Imagine driving through a tunnel of orange, red, and yellow leaves on a dirt road in the middle of the forest. There’s nothing quite like it. Below are a few of our favorite Fall Color Drives.
Caution: Always take a paper map with you when driving through the woods in our area. Cell phone service is non-existent on most of these roads. Many of these roads are used as snowmobile trails in the winter, so do not drive on them once snow has fallen.
1. Honeymoon Trail – Start at the Caribou Trail (County Road 4) just north of Lutsen off Highway 61. Wind past Caribou Lake and take Forest Road 164 (Honeymoon Trail) to the left.
When you come to the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2), turn left and return to Highway 61 at Tofte.
2. 6 Hundred Road & Temperance River Road – Start at the Sawbill Trail (County Road 2) and head north about 5 miles. Take a left at the 6 Hundred Road. Here you will find the stunningly beautiful Heartbreak Hill. Continue through the forest and take a left at Temperance River Road.
3. Gunflint Trail – The Gunflint Trail is a paved, scenic byway that winds 58 miles into the wilderness. The route begins in Grand Marais, where you’ll take Highway 61 through the town and then take a left onto the Gunflint Trail. You can take the Gunflint Trail as far as you want. Drive slowly as many moose call the Gunflint Trail home.
4. Grand Portage – As soon as the colors begin changing down by Lake Superior, we recommend a drive to Grand Portage. This stretch of the highway is beautiful, truly showcasing Lake Superior on one side and the Sawtooth Mountains on the other. Grand Portage State Park is home to High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. The trail to the waterfall is paved and accessible and would make for a great spot to stretch your legs before getting back into the car.
North Shore Summer Events
If you’ve stayed at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts before, you know that our guests can be as busy as they’d like to be. Throughout the summer, we have a full line-up of excursions and activities planned each day. Even better, the North Shore area has exciting, major events planned for throughout the summer. We have compiled a list of area events taking place so you can plan your Lake Superior vacation accordingly.
At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we are always seeking ways to improve our guest’s experience. In fact, we send every guest a post-stay survey that asks the question, “How can we improve?” A suggestion that we heard continually was to expand the activities we offer for younger kids.
Today we are thrilled to introduce our new Summer Kids Program. This program will be offered complimentary for all guests of Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing from Memorial Day Weekend through mid-August. The kids’ program will take place Tuesdays-Saturdays and will be split into two age groups: 6-8 year-olds (mornings) & 9-12 year-olds (afternoons).
Each day will have a different theme and our Activities Department has some fun, creative ideas to keep your kiddos entertained.
Here is the schedule:
Tuesdays will be Crafts & Field Sports Day
Wednesdays will rotate between Plant Day and Rock Day
Thursdays will rotate between Fish Day and Fire Day
Fridays will be Animals Day
Saturdays will rotate between Camping 101 and Voyageur 101
If you have any questions about the program, please reach out to our Activities Department by calling 218-663-7860, ext. 2306 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waterfall Season FAQs
You’ve probably heard us talking about what a fabulous snow year it is on the North Shore so far this year. And it’s true – we have excellent snow conditions which have been so fun for winter adventures.
BUT do you know what else happens as a result of plentiful snow? A spectacular waterfall season! As the hundreds of thousands of acres of melted snow finds its way to Lake Superior, it creates quite the show.
Waterfall Season Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit?
Peak waterfall season can vary a little based on how early of a Spring we have. Typically the best dates to see the waterfalls really roar are mid-April to mid-May.
From the smaller pop-up falls on the side of Highway 61 to the tallest waterfall in Minnesota, our area is perfect for exploring this incredible season!
Hygge (pronounced “HOO-gah”) is a Danish word for enjoying life’s simple pleasures. At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, this concept is woven into everything we do. We love cozy spaces with stunning Lake Superior views and embracing outdoor adventures with lots of fresh air. Hygge promotes emotional and physical wellbeing and gives us a sense of togetherness and contentment.
Here are some ways to get into the Hygge spirit on your next trip:
The Sugarbush Trail Association will be hosting a Candlelit Ski and Snowshoe event on February 19th from 6 – 8 p.m. This charming night time activity really showcases the romance of a snow covered forest.
During winters in Minnesota, it is a guarantee that you’ll come into contact with ice in one way or another. In some instances, it can be annoying. But in other ways, it can be awe inspiring. On the North Shore of Lake Superior, ice is something we marvel at. From frozen lakes to ice-covered waterfalls to the small ice sculptures that form on the shorelines of Lake Superior, we find ice to be a magical part of our winter seasons.
Ice forms on Lake Superior every single winter. Some years, like during last year’s mild winter, you can only find it on sheltered sections of the lake. The Grand Marais Harbor and the Duluth/Superior area are common spots where a glaze forms over the Great Lake. Other years, the entire lake freezes. That is rare and most recently occurred in 1996. Most commonly, ice will cover about 50-60% of Lake Superior’s surface. In 2019, when we saw the wolves on Lake Superior in front of Bluefin Bay, we were lucky to experience 95% coverage.
Lake Superior ice is notoriously fickle. No matter how cold the winter gets, the movement of the water underneath makes the ice on top unreliable (just ask the 26 ice fisherman that had to be rescued by the coast guard in Duluth last winter). Because of the risks, ice formations are best enjoyed from the shoreline. The spray from waves will often cling onto trees and bushes creating fantastic icicle sculptures. Occasionally, when the wind and waves pick up after a period of stillness, crashed ice will form along the beaches.
