Lighthouses in Minnesota

32 Reasons to Add Two Harbors to Your Minnesota North Shore Bucket List

Looking for adventure in northeastern Minnesota? As a lifelong resident of Minnesota, I make my way to the North Shore at least once a year. I can tell you that Two Harbors is one of the most scenic destinations along Lake Superior’s coast.

From hiking incredible trails and seeing breathtaking waterfalls, Two Harbors is amazing. It’s the first stop on the North Shore and a place you have to see for yourself.

My love of Two Harbors started 10 years ago, after my first trip to Gooseberry Falls.

The park is so close to town we made a couple of stops to get warm coffee and extra blankets. While I may have gone there with supplies in mind, we ended up staying much longer.

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The Best Things To Do In Two Harbors, MN

Two Harbors offers beautiful scenery, outdoor adventures, historical sites, and family fun. Here are some of the highlights and must-see attractions in this scenic Minnesota destination:

Exploring along the scenic shoreline, and breakwater lighthouse, and eating at great restaurants. It wasn’t long before every trip to Minnesota’s North Shore, I’d be making a stop for something.

I’ve made a list of my favorite activities in Two Harbors, Minnesota, in case you need some ideas.

32 Best things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Location: 3206 MN-61, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Gooseberry Falls State Park is a popular state park in Minnesota that features waterfalls, hiking trails, and picnic areas.

The trailhead is located at eth interpretive center.

Gooseberry Falls has one of the most iconic waterfalls in the State. But that’s only the middle falls. There is also a lower fall, upper fall, and fifth fall to explore.

In addition to the waterfall, there is also a great campground with some epic shoreline views.

There are also plenty of activities available for visitors to do, such as hiking, biking, or cross-country skiing in winter. It always makes the top five most visited parks in Minnesota.

The state park is also an official highway rest stop, making it free to enter the falls area. The park’s visitors center is packed with gifts and a great rest stop.

For a quick thing to do in Two Harbors Minnesota, this one packs a big punch with minimal effort.

There is an ADA-compliant path leading to the falls to view from the top.

Gooseberry Falls

Split Rock Lighthouse

Location: 3755 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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While Gooseberry Falls may be the most visited, Split Rock Lighthouse is the most iconic. It is the oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota.

There are a couple of ways to see it. First is by following the signs and doing the guided tour. The tour explains the lighthouse’s history and allows you to enter the tower and see the keeper’s living quarters.

This is also where you’ll get the iconic shoreline image. As one of the most photographed lighthouses, you have to check it out!

You can also score a view of it from the scenic overlook right before you reach Split Rock Lighthouse or from the state park.

Most people don’t get past the Lighthouse. But right next to the lighthouse is Split Rock Lighthouse State Park filled with hiking trails and camping. There is a great cove for Kayaking.

It’s also where you’ll be able to get campsites on the shoreline of Lake Superior. If you are lucky enough to get one, that is.

Bring a kayak or paddle board to see the shipwreck, or climb Day Hill for a view of Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse is a great stop. I highly recommend stopping by during different seasons. I may have had the most fun in Winter there exploring the icy coast.
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park in Winter: A Guide to Exploring the Park
How to See Split Rock Lighthouse MN Without Breaking the Bank

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Betty’s Pies

Location: 2019, 1633 MN-61, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Betty’s Pies have attained legendary status on the North Shore. Serving up some of the best food around. They’ve been serving up American Classic breakfasts and lunches since 1956. The interior has a nostalgic ambiance reminiscent of classic diners.

It may be a pie shop, but I’ve only gotten pies a few times I’ve been there. That’s because I’m usually grabbing food on the way back home.

Online ordering has made things so much easier! We like to take a day trip over there summer and get Betty’s on the way back. We find a roadside stop and eat with a view.

Iona’s Beach

Location: 3548 MN-61, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Want to hear the beach sing to you? Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area, located just north of downtown Two Harbors, is an exceptional destination.

