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15 Best Things To Do In Grand Marais, Minnesota

What are some of the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota?

After all, when we think about the city of Grand Marais in Minnesota, what typically comes to mind?

Well for starters, the city of Grand Marais is situated inside of Cook County of Minnesota. It was originally the home of the Anishinaabe indigenous people, also known as the Ojibwe, who called this area the “Gichi-biitoobiig”, which means “Great Duplicate Water or Double Body of Water”.

The city of Grand Marais is also a really small-sized city as the entire size of this city is estimated to be around 2.91 square miles. But even though it is small, there are still people who live here. In fact, according to the Census of 2019, the population is estimated to be around 1,357.

But besides that, Grand Marais is also famously known for being home to a deep and varied arts community, a multi-generation group of locals who still log and fish and provide services, and also a gigantic lake at its doorstep while also having a beautiful National Forest for its backyard.

Because of this, the city of Grand Marais is considered to be one of the best tourist destinations in the state of Minnesota.

Visitors who come to this city will find that there are so many amazing things for them to see or do. For instance, some of the most popular places to visit includes places like the Grand Portage State Forest, Judge C.R. Magney State Park, Pincushion Mountain Trail System, Honeymoon Bluff, and more.

Plus, there are also an abundance of delicious restaurants, cute cafes, fun galleries, historic sites, and awesome attractions for people to visit. Visitors will have the time of their lives exploring everything that this city has to offer.

Which is why, if you’re wondering exactly what there is to see or do here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, then you are in luck.

In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

So if you’re ready, lets get started!

Things To Do In Grand Marais, Minnesota

In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

1. Grand Portage State Forest

Grand Portage State Forest

One of the best places to visit if you love to be surrounded by nature and the outdoors while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is definitely a place called “Grand Portage State Forest”.

Grand Portage State Forest is a huge State Forest that spans a whopping 99,200 acres wide. The forest is named after the Grand Portage, which is a historic trade route between the Great Lakes and the Northwest.

Visitors who come to this State Forest will find that it offers so many amazing things to see or do. For instance, this forest encloses Judge C. R. Magney State Park, Swamp River Wildlife Management Area, Hovland Woods Scientific and Natural Area, and many other areas too.

Not only that, but visitors can also come to this State Forest to enjoy a wide range of recreational activities. For example, some of the most popular things to do here includes stuff like hiking, canoeing, fishing, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and more.

Plus, because it is located in the outdoors, visitors will also be able to do things like wildlife viewing too as there are so many amazing animals that live in and around this entire area. Not to mention that there are also a wide number of plants and flowers that grow here as well.

So if you are ever wanting to do some exploration out in the outdoors, then Grand Portage State Forest is definitely one of the best places to visit. Plus, it’s only located minutes away from Grand Marais, Minnesota which makes it such a convenient place to visit.

2. Judge C.R. Magney State Park

Judge C.R. Magney State Park

We mentioned “Grand Portage State Forest” earlier on in the post above, but did you know that inside that state forest lays one of the most interesting and unique places you can ever visit?

It’s true!

Known as the “Judge C.R. Magney State Park“, it is a State Park located inside of the gigantic Grand Portage State Forest. It spans around 4,643 acres wide and is named for Clarence R. Magney, a former mayor of Duluth and justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.

But what the state park is most famous for is that it is best known for being the home to do “Devil’s Kettle”, which is an unusual waterfall and rock formation in which half of the Brule River disappears into a large pothole.

Asides from that, the area is also a very popular place to visit where visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities. From things like hiking to fishing or even camping and more can all be enjoyed here.

Plus, the area around the State Park is filled with all kinds of Flora and Fauna which means that nature lovers from all around the country can come here and enjoy the entire experience. Animals like white-tailed deer, moose, black bears, red foxes, and timber wolves can all be seen roaming around.

Being as how this entire area is only located minutes away from the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, it’s almost has become a must-see attraction for anyone who is visiting this city.

