Frontcountry Camping at Voyageurs

Frontcountry Camping

Frontcountry camping is accessible directly by boat. Like all campsites at Voyageurs, both frontcountry and backcountry, it requrires traveling by watercraft to arrive at your site. Backcountry Camping requires traveling by boat to the trail head where visitors then hike and/or canoe from where your boat is docked towards inner Kabetogama Peninsula.

If you do not have boat acess and want to drive your vehicle to a campsite on land, there are public and private campgrounds within the surrounding gateway communities.

If you want to rent a canoe from the mainland to explore Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, or Crane Lakes (instead of the Backcountry), Local Area Businesses offer rentals. To avoid competing with these local businesses, the National Park Service does not rent canoes for the large lakes from visitor centers.

The Basics for Traveling to your Frontcountry Campsite

  1. Parking: Camping Permit holders can park their vehicles overnight at any park visitor center for up to 14 days during their trip.
  2. Travel by watercraft to your campsite (visitors must either use their own boat, rent a vessel, or use a water taxi).
 

Permits and Prices

There are two ways to get a permit:

Permit Type

Reservation Service
Fee (per transaction)

2021 Low Use Season Fees

(per night)

2022 Low Use Season Fees

(per night)

2022 High Use Season Fees

(per night)

Earliest Dates to Purchase Permit

Small campsite without dock

$10

$0

$10

$22

For High-Use Season (May 1 – Sept 30): Available the previous November 15th


For Low-Use Season (Oct 1 – April 30): Available the previous April 15th

Small campsite with dock

$10

$0

$10

$26

Large campsite without dock

$10

$0

$10

$28

Large campsite with dock

$10

$0

$10

$32

Campground small site

$10

$0

$10

$26

Campground large site

$10

$0

$10

$32

Group Campsite

$10

$0

$10

$60

Backcountry campsite without canoe

$10

$0

$10

$16

Backcountry campsite w/
overnight canoe

$10

n/a

n/a

$30

For High-Use Season (May 1 – Sept 30): Available the previous November 15th


**Rentals not available Oct 1 – May 14**

Day use rental canoe or rowboat
(Backcountry only)

$10

n/a

n/a

$14 per night or day

Houseboat

$10

n/a

n/a

$15/night

Available the previous November 15th

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


 
 

Plan ahead and Prepare

Have a basic understanding of camping rules and regulations before you start your trip. Make sure to secure a boat, watercraft, or water taxi to travel to the trail head and secure plans for pick-up at the end of your backcountry itinerary.

Items below are required; our safety page also shows camping supplies that can help make your trip safer and even more enjoyable.

  • Camping Permit - Printed and placed in clear box at campsite
    • Permits are available to print using your recreation.gov account no earlier than 5 days before your trip
  • One Personal Floation Device (PFD) for every individual using a boat or canoe
  • Food Storage Plans for Bear Safety (can your cooler fit in the bear box)
  • Trash Plans (Please Pack it in, Pack it out - everything you brought to your campsite must go with you when you leave.)
  • Fishing Permits (if fishing is part of your plans)
 
An example of a printed permit for the Loon Cove campsite on Rainy Lake shows lines for a fictitious visitor's name, address, permit number, group size, and other information. A National Park Service arrowhead symbol is seen behind the form as a watermark
Example of a printed permit

NPS

After you get your permit:

1. You will get a confirmation email. Be aware, though: this email is not your permit.

  • You can view your permit by logging onto Recreation.gov and clicking "My Permits" in the upper right corner.

2. You can print your permit up to 5 days in advance of your trip.

  • There are restrictions on refunds if you need to cancel after your permit is printed, so be certain your group's plans are finalized before printing.
  • Google Chrome is the supported browser for accessing permits; if you have trouble printing a permit, try this browser.
  • When you begin your trip, bring your printed permit with you and place it in the clear box at your campsite.

Select the type of campsite you need below for step-by-step instructions to make a permit.

