The most commonly asked question always I get is… where do you stay in Grand Marais? So I finally took the time to sit my butt down and write it all out. This is going to be your no fluff overview of places to stay in and around Grand Marais. The North Shore is extensive and I typically stay in Grand Marais (personal preference!) so a guide for every else will come in the future 🙂 Read on below for some tips, tricks, and my unfiltered opinion on some places! If you make it all the way to the end, firstly, thank YOU, but if you have any additional questions feel free to DM me on instagram or email me! I’m always here to help! Now – let’s get started!
Best tips for booking
With COVID, things are booking FAST. I suggest booking up to 2- 3 months in advance – especially if you have you’re eye on something! Some Airbnb’s are booked now through the end of the year if they only have one cabin/room. Also, just having an understanding that COVID is now changing the nature of visiting, is key. Some places still remain closed, some are only half booking, or some are completely sold out because everyone’s vacations have been canceled and people still want to get away. Be prepared for an increase in pricing that’s anywhere from 20-50% higher than normal. Now, with that being said, don’t lose hope on finding vacancies!
Follow the properties on social media – there have been several last minute cancellations, and most properties post these cancellations on their instagram or facebook pages before it hits their website! For example, in the last month or so I’ve seen cancellations from Poplar Haus AND Agua Norte, by just from following them on instagram. They do book pretty fast, so you can always set notifications for their posts and stories too! If you aren’t on social, call or email and ask to be put on a waiting list for cancellations.
Use Google Maps for searching. I can’t stress this ENOUGH when searching for places to stay in a smaller town/area! A lot of lodges and B&Bs either don’t have a website or don’t take reservations through the internet. Pull up Grand Marais (or set location) on Google Maps and then search “lodging” in the search bar and places will come up! Scroll around town or up or down the shore and things will keep popping up. Also zoom in and out for more options. The blue dots that come up are all lodging! Google will typically give you contact info or the website too.
Try hotel/rental companies or Airbnb for multiple listings. Cascade Vacation Rentals has a ton of properties along the shore and some are pet friendly! Also try Airbnb or VRBO too. With Airbnb, try searching for your dates, OR just openly search Grand Marais and find a property you like. With COVID some places are opening up reservations month to month – so always read through the description before you vote them out! It may look like they are booked up, but it may be they just haven’t opened the next month yet!
Search multiple ways – sometimes you can find places on Hotels.com (or similar like Expedia) and the own lodging’s website and their availability is different – I had this happen before so see if they are on multiple booking sites and book the one available (then once you have a confirmation number, I just follow up with a phone call to confirm booking!)
Now, when everything seems booked or not affordable, use the tips above to keep looking! And then, look at your priorities! Do you want a nice place to stay since you won’t be outside much? Or are you going to be adventuring out and about and won’t spend much time in the room (so you really just need a shower and place to lay your head)? Base the pricing on that, THEN take it a step further. Are you going to be eating out a lot or packing your own food/making your own food? Eric and I have splurged a little bit more on a room and then pre-made meals or packed food to bring with so we weren’t eating out for every meal! And vice versa – we’ve gone the cheaper route because we knew we wanted to hit up more places to eat and drink. There are several ways to look at your priorities, things you want to do, etc to save money and cut costs.
Places I’ve Stayed
Here is a list of all the places I’ve stayed, my opinions on them (again my OWN opinions), and if I’ve stayed multiple times or would stay again!
House of Light – Part of Cascade Vacation rentals and pictured above – this is one of my FAVORITE places I’ve ever stayed. It’s custom built, right in town and steps from everything. It’s worth every penny. Yes, yes, 1000x yes I would stay here again! Read more and see photos from my stay in my blog post!
Shoreline Inn – Part of the Grand Marais Hotel Group, this is one of the first places Eric and I have stayed since coming. One thing I will say is you can’t beat this location. It’s right in town, views of the water, and if you get the top corner room, you get views of the lake and artist points – it’s seriously magical waking up to the views! They have a small patio out back with some tables. Now… This place is pretty bare bones and kinda feels like you’re back in the 80s. Colored carpet, faded art on the wall, polyester bedding. There is no AC, only fans, and small fridges. You do get a continental breakfast with your stay. I always say I think we had on rose colored glasses when we used to stay there and finally took them off. They have been pretty affordable the last few years but – this year, I don’t think it’s worth the price. We’ve stayed here a few times and moving forward will opt for other places!