3. Pincushion Mountain Trail System

Pincushion Mountain Trail System

Do you love doing all kinds of recreational activities?

If so, then one place you should definitely visit while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is definitely at a location called the “Pincushion Mountain Trail System”.

Pincushion Mountain Trail System is a place that is located about 5 minutes away from the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota. It is a place that is commonly known for having some of the best trails in the area for people to use.

In fact, all throughout the year, many visitors and tourists from all around the country love to come here and enjoy the many experiences that this place has to offer.

For instance, here there are a number of different trails for people to use. Which means things such as walking, jogging, hiking, running and more can all be enjoyed here throughout the year.

Plus, if visitors come during the winter season, then they’ll be happy to know that this entire place is transformed into basically a winter wonderland where people can enjoy a variety of different snow related activities.

Asides from that, all throughout the year this place will also be home to some events and competitions. Most commonly is the marathon running event where visitors can run for hours on end trying to compete against one another.

Overall, it’s a really neat place to visit and one where everyone will really enjoy the experiences being offered here. So if you have the time to spare, this is definitely one of the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

4. Angry Trout Cafe

Angry Trout Cafe

If you’re ever feeling hungry while visiting the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, then one of the best restaurants you can ever visit is one known as the “Angry Trout Cafe”.

The Angry Trout Cafe is situated right on the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior and is one of the best places to visit if you are wanting some food. Here they specialize in serving up delicious seafood and vegetarian dishes for people to enjoy.

Many locals and tourists who come here all love to rave about this spot because of just how amazing it really is. In fact, according to Yelp, this is one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the area of Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Here visitors will find that they offer a menu based on the bounty of Lake Superior and also the surrounding region. From things like Maple BBQ Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Bison Burger, Banh Mi, Beyond Meat Veggie Burger, Fettuccine Pasta, Grilled Shiitake Mushroom Skewers and more.

Plus, aside from the drinks, they also have a wide range of alcoholic drinks for people to choose from as well. From Red Wines to White Wines or even Beers and Hard Cider, they have it all.

Asides from that, the staff here are all extremely nice and will go above and beyond to make sure your dining experience is as exceptional as it can ever be. The pricing for the foods being offered here are also really affordable as well.

With all of that being said, this is one of the best restaurants to visit while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Definitely worth a visit!

5. Honeymoon Bluff

Honeymoon Bluff

If you love to do some hiking, then one of the best places to visit while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is definitely at a place called “Honeymoon Bluff”.

Honeymoon Bluff is a a trailhead that is situated about a few minutes drive away from the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota. It is a popular place to visit as it offers some of the best sights of the surrounding area.

Located inside of Superior National Forest, visitors can access the trailhead of Honeymoon Bluff from the parking lot that is in the area.

Once on the trailhead, visitors will need to hike around 0.4 miles that is moderately trafficked. It is here where visitors will be rewarded with scenic views from all around the area that even overlooks Hungry Jack and Bearskin Lakes.

Many locals and tourists love to come to this spot because it is a perfect place to do some hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and more. Plus, it is also dog friendly as visitors can also bring along their dogs to walk with them, however they need to be kept on a leash.

With all of that being said, a trip down to the Honeymoon Bluff is definitely one of the best places you can ever visit here in the area near Grand Marais, Minnesota.

6. Grand Marais Lighthouse

Grand Marais Lighthouse

One of the most iconic and most important attractions anyone should ever visit if they are here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, is definitely a place which is known as the “Grand Marais Lighthouse”.

The Grand Marais Lighthouse is a historical lighthouse that was built way back in 1922. It is located at the end of the seawall in Grand Marais’ bay and is one of the best places anyone can ever visit.

While it was built nearly a century ago, this lighthouse is still very much in use as it is still used for boaters here in the area of Lake Superior. Plus, the original keeper’s house has even been turned into a museum for people to explore.

But what makes this entire place so interesting is that everything that surrounds this lighthouse is just so interesting and beautiful.

