Snow or No, Winter Wows in Northeast Minnesota


A winter sunset over Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors / Photo by Bob Israel

Sponsored by Arrowhead Association logo

Winter Wows Great Grey OwlIn winter, northeast Minnesota is synonymous with outdoor adventures like snowmobiling, skiing, fat biking and playing in the snow. But what happens if the snow doesn’t cooperate? As we like to say up on The Arrowhead, "No snow, no problem!"

Whether there's snow on the ground or just in your imagination, check out these weather-proof vacation ideas for a guaranteed good time during your next winter getaway to the north.

Experience Icebox Days in International Falls

Icebox Days is the zaniest winter festival in North America! Come to International Falls, where “Only the Bold Run the Cold,” during this famous border town’s Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run. The festival includes other wacky events, such as frozen turkey bowling, smoosh races, frozen golf and boot hockey. Find your winter fun in the Icebox of the Nation, Jan. 16-19.

Slip into Some Snowshoes on the Mesabi

The Sax-Zim Bog near the Mesabi Iron Range is a winter home to birds and owls, like the boreal chickadee, northern hawk owl, snow owl, and great northern owl and more. Guided field trips and programs throughout winter allow you to experience the flora and fauna of this unique landscape with a naturalist. Bring a camera, you never know what you might see! After a day of hiking and birding, relax in any one of a variety of accommodations, and fuel up for tomorrow at our great area restaurants. Be sure to explore museums like Minnesota Discovery Center and the US Hockey Hall of Fame Museum while you're here! 

From Proctor to Magical BentleyvilleDuluth Bentleyville

Magical Bentleyville. America’s Largest Free Walk Through Lighting Display, Bentleyville invites guests to stroll under the glow of over 5 million lights in a 20-acre park situated on the shores of Lake Superior, while enjoying complimentary hot cocoa, cookies, popcorn and roasted marshmallows!  And Proctor makes this magical experience incredibly easy. Picture the long line of cars going to Bentleyville. Now picture yourself in a private shuttle going right to the front of the line.
Proctor is a proud sponsor of Bentleyville, and will once again partner with Road Trip Limo to offer our hotel guests personal shuttle service on Friday and Saturday nights.  Call our hotels directly to book your room and shuttle service-space is limited.

Historical Theater on Lake Vermilion

The Lake Vermilion area offers movies year around at the longest continuously running movie screen in the state of Minnesota, The Comet Theater in downtown Cook. Live music and theatrical performances are also offered from time to time throughout the year. For current show information, call (218) 666-5814.

Embrace Winter in Grand Rapids

Embrace winter this year by heading north to Grand Rapids. We know we have more to offer than you realize! During the day you can enjoy an abundance of outdoor recreation, like riding the new world-class mountain bike trail, Tioga. This is a 25 mile purpose built, single-track trail that includes a wide variety of cross country and flow down hills. Great variety of options for the entire family. In the evening you can choose from a selection of night-lift like live music at one of our craft breweries, or you can get a ticket to a professional theater production at the Reif Arts Council. You will find a wide selection of places to eat & drink from our new Minnesota wine bar, rustic and charming restaurants, and chef inspired northern flare cuisine. At the end of the day head back to cozy lodging options. This year, embrace winter in northeastern Minnesota.

Mush a Dogsled in Ely

Dubbed one of “16 Unexpected Adventures You Need to Experience” by Expedia, dogsledding in Ely is a winter must-do. Ely-area dogsled outfitters offer a wide variety of options; there are day trips, overnight yurt trips and even trips for ice fishing. Best of all, no experience is required—anyone can participate. Explore the wilderness by dogsled for a unique winter adventure.

Get Your Hygge On in Grand Marais

Winter Wows Hot Chocoate

Offering winter beauty, adventure, relaxation and coziness for miles, this beautiful little harbor village on Lake Superior is your ideal hygge destination. This winter, Grand Marais celebrates its annual Hygge Week, Feb. 7-16, 2020. Visitors will find dogsledding, snowmobiling, stargazing, fireside gatherings and cross-country skiing, with additional, unique events to encourage the celebration and enjoyment of winter on the North Shore.

Discover Bentleyville in Duluth

Discover the magic of America's largest walk-through lighting display, with more than 5 million lights surrounding Bayfront Festival Park along the Duluth waterfront. You'll be amazed by the themed displays, the 128-foot LED tree, and the free hot cocoa, popcorn, cookies and roasting marshmallows. Bentleyville runs Nov. 23–Dec. 28.

Enjoy the Off Season in Crane Lake

The Crane Lake area offers hiking and snowmobile/ATV trails, unbelievable night skies for stargazing, or simply a new place to visit and relax—crowds not included. Join hundreds of your fellow snowmobile enthusiasts on Saturday, Mar. 7 for the great Crane Lake Challenge snowmobile races.

Experience Winter Beauty in Two HARBORS 

From views of frozen cascading waterfalls to the quiet of the forest under a blanket of snow, winter trail adventures are unlike that of any other season. Experience miles of trails in and around Two Harbors. By foot, walk the lakeside Sonju Trail, hike or snowshoe the rustic Superior Hiking Trail or explore Gooseberry Falls State Park. Or hop on a fat bike to ride the 13+ miles of groomed trails, between Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and the Lake County Demonstration Forest! 

Discover even more reasons to explore Northeast Minnesota this winter, and find places to stay, eat and play, at