Explore the North Shore by foot, kayak & more

New safety protocols to help keep you safe & healthy

Bluefin Bay Family of ResortsSpring has finally sprung, summer is on its way, and this is the perfect time to explore our breathtaking North Shore by foot, bike and kayak! We’ve heard from many guests who have “cabin fever” and can’t wait to get out and enjoy the North Shore trails and open spaces.

We get it, and want to help you adventure safely. Here’s some helpful information about how to enjoy your favorite resort activities safely this spring and summer. Our aim is help you explore the North Shore safely — whether that’s venturing out on your own or joining one of our guided activities.

Guided Activities: Hiking in May; Biking, Kayaking, Yoga & More by June

Hiking: We’re offering a range of “socially distanced” guided hikes in May, with more in June and beyond. The waterfalls are gushing and it’s a great time to hike — though hiking boots may be required. Check our Activities Calendar for scheduled hikes.

Bluefin Bay Family of ResortsGuests who join resort guided hikes should know a few things about our safety protocols. We’ll be asking guests to drive to the trailheads, rather than taking the Bluefin Bay shuttle, if possible. We’ll have room in the shuttle for up to one family group of four people. This will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis and participants riding in a Bluefin Bay shuttle van will be required to wear masks. You can bring your own or we’ll provide them.

Biking: We’ll be starting guided biking tours on area trails in June. In addition, we’ll offer our popular Temperance River Bike and Hike — a 2.1-mile ride along the Gitchi Gami State Trail, combined with a short hike along the Temperance River, and back to the resort. Check our Activities Calendar for specific bike excursions, dates and times. Social distancing protocols are in effect.

Again this year, we’ll be offering both inland kayaking and Lake Superior kayaking adventures. We’ll also be offering our popular Wilderness Canoeing activity on the Poplar River. Since our canoes and inland kayaks are two-person tandems, we’ll require that you tandem only with another person from your family group. We’ll also observe the more than 6 feet — or one moose apart — social distancing rule both while getting fitted and while out on the water.

Yoga: Who couldn’t use a little yoga these days for stress release? We’ll be offering more yoga classes than usual this spring and summer, and we’ve moved them to the Surfside ballroom to allow for more social distancing between participants. Check our Activities Calendar for more details.

Kid’s Adventure Club: Our planned kids’ adventures encourage curiosity, exploration and fun. This program offers a variety of activities from nature walks, to field games, to agate hunting on the beach. We invite parents to join in on the fun. Social distancing will be practiced during these activities. Parents are encouraged to join the fun.

Not comfortable in a group just yet – adventure on your own!

Our staff will be available to recommend areas to explore on your own and to supply maps and directions should you prefer to go solo.  Bikes and tennis racquets will be available for checkout with our safety protocol in effect.

We look forward to helping you get out and enjoy the Lake and the North Shore this spring and summer.

 

Ready For Spring?

north shore waterfall early springThe official start of spring is almost upon us. Even though we are still enjoying outdoor winter activities to their fullest, we can’t help get a little excited for all things spring!

Got Spring Fever? We’ve got the cure. Take advantage of our Spring Fever Special and enjoy a FREE night when you purchase two nights (midweek night is free). This amazing deal starts March 22 and runs through May 31.

In addition, the waterfall season is almost here and it’s fair to say that the North Shore of Lake Superior has the best waterfall viewing of anywhere in Minnesota, perhaps the Midwest. This year we’re predicting an exceptional waterfall season. In fact, we are already seeing many rivers starting to put on their spring flow show as the days begin to warm up.  You can easily spend a few days driving up and down highway 61 checking out all the wonderful falls.  Learn more and get great travel tips for the waterfall season here.

Upcoming spring events and activities:

Trail Reports for Winter Fun on the North Shore!

sugarbush trails - guided cross-country trip at bluefin bayMarch is almost here! The North Shore is seeing the most snow in the state, longer days, and higher temps. It’s time to get outside!  With this in mind, here’s an update on the area trail conditions and resources for planning your late-winter getaway:

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING:

The local Sugarbush Trails have a nice deep base of snow. As a result, all 65 kilometers are groomed and open!  With direct access to Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior, you can easily explore this beautiful area.

Visit the Sugarbush Trail Association website for weekly updated trail reports and maps. As a guest, you can take advantage of complimentary cross-country ski rentals and Guided Ski Tours on the Onion River Road trail.

