Hotel at a Glance: Bearskin Lodge
Peace and quiet are valued commodities at Bearskin Lodge. There are no televisions, video games, or telephones in any of the cabins—people come to Bearskin to unplug and unwind. It's easy to do here—the lodge sits about halfway up the Gunflint Trail, a 57-mile roadway that runs from Lake Superior to the lakes of northern Minnesota, secluded amid white pine and birch trees on the banks of East Bearskin Lake. If you do need to communicate with the outside world, though, the main lodge has both a telephone and WiFi.
- Classic accommodations: 11 cabins and four lodges, each with a private porch or deck, fireplace, and full kitchen
- Summer and fall activities: Boating, fishing for walleye and lake trout, canoeing and kayaking on the Boundary Waters, and hiking
- Winter activities: Ice skating, cross-country skiing on 77 miles of trails, and dog sledding
- Local wildlife: Moose, wolves, foxes, black bears, loons, beavers, otters and bald eagles can often be spotted during the summer and fall.
- It's okay if you forget your toothbrush: You can pick up groceries, fishing gear, and souvenirs at the gift shop in the main lodge.
Grand Marais, Minnesota: Small, Harbor Town on the Gunflint Trail
The harbor is central to life in the northern Minnesota town of Grand Marais. For one, it connects the small, coastal town to Lake Superior, which is popular for boating and fishing. The harbor also keeps turbulent waters at bay with its inner break wall and historic lighthouse. You can also get some tasty fresh fish here. Try Dockside Fish Market, which sits right along the harbor, which sells bluefin herring, lake trout, and whitefish, all freshly caught in Lake Superior.
To see even more of the area, hop on the Gunflint Trail. This 57-mile scenic roadway runs north from Grand Marais, along picturesque boreal forests and glacial lakes. Secluded campgrounds, lodges, and forested hiking trails line the way.
At the northern reach of the Gunflint Trail lies the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a one-million-acre wilderness reserve with more than 1,200 miles of canoeing trails and off-the-beaten-path campgrounds. There are strict visitor maximums and camping and canoeing regulations here, which have helped keep the reserve ultra-pristine—National Geographic Traveler magazine named it one of "50 Places of a Lifetime" in its "Paradise Found" category.