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The Short Version: For over a century, Lutsen Resort has invited guests to enjoy the beauty of Minnesota’s North Shore on Lake Superior. The family-owned resort has something for everyone. Active couples can get their hearts pumping by going kayaking, ice skating, or skiing, while more laid-back vacationers can unplug and savor the tranquility of a private cabin on the cove. Visitors are enamored with the resort’s rustic charm and timeless beauty, and it’s no wonder many couples choose to stay at Lutsen Resort during their romantic getaways in Minnesota.
The story of Lutsen Resort began in 1885 with the Nelson family. Charles Axel Nelson and his wife, Anna, opened their home and their hearts to fisherman and other travelers on the shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota. Their seven children would give up their beds to house weary travelers for a few nights.
Charles was a Swedish immigrant and fisherman who came to the U.S. as a teenager in 1881, so perhaps he felt a kinship to the wandering souls in need of a warm meal and a bed for the night. Because his family lived on Lake Superior, his spacious home was a convenient stopover for men who made their living on the lake, people needing to recover their health in a quiet place, and couples vacationing by the water.
Word soon spread of the Nelson family’s hospitality — not to mention Anna’s home-cooked meals — and Lutsen soon had to expand to accommodate the steady flow of guests.
Although over a century has passed, Lutsen Resort remains a family-run operation and continues to promote traditional Scandanavian hospitality and comfort on the shores of Lake Superior. As a result, Lutsen Resort has grown into one of the most popular vacation destinations in Minnesota, and it’s a fantastic destination for couples celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary, or just-because vacation.
Whether you want to get cozy in a sea villa for two or spend time with loved ones in a luxurious log cabin, you can enjoy the best of the Midwest by booking a stay at Lutsen Resort.
“Lutsen Resort has very much always been about hospitality and welcoming guests to the area,” said Katie Krantz, the Director of Marketing at Lutsen Resort. “We like to think that C.A.A. Nelson started it, and we continue to treat our guests like family to this day.”
Lutsen Resort is famous in the Twin Cities metro area, and it’s the go-to destination for families throughout the Great Lakes region. Some have been coming here for generations. Minnesota’s first resort honors the diversity of its guests by providing lots of different entertainment and experience options. The resort’s views satisfy nature photographers, its menu delights foodies, and its activities are a must for adventure seekers.
“Lutsen Resort has something for everyone,” Katie told us. “You can really immerse yourself in nature here by taking advantage of our outdoor activities. Otherwise, relax and take in the view. Our lobby and beach have one of the best views of Lake Superior, and there are plenty of resting spots from which to enjoy.”
Whether snuggling by a fireplace or racing each other on ski slopes, couples can create lasting memories thanks to the unique atmosphere of Lutsen Resort.
When it comes time to eat, Lutsen Resort has a lot of good options to satisfy hungry guests of all ages.
Some couples choose to dine on burgers at the Poplar River Pub every evening, while others explore local pubs and breweries in town, and still others make their own meals at their cabins or villas. The Strand Waterfront Dining & Wine Bar is an upscale option open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The newly renovated Strand restaurant offers lakefront views and stellar service, making it a lovely choice for daters in the mood for romance. Plus, the temperature-controlled wine cellar has over 1,200 bottles of wines, and 20 of its wines have appeared in the “Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Picks.”
“Gorgeous dining room,” said J. Kuehn in a review of Lutsen Resort. “We love how close it is to the lake. The food and staff are top-notch.”
The Lutsen team put in a lot of thought and effort to make guests feel welcome from the moment they step foot into the lobby to pick up their keys. Lutsen Resort attracts employees who come from all over the world and all walks of life, and their combined talents make the resort a one-of-a-kind destination.
“During the busy season, we all help each other and share in different work loads,” Katie explained. “We also adventure together. The resort has a robust activities program, which is available for employees to partake in as well.”
Katie said Lutsen Resort’s complementary activities program is by far the most popular amenity at Lutsen Resort. Throughout the year, Lutsen Resort offers a range of outdoor activities from kayaking on Lake Superior in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter. The Lutsen Mountains have over 450 miles of snowmobile trails and over 1,000 acres of ski-able terrain with a free room-to-mountain shuttle running all day long.
Couples can take in the beauty of their surroundings during a guided waterfall hike, kayak tour, or fishing trip. Lutsen hosts dining events, food and wine weekends, and other special events, which you can find on the Lutsen calendar.
From morning yoga to nighttime campfires, Lutsen Resort offers a full calendar of activities to excite guests looking for a little adventure in Minnesota.
If you’re ready to slow down and take a breather with your significant other, we recommend booking a spa day during your trip and treating yourself to a couples massage. You’ll definitely be in good hands at Lutsen Resort.
For the last 130+ years, Lutsen Resort has been the backdrop to many momentous experiences, including weddings, anniversary trips, and family reunions. The resort has an excellent 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor with many couples praising its quiet atmosphere and old-world charm.
Kathleen F. and her new husband took a trip to Lutsen Resort for a mini-honeymoon in April and couldn’t say enough good things about it. “Lutsen in the spring was the perfect location,” Kathleen wrote. “The waterfalls are epic, and it’s the off-season, so you’re not competing for space.”
“We had a wonderful time,” said a villas guest who came all the way from Florida to enjoy Lutsen Resort’s rooms. “Quiet, peaceful, and, most of all, very relaxing. We are planning a return trip for sure!”
Couples, families, and friends can make the experience at Lutsen their own, and many end up thinking of it as a home away from home.
“We’ve been coming to Lutsen for over 45 years,” said Ron Hartung in a 2019 review. He and his family make a trip to Lutsen every year to enjoy the beautiful scenery, charming accommodations, and outdoor activities.
“Our favorite time to come is for the downhill skiing and the fall colors,” Ron said. “If you come up in the winter, be sure to spend some time at the main lodge lobby by their big wood-burning fireplace that is the best.”
Known far and wide for its beauty, luxury, and hospitality, Lutsen Resort has been a remarkable vacation destination for generations now, and it continues to grow toward bigger and better things. In August 2018, the resort came under new ownership, which has sparked renovations of the dining room, pub, and rooms.
Even as it keeps up with trends and adds more amenities and activities, the Lutsen team never forgets the family roots that brought such success to the shores of Lake Superior. That old-school approach to the hospitality business has warmed the hearts of countless couples and families over the years — with no end in sight.
“Everyone has a story of how Lutsen Resort has impacted their lives,” Katie said. “For some, they grew up visiting the resort. For others (including yours truly), they met their significant other while working here.”