|Your own personal deck at the Twin Points boat launch.|
While Minnesota's governor and legislature play Chicken with each other over the state budget, the state parks remain closed. If you're on the North Shore and looking for an outdoor experience, head for one of the public boat landings. My personal favorite on the shore is Twin Points.
Twin Points is just three miles past Gooseberry Falls State Park. It was the site of a family resort and has since been transferred to state ownership. Unlike the state parks, Twin Point remains open this month.
Three great features make this a must-do North Shore experience.
Great Feature 1: Iona's Beach
|Red shingles dominate Iona's Beach|
Take a short, scenic walk through a pine forest to this unique red shingle beach. It's been set aside as a state scientific and natural area, to protect the beach and the wetland behind it. The beach is composed entirely of rhyolite shingles, which have been stacked up by northeast storms. Iona Lind was the matriarch of the family that owned and operated Twin Points resort. After exploring the beach, head along the shoreline clockwise around the "twin" points back to your car, and watch for a deep, awesome crack in the rock.
Great Feature 2: Scenic boat launch
Even if you don't have a boat on a trailer, you can still enjoy the deck at the launch with its dramatic view back down the shoreline. Bring your own folding chair and pretend that you're North Shore royalty.
Great Feature 3: Gitchi Gami Trail
|The Gitchi Gami bike trail heads through Twin Points pines|
Bring your bike and explore the shore! Twin Points is in the middle of the longest contiguous section of the Gitchi Gami bike trail. From Twin Points, you can ride west into Gooseberry Falls State Park and check out the waterfalls, or ride east into Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. As far as I know, those parks are still open for access by bike or by foot.
How to get there
The entrance to Twin Points is at mile marker 42, three miles east of the entrance to Gooseberry Falls State Park. Look for a small brown sign that indicates public water access, then notice two large parking lots on the lake side of the highway. That's your turn. You'll see the large sign for Iona's Beach at the left-hand parking lot.
Note on necessities
While the entrance to Twin Points should be open, the outhouses may not be. Buy some gas and goodies in Beaver Bay or Two Harbors before you get to Twin Points and use the facilities at the store.