Duluth has a bevy of options for fans of the great outdoors.

Shining like a beacon on the shores of Lake Superior, Duluth is often thought of as the gateway to the North. The forests, trails and waters on the city’s outskirts have become a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, and the events and attractions are must-sees and -dos.

Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge at Sunrise

When you ask someone to picture Duluth, chances are images of the Aerial Lift Bridge are some of the first to come into vision. It is as synonymous with Duluth as the Colosseum is with Rome. A resident and visitor favorite, this steel and cable colossus has a clearance height of 180 feet, and stretches 386 feet to connect the “mainland” to Park Point—the world’s longest freshwater sandbar, extending out more than five miles. It’s the perfect spot to snap a picture or watch the boats come and go.

Spirit Mountain takes outdoor fun to new heights. During the winter, skiers and snowboarders can carve their way through the powder on any of the mountain’s 22 runs. And when the yearly thaw paints the mountain green in the spring, Spirit Mountain Adventure Park unfurls into full bloom. This warmer weather attraction features the Timber Twister—an alpine coaster that races down a 3,200-foot elevated track—the 700-foot-long Timber Flyer zip line, mountain biking and more. Couples can even tie the knot with breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the St. Louis River as a backdrop.

Duluth's Great Lakes Aquarium

Image by TJ Turner/Minnesota Monthly

Living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes means we have a large and vast world full of sandy valleys, coontail forests and fluttering fins under the waves of our shimmering waters. The Great Lakes Aquarium brings this world to the surface and showcases more than 200 species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals found in the Great Lakes basin and other freshwater ecosystems throughout the world.

Runners during Grandma's Marathon

Image by Joe D/Flickr

While Grandma’s Marathon is not a state holiday, it should be. Visitors from all over the country and state make the yearly migration in droves for the race. Even if you’re not lacing up your shoes and participating in any of the three races, you can dance the night away and mingle with friends during two nights of live music during this weekend celebration.

Duluth’s picturesque location coupled with its outdoor and indoor attractions make it a perfect getaway for any size of family at any time of the year.

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