Canal Park and the Waterfront : Whether they’re going nose to snout with a lake sturgeon at the Great Lakes Aquarium or watching gargantuan ships sail under the Aerial Lift Bridge, kids and adults find a day spent strolling Duluth’s Lake Superior shoreline nothing less than enchanting.
Palisade Head : If you’re going to talk about the most beautiful sights in Minnesota or on Lake Superior, this 350-foot cliff climbing out of Lake Superior needs to be part of the conversation.
George H. Crosby Manitou State Park : The first Minnesota state park designed for backpackers is a quiet, beautiful, and little-visited wilderness escape.
Grand Marais : With a lovely lakeside setting and more cultural opportunities than many much larger towns, Grand Marais is a great base for exploring the surrounding wilderness.
Grand Portage : Relive the fur trade era at the Grand Portage National Monument, a re-creation of the North West Company’s fortified 18th-century headquarters.
Paddling the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness : With over one million acres and nearly 1,200 lakes set aside for silent sports, this is one of the best canoeing destinations — not to mention one of the most beautiful places — in the world.
Dorothy Molter Museum : Dorothy Molter grew up in Chicago, but she dropped everything and moved deep into the wilderness of the Boundary Waters, where the “Root Beer Lady” spent the rest of her years. After her death, friends moved these two cabins and many of her belongings to Ely to open this remarkable memorial to a most remarkable woman.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park : Not for claustrophobics, tours of this retired iron mine take you half a mile down and nearly a mile into the deepest part of the mine.
Chisholm : This little town hosts the Iron Range’s biggest attraction, Minnesota Discovery Center, which is the best place to learn about Minnesota mining.