Monday, September 5, 2016

Minnesota - #46

We spent 5 nights in Minnesota - 2 nights on Lake Superior and 3 nights in Minneapolis.  Minnesota was so much greener and so much more humid than North Dakota.

Two Harbors, Minnesota on Lake Superior

Driving all the way to the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota added a lot of driving to our trip.  We could have driven 3 hours from our hotel in Bismarck to the border, took a picture, and moved onto the next state, but Lake Superior looked pretty and laid back so we went for it and drove 8 hours to the lake.  We spent two nights at Grand Superior Lodge.  It was a neat place to stay.  There were beach fires with s'mores every night, free bike and canoe rentals, lawn games, and views.

After driving all day, we spent the first evening exploring the resort and enjoying the lake views.  We ate dinner at Betty's Pies.

We got up the next day and explored the area.  We started at Goose Berry Falls State Park.  We hiked and then waded in a calm spot in the water.  There are 5 or so waterfalls in the park.  They were pretty, but they don't really compare to waterfalls in Montana.  The state park was crowded and it was hot and humid.  I'm used to my chilly and sparsely populated Montana (I think I write that every time we travel.)
Next we visited Split Rock Lighthouse State Park just up the road.
The state park offered hiking and swimming.  We didn't pack swimsuits, but that didn't stop us.  By the end of the stop, all the kids had stripped down and swam in their undies and Matt went swimming in his shorts.

The little cove we found was gorgeous.  The pebbles were smooth and warm.  The water was cool.  The view of the lighthouse and island were pretty.  We ate a picnic lunch and then I laid down in the pebbles and soaked it all in while the kids and Matt swam.
Our third stop was Palisade Head in Tettegouche State Park.  It's a huge rock formation that stands over 300 feet about the lake.
These pictures don't even come close to showing how tall this rock formation is.  It was definitely a place to hold tight to your curious children.  There was a rock climber while we were there.  He's in both of the pictures above.  It helps give a little perspective.  I really liked Palisade Head.  It was pretty and terrifying to look down. 
We spent the evening enjoying the resort.  We rode bikes, swam, played lawn games, and ate our share of s'mores.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

On our way to Minneapolis on Tuesday, we drove through Duluth.  I loved the look of Duluth.  It was a gorgeous, clear day.  The lake was sparkling.  There was good music on the radio.  The roads were smooth.  The city was surrounded by green hills.  But then we remembered what winter must be like here and we remembered we were probably there on one of the nicest days of the year.
We visited the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth.  We got in free with our science museum pass and wow, it was sad.  It flooded a few years ago and they haven't quite recovered from that.  It was a good, free way to spend a few hours, I guess.  It was hot and humid though.
We checked in early to our hotel in Minneapolis that was attached to the Water Park of America and across the street from the Mall of America.  I know this was Willa's favorite stop of the trip.  She LOVES waterparks.  I thought we'd explore downtown Minneapolis, but we didn't.  We spent our time at the waterpark, IKEA, the mall, and the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.
Our hotel had a little bunk bed room for the kids with its own TV.  They LOVED this room.
And the waterpark downstairs was wonderful.  As hotel guests, we got in 2 hours before the park opened.  That was the best!  We ran around both mornings we were there and rode everything and played around without lines.  It became painful after the crowds arrived to wait in line so we left when it got busy and returned again in the evening after the crowds left.
We didn't take any pictures around Minneapolis/St. Paul.  We swam, we shopped, we went to the science museum and we enjoyed the food available in a big city.  We went out for Thai and got Indian take out.  Yum-O to both meals!!  And we crossed the 46th state off of our list!!! Two more to go in the lower 48...

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