Northern Minnesota is a nature-lover’s paradise and offers a little something for everyone.
The most eastern part of the region features miles upon miles of gorgeous lakeshore, running from the city of Duluth all the way up to Canada. The land features rocky cliffs and pebbly beaches, and is spliced together with hilly forests, flowing rivers, and even a few waterfalls. In other words….it’s Scenic (with a capital “S”).
At the tippy top of the state, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness offers complete solitude. Go deep into the back country and allow yourself to become completely surrounded by nature, or simply skim the edge.
Wherever you end up in northern Minnesota, you won’t want to miss out on the endless fishing, boating, camping, canoeing, hiking, and overall adventuring opportunities the region has to offer!
And, while you’re at it, why not consider having northern Minnesota serve as the backdrop for your big day?
Photo by Chelsea with Bailey Aro Photography
The Perfect Outdoor Wedding Destination
Okay, maybe we’re biased (The Northbound’s HQ is in Duluth!), but we can’t think of a better place than northern Minnesota for your big day. Only a 2.5-5 hour drive (depending on where you’re going!) away from the Twin Cities metro area, northern MN is an easy and convenient getaway.
We’ve done the research for you: we’ve complied a comprehensive list of Northern MN wedding venues for your exploring pleasure.
The venues on this list all offer outdoor wedding event options of some form. Since our weather is a little unpredictable here, many offer both outdoor and indoor locations; the indoor locations are great to have available, as they can serve as a back-up in case of rain, snow, hail, sleet, blizzard, or other form of inclement weather (and yes, we get them all up here!).
Northern MN Wedding Venues
We’ve broken our list down into 5 areas:
Up The North Shore
Places to hold your wedding ceremony and/or reception on Lake Superior’s shoreline, from Duluth to the Canadian border.
01 Larsmont Cottages Two Harbors, MN
Larmont Cottages offers all of the things we love about Minnesota’s north shore: stunning Lake Superior shoreline and lots of trees! As a wedding venue, Larsmont Cottages can accommodate both summer and winter weddings, and you and guests can lodge on-site.
02 Grand Superior Lodge / Two Harbors, MN
Grand Superior Lodge is a log resort on Lake Superior’s shoreline. Outdoor ceremonies can be held on the lake-level patio, and they have a ballroom with views of the lake for your reception. There’s also a bonfire with s’mores at night! Guests can lodge at the resort and explore everything the area has to offer.
03 Superior Shores / Two Harbors, MN
Superior Shores offers a pebble beach ceremony location where you can say “I do” outdoors. There’s a big ballroom for your reception, and you’ll also have access to a private patio and lawn space. Superior Shores includes on-site lodging for you and your guests.
04 Lutsen Resort / Lutsen, MN
Lutsen Resort offers outdoor and indoor locations for ceremonies, receptions, beach barbeques, and more. (The indoor locations can serve as a backup in case of rain!) Lutsen Resort provides lodging for you and your guests as well. There’s also a spa on-site!
05 Summit Chalet / Lutsen, MN
A wedding at the Summit Chalet involves a gondola ride up to the top of the mountain! You’re rewarded with views for days of Lake Superior and the Superior National Forest. Ceremonies are held outdoors and receptions inside. Guests can lodge at nearby Eagle Ridge Resort at a discount.
06 State Parks – Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche, and more
Minnesota has a total of 8 state parks up the north shore, all of which provide some of the most stunning scenery the North Shore has to offer. Having your wedding at a state park can be an inexpensive option, and you’re guaranteed to get some beautiful photos, too!
Available accommodations vary by park, so it’s certainly best to check with each individually. Also, know that you have to respect the park’s rules! Most alcohol is prohibited in the parks, and you’re also required to clean up after yourselves (#leavenotrace).
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- 07. Bluefin Bay / Tofte, MN: a lodge located on the shore, between Grand Marais and Silver Bay, that accommodates weddings.
- 08. Cove Point Lodge, Beaver Bay, MN: this lodge up the north shore can also accommodate weddings.
Outdoor Wedding Venues in Duluth, MN
Duluth is the largest city in northern Minnesota, with a population of about 86,000. The city is situated on Lake Superior and is very popular with tourists, making it a great destination for your big day!