Visitors are able to come here and walk along the two-block long concrete and volcanic basalt stone path which will offer some of the most beautiful views available of Lake Superior, the Sawtooth Mountains to the south, as well as the town nearby.

The lighthouse is also a popular spot for people to visit where they can take a variety of selfies and family photos. Not to mention that the seawall here is also a busy spot where people can find many artists standing around creating paintings of the landscape and lake view.

Overall, the Grand Marais Lighthouse is definitely one of the best places to visit while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota.

7. Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center

If you’re interested in learning about the cultural and natural history of the Gunflint Trail area, then one of the best places you can ever visit is called the “Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center”.

The Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center is a beautiful place to visit that is housed inside of a historic Chik-Wauk Lodge right on the serene Saganaga Lake. It’s one of the most popular places to visit as there is simply so many things to see and learn.

For instance, visitors who come to this place will find that the museum houses so many interesting things. Visitors will be able to learn what life was like when the Gunflint Trail was only plowed twice during the winter and also how early Gunflint Trail Pioneers handled education for their kids.

Not only that, this place also has a nature center for people to visit. Here at this center, visitors are able to connect with nature through a series of hands-on activities and explore things like plants, animals, insects and more that live around here on the Gunflint Trail.

Plus, there are also various activities for people to enjoy. Especially kids where they can participate in a scavenger hunt and other things throughout the year.

So if you have the time to spare, then this is one destination you should definitely visit. Who knows, you might even see a moose, pick some berries or just have a whole lot of fun!

8. World’s Best Donuts

World's Best Donuts

Who doesn’t love donuts?

And here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, there is a shop that specializes in serving up various kinds of donuts for people to enjoy. Known as the “World’s Best Donuts”, their name embodies exactly what they sell.

Established back in 1969, World’s Best Donuts is a family business that is seasonally run. They are open only during the months of mid May to about mid October. During this time, visitors from all over the area are able to come here and enjoy a variety of delicious donuts.

In fact, according to Yelp, they are also one of the highest rated restaurants and also one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire area of Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Visitors who come to this donut shop will find so many varieties of donuts for people to choose from. For instance, here visitors can find things like cake donuts, donut kabobs, and even their specialty “Skizzles” which are a sweet, yeast dough stretched out and deep fried to perfection.

But it’s not just donuts that they sell here.

In fact, here visitors can also get a bunch of drinks to go along with their donuts as well. From things like coffee to tea or even hot chocolate and punch, they have it all here.

Which is why, if you’re ever in the mood for some sweets to eat or drink, then a trip down to the World’s Best Donuts is definitely one of the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

9. Poplar Lake

Poplar Lake

One of the best places to visit where you can surround yourself with the outdoors and be with nature is definitely at a place called “Poplar Lake”.

Poplar Lake is a beautiful lake that spans a whopping 764 acres in Cook County. It is located only a few minutes away from Grand Marais, Minnesota and is one of the best places to visit if you are looking to do some fun and exciting recreational activities.

For instance, visitors who come to this lake will find that it offers so many amazing things for people to see and do. The most popular activity that many people like to do here is to go fishing. After all, this lake contains a wide amount of fishes for people to catch.

Not only that, but Poplar Lake because of its size, also allows for a variety of boats to go out onto the waters and sail around. It’s one of the most relaxing places you can ever see and the area surrounding it is just so beautiful.

Plus, during the winter season, this lake becomes the start and end point for the Gunflint Mail Run, which is a competitive dog sled race with up to 30 teas on the first weekend of January.

Asides from that, traveling to Poplar Lake from Grand Marais, Minnesota is definitely worth the visit if you have a passion for enjoying various kinds of activities out here on the water.

sivertson gallery

Do you love art?

If so, then one of the best places you can ever visit while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is definitely at a place called “Sivertson Gallery”.

Sivertson Gallery is a beautiful gallery that is situated on the main street of small and scenic Grand Marais. It is nestled into a beautiful harbor setting and offers visitors with the chance to see some truly extraordinary art pieces.