Part of Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area is a quiet beach with stunning pink rocks. These rocks are light and when the waves wash them to shore, they make a noise that sounds like music.

Enger Park

Agate Bay

Location: Two Harbors, MN 55616

Agate Bay is a small bay right in downtown Two Harbors. The beach is a mix of sand, pebbles, and boulders. As the name suggests, agates often wash up on the shoreline.

The best time to come if you are looking for agates is after a storm.

The beach is a great place to watch ships come in.

There is a small beach to relax or swim in and plenty of parking nearby. Off in the distance, you’ll be able to see Breakwater Lighthouse and Two Harbors Lighthouse.

Agate Bay in Two Harbors

Superior Hiking Trail & Gift Shop

Location: 618 1st Ave, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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The Superior Hiking Trail is a 300-mile-long trail that runs along the north shore of Lake Superior. Hiking along the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior is one of the best hiking experiences in Northern Minnesota.

Two Harbors is where you go for your souvenirs on the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail is a thru-hike that stretches from Jay Cooke State Park to Grand Portage

It’s one of the most stunning hikes, hitting up every state park along the way. Inside the store, you’ll find maps and other gear, but my favorite is their selection of apparel.

Depot Museum

Location: 520 South Ave, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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The Duluth and Iron Range Depot, built in 1907, was a crucial building for the development of the region and the iron ore industry.

The Lake County Historical Society Depot Museum focuses on the pioneer history of Lake County and the iron mining industry.

It’s a significant historic property and is also home to administrative offices of the Lake County Historical Societies.

The building is also the new home of the Judge William Scott Library, which is still under construction.

Outside the Depot Museum is an old train, a perfect place for taking some vacation photos.

North Shore Adventure Park

Location: 42 Outer Dr, Silver Bay, MN 55614
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If you’re looking for a great thing to do near Two Harbors Minnesota, don’t miss the North Shore Adventure Park!

The high ropes course and zip lines are a must-do while on the North Shore, and you’ll have loads of fun with a challenge in store for you.

There are 65 aerial obstacles and 10 zip lines to explore, so you can unleash your inner jungle animal and have a blast!

The park is open from May – October, so there’s plenty of time to check it out!

This is my kids favorite things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota. They have been begging me to go back ever since!

The North Shore Adventure Park is a lot of fun to explore. Find out all the fun courses you can do by clicking here.

North Shore Adventure Park

Cedar Coffee Company

Location: 1130 11th Street County 26, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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The Cedar Coffee Company is located right in the heart of Two Harbors! They are a coffee shop, with friendly service, and top-notch cycling equipment and accessories.

The perfect stop for your morning coffee.

Plus they have an outdoor patio if you want to bring your pets.

3M Museum

Location: 203 Waterfront Dr, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Everyone knows the company, but do you know where it started? The birthplace of 3M is actually in Two Harbors, created by 5 people. With the plan to mine and provide raw materials to manufacturers.

They were the three industries that built Two Harbors and an important part of Two Harbors’ history.

They discovered that their raw materials were worthless, so they relocated to Duluth to produce sandpapers. You can check out the unique history inside the museum.

Breakwater Lighthouse

Location: 1 Lighthouse Point, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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The Breakwater Lighthouse is located in Downtown Two Harbors, Minnesota. It’s a wonderful place to visit; it stands at the end of the breakwater at the entrance to Lake Superior’s Agate Bay.

From up close and personal, you can watch massive ships loading up taconite at the Ore Docks coming and going from the harbor. You’ll also see people fishing from the breakwater.

There’s ample parking in the lot available with access to The Two Harbors Lighthouse Museum and B&B.

I love making this walk out onto Superior.

Lighthouses in Minnesota

Two Harbor Lighthouse

Location: 1 Lighthouse Point, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Two Harbors Lighthouse, formerly the world’s oldest operational lighthouse, is just perfect for a weekend getaway!

