Welcome to Lake Vermilion
Situated 200 miles north of Minneapolis and 90 miles beyond Duluth, the enchanting Lake Vermilion awaits as the perfect destination for a rejuvenating vacation. Spanning over 40,000 acres with 365 islands, it presents an abundance of exhilarating adventures–from fishing and boating to wildlife observation and outdoor exploration.
To fully immerse in the Lake Vermilion experience, consider renting a vacation home. You’ll find a range of options, including quaint cabins and luxurious villas, perfect for anything from romantic retreats to family holidays. With such a diverse selection of rentals, you’re bound to find the perfect match for your vacation needs!
Top 3 Facts About Lake Vermilion in Minnesota
Historic Mining Influence
The area around Lake Vermilion was once a hub for iron ore mining. The Soudan Underground Mine, Minnesota’s oldest and deepest iron ore mine, is located near the lake, and you can explore its deep underground tunnels that are now part of a state park.
A Nature Lover’s Retreat
The lake’s surroundings are a haven for wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot bald eagles, loons, and a variety of other bird species. The lush forests around the lake also provide a habitat for deer, bears, and other wildlife, making it a fantastic spot for nature enthusiasts.
Aurora Borealis Views
On clear nights, especially during the colder months, Lake Vermilion offers a spectacular view of the Northern Lights. The lake’s minimal light pollution makes it an ideal spot for stargazing and witnessing the breathtaking Aurora Borealis.
Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Dive into Minnesota’s mining past at Soudan Underground Mine State Park, where you can explore the state’s first iron mine deep underground or embark on a walking drift tour to uncover geologic secrets. Above ground, enjoy modern camping amenities and access to scenic trails through a lush hardwood conifer forest.
Bear Head Lake State Park
Nestled in the Northwoods, Bear Head Lake State Park is a haven for nature lovers, offering pristine lakes, diverse wildlife, including bears and eagles, and miles of trails. The park’s mix of towering pine forests and rugged terrain provides a perfect setting for activities like canoeing, fishing, and hiking, as well as a glimpse into the area’s geological history.
Bois Forte Heritage Center & Cultural Museum
Located on the shores of Lake Vermilion, the Bois Forte Heritage Center & Cultural Museum offers a rich insight into the Bois Forte Ojibwe story. With exhibits showcasing traditional dwellings, a veteran’s wall, and local history, along with a gift shop featuring local artisan crafts, it’s a cultural journey not to be missed.
Annual Events and Festivals
Northern Lights Music Festival
Celebrate three weeks of classical music brilliance at the Northern Lights Music Festival, where an international array of artists showcases opera, chamber music, and orchestral concerts, set against Minnesota’s picturesque backdrop.
Traditional Chippewa Powwow
Experience the vibrant traditions of the Chippewa people at the Traditional Chippewa Powwow. This cultural extravaganza invites everyone to witness sacred customs, colorful dances, and music, celebrating the rich heritage of Minnesota’s Dakota and Ojibwe nations, as well as Native American cultures from across the country.
Iron Ore Festival
Immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Iron Range region at the Iron Ore Festival. Enjoy a day filled with blacksmith and flint mapping demonstrations, tomahawk throwing, archery, and traditional foods, all while exploring the historic Soudan Underground Mine.
Top Hiking Trails
5563 Hoodoo Point Rd, Soudan, MN
While conquering the entire trail may be a challenge, opt to explore part of this 150-mile trail, which winds through thick forests from the Mississippi to the Boundary Waters. Along the way, you’ll encounter lakes, old iron ore mine pits transformed into emerald pools, and opportunities to delve into the local culture and history of the 28 communities along its route.
Vermilion Falls Trail
Vermilion Falls Recreation Area access road
Just a short quarter-mile round trip, the Vermilion Falls Trail leads to an awe-inspiring view of the falls, where water forcefully cascades through a narrow granite passage. Pack some snacks, pop down on one of the picnic tables, and enjoy the view.
Vermilion Gorge Trail
7574 Gold Coast Rd, Crane Lake, MN
The Vermilion Gorge Trail, a three-mile hike offering both serenity and adventure, takes you alongside the Vermilion River Gorge’s impressive granite cliffs and rock outcrops. Graveled paths and boardwalks guide you through this rugged terrain, revealing the natural splendor of the area.
Best Golf Courses
3 Brothers Course
5530 Crane Lake Rd, Buyck, MN
Nestled in Buyck, Minnesota, 3 Brothers offers a 9-hole course with 2,852 yards of golf. Designed by Ren Balland, this par-36 course, opened in 1992, features a blend of scenic beauty and challenging play on Rye grass, ideal for golfers of all skill levels.
Visit their website for more information
The Wilderness at Fortune Bay
1450 Bois Forte Rd, Tower, MN
The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, an acclaimed 18-hole championship course and a top golf resort in Minnesota, as rated by Golfweek, offers a memorable golfing experience. Designed by Jeffrey D. Brauer, this course is set against the backdrop of Lake Vermilion, offering panoramic views and a layout that weaves through picturesque woodlands.
Wolfridge Golf Course
8501 Savage Rd, Angora, MN
Wolfridge Golf Course stands out for its unique reversible layout, one of only four in Minnesota, offering a distinctive and challenging golfing experience. Set amidst rugged terrain with more than 30 water hazards, towering pines, and glacial rock outcroppings, this course promises a peaceful yet adventurous golfing experience.
