Lake Vermilion Minnesota

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Lake Vermilion Minnesota retains a “best lake” status in northern Minnesota! First, close to the North Shore, which I highly recommend, and second, it’s a great lake with many resorts, cabins, and campgrounds. Follow along for more in this post. By the way, if you want to go back to the overview post about all of northern Minnesota, follow this link.

Of course, repeating the interactive map above provides you with a perspective of the location. It’s near the Boundary Waters.

Table of contents for Lake Vermilion

Lake Vermilion Area

Since the 1940s, Lake Vermilion has received accolades as one of the most scenic lakes in the US. With 40,000 acres of water, 365 islands, and 1200 miles of shoreline (counting the islands’ shore), you will find much to satisfy your lake craving!

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It’s the fifth-largest lake entirely within Minnesota’s borders. Red Lake and Leech Lake, also in the north, are larger. So, since the other two are in different parts of the state. I’ll get to them in another post.

Lodging places – Lake Vermilion Minnesota

Resorts abound on this beautiful lake. Over 30 resorts of varying degrees of luxury grace the lake. You can even rent a private thirteen acre island! However, that still might not be enough! So here’s a sample of the available places to stay on the lake.

Resorts @ Lake Vermilion Minnesota

  • Ludlow’s Island Resort – A luxury resort located on another private island near the west end of the lake. They have 23 cabins ranging from 1 to 5-bedroom units. Voted top resort in Minnesota for 2022 by the Twin Cities Star Tribune.
  • Forest Lane Resort – Near Tower on the east end of the lake. They have seven cabins and focus more on fishing than a wider range of activities.
  • Pike Bay Lodge – Also near Tower on the east end of the lake. The lodge formerly was an estate of a mining and banking industrialist. The A.B. Coates estate. They feature 11 rental units. Go there for fishing, hiking, golf, and snowmobile trails, and it’s near the casino.
  • Everett Bay Lodge – Near Cook on the west end of the lake. They offer 11 modern cabins ranging from 1 to 5+ bedrooms with a variety of prices
  • White Eagle Resort – also near Cook on the west end of the lake. This one offers 18 cabins ranging from 1 to 7 bedrooms. Of course, each cabin shows its own unique look.
  • And many others. Here’s a link to most of the available resorts.


And don’t forget Fortune Bay Casino if you want some gaming with your vacation. Overall, Lake Vermilion provides everything from fishing to gambling to relaxing at the lake and other options. There are many year-round homes here as well. Of course, the price is increasing with the trend of allowing people to “work from anywhere.”

The casino provides lakeside views and an outdoor pool. The restaurant and lounge cater to your tastes, whatever they are! Of course, fishing is right out on the lake, and in the winter, the area nearby features snowmobiling, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Cabin rentals



  • Vermilion Houseboats offers a dozen boats ranging in size to accommodate 2-12 people. Three-night minimum with weekend, weekday, and week-long rates available.

Getting there!

Lake Vermilion Minnesota

From the Twin Cities, as the map shows, it’s about a 3.5-hour drive. From Duluth, the drive runs about 100 miles. Although it’s much closer to Hibbing and Virginia.

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So your travel will depend on where you are coming from to get there. While Hibbing has a commercial airport, it’s a low volume with small planes.

However, Hibbing and Virginia provide their own charm!

Fishing on Lake Vermilion Minnesota

Of course, fishing is still king, but sandy beaches, golf courses nearby, restaurants, and clubs abound. While you won’t find big-city shopping, isn’t that what you are trying to avoid? The quaint small town of Tower hugs one corner of the lake. While the town provides basic supplies and a few restaurants and bars, you’ll have to visit Hibbing or Duluth if you are a real shopper.


With over 40,000 acres of water, Lake Vermilion is perfect for boating and water sports. Visitors can rent boats, bring their own, and explore the lake’s many islands and bays. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular options for those looking for a more peaceful experience.

