In the most famous song about the state (as far as I’m concerned), Minneapolis hip-hop duo Atmosphere raps, “Minnesota is dope, if only simply for not what we have but what we don’t” and proceeds to rhyme about the lack of movie stars, nightlife, and guns.
Instead, Atmosphere claims, the “land of ice and snow” offers alternative perks like ample parking spaces, things to do with your kids, and the ability to drink tap water and breath the air. To most Minnesotans, this rings true. And most of us would like to keep it that way.
Yet, Minnesota is more ecologically diverse than many outsiders expect. It’s more than cornfields and Interstate routes like much of the Midwest – at least not all of it. Most commonly known for Prince, Mighty Ducks, Mall of America, and 10,000 lakes, the state often gets overlooked for more iconic travel destinations. Don’t let that fool you. If you leave the population centers in the south and head north you’ll find an area both unique and awe-inspiring—the North Shore.
Sitting in the northeastern corner of Minnesota, north of Duluth and west of Lake Superior, lies the unheralded North Shore. The area has 10-times more deer than people and 90% of the land is federal forest. The North Shore has long been a mecca for hikers, canoers, fishermen, snowmobilers, and hunters, and has seen recent growth in mountain biking, surfing, and rock climbing, among many other activities.
Getting to the North Shore may not be easy, but it’s undoubtedly worth it for those who do make the journey. Here are the top things to do and places to visit.