Our Activities Department also plans guided trips on the Norpine Trails. This beautiful system is located in the Lusten area and winds through pine and hardwood forests. The Norpine Trail groomers are reporting all trails are open and in good condition!

Cook County has 400 kilometers of cross-country ski trails making it the largest network of trails in North America. The overall trail base ranges from 12-27 inches creating some of the greatest groomed trails we’ve had in years. Check out the Visit Cook County website to discover all the wonderful trail systems to be explored in our area.

DOWNHILL SKIING:

A long and snowy season has made for some epic ski and snowboard days. Because of this, Lutsen Mountains has a snow base of 30-72 inches on all primary runs. With 4 mountains and 95 runs, everyone will enjoy skiing or snowboarding at the Midwest’s only mountain ski area.

We provide free shuttles to the base of the mountain and you’ll love the Ski and Stay Packages for the best deals.

HIKING & SNOWSHOEING:

Winter hiking is a favorite activity here on the North Shore and trails are in great condition right now. Just after a snowfall, strap on a pair of snowshoes (complimentary rentals to resort guests) to trek through the deeper snow. Many trails that you enjoy in the summer are packed and accessible during the winter!  A pair of winter boots or ice grips are all you need to experience a walk through the snowy woods. Let our activities staff show you the way on a guided hike or snowshoe adventure! Visit our Resort Activities & Events page for details on our guided adventures.

SNOWMOBILING: 

Explore the Lake Superior shoreline plus inland woods and lakes on the endless miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Local snowmobile clubs are reporting good conditions on the trails. The Cook County Snowmobile Club has updated trail conditions and maps for the local trails. Or, visit the North Shore Visitor website for info on snowmobile trails all along Highway 61.

In addition to the above trail reports and resources, we also love the Minnesota DNR Snow Depth and Trail Conditions guide.

See you on the trails!

 

Rolling Out the White Carpet for Winter Fun!

Winter Oberg Loop HikeAt Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, our complimentary rental equipment, knowledgeable Guest Services team, and area attractions create the perfect trifecta to help you enjoy a customized winter adventure. Here’s an overview of our most popular winter activities.

  • Cross-country skiing: With more than 400 km of Nordic ski trails in Cook County, you’ll never run out of places to explore. Check out complimentary cross-country ski equipment and explore the area trails at your leisure or join one of our free guided ski excursions.
  • Snowshoeing: Winter hiking is at its best up here. Explore the great North Woods with our complimentary snowshoes. Ask for a trail map at Guest Services or join one of our free guided snowshoe hikes.
  • Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding: Bluefin Bay offers complimentary shuttles to Lutsen Mountains Lutsen Mountains is the biggest & best ski resort in the Midwest. Check out our Ski & Stay Packages to get the best deal on ski and snowboard vacations.
  • Ice skating rinks at Bluefin Bay and Surfside are a hit with families and friends alike.  Check out a pair of complimentary ice skates at Guest Services. We also offer hockey nets, sticks and pucks to sign out. End your skating time at one of our evening bonfires complete with s’mores…of course!
  • Nightly campfire and s’mores at Bluefin Bay and Pick up your complimentary s’mores packet at Guest Services.
  • Creative Kids Club – Join us as we get crafty building birdhouses and decorating them with a variety of craft supplies! Parents are encouraged to join in on the fun!
  • NEW! Craft Mini-Courses: We are excited to offer new mini-courses onsite as part of our resort winter Activities program! The courses are completely free and will introduce guests to the element of Northern craft. In February and March, we’ll be offering an Intro to Alcohol Ink Painting Class.
  • NEW! Fiber by the Fireplace: Join us at the Bluefin Bay guest services lobby for a relaxed evening with like-minded fiber artists! Bring a project you are working on and gather around the fire with a local fiber artist to share stories, work on projects, and soak up creative inspiration from others. All levels and abilities are encouraged to bring your fiber projects like knitting, crochet, needlepoint, etc. If you do not have a project to bring you can still join and learn the art of Kumihimo – a Japanese form of braiding! Our visiting local artist will also bring needles and hooks to use, plus yarn for sale if needed.
  • Yoga: Offered on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and all levels encouraged to attend.
  • North Shore Winery Shuttles: If trying a new wine is more your idea of adventure, hop on a complimentary shuttle and head to North Shore Winery for a tasting & Shuttles available daily when the winery is open.
  • Live music at the Bluefin Grille on Mondays and Fridays from 8-10 pm.

