If you’re looking for some fun things to do in Grand Portage, Minnesota, we’ve picked our favorite for you to get started!
Grand Portage is in Cook County, Minnesota, and sits on Lake Superior at the northeast corner of the state near southwestern Ontario. The population of this unorganized territory was 565 at the last census.
This is a beautiful area of Minnesota with many exciting things to see and do. Any time of year, you will find a visit to Grand Portage both stimulating and enjoyable. Don’t forget your camera, as many fantastic photo opportunities await you!
19 Fun Things To Do In Grand Portage Minnesota
Grand Portage National Monument
First on our list of fun things to do in Grand Portage is to visit The Grand Portage National Monument.
Definitely worth visiting, this national monument is located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota. It preserves a vital center for fur trade activity and the Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. This region became one of the British Empire’s four primary fur trading centers in North America with Fort Detroit, Fort Niagara, and Michilimackinac.
The Heritage Center commits to honor the area’s history, people, and culture. The building has exhibit galleries about Ojibwe culture and fur trading. The monument’s Heritage Center and trails are open year-round. The Historic Depot, which houses the Great Hall, kitchen, canoe warehouse, Voyageurs Encampment, historic gardens, and Ojibwe Village, is typically open from Memorial Day through Columbus Day.
Visit the Eastern National bookstore to learn more about the area, the people, and the culture of the Grand Portage area.
High Falls at Pigeon River Provincial Park
High Falls is located at the end of a gradual 0.5-mile paved trail and boardwalk, making it the only North Shore state park wheelchair-accessible to the main feature.
View the scenic wonder and majesty of Minnesota’s tallest waterfall. Three observation decks at High Falls offer park visitors various vantage points for photography and quiet meditation.
The Falls stand 92 feet high and are absolutely beautiful as you watch the Pigeon River come rushing over the crest, through rock, and into the basin below. The Pigeon River divides the United States and Canada as the water travels inland from Lake Superior.
After you have finished admiring the falls’ beauty and taking all the photos you care to, follow the trail along the river and descend the staircase. Here you will see gorgeous views over the Pigeon River and the expanse of land behind it.
Grand Portage State Park
Here are some highlights of things you can do while visiting this park:
- Hiking to Middle Falls
- Photographing scenic views and spring and summer wildflowers
Displays offer an introduction to the traditions and culture of the people of the Grand Portage Ojibwe community. Four large murals frame a story of seasonal movement and a subsistence lifestyle valued by many to this day. Members of the Ojibwe community directed the development of these displays. Park visitors get a unique ‘sense of place’ at the only state park located within an Indian Reservation on land owned by the Tribe.
The 4.5-mile round-trip hike to Middle Falls is a very rugged trail with rocks and roots, and several hundred feet of elevation change, which provides more of a wilderness experience. The average round-trip hiking time for the Middle Falls Trail is at least 3 hours.
Pigeon River International Bridge
This location is the second busiest port of entry in the state and one of the 25 most traveled land ports on the US and Canada border. In pre-industrial times, the river was a waterway for transportation and fur trading.
Grand Portage Lodge and Casino
Plan a stay at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino and enjoy gaming, hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, camping, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, and photography. If you are a snow lover, enjoy winter activities such as snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
For those that enjoy a game of chance, Grand Portage Casino has the newest slots along with the old favorites. Enjoy over 425 easy-to-play slots, with a 100% coinless system for payout on all slot machines.
The hotel has newly renovated rooms with beautiful scenic views. Double rooms have two queen size beds, and singles have king-size beds. Free high-speed internet is available in all rooms, and there is access to the new indoor heated pool, hot tub, and fitness room.
If you are planning a lengthy stay, upgrade your room to a suite. You will then have a beautiful parlor room, electric fireplace, private Jacuzzi, and wet bar. It can connect to a king or double room for a convenient three-room suite.
The Antlers Lounge is one of those places where “everybody knows your name.” You can enjoy appetizers, sandwiches, cocktails, microbrews, and all while watching your favorite game on one of their nine large TVs. They also have a jukebox and tabletop slot machines, and more.
Motorcyclists are welcome!
If you are planning a quick escape or a full tour, scenic Highway 61 is calling you. Cruise the unpolluted North Shore of Lake Superior for superb beauty, great memories, good times, delicious food, luxurious rooms, and casino excitement.
Enjoy magnificent lake views, a relaxing lounge, indoor pool, hot tub, and a lakeside fire pit after a day sightseeing on your bike.
Grand Portage is the perfect place for your next vacation destination. They offer the ideal getaway for solo riders or groups. Be sure to inquire about their Motorcycle Group Packages.
Don’t let a little snow keep you away from one of the most beautiful areas of Minnesota! Snowmobilers enjoy the trails, wildlife, nature, and magnificent landscapes, on over 100 miles of well-groomed trails. This picturesque getaway is a snowmobilers Heaven!
