Region The North Shore and Highway 61
Along the Coastline
The North Shore — stretching from Duluth to the Canadian border — encompasses the western shore of Lake Superior and defines the coastline of Upper Minnesota. It’s a place, at times, seemingly untouched by development. Characterized by rocky cliffs, soaring peaks, stone beaches and lushly forested hills, it all cascades down to the centerpiece of the region, Lake Superior.
It’s a part of the region people seek out for its tranquil unspoiled beauty and memorable scenic vistas. The North Shore Scenic Drive along famous Highway 61 is an all-American scenic byway, and an ideal drive for production scouting as it winds its way out of Duluth toward Two Harbors and points north. A frontier drama. A small-town comedy. A man vs. nature epic. All of these possibilities and more exist on Lake Superior’s northern coastline.
Period locomotives still chug through the tree-lined hills and valleys, bringing back the days of fur-trading, logging and the history of the Native Americans of the area. Gooseberry Falls, near the village-like area of Castle Danger, is resplendent with natural beauty and a true four-seasons park allowing for flexible year-round shooting opportunities. Rushing waterfalls, ski hills and rustic, rugged beauty define the area.
The most iconic and visited community on the North Shore is the Split Rock/Beaver Bay area. Two Harbors Lighthouse, which has been an active aid to navigation since 1892, currently doubles as a common bed and breakfast for tourists and travelers. Split Rock Lighthouse, a century-old landmark, sits on a 130-foot-tall cliff overlooking the majesty of Lake Superior. Small-town coziness and character define the area just as much as its nature trails and stunning, timeless beauty.
Lutsen Resort is a must-see destination on the North Shore with its towering ski slopes, making it a believable double for any skiing oasis around the world. And Moose Mountain provides unforgettable fall color vistas. All of the North Shore’s natural four-season splendor makes the area adaptable to production.
The North Shore community of Grand Marais is a nature-lover’s dream. With the lake as its focal point, this diverse community of artists and locals celebrates the richness of its forest of a backyard. The area lends itself to a yesteryear vibe that can be reminiscent of frontier times or the majesties of the Pacific Northwest. The many opportunities for location shooting and compelling storytelling make this hamlet on the shore a true production destination.
Gunflint Trail & Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
The famed Gunflint Trail opens up into a paradise of boreal lakes, forests and resorts along the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Majestic wildlife, including moose, beautiful scenery and tranquil, undeveloped land, provide a true wonder of natural filming opportunities. With access to nearby resorts and attractions for lodging and entertainment, every location along Lake Superior’s North Shore awaits artistic and creative development opportunities.
Sources: City of Duluth, City of Superior, Minnesota Iron Range Tourism Bureau, Visitor Guide to Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior