Just 30 minutes from Duluth, Two Harbors is considered the gateway to the North Shore.
Enzo and Franz woke up bright-eyed and swishy-tailed at the supremely dog-friendly Grand Superior Lodge. How could they not? Like mints on the pillow, locally-made treats provided a bedtime snack. They fell asleep to the sound of Lake Superior lapping at the shore below.
The next morning, sniffs aplenty greeted us on the shoreline.
We barely made it out of the Grand Superior Lodge parking lot before a photo-op in a wee boat presented itself at the gift shop across the street. After a quick “Ahoy mateys!” we sailed on to Gooseberry Falls State Park less than two miles from the resort.
The Gooseberry River is the star of a spectacular show. It tumbles through a basalt gorge, creating a series of waterfalls. Speaking of tumbling, don’t let your pup take one. Keeping ‘em on that 6-foot leash (mandatory in MN state parks) is extra important with the steep drop-offs along the trail.
Stop at the Middle and Upper Falls and take a dramatic photo by the stone wall–that’s close enough. Dogs with hip issues might want to skip going all the way up the trail, but the hiking possibilities are endless for young pups. For instance, you can access that famous 310-mile tail buster, the Superior Hiking Trail, at Gooseberry. But remember, it’s rocky, it’s up-and-down, and you need to bring lotsa water for you and your dog.
Then there’s the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. Known primarily as a biking trail, it’s flatter and easier for walks. A half-mile segment of it goes around the Silver Creek Tunnel. The parking’s easy and the views are sweet.
Note: Further up Highway 61, Split Rock Lighthouse is not dog-friendly. ONLY service dogs are allowed on the historic site, so plan accordingly.
Refresh yourself back in Two Harbors at Castle Danger Brewery. This patio isn’t just a patch of cement, folks. It’s the full-on backyard of every dog’s dreams. So grab a flagship Cream Ale and team up fur a rousing game of cornhole.
The Black Woods Grill & Bar has a furbulously pup-ular patio. That’s where we met Izzy, a 12-year-old seasoned patio queen. The other queen of Two Harbors, Dairy Queen, offers a shady patio retreat (and pup cones) across the street.
Whew! It was a narrow escape for two still-sweet-smelling dachshunds as we drove by Lil’Dog Car & Pet Wash on our way out of town. After a frolic on muddy trails or sandy beaches, your dog may not be so lucky (or maybe they ruv a good spaw day). And so, with a few grains of sand still stuck in our paws, and the scent of birch still in our fur, we headed home.
This post was sniffed out in partnership with the supremely dog-friendly Grand Superior Lodge in Two Harbors. They treated us to a two-dachshund stay in exchange for including them in our guide to vacationing on the North Shore with your pooch. Our honest review? Eight paws up—give ’em a call to book your North Shore vacay.