No hotel is better situated than the South Pier Inn (701 Lake Ave. S., 218/786-9007 or 800/430-7437, www.southpierinn.com , $127), on Park Point just across from Canal Park . Most rooms look up at the Lift Bridge, and you can watch ships pass through the harbor from a private balcony. Most of the 29 rooms are whirlpool suites, and there is a two-night minimum on weekends.
Four large hotels at varying price points line the lakeshore on Canal Park. They all have spacious lakeside patios right on the Lakewalk and great views of the water. The swankest is the recently remodeled Canal Park Lodge (250 Canal Park Dr., 218/279-6000 or 800/777-8560, www.canalparklodge.com , $170). Its decor is modern-rustic, with comfy public areas, an indoor pool and whirlpool, and spacious rooms.
Most rooms at the Inn on Lake Superior (350 Canal Park Dr., 218/726-1111 or 888/668-4352, www.theinnonlakesuperior.com , $173) have a private lake-view balcony or patio, plus there is a pool, whirlpool, and sauna.
Two less expensive choices, with older decor but the same great location, are Hampton Inn (310 Canal Park Dr., 218/720-3000, $125) and Comfort Suites (408 Canal Park Dr., 218/727-1387, $129).
The Suites Hotel (325 Lake Ave. S., 218/727-4663 or 800/794-1716, www.thesuitesduluth.com , $104), the only Canal Park hotel not on the lakeshore, is a lovely warehouse conversion incorporating some of the original building features into the design. All rooms have kitchens, and guests have use of the pool, whirlpool, sauna, and fitness center. Some of the cheapest rooms don’t have windows.
The friendly Voyageur Lakewalk Inn (333 Superior St. E., 218/722-3911 or 800/258-3911, www.voyageurlakewalkinn.com , $45) is an older but well-kept hotel and all rooms are more modern than the exterior would lead you to believe.
The Radisson (505 Superior St. W., 218/727-8981 or 800/395-7046, www.radisson.com , $149), in the heart of downtown, has a pool, whirlpool, sauna, fitness center, and great views from upper-level rooms.
The fanciest hotel in town is the nationally recognized Fitger’s Inn (600 Superior St. E., 218/722-8826 or 888/348-4377, www.fitgers.com , $145), part of a restored lakeside brewery complex. The more expensive suites are very large and well appointed, and all guests can use the fitness center.
Just two miles north of Canal Park  on the Lakewalk, Beacon Pointe (2100 Water St., 877/462-3226, $99–169) is a surprisingly good deal. The smaller guestrooms are just as stylishly appointed as the suites, and among the best-priced waterfront rooms in Duluth . You could, of course, choose to pay much more for a penthouse.
The Edgewater Resort & Waterpark (2400 London Rd., 218/728-3601 or 800/777-7925, www.duluthwaterpark.com , $109) features a 30,000-square-foot water park with waterslides, a kiddie play area, and more. The 297-room hotel also has a pool, whirlpool, sauna, arcade, miniature golf course, free bikes, and nicely appointed rooms. It’s not directly on the shore, but it has easy access to the Lakewalk and great views from lakeside rooms.
The College of St. Scholastica (1200 Kenwood Ave., 218/723-6000) has two- and three-bedroom apartments with private baths ($164) and two-bedroom suites ($95) available to the public June through mid-August. They also rent out dorm rooms ($37 single, $58 double).
You can generally save a good chunk of change by sleeping on the west side of town, although most of the properties are pretty basic. The exception is the friendly, family-run Willard Munger Inn (7408 Grand Ave., 218/624-4814 or 800/982-2453, www.mungerinn.com , $59.95), which has modern rooms right by the Willard Munger and Western Waterfront Trails (and it’s only half a mile from Spirit Mountain ). Guests get free use of bikes, in-line skates, canoes, and kayaks and can grill out in the rock garden at night. The whirlpool or fireplace suites are a good value, and off-peak prices are a steal.
If you fancy bed-and-breakfasts, then Duluth , with a dozen in beautifully restored historic homes, is your kind of town. The Historic Bed and Breakfast Inns of Duluth website (www.duluthbandb.com ) lists most of them, and competition for opulence and hospitality holds them to high standards. Most require a two-night minimum stay on weekends in the high season.
A stunner inside and out, the Cotton Mansion (2309 1st St. E., 218/724-6405, $135–265) has seven guest rooms in a 16,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance mansion built for the powerful Duluth lawyer Joseph Cotton in 1908. Marble, carved wood, and exquisite furnishings fill every room. The Terrace Suite has it’s own private terrace.
From the gingerbread exterior to the opulent decor full of stained glass and carved woodwork, the storybook Mathew S. Burrows 1890 Inn (1632 1st St. E., 218/724-4991 or 800/789-1890, www.1890inn.com , $95) also has a spectacular atmosphere. The five guestrooms have private baths.
Although it is in a grand 1890 Victorian home, the Ellery House (28 S. 21st Ave. E., 218/724-7639 or 800/355-3794, www.elleryhouse.com , $109–189) has a very homey atmosphere. Each of the four guestrooms has a private bath, and two of the rooms overlook Lake Superior, which is just two blocks away. The Halquist family is known for serving hearty baked egg dishes at breakfast.
Over on Park Point, you can watch boats pass through the canal from the beach and back porch at Solglimt (828 Lake Ave. S., 218/727-0956 or 877/727-0596, www.solglimt.com , $165). The contemporary house is full of art and one of the three guestrooms has a Kandinsky theme. One room has a fireplace, another its own private deck, and the third overlooks the lake.
Stately and elegant, A. G. Thompson House (2617 3rd St. E., 218/724-3464, www.thomsonhouse.biz , $139–299) mixes old-time luxury with modern amenities. All rooms have fireplaces and most have giant whirlpool bathtubs.
As far as municipal campgrounds go, the 70 sites along the St. Louis River at the Indian Point Campground (902 S. 69th Ave. W., 218/628-4977 or 800/982-2453, www.indianpointcampground.com , $32 full hookup) are really good.
Snowflake Nordic Center (4348 Rice Lake Rd., 218/726-1550, www.skiduluth.com , $15) has tent sites.