Note: Ludlow’s Island Resort is located on Lake Vermillion in Cook county of Northern Minnesota. It is located on an island with several cabins scattered around the island and its adjacent shores. Ludlow’s Island is family owned and the cabins were built separately at different times by different family members. It is a cabin+ boat experience for the whole family. Read on to find out what we discovered during our visit.
I picked up the old crank phone hanging on the dock and put it to my ear… “I don’t know how to work this thing!” I put the phone down and walked back to the car.
We had just arrived to Ludlow’s Island resort in our new Mazda filled to the brim with suitcases and all of our stuff we have been lugging on our Minnesota road trip. Ludlow’s Island was stop 4 on our amazing itinerary focused on the North of Minnesota, the cabin and lake life.
It was my first time this far north of Minnesota and Lexi’s first time seeing what the so much talked about Minnesota lake fun was all about.
Up until then it had been uncharacteristically cold for August, so there wasn’t much lake happening and much more cabin. No one complained, though. There was plenty to do whether it was rainy, cold or hot.
Joe walked up to the phone, did some sort of Minnesota magic and I heard him talk to someone: “Yes, we are here. Thank you! We’ll see you soon!” Someone was coming to pick us up.
See, Ludlow’s Island resort is no ordinary resort and no ordinary island. It’s very secluded on Lake Vermilion and it is quite literally located on its own island. Private to the families staying at the resort, the part that many families love because kids can roam free without any fear and parents can relax knowing their kids can’t go to far.
A few minutes later a boat pulled up and a young gentleman started loading our suitcases and bags in. Still confused as to what was happening, we sat in the second passenger boat and waited to go. The ride to the resort was half a minute, just across the lake to the middle, where the island was located. As we were boating, we passed by an iceberg with kids climbing all over it.
“Mom, can i go on that?” exclaimed Lexi. “Of course, you can, we are about to begin 4 amazing unforgettable days of fun, my love!”, I thought.
I personally love traveling with friends, it gives Lexi a buddy to play with and experiencing a destination is so much more fun with a few extra people around. This time we had my girlfriend’s family join us at the cabin with their two kids, since it slept quite a few people.
After check in, we were given “our boat” to get around and were escorted to the cabin which was on the other shore behind the island. Each cabin at Ludlow’s Island resort was build by the family member for a specific purpose or a specific family member. Now they stood separately, housing a guest family each, but every cabin has its unique character, which is why you could keep coming to Ludlow’s and never have the same experience again.
Once we checked out our cabin and everything there was to explore around, I took the kids on a little walk behind the house and then the guys lured them into some kiddy fishing.
Lexi had never fished before and I wasn’t sure how she would take it, being so sensitive when it comes to hurting wild life. She seemed to have a lot of fun with a small stick and a fish hook on the end. The fish were biting, so the kids kept running from the dock back to us, all excited, catching fish left and right and needing our help to get the worms or release the fish. We hadn’t even unpacked and everyone was already having so much fun.
Turns out there were two boat docks at our cabin and we had use of 2 kayaks, which we never ended up using because there were so many activities to do at the resort, we didn’t get around to it. I did get to pose next to the beautiful blue kayak for a swimwear shoot, so let’s count it as some sort of use 🙂
Soon coats and clothes came off and the kids were jumping off the dock into the water ( how is it that children feel no cold?). The grill was started and we decided to escape the rain and have some food while playing Star Wars Heads up inside.
That night after the kids were in bed ( they chose to sleep on a mattress on the floor all together with the puppy), we came out to see the stars. Wow, good old Minnesota sky, probably some of the best night sky I have seen aside from Death Valley and mountains of Peru.
Day Two of our stay was spent enjoying “land” activities and visiting the Wolf and Bear Centers nearby, as well as stopping by the mines which was quite a fun experience for the kids.
When we got back, everyone ran to the playground, which impressed me with its size for a resort like that. It was a big wooden structure with a lot of features, a basketball hoop and swings, as well as table tennis nearby. Inside the lodge itself, you could help put together gigantic communal puzzles, play guitar or buy some Ludlow merchandise which I couldn’t help but get. We also stopped by the game room and let kids color and watch movies while the adults played arcade games
One of my favorite things about the island is how the island felt like real wild adventure. To find a sauna or the movie and game rooms, you had to go on a mission, walking through the woods and hoping you don’t accidentally walk into someone’s cabin. Considering how the whole resort felt like family, I wouldn’t be surprised if one would be welcomed right into said cabin.
The next day, sun finally came out and we took the boat over to the main island to spend some time enjoying the warmth. There was so much to do! While the kids played in the sand and blasted each other with water guns, we sat on the lounges chatting. You know, it’s a fun vacation when you don’t remember what and when you ate, food becomes a complete afterthought.
“Mom, let’s go to the zip line and slides!” I had to get off my comfortable lounge chair to go supervise water activities. But no complaints, I love how adventurous and open to experiences Lexi is. She was on that zip line and in the water within minutes, screaming “Again! Again!”. We tried out the slide, hung out in the shallow waters, explored the multiple paths along the dock, watched people paddle boarding and even tried out the water bike.
As if all that water fun wasn’t enough, we took out the tube for a quick ride around the lake. I am not sure if Lexi loved it or was terrified. I know I was terrified. It was my first time tubing believe it or not, and you might call it age or something, but I felt like Lexi and I were barely holding on.
When we got back to the cabin, I looked at the activities chart, and it was the S’mores night. Who doesn’t love s’mores? We joined the whole resort during sunset at the island to play games and stuff our faces with a lot of marshmallows.
Days flew by so fast, as we were having fun exploring the resort and participating in countless activities. One of the highlights for the kids was just boating around, going 40 minutes one way by boat to get ice cream at a “middle of nowhere” ice cream shop, goofing around on the boat, laughing, playing, wind in the hair type of thing, you know… No complaints about boredom and “are we there yet”s.
Four days is a lot of time, yet when you’re having fun, it’s barely enough. Being able to experience Ludlow’s Island resort was a treat that’s hard to forget. It’s only open in the summer and often sells out, because families book their yearly vacations here. So getting it booked isn’t always easy. I loved how pictures of families who visited last year are displayed in a slideshow at the lodge so you could reminisce about the previous year as you come to check into your cabin.
That last night at sunset we were reminded just how special this time is and how fleeting the moments like this are. The orange light sifting through the tree branches and reflecting off the lake was almost unreal. Everywhere we looked was a photo worthy view. These are the moments you try to take a deep breath and force yourself to be in the moment.
-“Will we be able to come back here again, Mommy?” a soft voice asked wistfully.
-“Yes, my baby, I certainly hope so.”
Tell us a story about an amazing cabin experience you have had, so we can find new places to explore!
WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT MINNESOTA RESORTS?
You might also like:
Minnesota Lake Cabins at Ludlow’s Island Resort: A Photo Tour
15 Reasons Why Ludlow’s Island Resort is The Perfect Spot for a Minnesota Family Vacation
Our Lives Beyond Travel
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