Nestled along the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior, Two Harbors, MN is a quaint, picturesque, lakeside town boasting a rich history. Numerous historic sites can be found throughout the city like the Split Rock Lighthouse – the most photographed lighthouse in the country. A nature lovers’ paradise, the town is home to several rivers, ponds, streams, waterfalls, and lakes.
1.Gooseberry Falls State Park
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Founded in 1937, Gooseberry Falls State Park is located on the North Shore of Lake Superior along the scenic Minnesota Highway 61. This 1,687 acre park encircles the mouth of the Gooseberry River and includes Lower, Middle, and Upper Gooseberry Falls. Gooseberry Falls also provides 18 miles of hiking trails and eight miles of mountain biking trails, both of which connect to the famous 310-mile long Superior Hiking Trail. During the winter months snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing are popular activities in the park. The park’s visitor center provides naturalist’s with interesting exhibits, interpretive programs, and a gift shop. There are also a few historical sites within the park including the original bridge.
3206 Highway 61 East, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-595-7100
2.Split Rock Lighthouse & State Park
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The Split Rock Lighthouse & State Park, a 2,200 acre state park, is situated on Lake Superior’s North Shore. It’s most prominent fixture is the Split Rock Lighthouse, a historic site and one of the most photographed lighthouse’s in the nation. It also features, a trail center, a lakeshore picnic area, and a visitor center with a museum store showcasing maritime décor, Lighthouse souvenirs, north woods artwork, apparel, and locally crafted items from artisans. The park also provides visitors with 14 miles of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing trails along the lakeshore and into the northern forest
3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-226-6372
3.Superior Hiking Trail
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The Superior Hiking Trail also referred to as the SHT, is a 310-mile-long footpath that runs along the rocky ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior. There are over 50 access points from one end of the trail, near Jay Cooke State Park to the other end of the trail, the Canada-US border near Lake Superior. The trail travels through forests of pine, aspen, birch, cedar, and fir, passing by cascading waterfalls, babbling brooks, and rushing rivers. Hikers will be rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the Sawtooth Mountains and boreal forests. The SHT also provides 93 backcountry campsites dispersed every five-eight miles for long-distance trekkers.
731 7th Avenue, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-2700
4.Two Harbors Lighthouse
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First lit in 1892, the historic Two Harbors Light Station is the oldest operating lighthouse in Minnesota. Made entirely of red brick, it consists of six structures, a fog signal building, a skiff home, a garage, an oil house, the lighthouse tower with attached keeper’s home, and an assistant keeper’s home. Visitors can tour the beautifully restored Lighthouse Tower housing the rotating light and the Keeper’s Quarters which serves as a bed and breakfast and underwent an early 20th century restoration. The Assistant Keeper’s building is also available to the public. It has been restored to the 19th century era and acts as a museum displaying exhibits on the development of Agate Bay and Lake Superior shipwrecks.
520 South Avenue, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-4898
5.Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area
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Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area is located in Two Harbors, situated between the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and Gooseberry Falls State Park. A pristine and untouched pebbled beach, it features pink felsite and rhyolite pebbles that make tinkling musical sounds as the waves roll in and out, a characteristic unique to this area. It is one of only three Scientific and Natural areas in Minnesota. There are no maintained trails, but visitors are welcome to hike in the area to explore the wildflowers and native plants and well as enjoy some wildlife viewing. They are also permitted to swim at Iona Beach, however water shoes are recommended.
Gitchi Gami State Trail, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-753-2580
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Hellacious Overlook, more commonly referred to as Palisade Head, is a North Shore landmark located off Highway 61 close to Silver Bay. To access the 350-foot-tall cliff, visitors will need to watch for the narrow, lakeside road that appears at milepost 57. They will exit off onto this road and take the steep but safe drive slowly up to the top of this soaring coastal cliff in order to reach the lookout. There is a small parking area that requires some tight maneuvering at the top. Made from volcanic rock, this stunning cliff formation overlooks the gorgeous Lake Superior.
3206 Highway 61, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-595-7100
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The Depot Museum is housed in a historic brick building built in 1907 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Former headquarters of the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad, the building played a prominent role in the development of the iron ore industry throughout region and Minnesota itself. It served as a functional station until 1961 serving both passenger and freight needs. Today, the building serves as a museum showcasing the development of Lake County through various exhibits focusing on three main industries, timber, commercial fishing, and the railroad and iron mining. It is also the home of the administrative offices of the Lake County Historical Societies, the Judge William Scott Library, and archive storage.
