Voyageurs National Park
Rainy Lake serves as the northern gateway to Minnesota’s only national park Voyageurs National Park (www.nps.gov/voya). This 218,000-acre island and water park is simply awe-inspiring! During “open water” season, the park is accessible by motorboat, houseboat, canoe or kayak. During winter, visitors access the park by snowmobile, snowshoe or cross-country ski. The Park Service also plows miles of ice roads on parts of Rainy Lake for fishing or wildlife watching.
Boat tours from the Rainy Lake Visitor Center offer a variety of interesting trips, from historical gold mines to watchable wildlife.
Tent camp for free on designated park islands or along the lakeshore with a permit easily obtained at any park visitor center or boat launch. The park is also sprinkled with day-use and houseboat sites.
Wildlife abounds in Voyageurs National Park. Loons, eagles, gulls, otters and deer are common sightings. Occasionally, visitors will even catch a glimpse of a black bear or moose. Spring (and autumn) provide great opportunities for bird watching (as over 300 species are migrating at these times). Be sure to bring along your camera and binoculars.