What once started out as a basement gig has since expanded into a full on shop and gallery for people to explore. Here, many local artists from around the area have all pitched in their works to have it displayed for people to enjoy.

Some of the artists who have their works shown here includes those of Betsy Bowen, Liz Sivertson, Jim Brandenburg, Dave Gilsvik, Rick Allen and so much more. Many of which have been with this gallery for over 40 years.

Visitors who come to this gallery will find that much of the artworks being shown here actually depicts the lake’s beauty and depth, its surrounding environment and also the history and people. Because of this, many locals and tourists love to come here and admire the art.

Plus, being as how the gallery also acts as a shop, visitors can also come here and buy any of the art pieces that they may want. The staff are also really knowledgable and can even give you an inside look at the world of art.

So if you love art or just want to see and enjoy it, then a trip down to “Sivertson Gallery” is definitely one of the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

11. Grand Marais Art Colony

Grand Marais Art Colony

We mentioned Sivertson Gallery earlier on in this post, but did you know that here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, there is another place that also specializes in all things art?

It’s true!

Known as the “Grand Marais Art Colony“, it is an art center that is nestled in the harbor-side village of the city. It is basically the gateway for people to creatively explore and interpret the rugged coast and inland expanse of waterways, forests and wilderness.

The Art Center was originally founded back in 1947, which was the first art colony in the state. And through that time, it has grown to cultivate a vibrant arts community on the north shore. Today, this center acts as a retreat and also a creative home for artists from all walks of live.

Visitors who come to this center will find that it is filled with all sorts of amazing things to see and do. For instance, they have artist services which includes things like professional development classes, studio access, grant writing help and more.

Aside from that, they also have over 200 classes which are taught by over 80 instructors, crafted for all skill levels in diverse disciplines. They also have various kinds of events all throughout the year for people to participate in.

So at the end of the day, if you are wanting to learn more about the world of art or just want to improve your art skills, then a trip down to Grand Marais Art Colony is definitely one of the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

12. Hungry Hippie Tacos

Hungry Hippie Tacos

Do you like tacos?

If so, then you’ll be happy to know that here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, there is a restaurant here that specializes in serving up a variety of tacos for people to enjoy.

Known as the “Hungry Hippie Tacos“, they are a popular restaurant that serves up all kinds of delicious tacos for people to eat. Established in 2008, they have quickly grown to become the premiere destination for people to come buy some tacos.

Many locals and tourists from all around love to come to this spot and enjoy all of the foods that they offer. In fact, according to Yelp, they are one of the highest rated restaurants as well as being one of the most reviewed restaurants in the entire region of Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Visitors who come to this restaurant will find that many of their tacos if not all are all amazingly delicious. Especially the pork and sour kraut and fish chipotle which are some of their best sellers. Also, everything is homemade and fresh which means the quality here is absolutely phenominal.

And best of all is that everything being served here are being served at really affordable prices. For instance, majority of their tacos can be found for around $4 dollars which is such a bargain. It’s great for families and also people who don’t want to spend a fortune.

So if you’re ever in the mood for some really delicious tacos, then Hungry Hippie Tacos is definitely the place for you to be.

13. LutZen Reflections Massage Studio

LutZen Reflections Massage Studio

One of the best things about traveling to a new city or town is that you’ll get the chance to try out so many different things that the area has to offer.

And what better way to enjoy your trip than by getting yourself a nice soothing massage.

Here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, one of the most popular massage places you can ever visit is one known as “LutZen Reflections Massage Studio”.

LutZen Reflections Massage Studio is the premiere destination for locals and tourists alike to come here and enjoy some mind, body, and soul relaxation. Here they offer a variety of different services for people to choose from.

For instance, visitors can find that they offer massages like the LutZen Signature Massage, Gitche Gumee Hot Stone Massage, Deep Buddha, Thai Fusion, Zen Spa Ritual, The Big Buddha, and so much more.

But it’s not just massages that they offer here.

