Leave your car behind and set out on the water to experience the forested lake country of Voyageurs National Park, situated on the Canadian border near International Falls. There are appealing watercraft options for exploring Voyageurs' four large lakes, numerous bays, the Ash River and beautiful shorelines. All three visitors centers offer the chance to see the park as the voyageurs did 200 years ago, on a free guided trip aboard a traditional, 26-foot "North Canoe" made of birch bark, spruce and cedar.
Contemporary canoes, kayaks, rowboats and motorboats are also available for rent from businesses on the park's perimeter. Two excursion boats, the Voyageur and the Otter, offer tours on Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake and the Ash River. Tours last from one to five hours and include star-gazing cruises and combination lake-and-land tours that feature wildlife, gardens, dining, and historic sites such as abandon gold mines.
Lodging in the park includes basic campsites and the historic Kettle Falls Hotel, both accessible only by boat. Outside of the park are resort cabins, campgrounds and motels. For those interested in staying on the water, houseboats can be rented. Some of these deluxe floating crafts include a hot tub, decks and an entertainment center.
The Kabetogama Lake, Ash River and Rainy Lake visitor centers are park entry points and also sites for excursions and launch ramps. The Crane Lake ranger station is a fourth access and boat launch point. Maps and information on watercraft, tours and lodging are available in the Rendezvous guide to Voyageurs National Park in print and online.