Spruceglen Inn – Part of the same Grand Marais Hotel group – we spent one night in the Spruceglen Inn. It is a motel and again super bare bones. A bed, table and chairs, tv, bathroom and that’s about it. We stayed one night because of an issue with a different place. If you are passing through or plan to spend zero time in your room – sure, book it. But I probably won’t book it unless it was my absolutely only option!
Aspen Lodge – Part of the Grand Marais Hotel Group also – Aspen Lodge is right next to Spruceglenn inn. Now.. Aspen lodge is nothing fancy – But I actually enjoyed staying there! The rooms were fairly big, the lobby is nice and airy and has a fireplace, there’s continental breakfast, and the thing that stood out to me the most was how CLEAN it was! Even though it could use an upgrade – everything I encountered was extremely clean. We had a room on the top floor and had views of the trees and partial lake views! It was cozy and quiet. If you’re okay with some outdated bedding and furniture – I think it’s a decent choice for the price! I would probably stay here again, depending on price, but it is a nice location right in town. I think the biggest difference here too was the staff was friendly. Similar interior aesthetic as the Shoreline Inn, but the staff was friendlier and the place was more well kept.
Skyport Lodge – Located about 15 mins outside of Grand Marais, Skyport has also become one of my favorites. They have lodge rooms and private cabins available right on Devil Track Lake. We stayed there in June so you can read more about and see photos of it here! The best thing for me is the full bar and restaurant connected! I would definitely come back here ANY time of the year.
Hungry Hippie Hostel – If you’re looking for a unique place to stay – this is it! This hostel is on a farm run by Kate and Jeremey, who also run Hungry Hippie Tacos. They have an open floor space with bunk beds up top, or they have private rooms on the main floor of the hostel. They also have tent camping spaces, or you can rent their Glamping tents! We’ve stayed there a few times and loved it. Read more about it here and to see some photos! I would stay here again in the hostel, private rooms!
Lake Superior Inn (Best Western) – Funny timing, this was our first hotel we ever stayed at in Grand Marais and it was the last hotel we stayed at just recently! It has been recently upgraded and it is really nice! You can’t beat the location – I walked to everything in town daily and it was perfect. Easy access to the water and we had a great view of the lake. They have a bar that’s open for beer and wine and light bites from 5-10pm every night which was a nice option since things are starting to close early come fall. They also had a grab and go breakfast in the morning. I would definitely stay here again, however it is quite spendy. We splurged this time for a special occasion but probably won’t book unless the rates go lower.
Mountain Inn (Lutsen) – The will be the best come winter if you are a skier! Located just steps from trails near the Lutsen Mountain, Teri and her crew have made some major updates to this place and it’s cozy and a great location to all things in Lutsen! Read more about my stay here and to see some photos of the property!
Cascade Cornerstone West – Typically a long term rental, this space in town is owned by Cascade Vacation Rentals and we had the opportunity to stay here back in may and we LOVED it! Perfect for a family or for a couple to bring friends – we loved the views, locations and the little deck we had too! If it’s available for short term – I highly recommend staying here!
Now, while there are SEVERAL places in town to stay – I made a list of the places I usually always scope to book OR places I’ve seen around town that stick out to me, excluding the places I’ve already stayed above! This a non-exhaustive list!
Mayhew Inn – This place is on my wishlist! Located steps from Gunflint tavern, this boutique places boasts cool interiors, spacious rooms, and a rooftop deck that looks right into the entire harbor. It can be a little spendy and I would suggest booking for a group or family as their units have multiple beds!
Harbor Inn – Right next to the Mayhew Inn, you can’t beat this place’s location. I have never seen inside the rooms, but usually when I scope it out, this place is booked so they must be doing something right! They also have patios that look right out at Lake Superior.
East Bay Suites – Located right next to the Co-op and Stone Harbor Supply, this has also been on my wish list to stay! They typically have a 3 night minimum and their rates soar depending on the time, but each room is pretty modern and come with kitchenettes too! Also you really can’t beat this location – steps from the water and World’s Best Donuts! Bonus they are pet friendly too!
Cobblestone Cove – A part of Cascade Vacation Rentals – these are perfect for families or longer stays! I believe they all have full kitchens and some are 1-2 bedrooms. They are a little pricey but your balcony looks right onto the lake – need I say more? A great location and a great option! It’s also right across the street from Sydney’s custard and pizza – one of my favorite meals in town!
Bally House B&B – A quaint B&B this is located a couple blocks up the street from the main road in Grand Marais. It’s cozy, charming, and worth checking into!
