Classic Photography for adventurous couples in Minnesota & Worldwide

Best North Shore MN Spots for Adventurous Weddings

Start off your life together with a little (or a lot!) of adventure. Many couples feel like their wedding day went by in a blur, but at these thrilling wedding spots, it’ll be hard to forget the day you said, “I do!”

Scenic North Shore MN Wedding Spots

Enger Tower + Gardens (Google Maps)

Experience Duluth from above. Enger Park overlooks Duluth’s West End atop aptly-named Enger Hill (it was once “Grand Mountain,” which is bit of an exaggeration). But the views from here are beautiful. 80 feet up, the historic stone tower overlooks the golf course, cityscape, and best of all, the St. Louis River and Lake Superior’s North Shore. This location allows quite a bit of diversity to your adventurous wedding photos. 

Backdrops at Enger Tower + Gardens include:

  • Lawns + greenery
  • Flowering Japanese Garden
  • Historic stone architecture & Peace Bell
  • Expansive 360-degree views from the tower (including Lake Superior)

The landscaping is phenomenal during the warmer months. The Japanese Peace Bell and Garden adds a bit of unique history and character as well. Even locals enjoy visiting this breathtaking scenic spot regularly. I recommend the Japanese Peace Garden for wedding ceremonies.

Enger Tower and Gardens also has a lush picnic area, seasonal food trucks, and clean restrooms, so it’s a spacious and clean place if you have a crew of wedding guests with you.

*Note: Access to the tower itself is seasonal.

Park Point + Beach House (aka Minnesota Point) (Google Maps)

This sandy beach on Lake Superior’s North Shore backs up to expansive green space, hiking trails, and bird watching area (lots of migratory birds here, which can be really unique in photos if the opportunity arises). Park Point gets a bit crowded in the summer, but there is still plenty of space and quieter spots if we time it right.

Backdrops at Park Point include:

  • The boardwalk
  • Nature preserve area
  • Sandy beach
  • Green space/park
  • Charming Beach House
  • Hiking Trails 
  • Water photos—canoe/kayak/swimming

Gooseberry Falls (Google Maps)

Want something more adventurous and ethereal? Gooseberry Falls State Park along the stunning Gooseberry River might be your spot. This remote wooded area is close to Lake Superior, and it feels miles away from the city although it just a short drive from Duluth.

Backdrops at Gooseberry Falls State Park include:

  • Flowing scenic waterfalls
  • Historic structures (log + stone)
  • Lake Superior’s north shoreline
  • Scenic overlooks, bridges, + hiking trails
  • Evergreen Forest + wooded areas
  • Rocky terrain
  • Natural water features
  • Gateway Plaza
  • Picnic areas
Gooseberry Falls Outdoor Wedding Overlooking Lake Superior Summer Minnesota 2022

*Note: Check with me about permits, rules, regulations, seasonal notes, and best times for this unique location. This park is open during the winter and actually offers cross-country skiing and snowmobile trails, so it’s a beautiful spot for snow-covered winter sessions.

Black Sand Beach (Google Maps)

As you might expect, this beach about an hour north of Duluth does in fact feature strikingly unique black sand. However, this cove in Silver Bay also has a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees, layered red and slate-colored rock, driftwood, yellow lichen, and blue water, making it look like a scene from a movie. Black Beach Park is open to the public and offers parking, a picnic area, playground, walking trails, and recently camping amenities as well—another one for weddings with more than just the two of you.

Black Sand Beach Outdoor Elopement Lake Superior Summer Minnesota 2022

The backdrops at Black Sand Beach include:

  • Black sandy beach
  • Clear blue/green water
  • Lots of natural color—yellow/orange lichen, layered rock, greenery, timber, etc.
  • Rocky island
  • Water scenes—this part of the bay is shallow and warm, so you can get creative with water shots and not freeze to death in the warmer months.

