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7 Fun Things to do in the Mesabi Iron Range

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The Mesabi Iron Range region of Minnesota is an absolute gem and truly feels like the next big tourism destination. We had a blast checking out various activities and stops during our short 2 days in the area and barely scratched the surface. I’m already trying to figure out when we can come back. Read on for 7 fun things to do in the Mesabi Iron Range including where to stay.

Where to Stay: Green Gate Guesthouses

The Green Gate Guesthouses within the Giants Ridge area are unique and gorgeous boutique accommodations. I love the focus the owner, Shawn, has on restoring historic properties in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. In addition to the historic properties, there are also modern condos on the lake like the one we stayed at.

Green Gate Guesthouses is expanding to more options in town too so check out all the properties to see which is best for your stay! I loved being by the lake in a modern property that felt like home and can’t wait to check out some of the other unique options through Green Gate.

Thank you to Greengate Guesthouses for hosting us. As always, opinions are my own.

1. Ride the Trails at Redhead Mountain Bike Park

The highlight of our trip was mountain biking at Redhead Mountain Bike park. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the state with red trails, green trees, wildflowers, and a sparkling turquoise lake you can ride around. While the course around the lake was intermediate, we found it very doable by going slower or walking at parts that were more technical. Just make sure to wear darker colors as the rich iron red dirt can stain (learn from my mistake!).

We rented bikes through 30West at The Discovery Center – a great option if you don’t have bikes or don’t want to transport them. The bikes were new and handled every part of the course beautifully.

If you’re not comfortable mountain biking, check out the beautiful paved Mesabi Trail.

Thank you to Visit Mesabi Range for hosting our bike rentals.

2. Swim or Paddle in a Local Lake

The Mesabi Iron Range has stunning lakes, many of them mine lakes that have crystal clear blue waters. A few to consider for swimming or paddling: Lake Ore-Be-Gone, Wynne Lake if staying in the Giants Ridge area, and the lake in the middle of Redhead Mountain Bike Park. To get to the lake at Redhead Mountain Bike Park, you’ll need an ATV or 4WD/high-clearance vehicle or else you can bike/walk about 1 mile down to it from the parking lot.

3. Go Back in Time with a Drive-in Lunch at The Stand

What was once an A&W, which opened in 1964, has become privately owned The Stand. With classics you’d expect like burgers, fries and frosty mugs with delicious root beer, you can’t go wrong! We loved our visit.

4. Visit Minnesota’s Oldest Candy Store: Canelake’s Candies

Canelake's Candies

This candy store will make you feel like a kid again! Filled with old fashioned candy, unique treats like hot air and a soda fountain counter, Canelake’s Candies is truly a delight to walk around. Many of the candies have been handmade since 1905 and the current store has been around since 1917. This is a must stop for delicious treats and to experience history.

5. Have Dinner on the Scenic Patio of The Wacootah Grill

One of the best views I’ve experienced for a meal in Minnesota is at The Wacootah Grill. Overlooking a beautiful mine lake in the Giants Ridge area, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing meal at the end of a fun day. We enjoyed their burger and fish sandwich and the waffle fries were worth the upgrade! Definitely a highlight of the things to do in the Mesabi Iron Range.

6. Grab Breakfast at The Hive

One of the cutest and most vibrant coffee shops in Minnesota is The Hive Coffee and Bakehouse. With made from scratch meals, delicious baked goods and a variety of coffee and tea options, The Hive is the best way to start your day. There are a few seating areas, each with fun decor. Plus there’s a screened in garage door that brings in fresh air and light. I could’ve spent all morning there!

7. Shop the Local Boutiques

While I had many shops on my list to visit, we ran out of time. These are the top spots for next time: Casey Drug, Pebble Spa and Irma’s Finland House. The Discovery Center also has a great shop on site: The Miner’s Daughter.

Are you ready to plan a trip to the Mesabi Iron Range?! We just scratched the surface – find even more ideas here.

For more Minnesota travel ideas, check out my articles here.

Happy Planning!

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