Welcome to Voyageurs National Park, a paradise nestled up north near the Minnesota-Canada border. With the majority of Voyageurs expanse blanketed by water, this park is a haven for lake lovers and paddlers alike. It's home to 5 major lakes, including the picturesque Kabetogama and Rainy Lake, offering a plethora of water-based activities.

Ultimate Guide to the Top Activities in Voyageurs National Park

From boating and fishing to watching the sunset or sunrise over Kabetogama Lake, there's something for everyone. So whether you've spent the day hiking the trails or simply relaxing, there's no shortage of ways to soak up the beauty of this untouched wilderness. Explore all the adventures Voyageurs National Park has to offer.

AI Generative image of Voyageurs National Park

Activities in Voyageurs National Park

Visiting Voyageurs National Park? Get ready to partake in engaging endeavors ranging from boating and fishing to winter activities. Here's a lowdown of activities to look forward to in your Voyageurs National Park trip.

Boating and Canoeing

Much of the park's beauty is best experienced from the water. Thanks to the abundance of lakes, boating is one of the top activities for visitors. You can bring your own boat or rent one from the many resorts surrounding the park. An interesting fact to note is that most areas of the park, including backcountry hiking trails and inland lakes, are only reachable via boat. This makes Voyageurs National Park a haven for paddlers and boat enthusiasts, offering a seamless getaway into nature.

Guided boat and canoe tours are also popular among tourists, with daily tours setting sail from different points within the park during summer and fall.


Fishing is another popular activity, offering plentiful opportunities within the park's 30 named lakes. Believe it or not, these lakes house over 50 species of fish, including popular catches like walleye, northern pike, and bass. The best part? The fishing fun is not bound by seasons as Voyageurs offers ice fishing prospects in winter. But, remember, you need an authentic Minnesota fishing license to fish in the park.

Here's a quick snapshot for fishing enthusiasts:

Popular Fish SpeciesBest Locations
WalleyeKabetogama Lake, Rainy Lake
Northern PikeRainy Lake, Sand Point Lake
Smallmouth BassNamakan Lake, Sand Point Lake

Hiking and Nature Walks

Boots laced up? Get set to traverse the wilderness in its purest form. Whether it's discovering the Ellsworth Rock Gardens or venturing along the trails, nothing tops the magical quietude you experience as you explore Voyageurs. The park's sprawling natural terrain offers a multitude of hiking trails for all skill levels.

Wildlife Viewing

Being a vibrant ecosystem, Voyageurs National Park offers a chance to spot some incredible wildlife. From white-tailed deer and black bears to playful otters, the park teems with rich wildlife, making it a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts.


For bird lovers, Voyageurs is a delightful hotspot. The park’s incredible diversity of habitats is home to a wide variety of birds, including over 50 eagles.


Feel the cool breeze and listen to the rustling leaves while camping under the starry Minnesota sky. There are 3 main types of camping in Voyageurs National Park; Backcountry Camping, Front-country Camping, and overnight Houseboat camping. Remember, most camping sites in the park are accessible only by water, but there are a few that can be accessed by car. There is also vehicle campgrounds at Woodenfrog State Forest near Echo Bay.


Link: Backcountry CampsitesNumber of Locations: 15

There are 15 backcountry campsite locations in Voyageurs National Park. The locations are remote and can only be accessed by water. The locations are deep in the park offering unrivaled opportunities to experience the best the park has to offer.


Link: Front-country CampsitesNumber of Locations: 138

There are over 130 front-country campsite locations in Voyageurs National Park. The locations are dispersed over Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, Namaken Lake, Sand Point Lake and Crane Lake. The locations are scattered across the shorelines and islands dotting each lake and give visitors a chance to camp on their own remote island.

Houseboat Overnight Sites

Link: Houseboat Overnight LocationsNumber of Locations: 94

There are 94 overnight Houseboat docking locations in Voyageurs National Park. The houseboating experience is Voyageurs is a unique experience that gives visitors deep access into the park while providing a luxury camping environment.

Check out our Voyageurs National Park interactive campsite map to discover all the camping locations in the park here Voyageurs National Park Map

Swimming and Beaches

Fancy a dip in the water on a warm day? The park's pristine lakes and sandy beaches beckon you for a wonderful time ahead.

Winter Activities

Winter at Voyageurs isn’t less fun. You can enjoy snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, or embrace unique ice fishing experiences during the frosty months. Get ready to satiate your adventure cravings amidst an icy backdrop! Browse our Voyageurs National Park Winter activities map to discover all fun stuff to do!

No matter your preference, scenic beauty lies at every corner of Voyageurs National Park. And with so many compelling activities, your Voyageur's trip is bound to be a memorable affair.

Top Attractions in Voyageurs National Park

There are several must-visit attractions you'll want to explore in Voyageurs National Park. We dive into some of the park's most celebrated sites that lure visitors from all corners of the world for their stunning beauty and diverse activities.

Kabetogama Lake

Kabetogama Lake is a hotspot for bird watchers and fishing aficionados. This biodiverse body of water is home to walleye, bass, northern pike, and muskie, making it one of the most popular fishing destinations in Voyageurs National Park. The lake also has several boat-in only campsites, maintained to respect the area's pristine nature. Outfitters provide transport into the park and offer the necessary equipment for your adventure.

