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
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.
Make a reservation: Once you're ready to make a reservation, go to the Voyageurs National Park Camping Permits page on recreation.gov. 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 Recreation.gov's national call center at 1-877-444-6777.
Print your permit within 5 days of your trip start date by logging into your recreation.gov 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.
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.
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.
Post your permit inside the display box that you'll find attached to a bear-proof food locker at your campsite.
Enjoy your camping trip in Voyageurs National Park!
When you make a camping reservation, your confirmation email IS NOT your permit.
Permits need to be printed from the Reservations section of your recreation.gov 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.
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.
You can 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.
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 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, helpful resources, to learn about the rich cultural history of Voyageurs National Park, or to browse our bookstores and gift shops.
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
Fee (per transaction)
Low Use Season Fees
High Use Season Fees
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
Backcountry campsite without canoe
Backcountry campsite w/
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
$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**
Permits must be printed within 5 days of your trip start date; it is not possible to print your permit before this. Recreation.gov does not email permits to those who have reserved them; you will need to:
Log into your recreation.gov account
Select Reservations from the menu
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
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 recreation.gov account to receive any available refund and to make the site available to others who are searching for a campsite.
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 Recreation.gov 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.