Discover Wilderness & History on Beautiful Lake Vermilion

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Boating on Lake Vermilion in northeast Minnesota

Discover Wilderness & History on Beautiful Lake Vermilion

This large, beautiful lake in northeast Minnesota is rimmed with thick forest and studded with 365 pine-topped islands spread throughout its 37 miles. Largely undeveloped, Vermilion provides a wilderness escape at the peaceful resorts and campgrounds along its shores.

Where to Stay on Lake Vermilion

Meandering Lake Vermilion is rimmed with thick forest; most of the miles of shoreline are undeveloped, giving the place a wilderness character that's perfect for sleeping under the stars—whether in a cabin, resort, tent or RV. One of the best ways to experience the lake is to stay in a cabin at one of about two dozen resorts along the shore; campgrounds are available, too.

Another option is the resort hotel or RV park at Fortune Bay Resort Casino. Operated by the Bois Forte band of Ojibwe, the resort not only offers gaming and evening entertainment, but also has an award-winning museum, the Bois Forte Heritage Center. The well-done exhibits tell the story of this band, whose French name means "strong wood." 

Visitors touring an abandoned iron ore mine

Travel a mile underground to explore Minnesota's first iron ore mine, Soudan

Take a Deep Dive into History at Soudan Underground Mine

Lake Vermilion - Soudan Underground Mine State Park, along the south shore of the lake, takes an up-close look at a key part of this area's history. Guided, 1.5-hour tours let visitors follow in the footsteps of the miners who dug out this rock in search of iron ore from 1892 to 1962. Don a hard hat, take an elevator "cage" a half-mile below ground, then a train ride deeper into the mine and visit the cavern that was the last area mined here. 

Public tours run daily Memorial Day weekend through September, plus weekends into October. Group and educational tours are available year-round.

Fortune Bay golf course on Lake Vermilion

The Wilderness at Fortune Bay is one of Minnesota's finest golf courses

Golfing by Lake Vermilion

Fortune Bay Resort Casino is also home to one of the top golf courses in the state, The Wilderness. The gorgeous, 18-hole lakeside course was designed by renowned golf course architect Jeffrey D. Brauer, and consistently earns kudos from national golf magazines for its scenic landscape and challenging holes.

For a different kind of golf experience, there's nearby Pier 77, a cleverly designed mini-golf course tucked into a grove of pine and birch on the shore of Lake Vermilion. The holes are all themed to reflect this corner of the north woods, from moose to mining. After a round of golf, stop in at the Pier 77 ice cream shop for a Root Bear Bobber or Vermilion Sunrise.