09 Glensheen Mansion / Duluth, MN
The Glensheen Mansion may be infamous for its murders in the late 1970s, but it’s also a simply stunning place to get married! It features the most beautiful architecture, inspired by the Beaux-Arts styles of the 1800s and early 1900s. The estate is situated on 12 acres and features gardens, bridges, and gorgeous scenery galore. The wedding package even offers self-guided tours of the mansion.
10 Spirit Mountain /Duluth, MN
Spirit Mountain is where everyone goes skiing and snowboarding in the winter. It’s situated on top of a giant hill, so it offers stunning views of Duluth, Lake Superior, and the St. Louis River Valley. In other words, having your wedding at this venue will offer you the perfect backdrop!
11 Pier B / Duluth, MN
Photo via Pier B Resort website
If you want to get real cozy with Lake Superior and get a great view of the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, consider Pier B! It’s located right in Duluth’s harbor. This venue offers indoor and outdoor locations, including a gorgeous rooftop deck that overlooks the harbor, as well as a 6,000 square foot lawn area (with firepit!).
12 Oldenburg House / Carlton, MN
The Oldenburg House is a very unique venue on this list! Located near Jay Cooke State Park and the St. Louis River, the Oldenburg House is just 20 minutes outside of Duluth. The house was originally built in the 1890s, and it has been beautifully refreshed.
The outdoor ceremony site is gorgeous. If you choose to say your vows at Oldenburg House, you’ll be surrounded by trees, greenery, pools, and fountains that have classic, old-school charm.
13 The Rose Garden / Duluth, MN
The Rose Garden, a section of Leif Erikson Park, features over 3,000 rose bushes and other plants and a gazebo that is popular for wedding ceremonies. It is right next to Lake Superior and is directly accessible from Duluth’s Lakewalk. The Rose Garden is great, inexpensive option for small ceremonies.
14 Enger Park / Duluth, MN
Photo by Angela Divine Photography
Enger Park is located on the west side of Duluth, on Skyline Parkway. It provides overlooking views of the city and features gorgeous gardens, a Japanese peace bell, and Enger Tower. Like the Rose Garden, Enger Park is a great Duluth location to hold your wedding ceremony.
15 Duluth Parks / Duluth, MN
Photo by Chelsea with Bailey Aro Photography
In addition to the Rose Garden and Enger Park, the city of Duluth has other locations that you can use for your wedding events, like Brighton Beach and the Park Point Beach House. These parks can be used for the ceremony, rehearsal, and/or picnic reception. Formal receptions with music, dancing, and the works are not allowed. All events require a permit. This is a great, inexpensive option and the locations are stunning! For more information, go to the Duluth Parks & Recreation Catalogue (we typed “weddings” into the search box and more info popped right up!).
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- 16. The Boat Club: located in the historic Fitger’s complex, right by the lake walk/Lake Superior.
- 17. Hartley Nature Center: an outdoor-lovers oasis, Hartley is a few miles away from Lake Superior and gets you deep into the woods! They offer several different spaces, both indoor and outdoor, including yurts!
- 18. Jay Cooke State Park: located just a bit outside of Duluth in Carlton, Jay Cooke offers stunning views of the area and the St. Louis River.
- 19. Northland Country Club: situated on a golf course with views overlooking Lake Superior, rolling hills, and wooded areas.
- 20. Vista Fleet: Duluth’s only “floating event center” on Lake Superior can host anything from intimate ceremonies to receptions with lots of friends and family.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wedding Venues
The Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) is a massive wilderness area in northern Minnesota. It’s a favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts, offering canoeing, hiking, and fishing. BWCA is a protected area and does not allow large groups of people to enter. Needless to say, this makes hosting a wedding inside the BWCA basically impossible!
So instead, we look to the outskirts of the BWCA. Most of the following options are lodges that do not specialize in weddings, but certainly can accommodate them. Do note that the summer months are typically VERY busy. Some of the places on this list do not offer wedding accommodations during those months.
21 Grand Ely Lodge / Ely, MN
Here, you can host your ceremony indoors or out near the shores of Shagawa Lake. Pictured is the back lawn location; there is also a marina location that is a bit more wooded. Since this is a lodge, there is plenty of space for you and guests to stay overnight so you can enjoy activities on the lake, like canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boating.
22 Camp Du Nord / Ely Township, MN
Photo by Carrie Patricia Studios
Camp Du Nord is part of the YMCA and is located on the outskirts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This is definitely a nature lover’s paradise, with skiing and snowshoeing available during the winter, and access to kayaks and canoes in the spring and fall. Rustic cabins are available for you and guests to stay in.
