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Old 10-19-2022, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
5,005 posts, read 5,582,367 times
Reputation: 3923

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Assume that time is somewhat of the essence. Technically I have the ability to take a full week off, but I only get 15 days of PTO all year, so certainly want to maximize them. Also though, want to make sure a trip like this is enjoyed. Minnesota (and specifically, the Twin Cities, Duluth and the North Shore) have been high on my "get to" list for quite a while.

Something like this as a general idea, though perhaps with some other stops of interest en route:

Fly into Minneapolis from Florida
Go to Mall of America, and then St. Paul. Spend some time at the mall and in St. Paul
(Vague thoughts of adding on Red Wing and/or Rochester)
Go from St. Paul to Leinenkugel's up in Chippewa Falls, WI
Go up to Duluth (Maybe by way of Apostle Islands but probably not)
Spend some time up in and around the city of Duluth
Drive up the north shore, at least as far as Palisade Head, maybe as far as Lutsen or Grand Marais*
Drive back towards Minneapolis
(Vague thoughts on the following, but unlikely to many, or any of these: continuing up to Thunder Bay, taking a boat as day trip to Isle Royale, on way back, US Hockey Hall of Fame, or Soudan Mine, or Brainerd or Saint Cloud)
Spend some time in Minneapolis.

So realistically, if say, I tried to do this in 6 total travel days:
Would doing Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Duluth, and the North Shore (and nothing else) be reasonable, and not feel overly crammed? Theoretically, if I were to have 9 or 10 travel days.. how would that potentially change your recommended itinerary through your great state (and vaguely, parts of Ontario, Wisconsin, or Michigan (Isle Royale), I could theoretically also get to? How would you best use that time?

Appreciate any and all recommendations, and hoping I get to explore your state/cities this summer!
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Old 10-20-2022, 06:44 AM
 
Location: MN
6,388 posts, read 6,917,751 times
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If I were to do this:
I’d do first day MOA and St Paul and stay downtown.

Leinies followed by driving to Bayfield, WI and staying there.

Follow coast over to Duluth. Stay at South Pier Inn in a room facing the canal as 1000 ft ships float literally 50 ft from it.

Drive to Grand Marais as stay, so much to see on the way there. Gooseberry, Caribou Falls, Temperence, Cross River, Cascade parks all right on highway are must stops. Waterfall features are very short distances, Temperence has a waterfall right under highway bridge.

Make way to Iron Range next day via backways and maybe through Ely. The giant mine in Hibbing is worth seeing via has viewing park. The world’s biggest hockey stick is in downtown Eveleth, but not at the hall of fame.

Next day drive to Mpls. You could skip the Bayfield part and spend more time on North Shore…Bayfield to me was an East Coast community, where the north shore reminded me a little of when I lived in Alaska, just minus the big mtns, I prefer that to the WI south coast. This is a lot of driving, so I hope you enjoy that.
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Old 10-20-2022, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
367 posts, read 539,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
If I were to do this:
I’d do first day MOA and St Paul and stay downtown.

Leinies followed by driving to Bayfield, WI and staying there.

Follow coast over to Duluth. Stay at South Pier Inn in a room facing the canal as 1000 ft ships float literally 50 ft from it.

Drive to Grand Marais as stay, so much to see on the way there. Gooseberry, Caribou Falls, Temperence, Cross River, Cascade parks all right on highway are must stops. Waterfall features are very short distances, Temperence has a waterfall right under highway bridge.

Make way to Iron Range next day via backways and maybe through Ely. The giant mine in Hibbing is worth seeing via has viewing park. The world’s biggest hockey stick is in downtown Eveleth, but not at the hall of fame.

Next day drive to Mpls. You could skip the Bayfield part and spend more time on North Shore…Bayfield to me was an East Coast community, where the north shore reminded me a little of when I lived in Alaska, just minus the big mtns, I prefer that to the WI south coast. This is a lot of driving, so I hope you enjoy that.
These are great suggestions.

