12. Bluefin Bay, Minnesota
Why go: “The North Shore” is more likely to conjure images of Hawaii than Minnesota, but the North Shore of Lake Superior—just 80 miles from Duluth—is a popular year-round destination for midwesterners. Between the lake, the North Woods (a part of Superior National Forest), and the Sawtooth Mountains (home to Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort—middle America’s largest ski resort), the area is a winter activity hub. The North Woods puts you smack dab in the middle of 14,000 miles of trails: 150 are groomed for cross-country skiing and 100 more for snowmobiling. Try your hand at ice fishing or snowshoeing, too.
Where to stay: Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts has guestrooms, suites, studios, condos, and townhomes, so you can come with as many (or few) people as you want—all have incomparable views of Lake Superior or the Sawtooth range. The resort also offers tons of activity hookups, from fishing charters to daily guided hikes.
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