Below you will find a list of our top 10 recommended locations for finding ice formations.
Tettegouche State park
Split Rock Lighthouse
Grand Marais Harbor
Best Selfie Spots
They say a photo is worth a thousand words and in this day and age, it’s probably worth even more! For that reason, we wanted to fill you in on the best photo opportunity locations at Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing.
Remember, some of the best photo ops are likely in your unit! The majority of our units have stunning Lake Superior views, wood-burning fireplaces, balconies – or all of the above! These are all fabulous spots to capture memories.
For outdoor photos, we’ve created maps for each resort to make it even easier for you. The camera icon marks the best spots at each resort.
Bluefin Bay Resort is so photogenic – you can’t go wrong! We chose the following as our favorites: Tofte cove, the outdoor pool, the lake walk, the beach in front of Bluefin Grille, the rocky peninsula on the south side of the Bay and the historic Tofte dock. Also note that the ice rink at Bluefin Bay is super charming in the winter!
Surfside Resort has an incredible shoreline that makes for beautiful photos. We suggest the shoreline on the far west side or the far east side of the resort, as that is where some of the best cliffs are. There is also a beautiful deck at Waves of Superior Spa that overlooks the resort.
Temperance Landing has a unique pebble shoreline that is very photogenic. On top of that, the log cabins themselves are stunning in photos. We recommend taking photos on the rocky outcropping on the east side so you can get both the shoreline and the cabins in the background! The Finnish sauna also has a lot of character and would make for a great backdrop.
And remember! “There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Winter Trip Planning Resources
Winter is Here! There are so many simple joys to experience at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts that make winter a magical season to visit. And we put everything you need to know in one place. Listed below are your Winter Trip Planning Resources.
Things to Do
What does a winter vacation look like for you? For some, it means reading a good mystery novel next to a crackling fireplace. For others, it means learning how to cross county ski in a forest blanketed with snow.
This year, we have expanded our activities program to offer more of the guided tours and adventures that our guests love.
Complimentary activities include cross country skiing, snowshoeing, craft classes taught by local artists, ice skating, shuttles to the local winery and more. Additionally, we have two ice skating rinks – one at Bluefin Bay and one at Surfside. PLUS don’t forget about Waves of Superior Spa, the outdoor pool and hot tub (for guests of Bluefin Bay) and the indoor pool at Surfside (for guests of Surfside and Temperance Landing).
Between Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing, we have many cozy lodging options to choose from. If you’re unsure of where to begin, check out this playlist on our YouTube page which features lodging tours of all of our unit styles. You’ll find many of our units feature whirlpool tubs, wood-burning fireplace and views of stunning Lake Superior.
If you have visited Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts this Fall then you have likely encountered some of the wonderful people we have working in our Activities Department. We added three new staff members to our team to be able to offer more programming this winter than ever before.
Pictured from left to right are Keanan, Kayleigh, Jessica and Sean.
Sean Henkenius, also known as “Showtime Sean”, is our enthusiastic Activities Coordinator. Sean came to Tofte from Farmington, NM or the Great Southwest as he refers to it. He has a bachelor’s degree in Adventure Education from Prescott College plus a Master’s degree in Recreation Administration from Southern Illinois University. He has super creative ideas for the direction of the Activities Department and we are lucky to have him!
Jessica comes from North Branch, MN and has a contagious passion for North Shore recreation. She is also a registered yoga teacher and leads many of our classes at the resort. Kayleigh is from Yorba Linda, CA and has a degree in Forestry with an emphasis in Forest Health. She has been working in outdoor education for more than four years and offers a wealth of knowledge. Keanan is originally from Towanda, IL and has loved the outdoors for as long as he can remember. He has a degree in Outdoor Recreation but even better, he is an Eagle Scout! Lastly we have Jon aka “Nature Man” from Albert Lea, MN. Jon is an expert in maintaining our seasonal equipment to ensure guests get quality gear to check out. Jon is also a professional musician and you can find him playing his signature harp guitar along the North Shore.
We hope you will get a chance to meet this fantastic crew sometime this winter!
MEA Weekend on the North Shore
At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we like to celebrate all things Halloween on MEA weekend! And Halloween is one of our FAVORITE holidays. Creative costumes, scary movies, tasty treats – what’s not to love?
We begin with our annual pumpkin carving contest for guests. There are over $300 in prizes and three different age categories. You can pick up your pumpkin and carving tools at Guest Services beginning on Friday. We will be judging and presenting prizes to the winners on Saturday, October 23rd after 4pm. See official rules here: Pumpkin Carving Contest
Next, we like to set the tone for the weekend with a Halloween themed movie. We’ll be playing Halloweentown (what else!?) in the Tofte Room, across from the playground at Bluefin Bay.
Then on Saturday morning, we begin the medallion hunt! Find the Bluefin Bay medallion and win a $100 gift card! The hunt begins at 8 a.m. and clues will be released every two hours after that. Saturday evening we are hosting a picnic style event outside on the BBQ patio from 5-8 p.m. The picnic will feature live music, bonfire pits, BBQ and a bar (cash or room charge only).
And there’s plenty more to do other than our Halloween festivities. We’ll have guided hikes, kids adventure club, fall color kayak tours, live music, wilderness canoeing and more! All activities are complimentary for guests of Bluefin Bay, Surfside and Temperance Landing.See the full schedule here. Plus, Grand Marais will again be hosting its annual Moose Madness Festival.