The Grand Marais harbor as seen from Lake Superior

Grand Marais is the Charming Lake Superior Town of Your Dreams

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The Grand Marais harbor as seen from Lake Superior / Michael Harthan

Grand Marais is the Charming Lake Superior Town of Your Dreams

Grand Marais is a charming little North Shore town with Lake Superior at its feet and the Superior National Forest at its back. Visit this snug harbor village for a fun few days of scenic hiking or mountain biking, tempting gallery browsing and even the chance for some hands-on crafting.

Grand Marais Folk School

Grand Marais Folk School / Micah Kvidt

Arts & Crafts

The North House Folk School right in town teaches traditional northern crafts and skills. It offers hundreds of courses year-round; most are two-to-three-day workshops. The eclectic lineup includes activities such as pine needle basketry, rosemaling, wood carving, fly casting, sailing, songwriting, storytelling and much more.

North House also puts on a weekend festival of folk music, contra dancing, storytelling and craft workshops. Held mid-September, Unplugged & Folk Artisan Marketplace features music, food, a traditional fish boil, and traditional craft workmanship by guest artisans. In November, North House offers the Winterer's Gathering with lessons on winter crafts and skills; you can make your own snowshoes or mukluks.

There are a handful of galleries in town featuring local artists. The Johnson Heritage Post Gallery has rotating exhibits, while the Sivertson Gallery is known for its collection of Eskimo and Inuit art as well as paintings of area scenery. The Grand Marais Playhouse, a community theater, presents plays throughout the year.

Woman hiking Honeymoon Bluff in Grand Marais

Hiking Honeymoon Bluff in Grand Marais / Micah Kvidt

Outdoor Adventures

Mountain bikers can stop at the Superior National Forest ranger station at the edge of town or at the local bike shop for maps and directions to trails. There are numerous hiking trails, as well. In town, take the half-mile trek along rocky shoreline to Artists Point. Northeast of Grand Marais, a rugged, ascending trail (there's even a long staircase) in Judge C.R. Magney State Park leads to a series of waterfalls, and an easygoing, wheelchair-accessible path at Grand Portage State Park leads to spectacular views of the highest falls in Minnesota.

There are also several hiking trails, wilderness lakes for fishing and canoeing, campgrounds, and resorts along the Gunflint Trail, which heads into the Superior National Forest from Grand Marais. For a small town, Grand Marais serves up an array of good dining options, interesting shopping, and lots of places to stay in town or nearby, from lakeside cottages to upscale condos, familiar motels to cozy B&Bs.

For many visitors, Grand Marais also serves as an idyllic bookend for treks into Minnesota's legendary Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.