Learn more and see our full schedule on the Activities & Events calendar.

Lake Superior Near Record High Levels

bluefin bay shoreline 2020If you’re a lover of the Great Lakes, you may know that most are at near-record high water levels. Lake Superior entered this past summer 0.8 inches above the record high set in 1950 for that time of year, and 14 inches above its 100-year average. On January 1st of this new year, the Big Lake is 13 inches above its normal level. 4 inches higher than 1 year ago!

Due to these record high water levels in Lake Superior, and the increase in the frequency of major fall and winter storms (three of what are considered “500 year storms” in the past two years), Bluefin Bay decided to be proactive and add additional shoreline protective measures to the significant other work done over the past two years. This work was completed just in time for the Gales of November this past year.

Did you know?

  • Just a 1-inch rise in Lake Superior is equal to an additional 551 billion gallons of water. Wait, what!? Now, times that by 4 (the amount the lake is up right now compared to 1 year ago). That’s a lot of extra water!
  • One of our favorite fun facts? This mighty lake holds as much water as all Great Lakes combined plus 3 additional Lake Eries. Wow! Check out a list of other mind-boggling facts in this Lake Superior Magazine article.
  • For those who want to dig a little deeper into ‘Lake Stats’, you can visit the US Army Corps of Engineers Weekly Great Lakes Water Level Update. Here, they detail the past week’s weather and lake level conditions for all the Great Lakes. In addition, this report provides monthly forecasts, alerts, and a chart of all lakes with several interesting stats for comparison.
  • A recent article published by the Duluth News Tribune discusses storm warnings for 2020, potential impacts if the lake level continues to rise, and what is being done to understand and manage the current condition of the Great Lakes water levels.

 

The Winter Fishwrapper Newsletter is Here!

fishwrapper imageThe snow is here to stay! We’re already out enjoying the outdoor adventures and festive events that make Minnesota’s North Shore the perfect winter and holiday destination. We like to wrap up the upcoming season’s favorite adventures, special events, and new resort activities in a semiannual newsletter called The Fishwrapper. It’s a great way to get inspired to plan your next Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts getaway.

Check out the Winter 2019-2020 Fishwrapper here! 

This season’s highlights…

  • The live music scene is strong on Minnesota’s North Shore. From Monday & Friday evenings at the Bluefin Grille to national acts taking the stage at Papa Charlie’s. You can find a live show any night of the week all along the North Shore. Enjoy music ranging from acoustic to bluegrass to jazz to Americana to rock n’ roll to country.
  • NEW activities! Learn about our new complimentary mini-craft classes in December and January. Taught by local professionals, learn the arts of basket making, pin-loom weaving, canvas stenciling, and linocut printmaking.
  • In addition, this newsletter is full of winter adventure ideas, new guided activities, great offers and packages, plus highlights of our wonderful staff that you will meet during your stay.

Grab a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate, snuggle up, and enjoy reading through this season’s Fishwrapper newsletter!

 

 

The Ski Season Has Begun!

Lutsen Mountains Father and Son on Chair LiftIt’s official! The Lutsen Mountains ski season has begun. This past weekend marked the beginning of the 2019-2020 season with continued weekend only hours through December 8th. After that, they will be open daily starting on December 13th. Up here in Cook County, we had some nice early season snow and ideal temps for snowmaking. It looks like it is going to be an excellent winter for skiing on Minnesota’s North Shore!

Stay up to date with conditions on the Lutsen Mountains website. Check out their live cam to see the current conditions. Not to mention it’s a great way to spend some time daydreaming about your next North Shore winter vacation! New this year, Lutsen Mountains has added a radio frequency RFID ticketing system which will offer greater convenience for skiers and new lodging packaging opportunities.

Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts is the perfect home base for your skiing and snowboarding adventure! Take advantage of our Ski and Stay Packages for the best deals. We offer FREE daily shuttles to and from the base of the mountain, frustration-free equipment rental at our neighboring Sawtooth Outfitters, and a variety of can’t-be-beat Ski & Stay Packages.

See you on the slopes!

November is Here. Save and Celebrate!