Visit during operating hours to see the Assistant Keeper’s house, Pilothouse, and Fog signal building. These places are open to the public for self-guided tours.

As for the Light Keepers dwelling, it’s open year-round and offers bed and breakfast accommodations.

You got to see these two lighthouses when you are looking for fun things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota. Not only is it free, but it’s fun!

Parking is available, and you can even access the Breakwater Lighthouse if you’re up for a walk.

The lighthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is definitely worth visiting for history enthusiasts, regardless of age.

Book a stay at the Lighthouse B & B by clicking here.

Two Harbors Red Brick Lighthouse
Two Harbors Agate Bay Lighthouse


Location: 702 7th Ave, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Not a typical destination you’d see on a site like this. But I had to include it because it’s the best place to pick up any warm kids’ clothing on the North Shore.

Not that this would ever happen to you, but let’s say you let your kid pack their own bag. They throw a few things, thinking of summer, and they haven’t realized just how cold it can get on the North Shore.

Aside from driving to Duluth, there are limited options in the way of kids’ clothing at gift stores.

There is an even more limited selection of warm pants.

Goodwill in downtown Two Harbors is going to have something to wear.

If anyone is looking for a business idea, a reasonably priced kids clothing store would be amazing!

Castle Danger Brewery

Location: 17 7th St, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Looking for a place to enjoy a cold beer in downtown Two Harbors? Look no further than the Castle Danger Taproom! Castle Danger Brewery embodies the North Shore experience.

They have a clean, balanced approach to beer. You can find them in bars all over the north shore, but nothing is better than going to the brewery tap room.

It’s one of the best breweries in Two Harbors because in the summer you can sit on the porch and enjoy the refreshing breeze from Lake Superior.

Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse

Location: 149 Scenic Dr, Knife River, MN 55609
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Some say if you are driving up the north shore and don’t stop at Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse you are doing it wrong. I would have to agree. They have expertly cured fish smoked inside this shop.

Selling ciscoes, trout, whitefish, herring, king salmon, and homemade beef jerky. Brown Sugar Trout & Salmon are their specialties.

If you love smoked fish, you gotta check this out. This is one of my husband’s favorite things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota.

Russ Kendall's Smokehouse in Two Harbors

Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen

Location: 223 Scenic Dr, Knife River, MN 55609
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Homemade candy is the best kind! Their copper kettles and hand stirring produce the most delicious treats.

They use whipping cream, butter, and fine chocolate to give our candies an amazing flavor.

Stop by and enjoy delicious candy! They are known for their AirCrunch!

Half of the fun at Great Lakes Candy Kitchen is exploring outside. They have a great bear trail for kids. Don’t worry, no real bears.

This is one of my kid’s favorite things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota.

Great Lakes Candy Kitchen

Burlington Station Candy Store

Location: 320 7th Ave, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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The newest addition to Two Harbors is Burlington Station. Inside you’ll find half the store dedicated to Sweet Treats, selling Gourmet popcorn, Homemade Treats, and mouth-watering old-fashioned caramels. 

The other half is north shore-inspired gifts!

The best part, they have a model train running through the top of the interior of the store.

The plan is to have 5,000 feet of train tracks looping through the interior and exterior of the buildings, making it the longest in the country.

MN some spectacular candy stores: 16 of the Best Candy Stores in Minnesota! How many on the list have you been to?

Burlington Station Candy

Tom’s Logging Camp and Trading Post

Location: 5797 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804
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If you are looking for fun things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota, you need to experience the days of old at Tom’s Logging Camp!

Just like the real thing, complete with all the building are original tools, and equipment from that bygone era.

Tom’s Logging Camp is the perfect place to learn about logging history and see how things used to be done.

Inside the main building you find gifts and trinkets, but out back is where the real fun is.

Follow along the trail and learn about logging conditions.

