If you want to find Lake Superior agates in our area, Paradise Beach is the place to look. Paradise Beach streches about 6-8 miles, and starts around the Kadunce Creek area up to and past Naniboujou Lodge/Judge C.R. Magney State Park. Its a great beach just for a stroll as well, and to get to 'know' the big lake.
Travel further north of Grand Marais to visit Grand Portage. There you will find beautiful bluffs, the Susie Islands, the Witch Tree, High Falls (the highest in the state), a fur trading post, and the voyageurs historic five mile Grand Portage near the BWCA (http://www.bwca.cc)
I don't know quite what I should say about this tip, except that you should not believe the propaganda. Grand Marais is not a town where you can go about wearing shorts without incurring serious frost-bite. Sure the folks are friendly, sure the bears are friendly, sure the seagulls are friendly, but don't wear shorts! If your buddy jumped in the lake, would you? Just the same, if the bear on the arts guild wall wears shorts, don't you go thinking it's a good idea.
Cascade River State is between Lutsen and Grand Marais. There is a wonderful hike up river from Hwy 61. It twists and turns along the rock lined ravine where the river runs. Numerous waterfalls cascade down the rocks.
We always liked going for a hike and then eating at the Cascade Inn. Or eat then go for a walk.
3481 West Highway 61
Lutsen, MN 55612
Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale is a hard place to get too. The easist path is from Minnesota. The boat leaves early in the morning, about 8:00 am and returns that same evening about 6:00 pm. You get 3 hours on the island, a close look at Rock of Ages Lighthouse standing alone in the lake and if the water is quiet, you'll see the wreck of the America, 50 feet below the waters.
There are so many secluded lakes just up the hill from Grand Marais with easy boat launch access that a fisherman could certainly spend days exploring and enjoying.
I liked seeing Devil's Track Lake, which is within 4-5 miles of Grand MArais near the start of the Gunflint Trail, but there are dozens of others within an easy drive.
Many people have private cottages or houses
in these areas, but the lakes themselves are
largely unspoiled and offer a quiet retreat for
somebody who doesn't really have a large enough boat to venture out onto Lake Superior but enjoys boating and fishing.
The "Devil's Kettle" is an interesting little geological spot in Judge C.R. Magney State Park. The Brule river flows down through the park, and at one point, 1/3 of the water is diverted and spills into a hole in the stone of the riverbed. No one has any clue where the water ends up. Dye, ping pong balls, even (supposedly) a person have gone down into the Devil's Kettle to find where the water goes, never to be seen again.
The Brule river is one of the larger rivers in the area, and has a beautiful canyon that the hiking trail follows. There are a few waterfalls before you reach the Kettle itself, and its worth the hike. To reach the Kettle is 1.5 miles from the State Park's parking lot, and the last 1/4 mile has alot of stairs and climbing.
Hike out to both the breakwater and the "island" (AKA: "Artist's Point) in the opposite direction. You will be treated to some beautiful small cliffs and rock formations on the rugged north shore of the Lake.
Within 30 miles of driving are both the Cascade and Temperance River State Parks. Both feature hiking to the falls and both are truly amazing as the rivers cut deep gorges through the soft lava rocks. A very detailed description of the Temperance River is located in my travel pages under its own heading.
There are so many things that are so to speak 'off the beaten path' in Grand Marais that it is hard to nail down just one. But If I had to pick it would be
The Grand Portage National Monument. http://gorp.com/gorp/resource/us_nm/mn_grand.htm
With hundreds of lakes to choose from, its just a matter of picking where and what type of fish you want to catch. There are also the wonderful tributary rivers going into Lake Superior.