Northern Lights Bike Ride

Take a Self-Guided Winter Tour of Northeast Minnesota

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Northern Lights / Travis Novitsky

Take a Self-Guided Winter Tour of Northeast Minnesota

By Minnesota Arrowhead Committee

Take the guesswork out of winter adventures and experience northeast Minnesota with a carefully curated tour that puts you in charge. Here’s a sampling of self-guided winter tours.

Voyageurs National Park Night Sky

Night sky in Voyageurs National Park / Erik Fremstad

Northern Lights

Minnesota’s Cook County is the best place in the lower 48 states to view the natural phenomenon known as aurora borealis or the Northern Lights. The colorful, dancing lights aren’t visible every night, but they can often be seen at Voyageurs National Park, where the Dark Sky designation assures spectacular views of the heavens on clear nights. The folks at VNP have created a helpful tip sheet with links to maps, advice and more. There’s also a downloadable map of driving tours and a photography guide on the Visit Cook County website. Cook County and International Falls offer a variety of lodging options. Book your stay, then find a spot to sit outside with a blanket and a thermos to wait for the show. It’s sure to be an evening you won’t forget.

Winter fishing Lake Superior Two Harbors Lighthouse

Winter fishing at Lake Superior, Two Harbors / Kunal Garde

North Shore History

Immerse yourself in the area’s rich past of shipping, logging and mining industries with the Lake County Historic Tour. Tour the Two Harbors Lightstationthe oldest continuously operating lighthouse on Minnesota’s North Shore, the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse, the 3M Museum (where the company originated) and much more. So make plans for a long weekend and discover the historical gems of Lake County.

Three riders explore a trail in Grand Rapids on fat bikes

Three riders explore a trail in Grand Rapids on fat bikes / John Connelly

Winter Art Walk

Grand Rapids may be known for fabulous fishing and terrific trails, but this town also has a big creative side. Explore the art scene with this Art and Historic Sites story map. Stroll through the winter streets, or drive from site to site as you take in large-scale rural art and history in a small town. Make your plans to visit Grand Rapids this winter.

Carly Aplin at the Historic State Theater in downtown Ely

Historic State Theater, Ely / Dave Puente

Revisit Ely's Roots

Visitors to Ely will enjoy strolling the streets of downtown on a walking tour that includes 56 historic sites in about 1.5 miles, many of which have been converted into shops and restaurants. You can delve further into the backstory to the world’s best-known entry point to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness at the Ely-Winton Historical Society Museum. Ely may be a small town, but with so much to offer, it can be a big part of your winter adventures.

Minnesota Arrowhead Committee

Minnesota Arrowhead Committee is a coalition of travel/tourism and commerce organizations working together to promote the Arrowhead region of northeast Minnesota as a vacation destination.