They have a Horse Barn, Blacksmith Shop, Harness Shop, Shoe Shop, Horseshoeing Stall, Bunkhouse, Cook Shanty, and Finnish Sauna, each building authentically equipped.

Visit the Gravity House (mystery-style house). Wrap up with the chance to feed llamas, pygmy goats, and rainbow trout.

This is a real treasure. My husband encouraged me to stop, and I’ve been telling everyone about it every chance I get. I highly recommend this stop as one of the most fun things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota.

Toms Logging Camp near Two Harbors MN

Burlington Bay

Location: Two Harbors, MN 55616

Burlington Bay is a beautiful beach located in Two Harbors in Minnesota’s Lake County. It’s a great spot to enjoy the waves and sun, as well as discover interesting rocks, glass, and agates.

There is a small gravel parking area close to the beach, and it’s easy to find.

The beach is perfect for a day of beachcombing, BBQing, swimming, and sunbathing – any day of the year! If you’d like to stretch your legs, Burlington Bay Campground is only a few minutes walk away.

Burlington Bay Sunrise

Burlington Bay Campground

Location: Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Finding a campsite at an MN State Park along the north shore can be like playing the lottery.

When a state park isn’t available, you’ll find yourself looking for private sites. That’s where Burlington Bay Campground comes in.

This campground has some excellent harbor view sites. They are very sought after, so book early.

The RV sites away from shore are a little tight, but the tenting sites have everything you need. They are the closest option to camping near downtown Two Harbors.

Gitchi-Gami State Trail

Location: Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Running along much of the north shore is the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. It stretches between Two Harbors and Grand Marais, along Lake Superior’s Shoreline.

Right now, the trail is completed in different sections. Starting at Gooseberry Falls, take it up to Silver Bay. Once completed, it will be an 89-mile non-motorized paved trail.

Need a place to stay after your adventures? Check out the Superior Shores Resort. They have everything you are looking for from great views to a pool!

Silver Creek Cliff Wayside Park Hike

Location: Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Looking for a quick hike with an epic overview? Follow the signs to the Silver Creek Wayside, just off of Highway 61.

You’ll head inland and up the top of the cliffside.

There is a short 1-mile hike that takes you high above the town with beautiful vistas.

Silver Bay Overlook near two harbors

Silver Creek Tunnel

Location: 2025 Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel, Two Harbors, MN 55616

This iconic tunnel is 1,300 feet long and sits right next to a scenic overlook.

When you stop at the overlook, take a quick peek at the pathway that sits next to the cliffside. That was once the road.

You’ll realize why the tunnel was necessary.

Construction on the tunnel didn’t start until 1991. The old portion of the road is now a walking and biking path.

If you’d like still to see the scenic views from the old road, you can pull over and park on the north side of the tunnel. There is a parking lot and a selfie spot! The trail runs parallel to the road on the lakeside of the cliff.

Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel

Cross County Skiing

Location: 1711 Korkki Rd, Duluth, MN 55804
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If you are looking for winter activities, you gotta try cross county skiing. Two Harbors offers plenty of trails to choose from.

If you’re new to cross-country skiing, the Korkki Nordic Ski Center offers clinics and rentals to help you get started.

You can travel around the trails at your own pace, or join a group for a more challenging venture. No matter what you choose, skiing in Two Harbors is sure to be a fun and rewarding experience.

Dog Sledding

Location: 6838 Pequaywan Lake Rd, Duluth, MN 55803
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Dog sledding in Two Harbors is a popular activity for families during the winter. The town has two designated areas where dogs can run and play, and most importantly, families can enjoy the fun together.

There are also a number of companies that offer dog sledding tours throughout the area, like Endurance Kennels.

Where can I stay in Two Harbors?

There are several options for lodging in Two Harbors, including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts: 11 Best Places to Stay in Two Harbors MN

Small Time Fishing Charters

Location: 99 Beach Dr, Silver Bay, MN 55614
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Lake Superior is known for commercial fishing. Why not spend some time doing it yourself? No boat, no problem! The Small Time Charters Knife River is a great trip. Captain Kevin is great at working with novice and experienced anglers.