OP, you asked for other ideas if the trip were extended to 9 or 10 days. In that case, I would skip heading further north towards Thunder Bay or west to St Cloud and instead from the Twin Cities I would take Highway 61 south through the Lake Pepin area which is only about an hour and a half from St Paul. There are beautiful towns including Red Wing on both the Minnesota and Wisconsin side of the river that are worth exploring. There's the National Eagle Center in Wabasha and if you return to the Twin Cities from the Wisconsin side, stop at the Harbor View Cafe for great food.
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Old 02-06-2023, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
5,005 posts, read 5,582,367 times
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First off, I know it's been a while since I was originally back here, and these really are wonderful posts-I'll tell you I'm genuinely still weighing some of these, esp. Red Wing and 61 South, and Bayfield (although the point you made about Bayfield being like east coast-I like a walkable New England style town too, so that's cool), but I like the idea you described of the North Shore being almost a little Alaska-like in feel better-and love all the North Shore stops you mentioned and look forward to going to them firsthand.

Figured I owed it to present specifically what we are doing/have booked:

Day 1: Flying in late afternoon to MSP. May just go direct to Mall of America on this day so my wife can have a few hours of seeing this and we get it done.
Day 2: Do the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in the morning within the Twin Cities (well, at least Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling, and maybe one of the lakes in town), and then maybe go get lunch at Matt's Bar and/or also hit Midtown Global Market (check into our hotel-Holiday Inn Express Downtown near the convention center)-Twins game on this night plus seeing Nicollet Mall.
Day 3: In the morning, walk over to the metro station, and ride it just a few stops for experience of crossing "rid a new cities light rail" off the list-over to University of Minnesota campus. Walk back to our hotel gradually from there, along the river and by way of the Stone Arch Bridge. Maybe stop in at Mill Ruins Park and see the Saturday (?) farmer's market there. Afternoon and evening more flexible, but maybe at least getting over to Loring Park and Spoonbridge/Cherry, among perhaps a few other sights in town-maybe go over to Excelsior in the late afternoon or something? IDK.
Day 4: Leave out in the morning and drive to Leinenkugel's, and do a tour in Chippewa Falls. Then drive up to Superior WI to check in at our hotel-I loved the comment about that hotel overlooking the water-but the property we ended up getting still was a decent one and less than $100 whereas that one while incredible did look to be a little over $200. Spend the afternoon checking out the core of Duluth and Canal Park areas plus driving up on the hillsides above the city for some cool cityscape views.
Day 5: Driving along the North Shore-stopping at many of the places you mentioned-notably looks like Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, Palisade Head, the Lutsen Alpine Slide, and then staying just outside of (or inside of?) Cascade River State Park at Cascade Lodge for the next two nights. I guess a few other things I didn't mention might be that we'd stop at Betty's Pies (famous-is it legit?), Finland (I am of Finnish descent, so maybe the slight detour to town to see the St. Urho statue and signage in town), and the neighboring Fantasia Overlook (it looks like one of the best, relatively short hikes along the whole of the North Shore viewline-wise.
Day 6: We have the full day, and probably at least part of it would be well spent just enjoying that property and area and walking around Cascade River. But, I think we would likely at least drive out a little further on the North Shore (I think it's only an hour or so each way), to the end my the Minnesota-Canada border to say we did the whole thing (MN at least). Some of the things out this way that look cool to me include the town of Grand Marais, Hollow Rock, and Grand Portage National Monument and State Park. I also feel though, like while doing all of that and then back might take a half day (like 8-2 or 9-3 or so)-I don't think it would eat our whole day of being able to relax on property there either (nor would the drive out). IDK what to say. I've just idealized Duluth and the Minnesota North Shore (and Twin Cities) for a long while, and am excited to finally experience it in the flesh haha
Day 7: Final day of the trip, and this night, we are staying about 10 minutes outside of St. Paul, so it looks like just over a 4 hour drive back. I may save one or two of the North Shore things for the way back, for instance, Black Rock Beach or something, and also maybe plan on a stretch break in Duluth on way back. Once getting back to Saint Paul (not super early, but not super late either, ideally by like 3 or 4? Go see the State Capitol and Cathedral of St Paul (and maybe Union Terminal and a couple other things, and perhaps HmongTown Marketplace for dinner if time allows, and perhaps a few innings of a Saint Paul Saints game as a capper for the trip. 8 AM flight back the next morning so relatively early morning.