 

Camping Permit FAQs


You can easily modify or cancel your reservation using your recreation.gov account:
  • Log into your recreation.gov account and click on your name in the upper right
  • Select My Reservations and then 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 fees apply:
Action Fee
Any change to your reservation more than 3 days prior to your trip No Charge
Any change to your reservation less than 3 days prior to your trip $10 reservation service fee
Cancel reservation more than 3 days prior to arrival date $10 reservation service fee; recieve refund for remaining amenity fees
Cancel reservation less than 3 days prior to arrival date $10 reservation service fee; forfeit current nights fee; recieve refund for remaining nights
Once trip dates have started No refund
Once permit has been printed (printing your permit confirms your reservation) No refund

Both within frontcountry and backcountry sites at Voyageurs, if a campsite is unoccupied, visitors may use the site until 2pm.

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

The campsite photos 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 Minimum Number Maximum Number
Frontcountry Small Campsite 1 9
Frontcountry Large Campsite 1 18
Frontcountry Group Campsite 14 30
Backcountry Campsite 1 6
Backcountry Canoe 1 3 per canoe
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 reserve a tent site on Recreation.gov for those in their party who want to tent camp.

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 people, and the group must have a permit for the group site plus a permit for each houseboat.
  • 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 is void. The site will become available for others to reserve.
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.
Camping is only permissible in designated camping sites. All frontcountry camping sites have designated tent pads and areas. Non-designated camping sites are not permissible for overnight use.
There are several private campgrounds and state campgrounds near the park that do not require a reservation.
There are several options available if you arrive at Voyageurs without a permit:
  • Call the reservation hotline at (877) 444-6777 and print permit at any open visitor center.
  • Make a reservation online using a mobile smart device at www.recreation.gov and print permit at any open visitor center.
  • If you need to print your permit, visit any open visitor center for assistance. Remember permits are not available to be printed more than 5 days from the start of your camping reservation.
  • Consider using camping and lodging opportunities on the mainland, near the boundary of the park for last minute and dispersed camping options.

Permits can be printed up to 5 days in advance of a trip. Recreation.gov does not email permits to those who have reserved them; you will need to:

  1. Log into your recreation.gov account
  2. Click the "down" arrow next to your name in the upper right corner
  3. Go to "My Reservations"
  4. 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:

  • Ensure you're using Google Chrome as your browser

  • If your email address has changed since you made your permit, be sure to change it in your Recreation.gov profile

  • Call (877) 444-6777 and request assistance.

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


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A white tent sits at the top of a large, smooth rock that slopes gradually up from the shore of a lake. Forest in the background.
A sunny day at the Cutover Island campsite

NPS

Check-In, Checkout, and Parking (Frontcountry)

Check-in and Checkout times

Check-in for your first day at a Frontcountry campsite begins at 3 pm. Visitors have 24 hours from their check-in time to set up at their reserved site. Checkout is at 12 noon on the day after your last night.

Between noon and 3 pm, unused campsites may be used temporarily for swimming, picknicing, etc. Only visitors who reserve a canoe in the Backcountry need to stop at a visitor center before checking in. All others may go straight to their campsites if they have a valid printed permit.

Example: Lee has reserved a Frontcountry campsite on Sphunge Island, and his start date is August 8. He will camp overnight there that evening, as well as August 9, and will leave on August 10.
 
A blue van is parked in front of a log building. Near the van, a sign reads "Ash River Visitor Center."
All are welcome at Voyageurs' visitor centers. For check-in purposes, only those who have reserved a Backcountry canoe or rowboat are required to stop in before going to their campsite.

NPS

  • Check-in for his campsite is at 3 pm on August 8. If he arrives earlier, he may find people at his site. If the site is unoccupied, he can arrive as early as noon; check-in is still at 3 pm.

  • Because this is a Frontcountry site, he does not need to check in at a visitor center beforehand (although he is welcome to do so anyway if he wants to learn about the park, purchase maps, etc.)

  • Checkout is at noon on August 10.

Check-in and checkout times for Frontcountry sites are different than Backcountry rules. Check the Backcountry camping page for check-in times at Backcountry sites.

Parking

Tent campers in Voyageurs can park their vehicles for free overnight at any park visitor center for up to 14 days during their trip. If you prefer to park somewhere else, consider asking about parking arrangements at the local resorts and businesses near the park.

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Links to More Information About Camping

 

Last updated: November 17, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Voyageurs National Park Headquarters
360 Hwy 11 East

International Falls , MN 56649

Phone:

(218)-283-6600

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