A North By Choice Guide To The Great Outdoors: Summer Edition

The outdoors rank pretty high on the list of reasons why people love to live here.

It’s not just about the vast amount of untouched wilderness, but also the close proximity of the Great Outdoors to the towns and cities of northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin. Case in point, there are not too many places where both your work and the woods are a five- to fifteen-minute drive away, and often just within walking distance of your home. But this is one of them.

And of course, it’s not just the woods, lakes, rivers, and streams — but what people can do in them! Whether you just want to explore or do more, here are our top recommendations for getting outside during the summertime!

A starting point? The intricate system of trails in our region dedicated to hiking, biking, and more. There are innumerable small trails that you can stumble upon or seek out basically everywhere, but there are three major trails to be aware of, too. Stretching from the Minnesota-Wisconsin border and Duluth to Grand Marais and just short of the Canadian border, the Superior Hiking Trail follows the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior (a portion at Oberg Mountain near Tofte is pictured at right). On the Iron Range, the Mesabi Trail connects Grand Rapids, Hibbing, and Ely. To the north, the Gunflint Trail (pictured at the top of this post) stretches from Grand Marais to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA).

Look to these trails for hiking, biking, and more. Outside Magazine voted Duluth the Best Town in America in 2014 in large part because of the circuit of mountain biking trails it offers, recognized as some of the best in the country. Further inland, the Mesabi Trail welcomes ATVs, dirt bikes, and more off road vehicles at the Iron Range OHV State Recreation Area in Gilbert, MN.

If you feel like going off trail, parks and campgrounds are almost as plentiful as the lakes, rivers, and streams that shape this territory. Tent, RV, and resort camping in Minnesota and in Wisconsin open up endless possibilities for fishing, boating, pontooning, water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, or just swimming and sunbathing on the beach.

State parks can take you to unexplored corners of the map, from Jay Cooke State Park along the St. Louis River to Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse and Tettegouche up the North Shore. Wisconsin is home to gorgeous Pattison Park as well as white water rafting destination Brule River State Forest. Ideal for boating are the scenic Apostle Islands, including Madeline Island just off Bayfield.

Of course, all of Lake Superior is perfect for sailing, paddleboarding, dragon boating, and more. The Duluth Boat Regatta, as one example, takes place every Wednesday night each summer and includes a sailboat race.

There’s all this and much more to be discovered throughout the North By Choice territory. Just to name a last couple of leads, there’s a Rowing Club based off Duluth’s Park Point, and summer activities on Spirit Mountain. The latter is of course a world-class skiing destination during the winter, which brings up the other side of the coin when it comes to outdoor activities here: winter in the Northland. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing — but we’ll stop right there. Winter pursuits deserve a whole blog post of their own, and that will have to wait. It’s summer, after all.

Want to be a part of it and just looking for the right gig? Find current job openings throughout the region HERE.

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