Anyways-I limited things a lot-but even with these things I mention, it doesn't exactly feel like I'll have a ton of spare time around, per se. That said, I think limiting some of those extra things was probably necessary to keep the scale of the trip from feeling too overwhelming or with too much car time. Thanks again!
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Old 02-07-2023, 06:46 AM
 
Location: MN
6,388 posts, read 6,917,751 times
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Sounds like a great trip involving a lot of things!

Few notes worth mentioning

Just south of Superior is Pattison State Park and Big Manitou Falls seems to be right at a parking lot. I haven’t been, but it looks cool.

Skyline Drive in Duluth is awesome for scenery. Plus the Enger Tower is best view you can get, it’s off this road and free to climb up it. 7 bridges I’ve been told is also a great drive.

The scenic drive of 61 leaving Duluth to Two Harbors is much better than the expressway.

Zero locals eat at Betty’s Pie, they and myself love The Rustic Inn, food is much better.

I can tell you of an awesome well worth hidden spot near Beaver Bay in a DM…

Stop at Ray Berglund wayside rest on hwy 61 at Onion River…follow stairs up and cascade is just awesome and super long!

Cascade Inn is a great base point, the restaurant is good and park is very close by. The waterfalls are pretty much next to highway.

Pincushion Mtn overlook above Grand Marais is great viewing spot. If you like hiking, stop at Kadunce River between Grand Marais and border. Parking lot on highway, cross over highway and follow trail. Right before trail starts to climb, if water levels are lower/manageable, you walk down into the creek and follow it/in it for awhile. There is a bypass of first waterfall on left. It becomes a slot canyon and you reach a taller waterfall. If your good hiker/younger and can handle tougher things, you can climb it and then you gotta climb many more after. There’s no way out until you reach the end though and people get rescued out of it often.

Devils Kettle falls in Judge Magney park is famous, half falls into a hole. They just figured it out somewhat recently that water goes back into river below it, via water volume below falls is same as above it.

Naniboujou lodge restaurant is very good and interior is one of a kind. It was built as a men’s club long ago, had famous members being Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox owner, maybe a president, etc, etc…

High falls on the border is worth seeing, then find Partridge Falls many miles upstream, gravel roads lead to it. It’s the best waterfall in the state.

Hope you enjoy your trip!

Last edited by wamer27; 02-07-2023 at 06:55 AM..
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Old 02-07-2023, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Minnesota
1,394 posts, read 1,241,188 times
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Scratch off Midtown Global Market: it's changed too much, many retailers bailed and the safety risk isn't worth it.
Also nix any light rail rides. Use Uber instead of walking after dark.
I feel like your itinerary is a tad too ambitious and I'm winded from reading it. Maybe trim it back a bit?
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Old 02-07-2023, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
5,005 posts, read 5,582,367 times
Reputation: 3923
Quote:
Originally Posted by earslikeacat View Post
Scratch off Midtown Global Market: it's changed too much, many retailers bailed and the safety risk isn't worth it.
Also nix any light rail rides. Use Uber instead of walking after dark.
I feel like your itinerary is a tad too ambitious and I'm winded from reading it. Maybe trim it back a bit?
1) I'll respect your expertise as to Midtown Global Market. That's disappointing to hear though, as a lot of the review online, etc. seemed to be very positive and say it was very cool. Is this true even during daytime?
2) Wasn't planning on using light rail as like a primary mode per se, just wanted to try it once as I like to within various cities-again, is it all that bad? I mean, I'm kinda asking as someone who has ridden probably more questionable safety metros (particularly, I'll say DART in Dallas didn't give me a good feeling, but I feel like Cleveland RTA, Atlanta MARTA, and Houston MetroRail among maybe a few others probably have a lesser reputation-again, this wouldn't be a regular thing throughout the trip-this would be a Saturday morning probably, between say Nicollet Mall and University of Minnesota.
3) On this point-I get it and respect where you're coming from because I think a lot of people think like that when it comes to travel, at least compared to our family-however, I do have to chuckle maybe a little bit, as to be quite honest, it's actually (at least per drive time), quite a bit less ambitious than we are used to. Looking like the longest single drive day of it might be Lutsen to Woodbury/St. Paul at just over 4, and 4 of 7 travel days where we are largely staying put (or at least not exceeding 60-90 minutes of car time), with only 2 of 7 where we (slightly) exceed 4 hours of transit time which honestly, isn't all that demanding from my perspective (to me, a long car day would be anything exceeding 8 hours.. though with our daughter now, I'd probably adjust that to 6 hours).

