Summer Adventures

Iron Range Family Vacation on a Budget

Your family vacation is one of the best parts of summer. You get a chance to bond with your kids and experience travel through their eyes. If your family is like mine, you’re on a budget and appreciate the free and fun stops along the journey. Here are a few that I’ve found while traveling northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. I know you’ll love a Minnesota family vacation!

Hull Rust Mine View as seen by drone

A 240-ton truck is on display at Hull Rust Mine View in Hibbing

Hull Rust Mine View

We always feel that we’ve arrived on the Range when we drive by the big dump truck up on the hill, visible from Highway 169 in Hibbing. It is much more than a welcome sign; it’s a beautiful overlook, a clean rest stop, and a place to let the kids play after a long car ride. You get all this for free. Today you get a great view of city, mines, and forest.

The top of the overlook has an information center with  restrooms and a gift shop. The massive truck is the perfect place for a family photo, but you’ll probably just get one tire in the frame. AT the base of the overlook is Bennett Park, with a large play area, picnic tables and walking paths. Visit the quirky Greyhound Bus Museum, just across the road.

Lake Leander

Looking for an afternoon on the lake without a paying for a boat or a cabin? Head to Lake Ore-Be-Gone in Gilbert. This former mine pit is filled with clear blue water – so clear you might see scuba divers! Wind swept red pines, scattered through the picnic grounds and surrounding the lakefront, fill the air with their fresh scent.

The kids love the sandy beach with designated swim area. Amenities include grills, a picnic shelter with changing rooms and rustic (but clean) toilets. Camping is allowed at Sherwood Forest Campground, overlooking Lake Ore-Be-Gone. Bonus: this lake is accessible by bike via the Mesabi Trail, and via ATV.

Independence Day Celebrations

Another fun and free way to experience the Iron Range is to take in an Independence Day celebration. Depending on what town you’re in, the festivities start July 2 and run through the 4th. Expect parades with candy and other freebies for the kids, school carnival style kid games, and of course fireworks. Bring a blanket and bug spray as you enjoy one of life’s pleasures with your family.

If you are interested in attending Iron Range Fourth of July activities or any other summer events, please visit our Event Calendar.

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