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Getaway Guide: Weekend Road Trip To Boundary Waters

A terrain filled with unlimited wilderness abundant with a vast network of waterways, this glacially-carved landscape is celebrated for its timelessness. The Boundary Waters, also called the Quetico-Superior country, is a region that extends from Canada through the United States border lying somewhere between Ontario and Minnesota. Countless paddles have come and gone through these crystal waters. Enjoy a getaway to voyageur country by making a trip yourself.
Getting There

Driving time from the Twin Cities to the Boundary Waters is almost five hours. Take Interstate 35 to Duluth, then from Duluth follow Highway 61 north for about 110 miles to Grand Marais. Coming from the west, take Highway 2 from Grand Forks to Duluth. Approaching from the east take Highway 94 to Eau Claire heading north on Highway 53 to Duluth.

If travelling to Ely from the Twin Cities, expect to be in the car between four and five hours. Start out going north on Interstate 35 for about 100 miles until Highway 33. Take Highway 33 north toward the Iron Range (exit 237). Follow this until Highway 53 north. Continue along Highway 53 for about 50 miles then take Highway 169 north toward Ely.

What To Do

Piragis Northwoods Outfitters
105 N Central Ave
Ely, MN 55731
(800) 223-6565

Fires are a vital and natural occurrence to the health of a forest. The process of burning helps the rejuvenation of the ecosystem. The Pagami Creek Fire trip provides visitors with the unique opportunity to explore how one of mother nature's most powerful forces affects the wilderness. The six-day, five-night canoe trip will allow you to investigate first-hand what the fire has left behind and how much regrowth has occurred.

Related: Getaway Guru: Weekend Guide to Lake Miltona

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)
(credit: CBS)

Voyageur North Outfitters
1829 E Sheridan St
Ely, MN 55731
(218) 365-3251

Yoyageur North Outfitters has everything you need to do some camping in the Boundary Waters. Become equipped with lightweight canoes, durable tents, sleeping bags, food, cooking gear and camping packs to try your hand at the wilderness. You can register for a canoe trip tailored to fishing with a five-day route to some of the best spots for bites around the area. Voyageur North Outfitters is part of the Professional Paddlesport Association and has been outfitting sports fishers for more than 30 years. This company knows what it's doing.

Where To Stay

River Point Resort and Outfitting Company

12007 River Point Road
Ely, MN 55731
(218) 365-6604

River Point Resort and Outfitting Company in Ely, Minnesota is one of the best choices among Boundary Waters canoe trips. Get out to enjoy the outdoors during the day, then relax and get a great night's rest in one of the many rooms. This is a perfect option if you're planning a family trip because there are homes, villas and chalet space available for large parties. There are plenty of activities on site to keep all parties entertained.

BWCAW, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Generic
(credit: CBS)

Bearskin Wilderness Outfitters
124 East Bearskin Rd
Grand Marais, MN 55604

Bearskin cabins offer the convenience you need to recover from your day-to-day adventures, guaranteeing a better night's sleep than you might find in a tent. You may choose to stay in a campground or in camper cabins for more affordable accommodations. Each morning, you will be taken to a different entry point, offering ever-changing views of the beautiful Boundary Waters. Get the most bang for your buck with the help of Bearskin Wilderness Outfitters.

Where To Eat

Boathouse Brewpub & Restaurant
47 E Sheridan St
Ely, MN 55731
(218) 365-4301

If you're staying in Ely and can't bring yourself to eat more hot dogs around the campfire, then make the short drive to Boathouse Brewpub & Restaurant for a great meal accompanied by a few delicious brews. This brewery hosts special events throughout all seasons but no matter what time of year you stop in, expect some great beers on tap from ales to pilsners to porters. Bring the kids along so they can check out the impressive brewing process while waiting for their meals. The whole family will enjoy it.

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Blue Water Cafe
20 W Wisconsin St
Grand Marais, MN 55604
(218) 387-1597

If staying in Grand Marais, fuel up for your day's activities with a meal at Blue Water Cafe. This cafe has amazing breakfast and lunch options, serving as a great start to the day. With hearty combination plates for breakfast, you will be feeling satisfied well past noon. The lunch menu is just as expansive if you feel like getting up early to do your Boundary Waters activities and then rewarding yourself with a great meal after.

Related: Getaway Guide: One-Tank Trip to Winona

Anthony Carranza is a freelance writer covering all things Minnesota related to tech, social media, news, and local happenings around the Twin Cities. His work can be found at

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