Top 7 North Shore Family Attractions
The Best North Shore Family Attractions
These top seven North Shore Family Attractions promise thrills, laughs, exploration, and fun for little kids to grandparents. And it’s not just on hiking trails and on the Lake Superior Shore.
North Shore Adventure Park
Silver Bay, Mile Marker 54
The North Shore Adventure Park is an aerial playground on steroids! Actually, this brand new North Shore family attraction is a tree-top ropes course with 75 elements and 10 zip lines. You can’t miss it as you’re driving by because the entire hillside is covered in a maze of tree-top platforms, rope bridges, obstacles, and zip lines. It’s like a mini amusement park on the North Shore!
Trails for all abilities
There are six separate trails of various difficulty. Kids as young as three work their way through a course designed especially for little kids. The regular courses range from Easy (green circle), Intermediate (blue square), and difficult (black diamond). The easy courses have various rope bridges, easier aerial obstacles, and longer ziplines. The advanced course has some pretty challenging elements where have to use your smarts…as well as a reasonable amount of strength and endurance. There are a few places on the advanced course where you can exit by zipline if you can’t finish. You always finish on a zip line.
Fun to play or watch
Not only is it tons of fun, but you can challenge yourself and build confidence while you’re at it. And it’s a lot of fun for spectators too! Watch your kids, friends, and family make their way across the elements and cheer them on.
Sound dangerous? Not at all! All climbers need to watch an instructional video. Wearing a harness and hooking yourself up to the network of cables along the way is part of the deal. And there are trained staff members that monitor the park and are there to assist if needed.
This North Shore Family Attraction is open May – October. Advance reservations are recommended.
Superior National Golf Course
Lutsen, Mile Marker 90
Golfing isn’t just for old guys! At this North Shore family attraction you don’t even have to know how to golf to play at Superior National Golf Course. Here’s why:
Superior National Golf Course has FootGolf! It’s like golf, but with a soccer ball. Kick the ball from the tee and try to get it into the hole in the least number of kicks. See if you can par the course! It’s prefect for families, groups, reunions, wedding parties, and any anyone that likes to play outside. The Mountain 9-hole course and FootGolf are located side-by-side so it’s possible for a group to golf and FootGolf together at the same time. FootGolf is another new North Shore family attraction since it was recently added as part of a major renovation.
Family Golfing at Superior National
But don’t rule out golfing because the beauty of this course is incredible! Play around the roaring Poplar River with a backdrop of Lake Superior and the Sawtooth Mountains. Ride around in a cart, walk, or take a golf bike. Play on the Premier River & Canyon 18, the Mountain 9, or just mess around at the driving range and putting green. It’s a great way to have fun and play outside on one of the most beautiful spots on the North Shore. It’s a public course and is welcome to everyone, not just “golfers.” Go for it!
Lutsen Mountains Ski & Summer Recreation Area
Lutsen, Mile Marker 90.1
Lutsen Mountains is likely one of the most well-known North Shore family attractions. In the winter you can ski and snowboard on the 95 interconnected runs. In the spring, summer, and fall, you can ride the Alpine Slide or Summit Express Gondola.
Skiing & Snowboarding
Over the last 70+ years Lutsen Mountains has grown into the Midwest’s largest ski area! It boasts 4 mountains, 95 runs, and the Midwest’s only gondola. With all those runs there’s plenty for all levels from beginner to expert. Learners start on the beginner slope called Flapjack, which is serviced with an easy-to-ride magic carpet lift. From there, you graduate to Ullr Mountain which has easier slopes. Then you can move on to Eagle, Mystery, and Moose Mountains which add more intermediate and difficult runs. There is also a learning center with instructors teaching all levels of skiing and snowboarding.
Skiing and snowboarding is such a fantastic family activity because everyone can participate together! And parents, when you’re riding the chairlift with your teen, it’s a great time to strike up conversation and re-connect with them. If you are a skiing family, be sure to visit Lutsen Mountains. If you’re interested in becoming a skiing family, I encourage you to dive in!
Lutsen Mountains offers four Family Festival Weekends that include special packages for families. The big event is Family Fun Night at the Summit Chalet. Take the gondola to the Summit Chalet atop Moose Mountain for an indoor family festival like none other. There’s a live band playing kids music, a magician, kids games and crafts, face painting, pizza, fireworks, and much more!