Camp Du Nord does not offer summer weddings, since they are filled to capacity running their summer camp sessions during that time.
Tip: If you like the sound of this venue but Ely is a little too far out for you, look for other YMCA camps in your desired location. Many of them offer similar wedding packages!
23 Gunflint Lodge / Grand Marais, MN
Gunflint Lodge is best for super small weddings and elopements (and also honeymoons!). Located in the northernmost part of Minnesota, this is the perfect destination if you’re truly looking to get away from it all on your big day! We also love that the current wedding package at Gunflint Lodge includes some special extras, like a guided Naturalist activity for wedding guest and breakfast the morning after the wedding.
24 Hungry Jack Lodge / Grand Marais, MN
Hungry Jack Lodge is way up north! It’s located approximately 30 miles northwest of Grand Marais, 2 miles from the Canadian border, and less than a mile from the BWCA. This lodge and campground can accommodate wedding ceremonies and receptions. It also serves as a great base for day trips into the BWCA.
25 Bearskin Lodge / Grand Marais, MN
Bearskin Lodge does not specialize in weddings, but for the right bride & groom, that can actually a good thing. According to their website, “there are no structured wedding rate charts, no grandiose wedding options.” Each wedding is totally memorable and unique. Whether you want your ceremony in the woods, on a bluff, in a dog sled, or in a canoe, Bearskin Lodge vows they can make it happen!
Bearskin Lodge is best for small weddings and elopements. Also, according to their website, they are usually very busy and booked out during the summer months and around Christmas, so you may have to be very flexible with your dates!
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- 26. Clearwater Historic Lodge: another lodge in Grand Marais with easy access to the BWCA that can accommodate weddings.
On Other Lakes:
Minnesota’s the land of 10,000 lakes. While Lake Superior is without a doubt the most expansive in northern Minnesota, the area has other lakes to explore, too!
27 Hanging Horn Lakeside Resort / Moose Lake, MN
A perfectly quaint wedding venue, Hanging Horn Lakeside Resort is located on–you guessed it!–Hanging Horn Lake, south of Duluth. It features a newly remodeled banquet hall, outdoor reception areas by the lake, and a charming, restored wedding chapel built in the 1800s. There is also lodging on-site, so you + guests don’t have to worry about travel on your big day.
28 Giants Ridge / Biwabik, MN
Photo by Beau Petersen
Giants Ridge is a great option for an outdoor wedding, especially for those near the towns of Hibbing, Virginia, Eveleth, etc. Their new chalet opened just a few years ago, and they have lots of flexible indoor and (beautiful) outdoor space.
Giants Ridge is another venue that has lodging on-site. In their spare time, guests can golf at one of the two on-site golf courses or bike the nearby Mesabi Bike Trail.
29 Ludlow’s Island Resort/ Cook, MN
A lot of us Minnesotans have the fondest memories of spending summer days at the cabin. The cabin, usually situated on a lake, is perfectly rustic and nestled in the trees. It makes for the most relaxing, outdoorsy getaway!
Ludlow’s offers the cabin experience in full. The resort is situated on beautiful Lake Vermilion, and has enough space to accommodate a big guest list. There are countless locations to say your vows, and you can even arrive to the ceremony via a vintage wooden boat. We love it!
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- 30. Sugar Lake Lodge, Cohasset MN: Located near Grand Rapids, this spot has various indoor and outdoor locations.
Barns & Farms
31 Canosia Grove / Duluth, MN
Canosia Grove is a farm and a cidery located in the more rural part of Duluth, away from the lake. It’s in the perfect rural setting without being too far away from the rest of town!
32 Wilderness Wedding Barn / Bigfork, MN
Wilderness Wedding Barn is in the north-central part of the state. This is one of the only northern MN wedding venues we could find in this part of the state, so it’s definitely worth looking into if you’re in love with this area!
There are no large towns nearby, but there is plenty of resort-style lodging nearby for your guests! This venue has a little bit of everything, including a historic barn, outdoor silo barn, bonfire pit, Norway pine grove, bride + groom rooms, and its own charming, indoor log chapel in the woods.
Did we miss any?! We want this list of (outdoor) northern MN wedding venues to be as comprehensive as possible! Drop us a comment below or get in touch with us if you know one we forgot!