Grand Portage Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Grand Portage, Minnesota with this comprehensive tour guide, including a list of places to visit, hiking/biking routes, best things to do, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more.

Introduction to Grand Portage

Grand Portage is a charming township located in the heart of North Shore, in Northeastern Minnesota. It is situated in the state’s northeastern region that is also called Arrowhead territory. As the name suggests, the township is named after the famous Grand Portage route, which has a significant historical importance.

The town is blessed with natural beauty, fascinating culture, and a diverse mix of culinary delights, making it a popular destination among tourists. Grand Portage also offers visitors several options for outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, fishing, boating, and kayaking. With a vibrant mix of attractions and activities, Grand Portage promises a memorable vacation experience to its visitors.

List of Places to Visit in Grand Portage

Grand Portage offers several attractions that are worth visiting.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Grand Portage offers visitors a comprehensive insight into its fascinating culture and history through its museums and historical places.

  • Grand Portage National Monument: It is one of the historical sites that played a vital role in the fur trade that shaped the region in the 1700s. Visitors can explore the interactive exhibits and cultural displays at the visitor center to learn more about the heritage of the Grand Portage Ojibwe, the fur trade, and early European explorers who traded in the region.
  • Grand Portage Heritage Center: This museum showcases the history and culture of the Grand Portage Ojibwe community with interpretive displays, traditional artifacts, and models. Visitors can view a wide range of exhibits, attend cultural performances, and participate in workshops.
  • Grand Portage Trading Post: A replica of an 18th-century trading post of the North West Company, this site offers visitors a glimpse of how the traders lived, issued, and traded at the time.

Natural Attractions of Grand Portage: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Grand Portage boasts of stunning natural beauty with several attractions for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

  • Grand Portage State Park: This park offers visitors several outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and viewing the High Falls of the Pigeon River, the highest waterfall in Minnesota.
  • Mount Josephine: Visitors can hike to the summit of Mount Josephine, which offers a scenic view of the area, including the Pigeon River and Lake Superior.
  • Susie Island: Susie Island is a picturesque island located in the heart of the Grand Portage Bay and is accessible only by boat or kayak. Visitors can enjoy a picnic, swim, or explore the Island’s walking paths and explore the unique rock formations.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Grand Portage

Grand Portage offers several options for visitors who enjoy hiking, biking, or exploring the outdoors.

  • Grand Portage State Park Hiking Trails: This park has a network of well-marked trails, ranging from easy to moderately difficult levels. The trails pass through forests, rivers, and waterfalls, offering visitors a glimpse of the region’s diverse wildlife.
  • Mount Josephine Trail: This trail offers visitors a challenging but rewarding experience, with stunning views of Lake Superior and the surrounding area.
  • Susie Island Hike: Visitors can hike around Susie Island, which offers unique views of the Grand Portage Bay and the surrounding area.

Best Things to Do in Grand Portage: Activities and Tours

Grand Portage offers visitors several options for activities and tours, catering to all interests and age groups.

  • Grand Portage National Monument Tours: Visitors can book guided tours of the monument to learn more about the fur trade and the region’s history.
  • Grand Portage Trading Post Tours: Visitors can explore the replica of the trading post and learn about the life of a fur trader in the 1700s.
  • Grand Portage State Park Fishing: Visitors can go fishing for trout and salmon in the Pigeon River, which runs through the park.
  • Grand Portage Kayaking Tours: Visitors can go on guided kayaking tours of the Grand Portage Bay to explore the natural beauty of the area.

Week-Long Itinerary for Grand Portage

For visitors who are planning to spend a week in Grand Portage, here is an itinerary that covers the region’s top attractions:

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit Grand Portage National Monument and Heritage Center
Day 2 Hike to the top of Mount Josephine and enjoy the scenic views
Day 3 Go fishing in the Pigeon River at the Grand Portage State Park
Day 4 Explore Susie Island and enjoy a picnic or swim
Day 5 Take a guided kayaking tour of the Grand Portage Bay
Day 6 Visit Grand Portage Trading Post and learn about the fur trade
Day 7 Relax and enjoy the local food and drink scene

Food and Drink Scene of Grand Portage

Grand Portage offers visitors a unique culinary experience with a mix of traditional and modern culinary treats.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Wild rice soup: It is a local delicacy made with wild rice, vegetables, and cream, making it a popular comfort dish among locals and visitors alike.
  • Smoked fish: Grand Portage is well-known for its smoked fish, including whitefish, trout, and salmon.
  • Walleye: Walleye is the state fish of Minnesota and is a popular dish in Grand Portage, prepared in different ways, such as grilled, fried, or baked.

