Exploring Lake Superior’s North Shore
According to The Wall Street Journal, Americans are wasting over $52 billion each year by not using all of their vacation time. There are many reasons people don’t take vacations. Some people feel they can’t take more than a day or two away because of their workload or responsibility. Others feel like they have little room in their budget to travel. There are even situations where jobs are threatened when the subject is proposed.
Each reason is valid. Yet the arguments to take vacation are just was powerful. According to the 2015 OECD Better Life Index, the United States comes in 29 out of 36 countries for work-life balance. We know we need a vacation.
It’s during these vacations that we have the opportunity to reset, find ourselves, and create peace and joy in our lives. These experiences ultimately make us better at work. More importantly, they make us better in our marriages, families, and relationships.
Location, Location, Location
In previous Wanderlust Wednesdays, I talked about lessons learned from adventures thousands of miles away. The reality is that we don’t need to travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars to experience the same benefits. Some of the best adventures are in our own back yard and can be enjoyed in as little as four nights.
This place for us is Lake Superior’s North Shore. Less than a three-hour drive from Minneapolis, Interstate 35 ends and Scenic North Shore Drive begins. The drive is 151 majestic miles of natural perfection. This area is an artist’s dream, inspiring writers, photographers, painters, and sculptors. Outdoor enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with ample opportunities for hiking, canoeing, fishing, cycling, camping, skiing, and snowmobiling. Not to mention the waterfalls.
This is a special place for us. The landscape is constantly transforming. The lake and the sky are never the same. This place renews my soul.
Something for Everyone
I’ve addressed the location and time restraints we often encounter. How about the budget?
Today we have the opportunity to travel as frugally or lavishly as we wish. The North Shore is no exception. You can pitch a tent and camp for as little as $18 per night or enjoy fine dining and spa treatments at high-end resorts.
We’ve learned to love camping in the summer. In the winter, we like to stay here. It’s right on the water so we can enjoy the sunrise and listen to the crashing waves. We stay in condos with kitchens so we can cook our own meals. I especially like staying here in the winter to take advantage of all of the activities like snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, and swimming the outdoor heated pool.
Make it Special
Wherever you go, whatever your budget, there are guaranteed ways to make your trip special. Whether it’s your first time or the 21st, use these tips to inspire a new adventure.
Five Ways to Create New Adventures
1 – Stay in a different place.
It’s easy to want to stay at that beautiful campsite year after year. It’s comfortable and you know what to expect. But new locations create excitement and anticipation. New experiences expand your view of the world and encourage self-discovery.
Check out this post for other creative lodging options.
2 – Try a new activity.
If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would enjoy fishing, I would have told you there’s no way. But it turns out, I love the challenge and the hunt. You never know until you try it.
Note that I still refuse to touch leeches and the fish. 😉
3 – Go explore.
Even if you take a vacation to the same resort every summer, make a point to go on a new adventure each trip. There are so many places to explore, for example, the North Shore has the 3 million acre Superior National Forest. Here you could take a day trip up the Gunflint Trail or follow the Sawbill Trail for a canoe trip. If you can’t come up with something new, ask a local.
4 – Make the best of the unexpected.
Not everything goes as planned. Sometimes it rains the entire trip. We’ve had snow while camping … in September. Then there was that time a bear ate my flip-flop.
Don’t let these moments dampen your fun. Go for a drive, pick up a new book, visit a museum, or cuddle and listen to the rain.
5 – Take time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Get up early and watch the sunrise. Head to the beach and watch the waves. Enjoy a picnic on the highest peak. Go for a moonlight swim. Slow down and take pleasure in the little things we so often miss.
You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world or spend your life savings to have an incredible vacation. Find the courage to leave your comfort zone and try something new. Whatever you do, use those vacation days and build a better life.
Do you use all of your vacation days?
How are you planning to use them this year?
Share in the comments below.