If you’re looking for a scenic summer getaway for a few days, Grand Marais MN might be just the ticket. Nestled up against Lake Superior, this little town will win your heart and the drive up the coastline will overwhelm your senses!
Besides being the gateway to the Boundary Waters and on route to Ontario, Grand Marais is a tiny town of bed and breakfasts, family owned inns, and quaint touristy trinket and fudge shops. It boasts having a microbrewery, and a pastry shop called “the World’s Best Donuts.” Oh, and don’t forget the miniature golf course-petting zoo (yes, a combined experience).
Of course, there are also a few upscale boutiques, art galleries, golf courses and such. The entire town only consists of about 1,350 people in the summer (It drops down well below that in the winter when most of the town shuts closes down).
For being such a small town, it surprised me to find that Grand Marais had 3 grocery stores. Granted, they’re small, but they provide a nice variety of options. The IGA’s your typical grocery. Johnson’s is interesting in that they have the basics, but also some eccentricities also like a selection of smoked fishes and homemade sausages. And then there’s the co-op that offers a nice bulk section and organic items. You don’t have to be a member to shop there, and they also have a little internet café area. If you’re planning to grocery shop, check the hours ahead of time though. They close at 7pm in the summer, and are closed at 5pm and on Sundays in the winter.
One of our regular activities when in town was to stop and pick up picnic items from the grocery stores and a bottle of wine from the one liquor store in town. Then to find a place on lake superior to enjoy it. We couldn’t get enough of the fresh lake air or dipping our toes along the shoreline… so calming and good for the soul!
Cook county is also known for it’s lovely waterfalls, many of which are just a short hike from the road.
Other things that might interest you in the area:
- Grand Marais Art Colony
- Grand Portage National Monument (nearby, for the history buffs)
- Grand Portage Casino
- Chikwauk Museum (on the gunflint trail)
Enjoy! (If you find other treasures in the area, please be sure to share them in the comments!)
PS – There are still some businesses around that don’t take credit cards, like a diner that we found in Grand Marais called “South of the Border” (as in the Canadian border)! While fresh herring for breakfast might not be your cup o’ tea, keeping cash on hand while traveling will make sure you can make the most of these local treasures!