The North Shore starts here. It's the rocks. And the kids.
The North Shore starts at the corner of the Duluth Lake Walk, at the gravel beach, by the old Endion station. This is the first place you can throw rocks in the water.
The beach has rocks. Rounded rocks, perfect for throwing. It has blue water to the clear horizon, as far as you could ever throw. It's the North Shore.
Sure, there's no soaring cliffs at the water's edge, full of squawking gulls. There's no rushing waterfalls, either. Canal Park does not have a decent place for the necessary North Shore pie. But there are kids throwing rocks into clear cold water. That makes it the North Shore.
We'd bring our older son at age 1 to the beach at Grand Marais or at Brighton Beach. We'd plop him down at the water's edge. Just like a Vikings fan in the easy chair saying "Time for the game," he would say, "T-whoa wocks in wally." Then he'd sit for ten minutes on the shoreline, totally serious and focused, and do just that. He's a North Shore natural.
The crowds from Canal Park find this beach naturally. Kids are drawn to it. Parking is free on weekends in the lot behind the Canal Park Lodge. Below is a map/photo from Google Maps. Look at all those rocks. And water.
Go, throw. Even you grown-ups. You're on the North Shore now.