In the spring, summer, and fall, the same trails are great for hiking, revealing a different glimpse of the area’s natural beauty.
As with motorcycle groups, they offer snowmobile group packages. They have an annual Snowmobile Poker Run, partnering with nearby lodges in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail. They post snowmobile trail conditions weekly during the snowmobiling season.
Isle Royale National Park
Another photo-worthy spot, Isle Royale, is an island located in the northwest part of Lake Superior and part of Michigan. The island and 450 surrounding smaller islands and waters constitute the Isle Royale National Park. The island is 45 miles long and nine miles wide, making it the fourth-largest lake island in the world.
Isle Royale was made a national park in 1931 and, in 1980, was designated a biosphere reserve. It has an abundance of wildlife such as wolves, fox, moose, gulls, beaver, loons, ducks, cormorants, otters, eagles, and many rare plants.
Grand Portage Isle Royale Transportation Lines
It is easy to get to Isle Royale. The transportation lines began as a way for a north shore family to catch freshwater fish in the area from Isle Royale to Minnesota. It gradually expanded to include passenger service.
Today, they provide transportation for adventurers who want to camp, hike, kayak, or canoe throughout the park and those wanting to enjoy the park’s natural beauty and history. They have two ferries to make the two-hour trip to the island from Grand Portage.
For individuals who are into fitness and enjoy a good hike, you will love the reasonably uphill hike to the top of Mount Josephine. You will have views of Lake Superior, Pigeon Point, Isle Royale, Wauswaugoning Bay, and the Susie Islands. Mount Josephine, one of the peaks in the Sawtooth Mountains in northeastern Minnesota, is located on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation.
While hiking, be prepared for rough and slippery surfaces, especially on the ledge rock. Some people go as far as the lookouts near the old fire tower. But the trail extends to the famous Witch Tree at the end of Hat Point. A photo opportunity, the Witch Tree is said to be one of the world’s oldest and smallest trees. It is referred to in journals dating back to the 1790s and suggests that the tree is over 300 years old.
Ryden’s Border Store
Since 1947, Ryden’s Border Store has been a family-owned business. The store is located ½ mile from the US/Canada border in Grand Portage. They accept both US and Canadian currency subject to current exchange rates, Visa, Master Card, and Discover. Duty-free allowance after 48 hours out of Canada, or going into Canada for:
- One 40oz (1.14L) bottle or one case (24) of beer
- One carton of cigarettes
- 50 cigars
- 200 gram of tobacco, pipe, or chew (snuff)
Restaurants In and Near Grand Portage
After a day of sightseeing or walking, you may need a good meal. Or perhaps you can begin your day with some sustenance at one of the highly-rated eating establishments in the area.
- Island View Dining Room
- Located in the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner
- Chicago Bay Marketplace-Deli-Bakery
- Described as a diamond in the rough! Delicious baked goods during the morning hours, caramel rolls, cinnamon rolls, and homemade pizza crusts for lunch or supper.
- There is a small liquor store on one side, groceries on the other, with the bakery and dining room in the middle.
- Naniboujou Lodge and Restaurant
- Delicious Sunday brunch, great breakfasts, fish, salads, and desserts are exceptional.
- Also fabulous coffee and efficient service
- Angry Trout Café
- Highly rated for its fabulous fish dishes. Whitefish chowder, grilled herring sandwich, wild rice salad, and many unique dishes.
- Vegetarian options are available as well.
- Trail Center Lodge
- Fabulous food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- They sell groceries, have very friendly service, clean, great menu, and a large liquor assortment.
- My Sisters Place
- This is a casual, family-style Northwoods restaurant that serves excellent sandwiches, burgers, homemade soups, fresh salads, locally caught fish specials, homemade stonebaked pizza, a large selection of draft beer, and imported wine.
- Dockside Fish Market
- Great place for a fish lover to stop! Excellent fish meals with cornmeal coating, fries, coleslaw
- Kippers, smoked herring, and other varieties of fish available.
- Patio seating
- Poplar Haus
- A sports bar along the Gunflint Trail
- Duck wings, burgers, Reubens, tap beers, and cocktails
- Harbor House Grille
- French onion soup, frog legs, kale salad, and other great dishes
- Comfortable patio seating
- Blue Water Café
- Great place for breakfast or lunch.
- Delicious pies and breakfasts
Minnesota is a beautiful state and a photographer’s dream! The Grand Portage area is an example of the beauty to be found and a worthy vacation spot for lovers of the outdoors.
Wrapping Up Our Fun Things To Do In Grand Portage, MN
What did you think of our list of 19 Fun Things To Do In Grand Portage? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.