Canadian Border Crossing Requirements
Straddling the border of the United States and Canada, Rainy Lake provides the opportunity for visitors to explore a foreign country. Although it’s not a difficult process to cross the US/Canadian border, some documentation is required and knowing what you need ahead of time can speed the process.
Crossing the Bridge
To get to Canada, you simply drive or walk across the International Bridge from International Falls to its sister city, Fort Frances, Ontario. Keep in mind, there is a toll bridge of $7 for vehicles crossing the bridge. If you plan on crossing frequently throughout your stay, you can find a discounted border crossing card at local grocery stores and gas stations. If driving, you will need to provide a driver’s license as well as vehicle registration. Border officials are always on the lookout for stolen vehicles or people trying to avoid duties on vehicles purchased out of country. Traveling in a rental car requires additional documentation, which you can learn more about at ezbordercrossing.com.
When you approach the officer, it's best to remove sunglasses and roll down your windows (including back windows if there are passengers sitting in back seats).
Although it’s not required, a passport is strongly recommended when crossing from the U.S. into Canada. In lieu of a passport, you will need to provide other documentation such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, or a Certificate of Indian Status, plus a photo ID.
Entering the United States
One thing to understand about traveling to Canada is that the requirements to enter the U.S. are stricter than those to enter Canada. A good rule of thumb, therefore, is to follow the U.S. requirements, which will ensure you are also covered for Canadian travel.
When arriving by land or water you must present one of the following to enter the United States:
Traveling with Children
In addition to theft, fraud and other crimes, customs officers are vigilant about preventing child abduction. Therefore, when traveling with children, you may be asked for additional information.
Children under age 16 may enter the U.S. or Canada using one of the following:
Be aware that customs officers may question kids old enough to speak for themselves. Prepare them in advance to talk to the officials and explain to them how this helps protect children from abduction. There are additional requirements for children traveling with only one parent. For more information, visit ezbordercrossing.com.
Visiting Canada can be a memorable part of your trip to Rainy Lake. Being prepared ahead of time helps ensure your border crossing will take only minutes, giving you more time to get to know our neighbors to the North.
If you find you are not able to enter Canada, you can still view Canada from International Falls. Plus, International Falls is the gateway community to Voyageurs National Park. There are plenty of reasons to stay and enjoy the activities on the U.S. side.
If you have any questions, our team can help you prepare and plan for your Rainy Lake vacation. Give us a call at (800) 325 5766 or visit our office before you cross at 301 2nd Avenue
Top 10 Rainy Lake Activities for December
We all know that Rainy Lake summers are worth bragging about. The tranquil sunsets, great fishing and gorgeous scenery all make a visit to this area an unforgettable experience. However, what some people don't know is that Rainy Lake winters can be just as wonderful. We know what you're thinking...the title "Icebox of the Nation" doesn't appeal to everyone. We may have the extremists hooked with our record-breaking temperatures, but we know some of you require a little more convincing. That's why we're here to tell you that winter on Rainy Lake has something to offer everyone! Not completely persuaded yet? Let us break it down for you in this list of ten Rainy Lake activities that will make this winter one to remember for years to come.
Rainy Lake is known across the country for it's great fishing. For this reason, we have countless visitors from thousands of miles book a yearly trip to this area. When the ice conditions are good, our frozen lake is speckled with hundreds of ice-fishing shelters. It's hard to beat the feeling of sitting around a warm stove, waiting to hook into a beautiful walleye or Northern pike. If you're looking for something a little different, one of our local favorites is tip-up fishing. Whether you're five or fifty years old, the excitement you feel watching a flag pop up never goes away. Our planning experts can help you plan your trip if you've never experienced fishing quite like this.
Voyageurs National Park is home to excellent cross-country ski trails. This is an incredible way to experience the serene beauty of Rainy Lake. Leading deep into the backcountry of the park, you never know what kind of wildlife you might see. The best part? Free ski rental is available at Voyageurs National Park Rainy Lake Visitors Center! Pack some warm clothes and a thirst for adventure, they will supply the rest!
3. Northern Lights
While the Northern Lights are stunning to observe from Rainy Lake year round, they are witnessed most commonly in the late fall or winter. The dark skies and bright snow create an undeniably exquisite backdrop to the beloved Aurora Borealis. If you haven't experienced Mother Nature's incredible light show, book a trip to Rainy Lake this winter.
