Grand Marais has existed for centuries, although it wasn't always known by its current name. The Ojibwe called this location Kitchi-Bitobig, meaning “double body of water”, and it was a Native American village for many years before any Europeans arrived. It is the translation from the French trappers’ dialect for this large bite out of Superior’s shore that lives today, “great marsh”. Grand Marais has been a fur trading post, fishing village, lumber town, hay fever haven and sports center, and it is now a destination that welcomes visitors enthralled by Lake Superior's majesty.
Grand Marais is located on a small double harbor on the Minnesota shore of Lake Superior. It is accessed by Highway 61, the North Shore Drive, which connects travelers to Canada and the rest of Minnesota.
Grand Marais is also the entrance to the Gunflint Trail, a Minnesota Scenic Byway. This road cuts inland from Lake Superior to the lakes which border Canada and has a fascinating history of its own. Living “up the Trail” are hardy Minnesotans who do everything from operating resorts to painting landscapes of their beautiful northern wilderness, with plenty of hard work in between.