Frontcountry Camping at Voyageurs

Blueberry Island Campsite on Rainy Lake
Blueberry Island campsite on Rainy Lake

NPS Photo

Frontcountry campsites are located on the shores and islands of the park's large lakes - Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, and Crane. They require traveling by watercraft from any mainland boat launch.

Voyageurs National Park has four water access points at the Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake, and Ash River Visitor Centers, and the Crane Lake Ranger Station. There are also public and private boat launches outside the park.

The park does not rent watercrafts of any kind on the large lakes. If you do not have a watercraft, there are local businesses that offer water taxi service and a variety of boat rentals, from canoes and kayaks to fishing boats and pontoons.


The Basics of a Frontcountry Camping Trip in Voyageurs

  1. Do some research: Frontcountry campsites can be as far as 27 miles away from the nearest boat launch, so be sure to select sites that are within a safe distance to travel for your level of navigation experience and type/size of watercraft.
  2. Make a reservation: Once you're ready to make a reservation, go to the Voyageurs National Park Camping Permits page on Here you can view campsite info and photos, search for campsite availability, and build an itinerary. Use these step-by-step instructions to make your reservation. You can also call's national call center at 1-877-444-6777.
  3. Print your permit within 5 days of your trip start date by logging into your account and selecting Reservations from the menu. Click on the Print Permit button next to the correct trip. This button is disabled until 5 days before your trip. It can also be helpful to have a digital copy/screenshot on your phone to keep with you.
  4. Parking: Camping permit holders can park their vehicles overnight at any park visitor center boat launch parking lot for up to 14 days during the dates of their trip, free of charge. Know which visitor center boat launch is closest to your campsite.
  5. Travel by watercraft to your campsite. Visitors must either use their own boat, rent a vessel, or use a water taxi. The waters of Voyaguers are expansive; be prepared with GPS or navigation charts.
  6. Post your permit inside the display box that you'll find attached to a bear-proof food locker at your campsite.
  7. Enjoy your camping trip in Voyageurs National Park!

Plan ahead and Prepare

  • Have a basic understanding of camping rules and regulations before you start your trip.
  • Make sure to secure a watercraft or water taxi to travel to and from your campsite.
  • Items below are required. Our safety page lists camping supplies that can help make your trip safer and more enjoyable.
    • Camping Permit - Printed and placed in clear display box at campsite.
    • One Personal Floation Device (PFD) for every individual riding in the watercraft(s).
    • Food Storage Plan for Bear Safety.
      • Bear lockers are 52" wide x 36' deep x 21" high, or equal to two 48-quart coolers. Will yours fit?
      • Only properly sealed and locked bear-resistant coolers can be kept outside of bear lockers.
      • Bear-proof food canisters can also be used following the manufacturer's instructions.
    • Trash Plan - Please pack it in, pack it out - everything you brought to your campsite must go with you when you leave.
      • There are trash and recycling receptacles at every visitor center boat launch to use upon your return.
      • DO NOT burn trash in fire rings; don't be the reason that the next visitor unknowingly roasts hotdogs or marshmallows over toxic plastic residue.
    • Fishing Permits if fishing is part of your plans.
Example of a printed permit and display box found at a campsite
Example of a printed permit and a campsite's permit display box

NPS Photo

Important Camping Permit Information

  • When you make a camping reservation, your confirmation email IS NOT your permit.
  • Permits need to be printed from the Reservations section of your account within 5 days of your trip.
  • Your printed permit must be placed inside the clear display box you'll find attched to a bear locker at your campsite.
  • If you forget your permit, stop at a visitor center during business hours to have it printed.
A tent is nestles beneath tall pine trees on a rocky shoreline with a bright blue sky above.
A tent sits nestles under tall pines trees at a shoreline campsite in Voyageurs National Park.

Kelsey Lynch

Check-In Times & Procedures

  • Voyageurs has no entrance booths or check-in stations; simply arrive at a visitor center boat ramp, launch your boat, and head for your campsite with your valid printed permit. Stop at a visitor center if you need to have your permit printed (or to visit with our interpretive rangers and check out the bookstore).
  • You may arrive at your frontcountry campsite no earlier than 3 pm on your day of arrival.
  • Visitors have 24 hours from their check-in time to set up at their reserved site. After this time, reservations at reported vacant sites can be voided and made available to the public.

Check-Out Times & Procedures

  • Vacate your campsite no later than 12 noon on your day of departure.
  • Between noon and 3 pm, unused campsites may be used temporarily for swimming, picknicing, etc.
  • You do not need to stop in at a visitor center to check out. Simply load your watercraft and be on your way.
A blue van is parked in front of a log building. Near the van, a sign reads "Ash River Visitor Center."


Tent campers in Voyageurs can park their vehicles overnight and free of charge at any park visitor center for up to 14 days during the dates of their camping permit.

While it is not required to check in or out at visitor centers when you arrive or depart, our friendly interpretive park rangers would be happy to assist you in any way! Stop in for information, maps, helpful resources, to learn about the rich cultural history of Voyageurs National Park, or to browse our bookstores and gift shops.

