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explore // lake superior ice caves

We’ve been cooped up in MSP the last month or so and since there isn’t a warm weather vacay on the calendar, Nick and I did the next best thing: Drove farther north to see the ice caves along Lake Superior.

After a pit stop in Duluth for a walk on the lake and a beer at Canal Park Brewing

duluth 1


…we were en route to Bayfield, where we had dinner at flamingo-themed Maggie’s (the bison burger + sweet potato fries were awesome) and then saw some moon dogs (so, so neat… these never even made an appearance where I grew up in northern Minnesota!).


Bright and early Sunday morning, we bundled up and drove north along the lake about 20 miles to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the entrance to the mainland sea caves along Lake Superior. It was freezing, but the views were worth every shiver. It was absolutely spectacular! The photos don’t do it justice.

If you go… 

  • Go early to beat the crowds. We arrived around 7:30a and snagged a $3 parking spot right at the lake entrance (bring cash).
  • Dress warm. It was 2 degrees when we arrived. I wore a long Patagonia down jacket, SmartWool socks + buff, Sorel boots and a hat, and I was still cold. Snow pants would be wise, as it’s a one-mile walk, in snow, from the entrance to the first caves.
  • Bring a camera. If you have one, bring a dSLR because it takes way better pics than your phone. Plus, if it’s freezing, your phone will get cold and shut off. And, trust me, you’ll want to take pictures.
  • That said, put down the camera and take in the beauty! Stop, look around in wonder and soak.it.in. It’s not everyday you get to walk on frozen Lake Superior and duck into icy caves. (In fact, it’s the first time in five years they’ve been open.)

Photo credit: the bf, Nick. Check out his blog for more fantastic, full-size pics!

ice caves 1



ice caves 2


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  • Reply
    Celeste Edenloff
    02/10/2014 at 8:41 am

    Breathtakingly beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 9:36 am


  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 10:00 am

    These pictures are unbelievable!! Good for you for taking a break and enjoying the scenery. It’s good for the soul.

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 10:01 am

    Fun! I was up that way this weekend, too! We wanted to check out the ice caves but were worried about the crowds. I’m regretting that decision now for sure — gorgeous pics!

    • Reply
      02/10/2014 at 10:08 am

      Definitely head up if you can, Hyedi! There wasn’t much of a crowd bright and early, but by the time we left around 10a, there were a LOT more people. That said, worth it even with a crowd :)

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 10:04 am

    So so so amazing!! LOVE these photos!! Nice work on the collage too, sis. You are becoming a pro at those! :)

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 10:09 am

    Awesome!!! I love that area at all times of year!!! I had to go check our Nick’s blog and wanted to comment that he was smart to have Erin be his ski sherpa at COLL but couldn’t figure out how to make a comment. EVERYONE needs a ski sherpa!! :)

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 10:09 am

    Absolutely beautiful!! It always amazes me that even in the winter months, we can have such amazing natural beauty ;)

  • Reply
    Emily Dingmann (@nutritionisteat)
    02/10/2014 at 10:27 am

    SO cool! I’ve never seen those before. That moon shot is awesome…

  • Reply
    Sara Hoffman
    02/10/2014 at 10:49 am

    Wow! That is so pretty!!

  • Reply
    Sharlene Klegstad
    02/10/2014 at 11:25 am

    WOW!!! It looks beautiful!

  • Reply
    Amanda Tjaden
    02/10/2014 at 11:39 am

    I’m cold looking at those pictures but sure is pretty!! Now that you were able to get to the caves it can start warming up for our arrival in March :)

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 12:54 pm

    We actually did the exact opposite time-wise and I’d recommend it as well… we didn’t get to Bayfield until a little bit before 3pm, so a lot of people were leaving as we were getting there. We got parking on the road leading right up to the lot (maybe 1/4 mile, max, from the lot) and there were a lot more people walking back from the caves than to them when we were headed out. The coolest part was that we were out there for the sunset & got some GREAT pics after dark using some LED lights that friends had packed for the occasion.

  • Reply
    Kendra Krueger
    02/10/2014 at 2:43 pm

    Wow, just wow!!

  • Reply
    Danielle @ I Eat Therefore I Run
    02/10/2014 at 2:43 pm

    Great photos! And what an interesting experience!

  • Reply
    Shannon @ Mon Amour
    02/10/2014 at 2:49 pm

    These photos are incredible! I can’t even imagine how breathtaking it must have been in person. I would love to do something like this but MD/PA don’t get nearly cold enough..or have lakes

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 3:36 pm

    SO JEALOUS! Apostle Islands was the first-ever vacation I took with my boyfriend several years ago. Would love to make it up there to see the caves in winter, but I fear it’s a bit too far for us to make it this year. Thanks for the fabulous photos :)

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 4:09 pm

    what a great weekend! absolutely stunning photos!

  • Reply
    Lori Mork
    02/10/2014 at 6:11 pm

    I just watched this on the CBS evening news tonight and was amazed! But I have to tell you, your photos were much better than those they showed. Wonderful!

  • Reply
    02/10/2014 at 7:55 pm

    My dad and brother are maybe going up to our cabin in Two Harbors to check out the lake, etc, this is so cool thanks for sharing. We really live in an amazing place and Lake Superior is so powerful im always in aww of it. See you sooni hope.

  • Reply
    02/11/2014 at 6:37 am

    Awesome! All my years in Minnesota and I didn’t even know this existed! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Leslie @ TriathleteTreats
    02/14/2014 at 12:10 am

    So fun to get out of town even if it was “colder” than “usual”! Those are great pictures. I can’t believe those icicles. CRAZY!

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    02/14/2014 at 11:05 pm

    Wow! That is beautiful! Good for you guys for appreciating the joys of winter and snow and getting yourself out of town. This is really the winter that will never end. Cheers to warm weather ahead!

  • Reply
    02/16/2014 at 7:45 pm


  • Reply
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust
    02/18/2014 at 4:44 pm

    WOW!!! Your photos are incredible. Although it may be cold, winter is sure breathtaking and beautiful.

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    02/22/2014 at 2:08 pm

    Oh my gosh — when you were posting these photos in instagram, I wanted to <3 every single one. What an absolutely stunning trip. Great photos too.

  • Reply
    2014 in pictures. - sweet sweat life
    01/11/2015 at 5:19 pm

    […] Keeping it real and a road trip to the Lake Superior ice caves. […]

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