Lake Vermilion Minnesota

The lake is known for its natural beauty, with crystal-clear waters and over 365 islands dotting the surface. The lake is surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills, providing visitors with stunning views and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The lake is relatively shallow, with an average depth of around 20 feet and a maximum depth of 76 feet. However, Lake Vermilion’s shoreline is rocky and rugged, with many secluded coves and bays that are perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating.

The lake is fed by several rivers and streams, including the Vermilion River, which flows into the lake from the west. The lake is also home to several species of fish, including walleye, muskie, northern pike, and smallmouth bass, making it a popular destination for anglers.

Tower Minnesota

Tower, MN, is a city located in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. It is situated on the southern shore of Lake Vermilion, which is consistently recognized as one of the most beautiful lakes in the state of Minnesota. Tower is the oldest city in the Arrowhead region, having been incorporated on March 13, 1889. As of the 2020 census, the city had a total population of 430. State Highway 1, State Highway 169, and State Highway 135 are three of the main routes in Tower.

One downside? Tower, MN, holds the all-time record for cold in Minnesota with a -60 reading! But summers are beautiful! Of course, if you want to spend time on a Minnesota lake, there are many options. But Lake Vermilion is a great option!

Yes, cold winters abound in Northern Minnesota.

Cook Minnesota

Cook, MN, is a small town located in northern Minnesota on the west end of Lake Vermilion. With a population of just over 500 people, it is a tight-knit community where everyone knows each other’s names. Despite its small size, Cook has much to offer both locals and visitors.

One of the main draws of Cook is its beautiful natural surroundings. The town is on the edge of the Superior National Forest, offering miles of hiking trails, fishing spots, and scenic drives. Visitors can also explore the nearby Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, where they can paddle through pristine lakes and streams.

Despite its rural location, Cook has a surprisingly diverse culinary scene. From classic American diner fare to authentic Mexican cuisine, there are plenty of options to satisfy any craving. Visitors can also sample local delicacies like wild rice soup and freshly caught walleye. Cook has something to offer no matter what your taste buds are craving.

Fishing Galore

One of the main attractions in Cook is fishing. With so many lakes and rivers in the area, there’s no shortage of fish to catch. Visitors can expect to reel in walleye, northern pike, and muskie, among other species. The town even hosts an annual fishing tournament that draws in anglers from all over the country.

For those who want to learn more about fishing, plenty of guides and outfitters in the area can offer tips and tricks. Visitors can also rent boats and fishing gear if they don’t have their own.

Boating Adventures

Of course, fishing isn’t the only way to enjoy the water in Cook. Boating is another popular activity, and there are plenty of options available. Visitors can rent canoes or kayaks for a peaceful paddle or a speedboat for a more adventurous ride. Again, Lake Vermilion comes up great!

Boat tours are available for those who want to take their vacation easy. These tours offer a chance to sit back and relax while taking in the area’s natural beauty. Some tours even include stops at local landmarks or historical sites.

No matter how visitors choose to enjoy the water in Cook, they’re sure to have a memorable experience. There’s always something new to discover with so many lakes and rivers to explore.

Summary and Conclusions

Yes, Lake Vermilion remains a popular destination for visitors. In-state and out-of-state visitors love the lake. Especially in recent years, people initially purchase homes on the lake for weekend and vacation getaways. Some of them choose to retire here!

Although it’s some distance from the Twin Cities, many visitors come here for the beauty. Of course, out-of-state visitors, mostly midwestern, visit as well. However, if you are from outside the Midwest, you will certainly find the lake community welcoming.

While this series of posts about 100+ Reasons to Love Minnesota features many places, Lake Vermilion gives you another great option.

Classic Rock Recollection

“Soaking up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow

I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up
I’m gonna tell ’em that I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame I’m looking up
I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna soak up the sun

Written by: Sheryl Crow and Jeffrey Trott

#lakevermilion #towermn #cookmn #Minnesotaresorts