As air travel has slowed and road trips have surged, meandering scenic byways are bringing people back to sights off the beaten path. In northern Minnesota, Highway 61 along Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Marais, offers a 110-mile road trip speckled with entrances to your choice of seven state parks.
Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, was carved by the Wisconsin Glacier. After the glacier receded, Native American tribes—namely the Ojibwe tribe—settled the area. They called Lake Superior Gitche Gumee (which roughly translates to Big Sea), and established traditions that remain prevalent, like canoeing and cultivating wild rice. In the early seventeenth century, Europeans found their way to the North Shore, which spurred the fur trade between the Ojibwe and the French. The French influence can also be seen in area names such as Grand Marais and Voyageurs National Park.