520 South Avenue, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-4898
8.3M Dwan Museum
© 3M Dwan Museum
Housed in the original Dwan Law Office Building, the 3M Museum was created to honor the original roots of 3M, a multinational conglomerate that was once simply, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company. Located in Two Harbors, the museum features exhibits explaining how 3M defined the business model for research and development, as well as how they became a global force that employs nearly 90,000 people worldwide. Exhibits include the recreated office of Attorney John Dwan, a lab, and a complete history and timeline of the company that incorporates photos, documents, and artifacts. They also have several technology applications and hands-on interactive programs.
520 South Avenue, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-4898
9.Northwoods Pioneer Gallery & Gifts
© Northwoods Pioneer Gallery & Gifts
Opened in 1972, the Northwoods Pioneer Gallery & Gifts was started by a number of small local craft organizations. It was created as a means for elderly and low-income Northeastern Minnesotans to bring their crafts to market as well as to provide educational arts and crafts activities to locals and visitors alike. It has since opened up to all local artisans regardless of income or age. As a cooperative, the facility is run by its members, they tend to the shop and work as sales clerks. Often times, the members who are working provide demonstrations of their craft, sharing the techniques of their trade. This includes, wheat weaving, beading, wood working, beading, and painting.
2821 Highway 61, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-4175
10.The Purple Lotus
© The Purple Lotus
The Purple Lotus offers different types of therapeutic massage and bodywork. The owner and certified massage therapist, Christina has created a tranquil space for her customers to relax in the heart of Two Harbors. An earthy oasis, The Purple Lotus features stunning hardwood floors, sea foam green walls, a comfortable seating area, and a private Zen room boasting a Japanese garden atmosphere. Customers can choose from a wide range of services including several different types of massage such as Pregnancy, Sports, Relaxation, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, and Raindrop. The Purple Lotus also offers paraffin wax treatment for the hands and feet as well as aromatherapy and head and scalp massages.
620 1st Avenue, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-260-1298
11.North Shore Architectural Antiques
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North Shore Architectural Antiques is a 10,000-square-foot antique shop located in the charming town of Two Harbors. They specialize in regional historic building materials from the 1850s all the way to the 1950s. Their region is the western part of Lake Superior, focused around Duluth, Superior, Minnesota, and Wisconsin reflecting the style of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Visitors will find a lot of Victorian, early Art Deco, and Art & Crafts at this shop. They cater to everyone from professional restoration contractors to DIY interior decorators and feature pieces from both residential and commercial buildings.
224 7th Street, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-0018
12.Cedar Coffee Company
© Cedar Coffee Company
The Cedar Coffee Company is located in the small town of Two Harbors. Nestled off-the-beaten-path it’s surrounded by beautiful woodlands. Housed in a wood-paneled, mountain-style home, it boasts large floor-to-ceiling-windows and an expansive backyard area equipped with family-style communal picnic tables. Its interior features a modern design with a rustic twist highlighted by bikes, bikes dangle from the ceiling and adorn the walls in colorful artworks. An array of coffee, espresso, and non-coffees are showcased on large chalkboards and a small menu offering breakfast and lunch selections is provided. It consists of classic American dishes with a contemporary edge, like the Fign’ Pig, a hot sandwich made with bacon, ham, fig jam, and cream cheese on ciabatta bun.
1130 11th Street, Two Harbors, MN
13.The Rustic Inn Cafe
© The Rustic Inn Cafe
Housed in a historic1920s era building, The Rustic Inn is a warm and welcoming restaurant boasting a mountain cabin-style décor with its original hand-milled, cedar walls, and birch floors. This second-generation family-owned-and-operated eatery has been serving up classic American dishes with a Two Harbors twist for over thirty years. Tender roast beef, fresh Lake Superior fish, homemade mashed potatoes, piping hot breakfast skillets, and creative omelets are just a few of their delicious dishes. The only thing that can top their savory, comfort cuisine is their homemade, handcrafted pies in a variety of flavors such as Cherry Pie, 5 Layer Chocolate, North Shore Berry Crumb, and Lemon Angel.
