An aerial view of Duluth Harbour and Lake Superior

Six reasons to visit Duluth, MN


Contributing writer

Planning a trip to Duluth? Here are our top picks...

Stay: Park Point Marina Inn

Experience: Helicopter ride over Lake Superior

Hike: Superior hiking trail and Stovetop Upper Burner loop

When thinking of the midwestern states, most people automatically think there is absolutely no reason to travel to these flyover states. I mean they are just full of corn fields, farmers, flat land, and freezing winters…right? 

So, you’re not alone if Minnesota is not on the top of your bucket list. There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding Minnesota and the Midwest in general.

However, I do hope you stick around because I hope to change your mind about this amazing northern Minnesota city, Duluth. It's a true gem in the Midwest! Here are six reasons why you should visit Duluth, MN.

Hazy aerial view of Duluth Minnesota harbor on a sunny summer day

1. Duluth sits on the largest freshwater lake in the United States

Did you know the largest freshwater lake in the United States is located in Northern Minnesota? Lake Superior covers a massive 31,700 square miles with almost 3,000 miles of shoreline. Duluth sits on some of the most beautiful sections of this natural wonder. 

Even though Lake Superior is freezing (with average annual water temperatures of 43 degrees Fahrenheit), there are still so many ways to enjoy the lake. From picnics along the shores and skipping rocks, to paddleboarding and boating, your lake day activities are endless. 

Some of the best places in Duluth to experience the beauty of Lake Superior are Leif Erikson Park, Canal Park, and Park Point.

Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge at night

2. Duluth is home to the world-famous lift bridge

Canal Park is one of the best stops in Duluth as it sits on the shores of the aforementioned Lake Superior and is home to the world-famous lift bridge. 

The Aerial Lift bridge dates all the way back to the early 1900s and is the second-oldest lift bridge in the entire United States. Not only is it a historical landmark in Duluth, it’s also still in use today. 

The lift bridge moves up and down all day to let commercial and recreational boats in and out of the harbour. Tourists and residents alike enjoy watching the large ships peacefully traverse under the bridge.

Snow on the banks of Lake Superior

3. Duluth experiences all four seasons

It’s no secret that Duluth experiences some wild weather. Depending on your interests, it's important to carefully pick when you visit.

Duluth has a humid continental climate, which means it has warm, humid summers and very (very) cold winters. During the transition months, you’ll also see some of the most vibrant, colourful leaves in the fall and then some beautiful wildflower blooms in the spring.

Duluth also sees an average of 86 inches of snow each year which typically starts in October and lasts through April. So be sure to check the weather forecast to ensure you are prepared! 

Whether you are hoping to check out the slopes at Mont-du-lac or Spirit Mountain during the snowy winter months or check out the beach during the summer months, Duluth will surely offer a unique experience each season.

Superior hiking trail in Minnesota during autumn and fall season, overlooking Bean and Bear Lakes

4. Duluth is an outdoor lovers paradise

With more than 11,000 acres of public open space and 160 miles of maintained trails,  outdoor-lovers will never be bored in Duluth. Depending on the season, you can decide between cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, or mountain biking. 

Backpackers will love to check out the famous Superior Hiking Trail that stretches over 300 miles in northeastern Minnesota (40 of these miles are located right in Duluth).

Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore

5. Duluth is the first stop along the beautiful MN North Shore drive

Perhaps one of the most beautiful drives in all of the United States, the MN North Shore road trip starts in Duluth and runs for 154 miles along the shore. During this scenic drive, you’ll be met with some of the most amazing views of Lake Superior.

Although you could enjoy the views from the comfort of your car, it’s highly recommended to make stops along the way to check out the state parks, waterfall hikes, and lighthouses. Some of the best stops include Split Rock Lighthouse, Palisade Head, the Black Sand Beach, Tettegouche State Park, Lutsen, and Grand Marais.

People enjoy a beautiful autumn day by the Canal Park lighthouse on Lake Superior

6. People really are “Minnesota Nice”

“Minnesota Nice” isn’t just some cliche saying…people in Duluth are really (really) friendly. No matter what activities you decide to do while visiting, you’ll likely strike up a few conversations with the locals. They’ll be happy to share their favorite hike recommendations or restaurant tips with you! 

Planning a trip to Duluth? Stay at Park Point Marina Inn with panoramic views of the Duluth harbour.

Know before you go

Frequently asked questions

Is Duluth, MN worth visiting?

YES! Duluth is full of adventures, friendly locals, and historical and natural landmarks that are 100 per cent worth seeing. Just make sure to do your research before arriving (you don’t want to show up in January without 100 layers of clothing), and you are sure to have an amazing time.

How do you get to Duluth, MN?

Duluth is located in northern Minnesota just about 150 miles from the Canadian border. Although there is a small airport located right in Duluth, you might not always find the best flight options or prices. 

If not, you can fly into Minneapolis and either rent a car or hop on a shuttle (Groome or Landline are two options) to Duluth. It’s about 154 miles away and will take you anywhere between 2 and 3 hours depending if you are driving yourself or shuttling.

What sort of temperatures can I expect in Duluth?

Below are the average temperatures that Duluth experiences each season. 

  • Winter (December-February): 23° / 6° F 

  • Spring (March-May): 45° / 31° F

  • Summer (June-August): 70° / 54° F

  • Fall (September-November): 51° / 39° F

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Author - Jordan

Jordan is a former elementary teacher turned freelance travel writer and the founder and editor of the USA travel blog, The Homebody Tourist. She is an avid planner, road-tripper, dog-lover, hiker, and adventurer. Jordan strives to plan and share adventurous USA road trips, weekend getaways, and dog-friendly itineraries that are jam-packed with all of the best things to do with (or without) your furry best friend! 

Last Updated 3 September 2023

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