutes outside of Grand Marais, it is worth the short drive. Daily offerings in the tasting room are four tasting flights, a full selection of wine by glass or bottle and appetizers. I suggest you call ahead to schedule your visit- especially if you are bringing a group or wanting to do a special tasting experience, such as the wine & truffle combo. Please note they are closed on Wednesdays.

Click here to schedule your wine taste and tour today!

4. Cruise through National Lake Superior Forest off Gunflint Road.

Cruising Gunflint Trail Road is just as rewarding as the hike. Not only are the evergreen and pines breath taking but you have the option of exploring other areas and smaller lakes off the main road. We found a couple of quiet lakes off the beaten path and enjoyed exploring them for an hour. Summer time can be a busier time of year for Grand Marais, so it is nice to find a peaceful area with solitude. Follow the signs to check out which lakes are best fo canoeing or kayaking with boat landings.

5. Walk the Grand Marais break wall to the lighthouse by the guard’s station.

The Grand Marais break wall is the BEST way to get a 360 degree, panoramic view of Grand Marais and the Lake Superior coastline. The entrance is past the guard’s building and you have many areas of the break wall you can explore. The best part? It’s free!

6. Pick from one of the many stores in downtown Grand Marais and go shopping.

If you are looking to bring a piece of Grand Marais back home with you, searching for unique treasures or looking for delicious goodies, check out the stores listed below. Click on the store’s name below to visit their website.

7. Grab a donut from Worlds Best Donuts, a coffee or beverage from Java Moose and watch the sunrise at the Grand Marais Harbor.

My favorite thing to do in Grand Marais is to grab a donut from World’s Best Donuts (I suggest pre-ordering the day before or going very early to avoid the long line) and a maple latte from Java Moose, then sitting by the harbor. Sometimes I take stroll along the shoreline or sometimes I journal. It’s the perfect way to start my day and have some “me time”. Usually, I go back during the day with my kids as well to watch the ships come in to the harbor.

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Find a list of the best food places in Grand Marais in the article below!

8. Visit the pop up agate, crystal and rock shop off Colvill Road.

We rented a cabin on Colvill Road with a lakefront view. We took full advantage of our private shore side access. However, that was not the only magical experience. While on our walk along Colvill Road, we stumbled across a pop up shop for agates and amethyst rocks! They also had other quirky statues for sale.

9. Explore the local art scene.

There are many art shops of all different kids located in Grand Marais.

For such a small town, Grand Marais is known for A LOT. Lake Superior, waterfalls, hiking, skiing, Ole and Lena’s, moose, Scandinavian culture and…ART! The following are art galleries you can experience in Grand Marais. Click on each one to read more about it on the website.

10. Take a guided canoe or kayak tour.

Visit Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply to rent equipment or for a guided tour. There are options for snowshoeing, ice fishing, kayaking and a tour of the Isle Royal by Grand Portage.

Visit the website here to plan your activity!

11. Check out St. Francis Xavier Church in Chippewa City.

Photo credit to

Chippewa City is an abandoned town minutes north of Grand Marais. Today, all the remains is the St. Francis Xavier Church. There is also a great book out called Walking the Old Road that explains every detail of the life and death of Chippewa City. If you are someone who loves history or just wants to learn more about the area, this is a great stop for your trip!

Learn more about Chippewa City here.

Purchase Walking the Old Road here.

12. Hike to the Devil’s Kettle at Judge CR Magney State Park.

There are hundreds of stairs you must climb to view the Devil’s Kettle waterfall. Some of the trails have a steep drop off prior to the stairs. Be prepared to be misted by the waterfalls- even if you are not standing too close!

13. One Mile Hike up the Honeymoon Bluff trail.

Honeymoon Bluff Trail is a one mile long hike that ends with a view overlooking Hungary Jack Lake. The trail is accessible from the parking lot and should be noted that it’s very steep.

Access a map to the trail here.

14. Visit Drury Lane Book Store on the shores of Lake Superior.

The cutest book store to ever exist is Drury Lane Books. This store is nestled along the shoreline of Lake Superior, right next to World’s Best Donuts. It has benches on the opposite side of the book store so visitors can sit with their books along the shoreline and read.

Click here to see what books are new at Drury Lane Books!

15. Experience the Fisherman’s Daughter Dockside Fish Market.

Photo credit: The Fisherman’s Daughter Facebook and Instagram: @thefishermansdaughtergm

Are you wanting more than a dining experience? The Fisherman’s Daughter at Dockside Fish and Market offers a market place, deli and kitchen open Wednesday to Saturday. They have been providing a dock to table experience for years and give you the gift of access fresh, wild caught fish from Lake Superior. It doesn’t get more dock-to-table than this!

View the full menu here!

16. Enjoy a yurt or dome experience under the stars.

Are you looking for a different type of way to experience Grand Marais? Spend time under the stars in a dome or a yurt! The dome is a more luxurious way to go as compared to the yurt option (pictured on the right), which would be more efficient for those traveling on a budget wanting to spend time outside.

Looking for cabins or lodging along the North Shore of Minnesota? Check out the article below!

17. Skip, collect and explore rocks off Lake Superior’s Colvill Paradise Beach

Colvill’s Paradise Beach has sandy shores and is ideal for those loving to explore the rocks or even just skip some stones into the lake. This beach is usually very isolated with few visitors, but is one spot along Lake Superior everything is leveled and all you can see is a vast lake view.

18. Experience true farm to food table by staying at the Hungry Hippie Hostel & Dining at the Restaurant.

Hungry Hippie Tacos is so successful, they are opening a second location in Duluth, Minnesota! I was in love with the interior of the restaurant. They definitely made me feel like I was not in Minnesota anymore. And their tacos? Oh. My. Goodness. Nothing compares. Truly, eating foods that are fresh and organic taste different and you feel different after consuming it. This is a perfect example of farm to table cuisine.

The special thing about Hunger Hippie Tacos is not only does the ingredients come from their farm, but they also have lodging options too! Make sure to check out the link under the picture.

19. Slow down, relax and recharge.

One of the big reasons people are drawn to the North Shore is it offers respite by allowing us to unplug and live a slower-paced life. We can focus more internally without all the day to day and social media distractions. Some of our favorite relaxing activities at our cabin are roasting S’mores, stacking and collecting rocks, cooking and going on walks.

20. Experience the Alpine Slide & Gondola (20 minutes to Lutsen)

If you are willing to go for a short drive, consider visiting the Lutsen Mountains for the Summit Express featuring the Alpine Slide and Gondola for a perfect view of Sawtooth Mountain and the Lake Superior coastline. You can buy a pass specifically for a certain activity or a combo pass for both. There is the option to buy the passes online or at Lusten Mountain Resort. I can express enough how important it is to view the schedule on the website to look at the hours prior to your visit. The hours can be ever-changing because they are dependent on the weather.

Click here to plan your Alpine Slide & Gondola experience!

Take note of the time of year some of Grand Marais most exciting festivals are active!

  • June 17th- Hopped Up Caribou Beer Festival 2022
  • July 9th- Grand Marais Art Festival
  • September 9th-12th- Radio Waves Music Festival
  • October 21st-23rd- Moose Madness Festival
  • October 7th-9th- Wade in Wellness: Grand Marais retreat


Planning a trip to the North Shore of Minnesota? Check out posts below to add ideas to your travel plans.

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