As a frame of reference for you, we live in Florida, South of Tampa Bay in particular. For spring break, we are ultimately driving up to Boone NC. Doing so in only 6 total days (vs. 7/8), and it's 23 hours of transit drive time roughly vs. roughly 12 hours of it on this trip. You could be being thrown off by the lists I create since perhaps that can be visually overwhelming, but at the same time, I know that it isn't always possible to see everything list, and sometimes, I'm just happy if I end up seeing between 50 and 75 percent of it.
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Old 02-07-2023, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Greater Orlampa CSA
5,005 posts, read 5,582,367 times
Reputation: 3923
Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
Sounds like a great trip involving a lot of things!

Few notes worth mentioning

Just south of Superior is Pattison State Park and Big Manitou Falls seems to be right at a parking lot. I haven’t been, but it looks cool.

Skyline Drive in Duluth is awesome for scenery. Plus the Enger Tower is best view you can get, it’s off this road and free to climb up it. 7 bridges I’ve been told is also a great drive.

The scenic drive of 61 leaving Duluth to Two Harbors is much better than the expressway.

Zero locals eat at Betty’s Pie, they and myself love The Rustic Inn, food is much better.

I can tell you of an awesome well worth hidden spot near Beaver Bay in a DM…

Stop at Ray Berglund wayside rest on hwy 61 at Onion River…follow stairs up and cascade is just awesome and super long!

Cascade Inn is a great base point, the restaurant is good and park is very close by. The waterfalls are pretty much next to highway.

Pincushion Mtn overlook above Grand Marais is great viewing spot. If you like hiking, stop at Kadunce River between Grand Marais and border. Parking lot on highway, cross over highway and follow trail. Right before trail starts to climb, if water levels are lower/manageable, you walk down into the creek and follow it/in it for awhile. There is a bypass of first waterfall on left. It becomes a slot canyon and you reach a taller waterfall. If your good hiker/younger and can handle tougher things, you can climb it and then you gotta climb many more after. There’s no way out until you reach the end though and people get rescued out of it often.

Devils Kettle falls in Judge Magney park is famous, half falls into a hole. They just figured it out somewhat recently that water goes back into river below it, via water volume below falls is same as above it.

Naniboujou lodge restaurant is very good and interior is one of a kind. It was built as a men’s club long ago, had famous members being Babe Ruth, Boston Red Sox owner, maybe a president, etc, etc…

High falls on the border is worth seeing, then find Partridge Falls many miles upstream, gravel roads lead to it. It’s the best waterfall in the state.

Hope you enjoy your trip!
Can't thank you enough times for this list-looked up all these places firsthand, and now am even more excited about getting up there!! These are such cool ideas. I've been watching some videos and vlogs too to get some other ideas.

Have you ever done the Lutsen Alpine Slide? That looks really cool, also. Not sure however if an almost 3 year old would be able to ride on that though, if they were riding with me or my wife.
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Old 02-07-2023, 09:54 PM
 
Location: MN
6,388 posts, read 6,917,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theurbanfiles View Post
Can't thank you enough times for this list-looked up all these places firsthand, and now am even more excited about getting up there!! These are such cool ideas. I've been watching some videos and vlogs too to get some other ideas.

Have you ever done the Lutsen Alpine Slide? That looks really cool, also. Not sure however if an almost 3 year old would be able to ride on that though, if they were riding with me or my wife.
I’ve done the alpine slide, kids can ride on it too.
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Old 02-13-2023, 07:25 AM
 
Location: MN
6,388 posts, read 6,917,751 times
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When are you taking this trip? The north shore is a very popular summer destination with basically only one two lane road (hwy 61) everyone uses, thus travel times could be effected. The drive from Duluth to Twin Cities (35) on Sunday is solid vehicles, same with opposite on a Friday going north.
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