Wolfpack Island East campsite on Namakan Lake in Winter

Winter Camping

All of the same campsites in the park that are used in summer are also available for winter camping! This takes place during the park's non-peak season (rates listed in the table below), but reservations/permits are still required and all park regulations still apply.

The main difference with winter camping is how to access your campsite. They can be reached on foot (snowshoe or ski) and by snowmobile when proper winter conditions and safe ice are present. Safe ice and ideal temperatures for enjoyable winter camping are most typical in the months of February and March, but ice-out dates can vary widley, determining the length of the season.

Before venturing out onto the ice, always check the forecast and the most recent Winter Trails Report which is updated weekly throughout the winter.

With the proper precautions and winter safety guidelines in mind, Voyageurs National Park is an ideal winter adventure destination!


Voyageurs National Park Frontcountry Permits and Prices

Permit Type

Reservation Service
Fee (per transaction)

Low Use Season Fees

(per night)

High Use Season Fees

(per night)

Earliest Dates to Purchase Permit

Small campsite without dock




For High-Use Season (May 15 – Oct 15): Available the previous November 15th

For Low-Use Season (Oct 16 – May 14): Available the previous April 15th

Small campsite with dock




Large campsite without dock




Large campsite with dock




Campground small site




Campground large site




Group Campsite




Backcountry campsite without canoe




Backcountry campsite w/
overnight canoe




For High-Use Season (May 15 – Oct 15): Available the previous November 15th

**Rentals not available Oct 16 – May 14**

Day use rental canoe or rowboat
(Backcountry only)



$14 per night or day





Available the previous November 15th

**Income generated from overnight camping and permits is used to improve and maintain amenities, clean sites, clear and repair backcountry trails, and support the operation of the reservation system**


Camping Permit FAQs

You can easily modify or cancel your reservation using your account:
  • Log into your account and select Reservations.
  • Click on the Modify or Cancel button next to the reservation you need changed
  • Deselect dates and select new dates or campsite to modify, or click on Cancel Reservation to cancel.
  • The following cancellation fees apply:
Camping is only permissible at designated campsites, and all camping in the park requires site-specific reservations. Dispersed camping and/or using non-designated campsites are not allowed.
There are several options available if you arrive at Voyageurs without a permit:
  • Call the reservation hotline at (877) 444-6777 to inquire about available campsites.
  • Make a reservation online using a mobile smart device at
  • Stop in at a park visitor center for assistance.
  • Consider using camping and lodging opportunities on the mainland, near the boundary of the park for last minute and dispersed camping options.

Permits must be printed within 5 days of your trip start date; it is not possible to print your permit before this. does not email permits to those who have reserved them; you will need to:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Select Reservations from the menu
  3. Select the Print Permit button next to the correct permit

If it is five days or less before your trip and you still cannot print your permit, try the following:

  • Try using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge as your browser

  • Call (877) 444-6777 and request assistance
  • Stop in at a visitor center during business hours to have your permit looked up and printed

If a campsite is unoccupied, visitors may use the site until 3pm

  • There are 33 designated Day Use Sites in the frontcountry of the park that are designed for picnicking; please try to use these first.
  • No day use is allowed at houseboat sites.

The Campsite Amenities page describes the size of each site, plus the number of tent pads and amenities the campsites offer. In general, minimum/maximum group size limits are:

Site Type
  • Permit holders have 24 hours from the time of check-in (on the date of entry) to get to their site.
  • If a permit holder fails to arrive within 24 hours of check-in, the permit for any reported vacant site may be voided to allow the site to become available to the public.
  • If you won't be able to make your trip, please cancel as soon as possible from your account to receive any available refund and to make the site available to others who are searching for a campsite.
Campsite maps published by National Geographic may be purchased at any of the park's three visitor centers or by going to the online shop of Jefferson National Parks Association, our bookstore partner.

Other maps for trails, day use sites, etc. are available for free on our maps page, but National Geographic and Mackenzie charts are both strongly recommended for safe navigation to campsites.
There are several private campgrounds and state campgrounds near the park that do not require a reservation.
Houseboats must be moored at least 200 yards (600 feet) away from any developed site.

Houseboats cannot pitch a tent at houseboat sites. If houseboaters want to pitch a tent, they must (in addition to their houseboat permit) reserve a tent site on for those in their party who want to tent camp, but still may not moor the houseboat at the campsite. The houseboat must remain at least 200' from the campsite, using the runner boat to go back and forth. Houseboats may only moor at desginated campsites with a pre-approved Special Use Permit.

The exception is group campsites - houseboats may moor at R-74 on Rainy Lake and K-54 on Kabetogama Lake. The group campsite limit is a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 30 total people, and the group must have a permit for the group site plus a permit for each houseboat.

There are several private campgrounds, public campgrounds, and/or lodges near the park or on the park's shores that can accommodate RVs.


Links to More Camping Resources

Last updated: December 13, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls, MN 56649



Contact Us