Lutsen Mountains Alpine Slide
In the summer, one of the most popular North Shore family attractions is the Alpine Slide! It’s a thrilling summer luge run that takes you twisting and turning down Eagle Mountain. First you take a chairlift ride to the top of the mountain. Then you walk your sled to the start of the concrete track (with a spectacular Lake Superior view, by they way). Finally you board your sled and take off down the half-mile twisting, turning track! There are two parallel tracks so you can ride next to your friend. It’s amusement park fun for the whole family!
Summit Express Gondola
A must-do North Shore family attraction is the Summit Express Gondola (especially during fall colors!). This leisurely and scenic ride is perfect for young and old. On this attraction you ride the aerial gondola car at treetop level to the top of Moose Mountain (one of the North Shore’s tallest peaks). At the top of Moose Mountain you will experience unbelievable views of Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest! You will also find the Summit Chalet (which has an eatery with indoor and outdoor seating), hiking trails, and scenic overlooks. It is generally open year-round, but hours are usually limited in October – December and March – May.
Putt n Pets Mini Golf
Grand Marais, Mile Marker 108.2
Putt n Pets is the best minigolf from here to Wisconsin Dells. This immaculately maintained course has lots of fun obstacles, surprises around every corner, and as promised, pets! Along the 18 holes, families play their way around delightful features such as chainsaw-carved bears, a giant tortoise, ponds, a lighthouse, the Statue of Liberty, through a cave, and around a tower of goats. Yes, a tower of real goats!
Among the pets at Putt n Pets are goats, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, and a variety of other birds. The goats climb on a footbridge over the golf course to a look-out tower where they can watch you play. The animals live around the perimeter of the golf course, so as you play around you can visit and feed them. See if you can make the turkey gobble or the peacock show its feathers!
In addition to mini-golf and farm animals, Putt n Pets has a prospecting tower where you can pan for gemstones. There’s also coin-operated rides for little kids. AND, this is one of the only attractions that is open in the evening so you can play under the lights!
Putt n Pets is almost always open from May – October. If there is no attendant, use the pay box on-your-honor.
Gunflint Trail, Mile Marker 110 + 43
A 43-mile scenic drive up the famed Gunflint Trail lies the legendary Gunflint Lodge on Gunflint Lake. This four-season wilderness resort on the edge of the Boundary Waters has a few North Shore family attractions that promise true Northwoods adventure. Gunflint Lodge offers lakeside lodging, and the family attractions and dining are open to the public.
Towering Pines Canopy Tour – Summer
The Towering Pines Canopy Tour invites you deep into the Boreal Forest that surrounds Gunflint Lodge. The experience is a combination of exhilarating zip lines and an exciting naturalist adventure. Climb into the forest canopy on tree-top platforms to explore the heavily forested lands from a birds-eye view. See unbelievable views of Lonely Lake, Gunflint Lake, the Canadian Shore, and the high cliffs to the south. Glide from platform to platform on eight different ziplines. Along the way your guide will share historical and naturalist information, adding an educational aspect to this exhilarating experience.
Horseback Rides – Summer
Travel on horseback for a truly unique Northwoods family adventure. The wranglers at Gunflint Stables will match you up to the right horse and take you on a leisurely horseback ride through remote, forested trails. This is the most relaxing way to take a hike through the forest! Take a quick 3-4 mile jaunt, a 6-7 mile scenic ride, a half-day lunch ride, or an evening dinner ride.
Winter Family Attractions at Gunflint Lodge
Gunflint Lodge also offers North Shore family attractions during the winter! They specialize in winter family fun by offering ice fishing on Gunflint Lake, cross country skiing on groomed trails, Fat Tire biking on e-bikes, or snowmobiling right from the lodge. Take a guided tour, or simply rent the equipment and create your own adventure.
Dining – year-round
You’re bound to work up an appetite after all this Northwoods family fun! Therefore, it’s a good place to get hungry because Gunflint Lodge has some of the best food on the Gunflint Trail. It’s a favorite because they cook with love using native ingredients like walleye, wild berries, maple syrup, wild rice, and mushrooms. And the dining room is unbelievably Northwoods cute, complete with a view of Gunflint Lake, a fireplace, and lakeside patio (gorgeous sunsets here too!). The lakeside barbecue buffet on Sundays is popular during summer. Their gourmet Northwoods cuisine hits the spot in the wintertime after playing in the snow.
More North Shore Family Fun
Check out more family fun ideas from NorthShoreExplorerMN!