Fall. Many will stop to admire the colors of the season at the state’s many National and State parks. What many don’t realize is that often times, museums and parks go hand in hand. Museums are either located within a park or are within walking distance of one.

So, while you are soaking in the fall color this season, step back and think of a museum which could be a few steps away. Plus, many of them make a perfect activity for those rainy fall days.

Glensheen Mansion

Perched at the start of Highway 61, sits the 39-room, Congdon mansion welcoming you as the unofficial kickoff to the North Shore. What many do not immediately think of when they hear ‘Glensheen’ is the lakeside 12-acre estate that it sits on. Guests can stroll the grounds beneath the fall foliage then admire it from the third floor windows on a Full-Mansion tour. The man responsible for building the mansion, Chester Congdon, an iron ore tycoon, was the person who thought up the idea of a drive along the North Shore and even paid for a portion of it outright. So when cruising up the scenic drive as you head out of Duluth, slow down and swing into Glensheen to start off your fall road trip up the North Shore right.

Split Rock Light House

Towering over Lake Superior atop a 130-foot cliff, Split Rock Lighthouse shines as a premier fall color viewing spot. Walk in the century-old footsteps of the lighthouse keepers and come face-to-face with the 1000-watt bulb. Once you’ve explored the historic buildings and visitor center, it’s time to make your way through the 14-miles of hiking trails to get up close and personal with the blazing reds, oranges and yellows along Lake Superior.

Split Rock Lighthouse

What many do not realize is the area surrounding the lighthouse is full of recreational adventure opportunities. When hiking, biking, and camping along the lakeshore and northern forest, you are sure to find activities to fill an entire afternoon. According to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park staff picks, you can’t go wrong hiking to the top of Day Hill for a panoramic view of Lake Superior and the emerging color.

Grand Portage National Monument

This is one that you want to make the drive for. Within the 710 acres that the monument preserves, you are sure to find a plethora of magical fall color viewing areas at the Grand Portage National Monument. At the Heritage Visitor Center galleries, they celebrate the Grand Portage Ojibwe, archaeology and the North West Company of the North American fur trade. Right outside the museum doors lies countless trails and many breathtaking views.

View from Mount Rose Trail Overlook. The Grand Portage footpath goes through the gap in the hills.

Now you have stops all the way up the shore. Duluth, Two Harbors and Grand Portage. Score! Switch it up and stop at these noteworthy museums along the North Shore for your Fall Color Road Trip.