Voyageurs National Park
Minnesota, USA

As you may expect in the land of 10,000 lakes, this is a park for water-lovers. Whether you have your own watercraft, need to rent one, or want to relax on a ranger-led boat tour, adventure waits in the north! Also note that seaplane is a reasonable mode of touring here as well. But before we hop onboard a boat or plane, I should mention that there are things for landlubbers to do too!

East from International Falls, you'll find the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, which has a park film and exhibits like the other two Visitor Centers in the park. However, this is the only Visitor Center open year-round. In the summer, you can book a boat or canoe tour here. The Oberholtzer Trail is a 1.7-mile round trip hike through both a forest and a wetlands area. In the winter, you'll find great ski and snowshoe trails in this section of the park. If you have water access, you can head to other parts of the park in this area, including the Black Bay Trail (pine and beavers), Anderson Bay Trail (cliffside view of the lake), and the Little American Island (historic gold mine).

Another Visitor Center sits on Kabetogama Lake. Here you can take a boat ride to Kettle Falls and learn about area history on the narrated journey. If you enjoy birding, the Echo Bay Trail is an east 2.5-mile loop through an pine and aspen forest. This can be skied in the winter. Like Rainy Lake, if you have water access you can get to other trails. Although it's a strenuous all day 19-mile hike, the Cruiser Lake Trail features rocky cliffs and may be your best chance of seeing moose.

The most eastern Visitor Center is Ash River, which is in an historic lodge that is worth visiting. While boat tours usually do not depart from here, there is a boat launch. Perhaps more importantly, there's a Beaver Pond Overlook, a Lake Overlook, and the Blind Ash Bay Trail. This 2.5-mile loop is fun and beautiful, winding through a forest. In the winter, you can snowshoe on this trail. For a real workout, the Kab-Ash trail is 28-mile backcountry system of interconnected trails.

When it comes to lodging, you can rent houseboats just outside the park boundaries. If this unique experience isn't for you, the Kettle Falls Hotel is the only in-park lodging. Of course, it is only accessible by water access, but they do offer a shuttle. There are numerous campgrounds, all requiring water access.

Happy Travels!