Rainy Lake

As the largest lake in Voyageurs National Park, Rainy Lake is a haven for water enthusiasts. The year-round Rainy Lake Visitors Center presents a range of engaging activities. On land, the Oberholtzer and Recreational trails can be explored. You'll also find historical sites such as the Harry Overson Fish Camp and the Kettle Falls Hotel.

Namakan Lake

Namakan Lake is another high-profile destination in the park. It can only be accesses by water. Enjoy exploring the lake and its numerous islands by boat. You may want to take a ranger-guided tour from the Kabetogama visitor center, enhancing your understanding of this beautiful area.

Ash River

The scenic Ash River teems with natural beauty and provides routes to some exhilarating hiking trails. One of them being the Blind Ash Bay trail, a must-visit for outdoor adventurers.

Ellsworth Rock Gardens

If you choose to go for a short cruise across Kabetogama Lake, you'll discover Ellsworth Rock Gardens. Accompanied by a park ranger, you can tour unique rock sculptures. One of the highlights of this Lake, it serves as an artistic retreat amidst nature.

Gold Portage

Gold Portage flew under the commercial radar after the voyageurs moved away from fur pelts to the gold rush. This historical landmark lets you time travel to an era long before, making it an intriguing spot to visit.

Woodenfrog State Forest

Break away from the water-focused activities and head inland to the Woodenfrog State Forest. It's a perfect spot for those seeking tranquility among tall, lush forests and abundant wildlife.

Remember, Voyageurs National Park is vast and teeming with activities and serene landscapes. So, take your time, venture mindfully, carve your own route, and discover the hidden gems this national park has to offer.

AI generated image of canoeing in Voyageurs NP

Planning Your Visit to Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota boasts an array of activities. Whether a Minnesota native or a first-time visitor, there are ample reasons to add this destination to your bucket list. However, to ensure a fulfilling trip, certain aspects need careful planning such as transport, preferred season for visit, accommodations, permits or fees, and safety tips.

Getting There

Flying into Minnesota and embarking on a scenic drive through the northern countryside is one way to reach the park. However, keep in mind that once you arrive, boats are the primary method of transportation. With nearly half of the park underwater, it's apparent why Minnesota has its Land of 10000 Lakes nickname. To truly explore Voyageurs, you'll need boat access. You'll miss much of what the park has to offer, with most of the park covered in lakes and waterways, if you stick to mainland areas only.

Best Time to Visit

While every season showcases Minnesota's beauty, the best times to visit Voyageurs National Park might be slim periods. Summer is the most popular time, offering great weather and extended daylight hours. All resorts and businesses are open during the Summer months. The unofficial state bird, Mosquitoes, are also out in abundance during the Summer. Meanwhile, fall presents a breathtaking display of bright yellow, red, and orange leaves, fewer crowds, and cooler temperatures. With clear night skies, it's also an excellent time for stargazing and catching the occasional sight of the spectacular Northern Lights. The Autumn months, however, are a time when most resorts are closing for the season. You may find fewer amenities and need to travel to International Falls to Eat/Shop/Fun/Etc. Winters can be harsh, so plan your visit wisely. Those brave enough to take on a Winter challenge are awarded with and endless winter wonderland.

Lodging and Accommodations

Need somewhere to stay during your visit? Voyageurs offers a handful of options for you to consider. For a comfortable and luxurious time, consider booking a room at AirBNB or VRBO. There are also many Resorts and lodges dotting the shores of Rainy, Kabetogama and Crane Lake. Lodging choices offer true up-north experiences. Visitors who want to get lost in nature will choose to rent a houseboat and boat deep into the park far away from roads and other visitors. There are front-country and backcountry campsite locations available for the most adventurous.

Permits and Fees

Certain activities in Voyageurs National Park require permits such as fishing and camping. Campsite locations are reserved at recreation.gov. Learn how to reserve a campsite in Voyageurs National Park using our guide.

Safety Tips

It's always important to remain safe during your visit, irrespective of how thrilling the activities might be. With wildlife such as deer, bears, and wolves roaming around, maintain your distance. Respect the wildlife and follow park regulations to ensure a safe and exciting adventure in Voyageurs National Park.

Including these considerations in your plan will enhance your experience and deepen your connection with Voyageurs National Park. The memories you create here will surely last a lifetime. Just remember, once you experience the charm of Voyageurs, you'll want to trek back again and again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Voyageurs National Park?

The most popular time to visit Voyageurs National Park is during the Summer months when you can witness the park teaming with life. Summer is when all business are open. The Fall and Winter offer unique experiences but may be less leisurely than the Summer as many businesses are closed.

What activities are available for those who don't have a boat in Voyageurs National Park?

Visitors can enjoy numerous activities like exploring exhibits in the visitor centers, joining the Junior Ranger program, hiking on scenic trails, participating in interpretive programs, and picnicking at lakeside areas. You can also join a guided tour or hire a water-taxi to explore.

Can you explore Voyageurs National Park without a boat?

While 40% of Voyageurs National Park is underwater, you don't necessarily need a boat to explore it. There are many land-based activities to enjoy. Also, in the Winter, boats are not useful. You will need a snow machine / snowmobile to get around.

What is the closest town to Voyageurs National Park?

International Falls, located just an 8-mile drive away, is the nearest city to Voyageurs National Park.

Is there cell service in Voyageurs National Park?

Cell coverage in the park varies. Visitor centers and roads generally have service. Some areas of Rainy Lake have some coverage, but as you move east on the other lakes, coverage is less frequent.

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