Come Unplug and Reconnect with the Outdoors. Take the Unplug and Play Pledge to make your vacation Way North of Ordinary. Commit to getting outside. Here are some suggestions.
HikingOne of our biggest loves includes the www.shta.org Superior Hiking Trail. Since 2002, Lee has been working on completing the “original” 200 plus mile trail system with her sister, Jan from the Twin Cities. On September 9, 2015, Lee and Jan completed their last segment from Split Rock to Beaver Bay with a twist. Backpacking the 11.3 miles with a one night stay mid section, was a new experience. It has been a true blessing to spend this time together hiking such a unique trail system in our own back yard. Scott on the other hand has run a major portion of the trail. He has participated in a few of the Superior Hiking Trail races. He has completed a couple Moose Mountain Marathons and 50 milers. So, if you want to know where to hike and what are favorites are just ask. We do offer a shuttle service for a nominal fee to those hikers who would like to hike point to point.
TennisAnother passion lies with tennis. The Cook County Public Tennis Courts are located in Grand Marais by the High School. There are 5 beautiful courts including 3 with lights. The Cook County Tennis Association provides drop in tennis opportunities along with the Fisherman’s Picnic Tournament held the first weekend in August. Visit their website at www.facebook.com/groups/cookcountytennisassociation.
GolfWe do love to golf and get out a couple of times during the season. If you are a golfer, go play the championship 27-hole Superior National Golf Course www.superiornational.com which overlooks Lake Superior and the Poplar River in Lutsen or play the 9 hole course at Gunflint Hills 10 miles from us in up the Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais.
BikingThe Gitchi-Gami State Trail system is a non-motorized paved recreational trail system that when completed will span 88 miles between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. At present there is over 25 miles of riding or walking pleasure. Visit their website to stay up to date on trail progress at www.ggta.org/trail.php. There are other opportunities to ride along Highway 61 if you are comfortable with the traffic. A few sections of highway 61 have double wide shoulders that allow riding while enjoying a view of Lake Superior. We are mostly road bikers, but are considering the options that a cyclocross bike (gravel bike) may provide to explore the numerous gravel and forest service roads in the county. Mountain biking is also becoming more widespread on the North Shore. The “Lutsen 99” is a mountain bike race that has taken off with great enthusiasm. The race has 3 distances (19, 39 and 99 miles) and occurs in late June.
Canoeing | Kayaking
Prior to our move to become Innkeepers, our summer vacations included annual trips to the BWCA or the Quetico Provincial Park. We have fond memories of numerous routes in either park that we enjoy sharing or we would love to hear what our guests have to say about the trips they have or will be taking as they pass through. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Park offer miles of the best canoeing wilderness in the world. Kayaking on Lake Superior or one of the many inland lakes is an experience neither of us has yet to enjoy. This is definitely on the “to do list”.
FishingWhile staying at Thomsonite Beach Inn, you will see many commercial and private fishing boats from our shoreline. Charter fishing on Lake Superior includes fishing for salmon and trout. Guided inland fishing is available and catches include walleye, lake trout, pike and bass with the assistance of a local guide. If you have your own boat, Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, so take your pick while here in Cook County.
Rock PickingMany guests are attracted to our Inn because of the Thomsonite gemstone that is located on our property. Thomsonite is embedded in a section of Lake Superior that is 5-7 miles long and our property is about in the middle. To preserve our beautiful Thomsonite embedded shoreline, we do not allow rock picking. We will offer suggestions on alternative locations to hunt for Thomsonite as well as the Agate. We do have an impressive selection of Thomsonite gemstones and gold/silver Thomsonite jewelry in our gift shop.
SightseeingVisit nearby Grand Marais with its harbor and marina, or take in local playhouse events, art galleries, shopping, and museums. Enjoy the Cascade and Temperance Rivers, Gooseberry Falls, Grand Portage, Split Rock Lighthouse, Tettegouche, and other state parks and historical sites. Lutsen Mountains offers an alpine slide or gondola ride in the summer time for some spectacular views and family fun.