Fishing on Lake Vermilion
The clear, deep waters of Lake Vermilion are teeming with a variety of fish, including walleye, bass, and northern pike, making it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts. Bring your own boat or enlist the help of a guide and revel in the thrill of the catch.
Boating on Lake Vermilion
Boating is an essential part of any Lake Vermilion vacation. With over 40,000 acres of water, Lake Vermilion offers endless opportunities for boating enthusiasts. Whether you want to fish, sunbathe, or just enjoy the breathtaking sights on the lake, there’s no better way to do it than on a boat. Several public boat launches are available if you plan on bringing your boat. These include the McKinley Park Boat Launch, the Tower Harbor Boat Launch, and the Hoodoo Point Boat Launch.
Swimming in Lake Vermilion
The clear and inviting waters of Lake Vermilion are perfect for swimming, offering a refreshing escape during warm summer days. With its gentle shores and designated swimming areas, you’ll find numerous safe areas for swimmers of all ages to enjoy.
Ice Fishing on Lake Vermilion
As winter transforms Lake Vermilion, ice fishing becomes a favorite pastime, offering a unique blend of tranquility and excitement. Drilling through the ice to catch walleye, northern pike, and panfish can not only provide a feast for your family but is also a serene way to enjoy the winter landscape.
Snowmobiling around Lake Vermilion offers an exhilarating way to explore the winter wilderness, with miles of well-groomed trails winding through the picturesque snowy forest. Feel the rush of cold air and the thrill of speed as you navigate the scenic routes, uncovering the beauty of the area in a unique and exciting way.
Cross-Country Skiing On Lake Vermilion
With over 100 miles of groomed trails, cross-country skiing is a must-do if you’re visiting Lake Vermilion in winter. Glide deep into the forests, admire towering pines, and lose track of time as you keep watch for winter wildlife.
Where to Eat
The Landing On Lake Vermilion
$ – $$ • Bar & Grill
Poor Gary’s Pizza at Vermilion
$ – $$ • Pizza
$ – $$ • Pizza, Steak, Seafood
Where to Shop
Moosebird – On Lake Vermilion
Harbour View Spa
Ubetcha Antiques & Uffda Gifts
Where to Sleep
Tips on Renting a Vacation Home on Lake Vermilion
Choose the Right Location
Lake Vermilion is vast, with different areas offering unique experiences. The eastern side is closer to towns like Tower and offers historical sites, while the western side near Cook has more secluded and wilderness-focused spots. Consider what type of vacation you’re seeking– whether it’s fishing, history, or solitude–and choose a location that aligns with your interests.
Plan for the Season
Lake Vermilion is a year-round destination, but activities vary by season. Summer is perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming, while winter offers snowmobiling and ice fishing. Spring and fall provide beautiful, quieter escapes with opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing.
While summer is the peak season with higher rental rates, consider booking during the shoulder seasons (late spring or early fall) for potentially lower prices and fewer crowds. However, keep in mind that some amenities and local businesses might have limited hours or availability during these times.
Understand Access and Amenities
Some vacation rentals on Lake Vermilion might be more remote, offering a true escape from the hustle and bustle but also meaning limited access to stores or restaurants. Check the proximity to towns, availability of Wi-Fi, cell service, and other amenities that might be important for your stay.
Going Deeper on Lake Vermilion
Lake Vermilion’s rich history dates back to over 7000 B.C., with evidence of American Indian cultures and early European exploration in the mid-1600s. The lake was a key fur trade route, later playing a pivotal role in international border definitions in the Treaty of Paris. The discovery of gold in 1865 led to a brief gold rush, succeeded by the more impactful iron ore discovery, which gave birth to Minnesota’s iron industry and the opening of the Soudan Iron mine in 1884.
The mining boom fostered the growth of communities like Tower and Soudan, with Tower being the oldest city north of Duluth. As the mining industry thrived, tourism also blossomed with the rise of resorts and steamboat transportation. The legacy of these industries is evident today, with towns like Cook still active in the forest products industry and the historic Soudan Mine, now a National Historic Landmark, symbolizing the region’s rich industrial and cultural heritage.
Frequently Asked Questions about Lake Vermilion
Lake Vermilion has many resorts and cabins perfect for vacation rentals. Some of the best resorts include Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Ludlow’s Island Resort, and the White Eagle Resort. If you’re looking for a cabin rental, some top options include Birch Point Cabin, Westhaven Lodge, and Giants Ridge Retreat.
The cost of a Lake Vermilion vacation rental varies depending on the type of property you choose. On average, you can expect to pay around $200 to $300 per night for a cabin rental, while resorts can cost anywhere from $150 to $500 per night.
Yes, several pet-friendly resorts in Lake Vermilion offer vacation rentals. Some of the top options include Ludlow’s Island Resort, White Eagle Resort, and Fortune Bay Resort Casino.
Airbnb offers several top-rated vacation rentals in Lake Vermilion. Some of the highest-rated options include the Lake Vermilion Boathouse, the Eagles Nest Cabin, and the Lure of the Loon Cabin.
Muskoka is known for its picturesque towns and charming villages. Some popular towns you can visit include Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, and Port Carling. Each town offers its unique attractions, shops, and restaurants, making them perfect stopovers during your exploration of the Muskoka region.
There are several places in Lake Vermilion where you can rent a boat for the day or week. Top options include Vermilion Houseboats, Vermilion Dam Lodge, and Pike Bay Lodge.
Yes, several campgrounds in Lake Vermilion offer vacation rentals. Some of the best options include the McKinley Park Campground, the Hoodoo Point Campground, and the Vermilion Sunsets RV Park.