If you're looking to cover all areas of Rainy Lake, snowmobiling is the winter activity for you. This well-loved past time is perfect everyone, from thrill-seeking adventurers to laid back explorers. Pack a thermos of hot chocolate and be sure to dress warm, there's endless beauty to observe.
If you're looking for the perfect family adventure, it's time you give snowshoeing a try. Snowshoes allow you to explore areas that even cross-country skis will limit you from. It's no wonder that snowshoes have been around for thousands of years...they offer a great way to explore beautiful hidden territory, even in the deepest of snow. If you don't have your own, stop by Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center to borrow a pair for the day - for free!
The International Falls border crossing is the busiest in Minnesota... and for good reason! After passing through Border Customs into Fort Frances Ontario, make a stop at one of their many fine-dining restaurants or downtown shops. Ontario also has great ice-fishing opportunities to encounter. No passport? No problem, International Falls offers many incredible restaurants and small-town shops!
7. Icebox Days
Mark you calendar, January 17-21 is the legendary Icebox Days Festival! This well-known event has been covered by CBS, NBC, and ABC. It has also been featured on the Travel Channel, The Weather Channel, MSNBC, and dozens of other national and international publications. If you're bold enough to brave the cold, Icebox Days has something for everyone! With moonlight skiing, the infamous "Gizzard" 5k and 10k runs, fireworks (yes, fireworks in the winter) and more, this is an event you don't want to miss!
8. Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center
After a long day of skiing or snowshoeing, head towards the Voyageurs National Park Visitors Center to warm up! Offering an exhibit area, displays, a bookstore, staffed information desk, a children's activity table, and a theater for viewing a video on the park, this is a fun stop for the whole family! Did we mention that they offer free hot chocolate during the winter months? You won't regret this stop during your winter visit to Rainy Lake!
Take advantage of the fantastic free ice skating rinks that International Falls has to offer! This is a proven favorite for both kids and adults alike! Try your hand at a game of hockey, or watch the kids play from the comfort of a warming hut. Lace up your skates and get ready to experience the Rainy Lake area like a true Minnesotan.
10. Wildlife Watching
Last but certainly not least on our list is wildlife watching. From eagles and rabbits to white-tailed deer and wolves, Rainy Lake is home to an immense array of captivating animals. Whether it be on skis, snowshoes, snowmobile or vehicle, watching these creatures in their natural habitat is an incredible sight to see.
We could go on and on listing winter activities that we love...but you have a trip to schedule! Don't miss out on the stunning beauty and great activities that this area has to offer. You have nothing to lose and world to see, Rainy Lake is calling your name.
Did we miss your favorite winter activity? Tell us in the comments below!
Rainy Lake is full of wonder, but half of the fun is pointing out that you’re looking into a different country. “That’s Canda, eh?” You don’t have to be on the lake to experience this. When you visit International Falls, be sure to include the Voyageurs National Park Headquarters in your list of places to see.
Just a mile from our office, the Voyageurs National Park (VNP) Headquarters offers a large green space to walk your dog or stretch your legs. There are several picnic tables to enjoy a lunch. Walk on the pier, the largest in town, where you will be able to clearly see Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada. In sight will be its old paper mill, the historic Hallet tug boat, and the town’s lookout tower. You will be directly across the Sorting Gap Marina where there’s usually a Canadian flag flying, making it a perfect photo opportunity. If you aren’t able to cross the border, the Headquarters is a great spot to view Canada.
If you visit the Headquarters during office hours, you can tour the building. There is a public library inside focused on ecological information.
If you bring a boat, the Headquarters is also the Pat Roche boat access, providing a place to launch a boat in the upper river, above the dam and below the Ranier rapids.
The Headquarters also sits near the bike path. Take a ride to the VNP Rainy Lake Visitor’s Center, which is less than 10 miles away. Here you will be able to view Rainy Lake, historical artifacts, learn about the life of a Voyageur, and hop on the tour boat and experience even more.
Have you stopped here before? What did you think? Share your comments below.
Need help planning your trip? Help us plan it for you by clicking here or call the International Falls, Ranier and Rainy Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1 800 325 5766.