2773 Highway 61, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-2488
© Louise’s Place
Louise’s Place is nestled along the stunning shores of Lake Superior in downtown, Two Harbors. A charming, rustic log cabin style structure, Louise’s provides visitor’s with homey atmosphere with its wood furnishings, handmade crafts, and kitschy décor. Open daily for breakfast and lunch they serve made-from-scratch daily specials, breads, and sweet treats. Savory cinnamon rolls, Swedish pancakes, and a hearty breakfast sandwich made with eggs, cheese, and a choice of sausage, ham, or bacon on a toasted English muffin are just a few of the breakfast selections. The lunch menu consists of a selection of classic American sandwiches as well as recurring daily specials such as pulled pork, lasagna, and meatloaf.
19 Waterfront Drive, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-2176
© Betty’s Pies
Betty’s Pies has been a Two Harbors, neighborhood staple for the last sixty years. Housed in an expansive, rustic, mountain-style home boasting a wood and brick exterior. The interior features a 1950s style with blue and white checkered flooring, a breakfast bar with swivel stools, and oversized, blue leather booths. Betty’s serves up traditional American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as an assortment of homemade pies. Menu selections include a variety of two-egg breakfast combos, skillets, and sweet griddle treats as well as burgers and sandwiches. There are also nearly three dozen pies to choose from including flavors like Butterfinger, 5 Layer Chocolate, Toffee Cream, and Apple Crunch.
1633 Highway 61, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 877-269-7494
16.Vanilla Bean Restaurant
© Vanilla Bean Restaurant
The Vanilla Bean Restaurant is located in the scenic town of Two Harbors situated along Highway 61. Housed in a quaint pastoral style home, boasting a cozy, mountain-cabin décor, the restaurant offers an all-day brunch menu featuring classic American fare. A few of their sweet and savory selections include flavored sweet rolls, mini doughnuts, and Norwegian crepes. An assortment of oven-baked omelets, two-egg breakfast classics, a few benedicts, and a selection of specialty’s like their Walleye Cakes & Eggs make up the heartier breakfast menu options. Starters like their Border Battle Cheese Curds, soups, salads, and a variety of sandwiches and burgers make up their lunch selections.
812 7th Avenue, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-3714
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17.Castle Danger Brewery
© Castle Danger Brewery
Castle Danger Brewery is an expansive brewery located in downtown, Two Harbors featuring a 30 barrel brewing system, a canning line, and a taproom overlooking Lake Superior. All of their legendary beers are known for being balanced, clean, and approachable. Visitors are welcome to taste their delectable brews in their contemporary yet rustic taproom with attached outdoor patio. They offer a selection of current signature brews as well as a list of rotating taproom releases such as their Ode IPA, Vienna Lager, and Honey Raspberry Wheat. Castle Danger also provides brewery tours on Friday and Saturday evenings, they are approximately thirty minutes and include a complimentary beer.
17-7th Street, Two Harbors, MN, Phone: 218-834-5800
17 Best Things to Do in Two Harbors, Minnesota
- Gooseberry Falls State Park, Photo: Courtesy of AMB-MD Photography - Fotolia.com
- Split Rock Lighthouse & State Park, Photo: Courtesy of johnsroad7 - Fotolia.com
- Superior Hiking Trail, Photo: Courtesy of alkerk - Fotolia.com
- Two Harbors Lighthouse, Photo: Courtesy of Tomaz Kunst - Fotolia.com
- Iona’s Beach Scientific and Natural Area, Photo: Courtesy of scandamerican - Fotolia.com
- Hellacious Overlook, Photo: Courtesy of Jacob - Fotolia.com
- Depot Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Matti - Fotolia.com
- 3M Dwan Museum, Photo: 3M Dwan Museum
- Northwoods Pioneer Gallery & Gifts, Photo: Northwoods Pioneer Gallery & Gifts
- The Purple Lotus, Photo: The Purple Lotus
- North Shore Architectural Antiques, Photo: Courtesy of Dave - Fotolia.com
- Cedar Coffee Company, Photo: Cedar Coffee Company
- The Rustic Inn Cafe, Photo: The Rustic Inn Cafe
- Louise’s Place, Photo: Louise’s Place
- Betty’s Pies, Photo: Betty’s Pies
- Vanilla Bean Restaurant, Photo: Vanilla Bean Restaurant
- Castle Danger Brewery, Photo: Castle Danger Brewery
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Aneese - Fotolia.com