Mangy Moose Motel – I’m not joking every time we come to town, we pass this motel and always say, dang we really need to stay here. A typical motel set up, these rooms are recently upgraded and really have everything you need! The property is well kept – I am thoroughly impressed with what I’ve seen so I definitely would add to your list! The rates are pretty affordable too!
Blue Water Suite – Did you know you can stay in the rental above Blue Water Cafe? Neither did I until about a year or so ago! A great space (and large!) it’s a great option for families as it has 2 bedrooms and sleeps six! Lake views and downtown this is kind of a hidden gem!
Trailside Cabins and Motel – You’ll see the sign right when you are coming into town, these cabins and motel are tucked back away from the road, giving you privacy and the feeling you are in the woods but actually you are just steps from town. 🙂
Outside of town
Again these are only SOME places outside of Grand Marais, (the shore shore is just so big!) but I would highly suggest looking into these!
North County Cottages (Lutsen) – Owned by my dear friend Danni – these 3 cottages are out of a northwoods dream. Her and her husband have been making updates to these cabins since taking over about a year ago. Don’t sleep on these gems and get to booking.
Skyport – See above or my blog post for more info!
Agua Norte – A timber frame AirBnb this place is dreamy and off the grid. This is perfect for couples. A lofted bed, small kitchen and views of Superior, this is the place to go to unplug. Book fast, as this place fills up!
Mountain Inn (Lutsen) – See above or my blog post on the Mountain Inn for more!
Hungry Hippie Hostel (Private room + Glamground) – See above or my blog post for more!
Hollow Rock Resort – Located about 30 mins north of Grand Marais town – Hollow Rock Cabins are the sister cabins to Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. They are secluded and right along the water. This is probably my favorite beach to stop at every time, even though we haven’t stayed here yet! I could sit on that beach forever – the hollow rock is such a beautiful thing to witness and the beach is secluded and feels like your own!
Up the Gunflint
While I haven’t stayed at these places, I’ve either visited them for a meal or drink and have been impressed with their grounds – so definitely places to check out in my book! We are still venturing up to staying on the Gunflint during our time in Grand Marais – so more to come on this in the future!
Poplar Haus – One of my favorite places to grab food and a cocktail, Poplar Haus also has 5 historic cabins to rent onsite on Poplar Lake. These picture perfect cabins are right near the breathtaking lake and are dog friendly too. Poplar Haus also has an onsite liquor store! (one of the only ones on Gunflint Trail!)
Gunflint Lodge – Located about an hour up the Gunlint (close to the end!) this place comes HIGHLY recommended to stay. We have visited here a couple times for small bites and drinks and their grounds are just breathtaking. It’s also a popular honeymoon spot. They offer tons of activities and can help outfit you for BWCA trips too. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation – this place will have you covered!
Bearskin Lodge – A great choice for groups and families, Bearskin Lodge has cozy cabins right along east Bearskin Lake! These cabins are highly secluded so you really can unplug and be one with the wilderness, as they don’t have television, video games, or telephones – but don’t worry you still have plumbing and a hot shower! 😉 I haven’t stayed here but I did tour a couple cabins and the property is quiet and gorgeous!
Hungry Jack Lodge – Another highly recommended place from a family friend. Hungry Jack has cabins and campgrounds alike. The property is large and has a ton of offerings for couples, friends, and family!
Tuscarora Lodge – The only lodge on Round Lake, Tuscarora is located about an hour up the gunflint from Grand Marais. They have lodges but also will outfit you for any BWCA adventures you’d like! There website is extensive and full of info – it’s very approachable and they are happy to answer any questions!
Additional Commonly Asked Questions:
What are some pet and kid friendly options? – I unfortunately do not bring my pets and/or have children with me when traveling so this is a toughie! I would say your best bet for Kiddos are cabins or houses – MOST hotels are only one room and can get pretty small depending on how many kids you have! As for Pet friendly – Surprisingly places are adapting to that more! The Best Western , Skyport, Cascade Vacation Rentals have properties that are pet friendly! Most will show on their website if they are.
Favorite Places to Eat/Drink? I’ve curated an ENTIRE blog post on things to do in Grand Marias right here. Also, a great resource is my Instagram highlights! I just recently saved my last trip over Labor Day weekend.
Whew! I hope this list gave you a starting point for some options. There are SEVERAL other options out there, and I encourage you to explore more or let me know about your favorite gems! Again, Airbnb and VRBO have a TON of great options – now get to searching! 😉