Grand Marais, Minnesota

A city that was part of American history can be a beautiful spot for those who seek a calm and scenic getaway. Grand Marais is a small city in Cook County in the US State of Minnesota. The city serves as a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness through the Gunflint Trail. Grand Marais is situated approximately 38 miles southwest of the international boundary between Canada and the United States and about 110 miles northeast of the port city of Duluth. 

Geography Of Grand Marais

Aerial view of Grand Marais, Minnesota at sunset
Aerial view of Grand Marais, Minnesota, at sunset. 

Grand Marais is located close to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and on Lake Superior's northwestern banks. One of the significant landforms surrounding Grand Marais is Pincushion Mountain, which has a beautiful view over Lake Superior and the wilderness. The town also contains Devil's Kettle Waterfalls, a prominent waterfall in the area. Grand Marais is the 302nd largest city in the state and the 9006th largest city in the US, making it one of the small cities in the country. It covers an area of 7.51 sq. km with elevations reaching 188m.

Climate Of Grand Marais

The Grand Marais Lighthouse on Lake Superior during winter
The Grand Marais Lighthouse on Lake Superior during winter. 

Summers are warm and comfortable, whereas winters are frigid, windy, and snowy. The hot season has average temperatures reaching 78°F. In contrast, temperatures in the winter drastically drop down to -13°F. Summers usually last for about three months, from mid-June to Mid-September. On the other hand, the period with rainfalls can be very long-lasting for about nine months. Rain precipitations average 29 inches per year. Noticeably, the snow precipitations can reach 56 inches of snow every year, making the area one of the snowiest in the country.

History Of Grand Marais

US Coast Guard Station of North Superior at Grand Marais, Minnesota on Lake Superior
US Coast Guard Station of North Superior at Grand Marais, Minnesota, on Lake Superior. 

Grand Marais's name is considered one of the oldest and most baffling names in the Great Lakes area. The name translates from French as "Big Marsh ."  Historians theorize that French mapmakers mistakenly chose Marais instead of Maré, modifying the translation to the "sheltered body of water." Early explorers chose this place as a shelter when trying to discover the area. They encountered the original locals, Native Indians by the name of Chippewa. It was not until the 1860s that settlers arrived in this region. Upon settling down, the settlers established a trading post at the bay's eastern end, making it a spot for commercial fishing boats. The 1880s witnessed the arrival of loggers that used timber as their primary source of trade and income. This continued till 1910 with the aid of the rail line that connected Seney and Grand Marais. The 20th century was the economic and demographic peak when about 3,000 people lived here. Now the city relies on tourism as one of the main contributors to the economy, making lumbering a long-forgotten craft.  

The Population And Economy Of Grand Marais

The population of Grand Marais will reach 1,387 people by the year 2022. This makes the city a very small town. 94% of the resident are white, 3% Hispanic, and 3% are American Indian or Alaskan Natives. Females constitute 48% of the community, and Males are 52%. At present, the city tends to be old because its median age surpasses 45 years.

For a town of fewer than 1,400 people, several industries contribute to this city's small economy. Food services & Accommodation has the 137 employees making it the largest industry, followed by Retail Trade with 126 people, Office & Administrative Support Occupations with 103 people, Education with 101 employees, and Management with 68 people. Other occupations employ fewer people but offer higher income, like Healthcare which pays $128,00 as an annual salary. The Median Household Income is $45,298. Tax Rates in Grand Marais are considerably higher than the national average, with 8.4% as a Sales Tax Rate and 7.1% as an Income Tax Rate.

Attractions In Grand Marais

Grand Marais Light against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota
Grand Marais Light against the backdrop of the Sawtooth Mountains on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota. 

Nature is the main attraction for tourists, with several outdoor activities in the city. Artist's Point is one of the most picturesque sites in the area, with views of Lake Superior and the peninsula alongside the lake. Lake Superior is the number one spot visitors seek. The outdoor enthusiast will have the chance to experience kayaking, camping, hiking on its long adventurous trails, and exploring the beautiful wildlife that acts as a fresh breeze to the soul and body.  

Grand Marais is considered to be an artist's dream. Hundreds of artists from all over the country come to the city for its Plein Air Grand Marais Festival. Several galleries and studios are located in the town, showcasing beautiful artistic pieces. Since the 1960s, the Beaver House has been the go-to place for fishing enthusiasts. The store sells all kinds of fishing equipment and fishing souvenirs.