Gales of NovemberThe days have gotten shorter, the temps have started to drop and the holiday season is almost upon us. It’s that time of year when we add those extra layers, snuggle in with loved ones and make plans to gather with friends and family.

November is a great month to witness the Gales of November on Lake Superior. When nature puts on a show, you want a front-row seat and there is no better place to watch the Gales roll in than from the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts.

Gales Special!

When you stay three nights or more during Quiet Time at any of our resorts — Bluefin Bay, Surfside or Temperance Landing — we offer a Gales Special with one night FREE — our treat! Offer is valid Now – Dec. 24, 2019
Stay four nights over Thanksgiving Weekend to receive one night FREE. 

Thanksgiving at Bluefin GrilleThanksgiving at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts!

We invite you to spend the Thanksgiving Holiday with us! Cozy upscale accommodations, outdoor adventures (including skiing at Lutsen Mountains!), and plenty of time to relax and watch the gales roll in on Lake Superior.

In addition, let us do the work in the kitchen as you enjoy a festive Thanksgiving Buffet at the Bluefin Grille on Thursday, Nov 28!

View menu highlights, details, and reservation info here. 

 

 

Girls Gone North 2019!

Girls Gone North guided hikeOur Annual Girls Gone North Weekend (now in its 12th year!) is coming up November 8-10. It’s time to start making plans for a girl’s trip with the other special women in your life. Take advantage of this much needed time to reconnect, laugh, have an adventure, relax, escape your normal routine for a couple of days, unplug and unwind. You deserve it!

We’re excited to share the schedule of events for Girls Gone North and this year we’ve got online sign up in advance to ensure your spot in our activities. Yoga, guided hikes, shuttles to the local winery, silk scarf dyeing (NEW!), and a signature Saturday night event. This year’s Girls Gone North signature event pairs Luis Cortes, Bluefin Grille’s Executive Chef, with Gina Holman of J. Carver Distillery in Waconia, MN. They’ll help you host the perfect cocktail party, including pairing sparkles and spirits with tasty and unique small bites (appetizers, desserts) sure to impress. Please click here for the full schedule and to sign up in advance. We have limited space in most of the activities and participation is on a first-come, first-served basis. Make your lodging reservations and sign up today!

In addition to a weekend away with your girls, take advantage of great lodging offers! Stay two nights during Girls Gone North Weekend at Bluefin Bay, Surfside or Temperance Landing and enjoy a 15% discount off our already low seasonal rate. Or, extend your getaway and stay three nights and receive one of those nights (midweek night) completely FREE!

Fall Color Report: September 16th – Color Tour AND Family Fun at Lutsen Mountains!

Gondola at Lutsen Mountains. Bluefin Bay Fall Color Report

Photo: Sept 15, 2019

Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts Fall Color Report: 25% Fall Colors. We are reporting little color change by Lake Superior with more fall colors peeking through 1-2 miles inland. 

Experience more fall fun on Minnesota’s North Shore with a trip up to Lutsen Mountains. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts and offers fun for the whole family!

Lutsen Mountains is located a couple of miles inland from Lake Superior. On our Fall Color Report adventure this past weekend we hiked along the trails winding through this area and spotted some beautiful Fall colors starting along the top of the ridgelines.

The Summit Express Gondola is one of our favorite ways to view the fall colors. You’ll travel above the treetops heading up 1,000 feet to the top of Moose Mountain with views of the autumn colors, Lake Superior, and the Sawtooth Mountains. Hop out at the Summit Chalet for breathtaking views, scenic overlooks, and hiking trails.

For those looking to add a long hike to their Lutsen Mountains experience, we recommend heading out on the Superior Hiking Trail starting from the end of the road that runs past the main ski area. This 4.5-mile hike winds across the Poplar River and around the back of Mystery and Moose Mountain through forests of cedar, brightly colored maple and aspen. In addition, this hike ends at the top of Moose Mountain where you can purchase a ticket and head back via the gondola – a sweet way to end a rewarding hiking adventure! The Summit Express Gondola is open daily through October 20.

The Alpine Slide is perfect for those looking for a few thrills during their fall color tour. One of the best parts of this activity is the chairlift ride to the top of Eagle Mountain. Sit back and enjoy a unique view of the fall beauty. Then, zip down a 1/2 mile track on your sled!  Your trip can be fast and thrilling or slow and easy. This one is a family favorite! The Alpine Slide is open weekends through October 20.