The fall colors on the North Shore are amazing. It can be another opportunity to take a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail, visit the various State Parks while there are many suggested routes to experience. A few of our favorite spots to explore include Oberg Mountain, White Sky Rock, Lookout Mountain and Lake Agnes. We often suggest a road trip to Wild Country Maple Syrup or along the Caribou and Honeymoon Trails across to the Sawbill Trail as a must.
Alpine skiing | Snowboarding
Lee basically grew up skiing at the Lutsen Ski area. So, downhill skiing is a long time passion of hers. Lee takes the opportunity to hit the slopes when she can so she can provide accurate snow conditions to the winter guests. She loves this part of her job at Thomsonite. Now known as Lutsen Mountains, it offers the highest peaks (1,000+ feet of vertical), longest runs (2 miles) and most skiable space (1,000 acres) of any downhill skiing/snowboarding resort in the Midwest. Lutsen Mountains is located 13 miles south of Thomsonite Beach. Carve your turns on a wide variety of terrain, while taking in the spectacular view of Lake Superior. The four mountains offer a different challenge for all abilities of skiers or boarders. Check our specials section for current ski packages.
XC skiingCook County has the largest cross country ski trail system in North America. Scott loves to take advantage of skiing what he can of the 400 km of beautifully groomed Nordic trails. There are numerous trails for all levels of skiers. XC skiers can take part in the Volks ski challenge at www.volkski.com as part of their North Shore winter experience.
Here is another winter activity that many visitors flood to the North Shore to feel the thrill as they ride along some of the Midwest’s most breathtaking and mountainous backcountry terrain. Thomsonite Beach is located four to six miles from the closest snowmobile trail access points. Visit www.visitcookcounty.com/snow/trailconditions.php for the most up to date trail information.
The ArtsThe North House Folk School www.northhouse.org is about celebrating traditional Northern crafts and the joy of learning. Classes include the fiber arts, wood carving, timber framing, boat building and basketry to name a few. The North House also supports various annual events and themed weekends throughout the year such as: The Winters Gathering and Arctic Film Festival, The Wooden Boat Show and Unplugged Music Festival. Check out the link noted to see what might be a reason for you to visit the North Shore and take a class at the North House. As a bonus, all students attending North House classes will receive a 10 % discount on lodging at Thomsonite.
The Grand Marais Art Colony provides hands-on art classes for beginners to professionals, independent studio access for artists, events and exhibits in the visual arts, ceramics, printmaking, glass and more. Visit www.grandmaraisartcolony.org to see upcoming classes or events to nurture your creativity on your next North Shore getaway.
The Arrowhead Center for the Arts celebrates and promotes the arts, artists, and the uniquely creative culture of Minnesota's North Shore and Arrowhead regions. The Arrowhead Center for the Arts is a managed by the school and is located in Grand Marais. The Center serves the community and visitors with theatre , music , and an diverse selection of year-round cultural events. Visit www.arrowheadcenterforthearts.org.
This is not an all inclusive list of what to do when visiting the North Shore. So, if you didn't find information on what you were looking for please visit www.visitcookcounty.com. There is a host of information on activities and events in every season on the North Shore.
Lodging SpecialsClose this window Last Minute Lodging Website Special
Within 48 hours of your anticipated arrival, call us at 1.888.387.1532 or send us an email and mention you saw our last minute special on our website. We will offer you a special rate based on our remaining rooms. This offer is not valid on existing reservations.
Lutsen Mountains Ski and Stay Packages:
We team up with Lutsen Mountains to provide our guests with valuable lift and lodging packages for your winter pleasure. Packages vary but at the least are based on a minimum 2 night stay. Packages include discounted lodging and lift tickets. Further discounts may be found at www.lutsen.com for equipment rental and ski lessons. We have units 1,2,4,6,8, 10 and 11 available for these packages. Please give us a call or use the search below to see what fits your need. Come ski/snowboard on the Midwest’s finest mountain then return home to relax and rejuvenate with us by Lake Superior.
Click here to book a ski and stay package.
