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Need help deciding how many days

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Knoxville TN
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Need help deciding how many days

I am traveling to Duluth in mid-August. I would like to take off a couple of extra days to do some sight-seeing, but I'm not sure how many days I'd need. Also, I probably wouldn't take off any more than 2 days, plus the weekend day I have before my conference starts. So, I'm looking at renting a car for a day or two to drive to Thunder Bay and/or International Falls. Can anyone give me advice as to which is a better destination, as well as how much time I would also need to see a few things in Duluth?

minneapolis
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1. Re: Need help deciding how many days

I haven't spent time in International Falls. And speaking from experience, I would not plan on Thunder Bay as a destination. There are however 2 really cool things to visit there - the fort and Kakabeeka Falls. There are also incredible MN state parks in that area, along with Isle Royale National Park.

I would suggest 1-2 full days in Duluth - there's lots to do and see, but it depends on what your interests are.

I would also suggest maybe splitting your time between Duluth & Grand Marais, if you've never been. There's lots to see and do for all tastes, and it's a short drive to Thunder Bay.

Based on that, let me know what interests you and I can give more feedback.

Knoxville TN
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2. Re: Need help deciding how many days

Thanks, creason. We were interested in TB because of the Finnish culture and specifically The Hoiko restaurant that I've read about. My husband's grandparents were Finnish, so he would appreciate that aspect. I find International Falls interesting just because of its reputation as America's Icebox (I prefer cold and snow to sun and surf!). However, we both like off-the-beaten-path places and less commercialized areas, and it seems like IF is a better fit in that regard. Going to TB would multi-task, as we could enjoy the scenic drive along the shore. I thought we could spend one full day in Duluth, and then we will also have time in the afternoons and evenings after my conference sessions are over for the day. If we went to either IF or TB, do you think it would be worth it to spend a night or two and then drive back down to Duluth to fly out? I appreciate any other thoughts on the trip!

minneapolis
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3. Re: Need help deciding how many days

I think you'll find what you're seeking in both places.

However, if you have additional agenda for TB, sounds like you could easily spend a full day there. The nice thing about staying in Grand Marais is that it's not overly developed and there's a plethora of natural beauty there and en route.

IF would be quieter and more relaxing. My take on this area is a place to escape and really be isolated in the woods & lakes, definitely off the beaten track. It's pretty popular for fishing and houseboating. However, that's an uneducated opinion.

Also keep in mind that summers at both locations are busier, as well as buggier - we've gotten a deluge of rain this spring.

Regardless, I would plan to spend a night or two at whatever destination you visit. One day along with your evenings in Duluth would be sufficient time to explore that city. Have a great visit!

Knoxville TN
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4. Re: Need help deciding how many days

Thank you. This really helps me prioritize. I'll definitely look into Grand Marais - looks like it would be a good half-way point, give or take, which would make the hassle of driving less of an issue. You mentioned weather and bugs... is mid- to high-70's a good guess for temps?

Knoxville TN
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5. Re: Need help deciding how many days

And one more thing: can you recommend good lodging in Grand Marais?

minneapolis
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6. Re: Need help deciding how many days

It's not unusual for weather to change dramatically, and it has the last several years. Mid-August on the North shore can mean anything from 60s-90s, sunny to rainy to windy. I would say just keep an eye on the weather reports while packing. We've had unpredictable weather this year and it's probably been more normal than anything (we've been spoiled the last couple years with short winters/long summers, but appears that's no longer the case.)

Also, the bug level would be partly dependant on how much rain the area receives. There are fewer bugs when it's drier, but I think summers are always somewhat buggy on the North Shore. I always visit during spring or fall.

Lodging in Grand Marais, depending on your taste:

andersonscabins.com - very homey, simple, comfortable

littleollielodging.com

naniboujou.com/index.shtml

room1sown.com/index.html

eastbaysuites.com

sweetgrasscove.com - our personal favorite ever, but books up way ahead of time

Also, here's a link - http://www.grandmarais.com/lodging - but note that not all the places are located in Grand Marais.

Ely, Minnesota
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7. Re: Need help deciding how many days

I will say go to Grand Marais or Thunder Bay before going to International Falls. I just think the views are so much better along the North Shore. Also, it has been a very wet spring here in Northern Minnesota and the mosquitoes are pretty bad right now, but the last few years it has been dry in July so maybe they won't be so bad in August. But August is usually the season for the biting flies. But again, go with the North Shore.

8. Re: Need help deciding how many days

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