Local Beverages

  • Craft beer: Grand Portage boasts several breweries that offer a range of local craft beers, each with its unique flavors.
  • Wine: Visitors can sample a range of locally produced wines made from fruits such as blueberries, apples, and grapes.

Where to Stay in Grand Portage: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Grand Portage offers visitors several options for accommodation, catering to different budgets and preferences.

  • Grand Portage Lodge and Casino: It is a full-service resort and casino offering luxurious rooms, a pool, spa, and several dining options.
  • Naniboujou Lodge: It is a historic lodge located on the shores of Lake Superior, offering cozy rooms, tasty food, and a stunning view of the lake.
  • Birch Terrace Motel: It is a budget-friendly option offering comfortable rooms, kitchenette facilities, and a BBQ area for guests.

What to Buy in Grand Portage: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Grand Portage offers several options for visitors who want to shop for souvenirs or explore local products.

  • Ojibwe Crafts and Souvenirs: Visitors can explore several galleries and shops selling traditional Ojibwe crafts, such as embroidery, beadwork, and baskets.
  • Smoked Fish and Wild Rice: Visitors can buy local delicacies such as smoked fish and wild rice, which makes for a great gift or souvenir.
  • Local Wines and Brews: Visitors can buy local wines and brews to enjoy back home or to give as gifts.

Local Culture and Customs of Grand Portage

Grand Portage is home to the Grand Portage Ojibwe community, and visitors are encouraged to respect their culture and traditions. Visitors can learn about their history, language, stories, and customs by visiting museums, attending cultural events, and participating in workshops.

Best Time to Visit Grand Portage

The best time to visit Grand Portage is during the summer months, between May to September. The weather is pleasant, and the region offers several outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. The fall season also offers stunning colors and is an excellent time for hiking and camping.

Do’s and Don’ts of Grand Portage


  • Respect the local culture and traditions.
  • Carry insect repellent during the summer months.
  • Keep the surroundings clean and litter-free.
  • Follow the designated hiking trails and biking routes.


  • Litter or harm the local wildlife.
  • Enter designated areas without permissions, such as hunting or fishing on private land.
  • Ignore park rules and regulations.

Safety and Health

Safety in Grand Portage

Grand Portage is a relatively safe region for tourists, but visitors should be cautious and take standard safety precautions, such as locking vehicles and keeping valuables safe.

Health in Grand Portage

Visitors should carry insect repellent during the summer months to avoid tick bites or mosquito bites. Visitors should also stay hydrated, keep sunscreen and wear protective clothing when out in the sun.

Getting to Grand Portage: Transportation Options and Logistics

Grand Portage is well connected to the rest of Minnesota by road and air.

Airports Near Grand Portage

  • Thunder Bay International Airport: Located in Canada, about 50 miles from Grand Portage. This airport offers several domestic and international flights.
  • Duluth International Airport: Located about 100 miles from Grand Portage. This airport offers several flights to major US cities.

Bus Stations Near Grand Portage

  • Arrowhead Transit: Provides transportation to several towns across Minnesota and has a bus stop at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino.

Other Options

  • Visitors can also rent a car or hire a taxi from nearby towns to reach Grand Portage.

How to Get Around in Grand Portage

Visitors can explore Grand Portage on foot or by car. The region also offers several biking and hiking routes for visitors.

Where to Go Next from Grand Portage: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Located near Grand Portage, this area offers visitors a chance to explore over a million acres of untouched forests, lakes, and rivers.
  • North Shore Scenic Drive: This scenic drive runs along the Lake Superior shore from Duluth to Grand Portage and offers visitors stunning views of the lake and the surrounding terrain.


Grand Portage is an ideal destination for visitors looking for a unique combination of history, culture, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. With a mix of attractions, activities, and delicious culinary delights, Grand Portage offers visitors a memorable vacation experience.