TETTEGOUCH

Iona’s Beach (aka “Singing Beach” or “Pink Sand Beach”) (Google Maps)

This quiet beach is well preserved since it was acquired as a protected scientific and natural area. I love this Pink Sand Beach not just for the colorful salmon stones but also the distinctive foliage. Not to go too nature nerd on you, but Iona’s beach attracts many species of birds with its protective currant, dogwood, birch, balsam, and poplar trees. 

A high pink cliff to the north and the rocky gray shoreline to the south hem in this unicorn of a beach. You truly have to experience it in person to get the full effect of the waves washing over the stones, and it’s a joy of mine to photograph you in it.

Backdrops at Iona’s Beach include:

  • Natural landscape—seasonal wildflowers, ferns, + grasses
  • Hiking + birdwatching trails
  • Pink pebbled beach (large pebbles, so wear shoes!)
  • Rock formations
  • Clear blue/green water
  • Wooded areas

*Note: Because this is a protected area, there are a few rules and regulations. Contact me for more information regarding your wedding or photography session. You can also visit their page “Rules for Visiting an SNA”. Their page also has a list of recommended photography areas.

Tettegouch State Park – Baptism River Head (Google Maps)

Tettegouch State Park is an immaculate section of Minnesota’s North Shore. There is so much available here for various scenes that are all stunning. Not as high as Palisade Head but you can hike towards Shovel Point along the lakeside cliffs to the end up at lookouts with soaring views over Lake Superior and rock climbers in action. Not far from the Visitor Center you come to a magical spot where the Baptism River empties into Lake Superior. You can head upstream at the river and find waterfalls and giant pines or head down stream for epic views, amazing rock formations and unique shoreline where the river and lake join.

Backdrops at Tettegouch include:

  • Elevated views of the North Shore
  • Tall pines + woodland paths
  • Rocky cliffs
  • Waterfalls
  • Fine art portraits in landscape
  • Riverhead Mouths Into Lake Superior
  • Bridges
  • THE North Shore View

Palisade Head (Google Maps)

Silver Bay is so stunning it gets two spots on the list. This one is an otherworldly cliff overlooking the cerulean waters of Lake Superior. Palisade Head is not for the faint of heart! Beware if you’re afraid of heights. But the view and the photos that come with it are unparalleled. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and you’ll have wedding photos that other people only dream of. 

If you’re the analytical type, I love the symbolism here for couples: standing on the precipice, ready to launch out in their new adventure together (but please don’t launch off this 350-foot cliff)! Or you could think of it as looking out toward a sea of endless possibility. No matter how you see it, weddings and photoshoots here are always heart pumping, adventurous, and fun! In fact, we will likely see a few adrenaline-junky rock climbers while we’re there.

Backdrops at Palisade Head include:

  • Elevated views of the North Shore
  • Tall pines + woodlands
  • Rocky cliffs
  • Unparalleled landscape scenes
  • Fine art portraits in landscape
  • Rolling distant hills 
  • Split Rock Lighthouse
  • Apostle Island of Wisonsin
  • THE North Shore View

Grand Marais + Artist’s Point, Mankato, MN (Google Maps)

This area was named as such because it’s the ideal natural scene to draw, paint, or photograph. Long ago, volcanic eruptions created deposits of dark basalt, that when layered against the pink stones, make the beach look “wavy” (for lack of better words). A thin strip of concrete stretches out into the water and takes you to the pine “island.”

Be sure to wear sturdy shoes. The path is flat, but it is narrow, and there are rocks and water on either side. This is another one for adventure-seeking couples that reaps great photographic rewards!

I have yet to photograph a wedding/elopement at this spot but best believe I am ready and waiting for this unique and gorgeous opportunity. If you are thinking about creating some photos here I would love to join you. In the meantime enjoy some photos of my son at this stellar location.

Backdrops at Grand Marais include:

  • Tide pools
  • Walking paths
  • Unique rock patterns—dark basalt and pink stones create complementary layers of color
  • Pine-covered island
  • Grand Marais Lighthouse
  • Waves crashing against rocks
  • Incredible sunsets

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