Their vessel accommodates up to 6 guests. They use a variety of different methods and know where the fish are. Mostly fishing for Trout and Salmon.

Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard

Location: Highway 61 & Park Road Burlington Bay Beach, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Some of the best views of the north shore are from the water. That’s why you need to check out Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard.

Pick up your watercraft by Burlington Bay and get in the water. It’s absolutely stunning.

Amicus Adventure Sailing

Location: 115 Marina Road, Knife River, MN 55609
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Ever wanted to let the wind power you across the water? Try out a guided sailing adventure on the Amicus II, a custom 40-foot sailboat.

There could be no better way to experience the breathtaking Lake Superior shoreline. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing to do in Two Harbors Minnesota.

Rock Climbing at Hellacious Overlook (Palisade Head)

Location: Palisade Head, Beaver Bay Township, MN 55614
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Just north of Two Harbors is a popular overlook called Hellacious Overlook. commonly known as Palisade Head. This stunning overlook also has some amazing rock climbing.

The elevation starts to rise quickly off the shores of Lake Superior, providing some incredible top-rope climbing opportunities with breathtaking views.

These climbing sites rival the best in the country for variety, rock quality, and stunning views of Lake Superior.

Don’t have your own gear, or want a little more help? Visit Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply. They offer full-service tours.

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply knows the best routes for every experience level. Even if you don’t get the chance to climb it, this is one of the best places on the north shore.

Palisades Head
Palisades Head

Northwoods Pioneer Gallery

Location: 2821 Highway 61, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Northwoods Pioneer Gallery is a unique shopping experience just north of the city of Two Harbors.

The gallery sells the products of about 50 area artisans, featuring a variety of handmade items, including pottery, jewelry, woodworking, and more.

Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or something special for yourself, Northwoods Pioneer Gallery is the perfect place to find it. 

North Shore Architectural Antiques

Location: 224 7th Street, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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North Shore Architectural Antiques is a treasure trove of regional historic building elements located in historic Two Harbors.

The shop attracts both locals and visitors, offering a wide selection of materials for use by restoration and remodeling contractors, do-it-yourselfer, and interior decorators and designers.

Whether you’re restoring a historic home or looking for unique decorative accents, North Shore Architectural Antiques is a must-visit destination.

Larsmont Cottages

Location: 596 Larsmont Way, Two Harbors, MN 55616
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Looking for a place to relax and get in touch with nature? Larsmont Cottages on Lake Superior is perfect for you! Their cottages are situated in 40 acres of private woods and offer stunning views of Lake Superior, as well as access to 1,300 feet of beachfront shoreline. This is the perfect place to relax or even have a romantic retreat.

Reserve your room at Larsmont Cottages by clicking here. During peak season, they will fill up!

How much time do you need in Two Harbors Minnesota?

That all depends on how much time you have. Since it is the gateway to Lake Superior’s North Shore, you’ll have plenty of changes to come back.

For me, the top things to do in Two Harbors Minnesota are to see the historic lighthouse, visit Palisades Head and get some Bettie’s Pies. Everything else is just filler for my adventure!

With its incredible natural scenery, wealth of outdoor activities, historical sites, and family-friendly attractions, Two Harbors offers something for everyone.

Whether you love hitting the trails, learning about local history, basking on sunny beaches, or exploring charming downtown areas, you’re sure to have an unforgettable trip in this picturesque town along Lake Superior’s beautiful North Shore.

I hope this blog post has shown you some of the top things to see and do during your visit to Two Harbors, MN. Let me know if you need any other Minnesota travel tips!

I’m always happy to share more hidden gems and must-see attractions in this amazing state I call home.

Wherever your adventures take you along the North Shore, I know you’ll fall in love with the natural beauty and welcoming spirit of Two Harbors. Enjoy your trip!

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