Lake Vermilion, Minnesota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Vermilion — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Vermilion cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Vermilion

Known as “Lake of the Sunset Glow” by its ancient Ojibwe inhabitants, northeastern Minnesota’s sunny Lake Vermilion is a positively ideal getaway. This immaculate body of water is enormous, featuring a surface area of 40,557 acres and an average depth of 76 feet. Smack in the middle of the Minnesota wilderness, the region is bordered by untamed Superior National Forest. With its exquisite sunsets, unbelievable fishing opportunities, and array of water activities, it is no wonder the natural freshwater lake is one of the most popular in the state.

Lake Vermilion’s extensive history goes all the way back to 7000 B.C., when humans first began to prosper there. French traders built a harbor at Lake Vermilion in 1670, in order to better trade furs with the Sioux Indians. Today, residents of the Chippewa tribe still reside in the surrounding areas. A gold rush in 1865 proved itself fruitless just a few years later, but nonetheless served to attract many settlers to the lake. Iron ore deposits were discovered shortly thereafter, providing a convenient replacement for the recently established gold mining industry. Nearby towns, such as Soudan and the City of Tower, began to grow and thrive. Finally, a dam was constructed in 1890 to support the expanding communities.

These days, anglers travel from far and wide to trawl Lake Vermilion’s depths for 13 species of fish: black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, burbot, largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkin seed, rock bass, smallmouth bass, tullibee, walleye, white sucker, and yellow perch. As a participant in Minnesota’s fisheries monitoring program, known as the Large Lake Program, water quality and fish populations are meticulously researched and measured on an annual basis. The program acts as an environmental safeguard confirming that fishermen are following the lake’s rules and regulations, while simultaneously ensuring that local fish populations are sustained for generations to come.

There is truly something for everyone at Lake Vermilion, with activities ranging from boating to berry picking. From June to August, surrounding woods supply vast amounts of juicy raspberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and blackberries just ripe for the plucking. Paddle boating and canoeing are idyllic methods of exploring the lake’s hidden shores and 365 lonely islands (one for each day of the year). Hydrobikes, motorized vehicles somewhat similar to two kayaks connected by a bike seat, can be rented on a daily or weekly basis, as can kayaks, bicycles, and jet skis. Windsurfing, water skiing, fishing, tubing, and horseback riding are other popular diversions. Numerous biking and hiking trails located throughout the park are wonderful for bird and wildlife lovers, and vary from easy to moderate in intensity. During the winter, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, and dog sledding are exciting entertainment alternatives.

Due to its breathtaking natural beauty and incredible variety of activities, Lake Vermilion is the perfect destination for those in search of a lakeside vacation rental or real estate property. Facilities include restaurants, budget to upscale hotels and cabins, boat docks and picnic areas. There is no better place than Lake Vermilion to enjoy superb fishing, Minnesota’s rich history, and the great outdoors.

*note* shoreline length statistic does not include islands.

Things to Do at Lake Vermilion

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowboarding
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Forest

Fish Species Found at Lake Vermilion

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Burbot
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Lake Vermilion

If you’re considering a Lake Vermilion lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Vermilion Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Vermilion lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Vermilion Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 40,557 acres

Shoreline Length: 202 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,358 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,356 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,360 feet

Average Depth: 19 feet

Maximum Depth: 76 feet

Drainage Area: 495 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Shop Lake Vermilion Gifts

Custom Lake Tumblers

Captain / First Mate Custom 20 oz Tumbler

Custom Lake T Shirt

Personalized My Boat My Rules Unisex T-Shirt

Custom Lake Coffee Mug - On Lake Time

On Lake Time Custom Coffee Mug – 11oz or 15oz


Advertise Your Lake Vermilion Business or Vacation Rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer businesses the opportunity to advertise and homeowners and property managers the ability to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily. If you would like additional details, please contact our advertising team.


Looking for the Lake Vermilion Forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here. We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

Lake Vermilion Photo Gallery

New photos coming soon!

Spread the word! Share our Lake Vermilion article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!