In fact, they do many other things as well. For example, here visitors can find them offering Aveda Mini-Facial, Buddha Head Scalp Treatment, Back Bliss Scrub & Masque, Zen Hand Refresher, Lost Range CBD Massage Enhancement and more.

With all things being said about this location, it’s definitely one of the best places to visit here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Definitely worth the visit.

14. Joe’s Inland Fishing

Joe's Inland Fishing

Do you love fishing?

If so, then one place you should absolutely visit while here in the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is definitely a location known as “Joe’s Inland Fishing”.

Joe’s Inland Fishing is one of the most popular places to visit as they are a fishing charter company that takes people out into the open waters to do some fishing. Locals and tourists from all around who love to fish all make it a point to visit this spot.

The owner “Joe” has over 30 years of fishing experience which he will share with any and all customers wanting to go fishing. He’ll take you to some of the finest lakes in the Minnesota area for you to catch some truly amazing fish.

For instance, some of the fishes visitors might catch includes those like Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass, Lake Trout, Perch, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Bluegills, and so many more. In fact, the largest walleye caught in Minnesota was actually caught here in the Saganaga Lake.

Asides from that, Joe will usually provide all the necessary items you’ll need to go fishing. Just make sure to bring your camera and also maybe some lunch to eat as well. Although it should be noted that fishers should bring lots of layers, shoes and also sunscreen too to avoid the heat.

But other than that, fishing is definitely one of the best things to do in Grand Marais, Minnesota. You’ll never know what you might catch and it’ll be one of the best experiences you’ll have ever had.

15. Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail

If you are ever finding yourself visiting the beautiful city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, then one of the best things to do is to simply take a drive along the Gunflint Trail.

The Gunflint Trail is a huge 57 mile loop that takes you around from Grand Marais, Minnesota all the way to Boundary Waters. It is during this time where visitors are able to see Canada from across the northernmost lake. Definitely a sight to behold.

But not just that, visitors can even stop by Ham Lake where they can listen to the sound of a moose call as they stroll around. Plus, visitors can even take in some of the most beautiful views of the Superior National Forest and also a variety of lakes in the area.

Most of the destinations that are along this path features various hiking trails for people to explore. And with the ample amount of lakes in the area, it means visitors can even go canoeing or even kayaking too.

The only thing to note is that you’ll most likely want to plan on having ample time to explore everything that this area has to offer. As many of these places will have you stopping and exploring around for hours on end. Each place you visit will definitely offer something different, whether it be shoreline hikes or even silly adventures.

And if you’re hungry, make sure to stop for lunch at one of the many roadside diners that are in the area. It is there where you can enjoy some of the most delicious foods made you’ll ever have. From burgers to fish or even fries and more, they have it all.

Regardless of whatever it is you are wanting to do here, a trip along the Gunflint Trail is definitely one of the best things you can ever do. You’ll never know what you might see but the experiences will be remembered for many years to come.

FAQS About Grand Marais, Minnesota

What is Grand Marais known for?

Grand Marais is also famously known for being home to a deep and varied arts community, a multi-generation group of locals who still log and fish and provide services, and also a gigantic lake at its doorstep while also having a beautiful National Forest for its backyard.

How far is Grand Marais from the Canadian border?

The city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is located about 40 miles away from the Canadian Border.

What county is Grand Marais?

Cook County

Can you see Northern Lights in Grand Marais MN?

Yes, depending on the weather conditions and the time of the year, visitors are able to see the Northern Lights from anywhere around Cook County, especially here in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Visit Grand Marais, Minnesota

Overall, the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota is one of the best places to visit if you ever have the time to visit. By visiting this city, you’ll find that this city has so much to offer in terms of what you can see or do.

So hopefully this post about the “15 Best Things To Do In Grand Marais, Minnesota” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Grand Marais, Minnesota, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.

Also if you’re going to be visiting the state of Minnesota any time soon, then you might be interested in some of my other posts.

Or you can check out all my blog posts by clicking this link.

Hope you have a safe and fun trip~

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