ReviewsClose this window We’re back! LOL and we brought friends – Heidi, Kirsten, Julia & Tess
What a find – don’t always “luck out” when picking lodging out of a book – the little extras like the lovely bar soap, fire pit, grills on the rocks. Thanks so much for the hiking tips- they were “right on”. We will be back. – Tom & Shirley, St. Michael, MN
You truly have a wonderful place. All 6 of us have enjoyed our women’s weekend away. We’ve endured challenging hike with difficult weather, enjoyed listening/watching the superior waves crashing in, warmed up with a wonderful campfire and saw “cornius hictus” the northern light in the sky. We’re not sure which we did more of: walking or laughing. We have had a wonderful time and have truly enjoyed your hospitality……We all hope to see you again. – Kathy, Evann, Sherry, Julie, Judy and Deb, Twin Cities area
This trip has been a blessing for my friend and me. The place is breath taking, the view is amazing. I have to say that this is one of my favorite trips. We will definitely be back. Thank you for the hiking tips. We enjoyed Eagle Mountain trails. We hope to be back in the summer, but we will be staying for a week instead of two days. Thank you! Blessings, Channy & Nicole
Thank you Scott and Lee for the relaxing restful stay. This spot is georgeous! While staying the week, I was inspired far beyond my expectations of seeing beautiful landscapes. The weather was cold and rainy, but WOW! The cloud formations, mist and waves could not have be more perfect for subject of my paintings at the Art Colony. I completed some nice work thanks to the intense weather. I loved hearing the waves all night, too. Thanks for everything. Good luck hunting with Rip – what a comedian, Ha! – Joanne
We finally made it up to Thomsonite in September 2007 to surprise my parents who had been coming here for years. We had a fantastic visit and we’ve decided to come back each year. We love it here. Please enjoy the cedar bench near the office in memory of my father. Our visit in 2007 to Thomsonite was the last time we saw him. – Karen & Nick, Carrolton, TX
What a nice birthday gift from our kids. We enjoyed the serenity of the lodge. Nice chance for sightseeing and came home to peace and quiet. What a nice treat. – Dick & Jackie, Redwing, MN
Thank you for the good memories. We love the sound of the water, the camp fire and the friendly people. This was the weekend for the maples. They were beautiful. We look forward to our next visit. – Geoff & Jade, Arden Hills, MN
We live on Lake Superior and you have the best sound effects, marvelous on shore waves and scenery. – Tom & Sylvia, Thunder Bay, ONT
In a nutshell….Two young love birds on their first getaway. Guess we could also mention how we lucked out on this little trip: great snowboarding weather, our kind hosts – Lee & Scott, the roar of the lake. Hope this was the first of many visits to Thomsonite Beach! – Anita & Josh, Minneapolis
Wish we would have found this place earlier in our trip. Love the jewelry! We’ll remember to stay here if we are ever back in this area. Very peaceful and comfortable. – Paul & Kathy, Tonganoxie, KS
This is our first visit to the North Shore. My first reaction is WOW! This part of the country is unbelievably beautiful. Lake Superior is enormous. We’ve seen waterfall, light houses, eagles, otters, loons, ships and the Canadian border by the High Falls of the Pigeon River. We drove to the end of the Gunflint Trail and drank numerous lattes from the Java Moose in Grand Marais. We look forward to returning again so our grandson can experience “the loft”. This is truly a great place to start making memories with our grand children (hopefully annual visits). Thanks for such a nice place to stay. – Chris & Randy, Britt, IA
Thank you sunset pinks and purples becoming green and yellows. Thank you rocks and breeze and quiet times. Thank you sleeping, thank you laughing, thank you life and grace and being. Amen! – Sarah, Linda & Eileen
We loved our stay! The sights, sounds and smells are a delight for a couple of “city slickers”. We tried to take in as many glorious sights as possible but 4 days is not enough time…. We will be back next year. We love the “cabin” and the loft is just as much for BIG kids like us. The grounds are awesome and we were able to recharge our batteries with peace and beautiful settings. – Mark & Cora, Waukegan, IL