Voyageurs National Park Houseboat Permits

Voyageurs National Park

Voyageurs National Park is a land and water environment of great beauty, exceptional natural and cultural resources, and abundant recreation opportunities. Located in the lake-country of northern Minnesota, the park protects 218,054 acres that include roughly 134,000 acres of forest, 84,000 acres of water, 655-miles of undeveloped shoreline, and hundreds of islands. The park's 55-mile northern boundary is the international border between the United States and Canada and includes an important segment of the "transcontinental highway" traversed by French-Canadian voyageurs during the late 1700s and early 1800s. 

The rocks tell the oldest story here. Lying in the southern portion of the Canadian Shield, the bedrock of Voyageurs National Park is 2.8 billion years old, some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. Younger rock formations do not appear here. Perhaps they never existed; but more likely a series of glaciers removed them. Those glaciers, more than a mile high, also scoured out the lake and river beds here and set the stage for vast forests. 

To experience the natural splendor of Voyageurs National Park, visitors must set out by water, much as the Voyageurs did centuries ago. The park includes four major lakes -- Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, and Sand Point, and twenty-six smaller inland lakes that together make up more than a third of the total park area. The smaller inland lakes are scattered throughout the park, but primarily on the Kabetogama Peninsula. The peninsula is Voyageurs' largest landmass and can be reached by water in summer or over the ice in winter. 

There are four distinct seasons in Voyageur country. The air is temperate during June, July, and August when periods of fine, mild weather prevail. The frost-free season averages 120 days from June to mid-September. The average ice-out date is May 3 but varies year to year. Annual precipitation (rain and snow) averages 25-28 inches in the park and average snowfall ranges from 55-70 inches, but is highly variable. The first measurable snowfall occurs in late October and the last in late April or early May. 

The park offers more than 52 miles of hiking trails and more than 290 designated campsites, houseboat sites and day use sites. 

Houseboats staying overnight in the park from May 1 through October 31st are required to obtain an overnight permit from Recreation.gov. There is no permit needed for day use within the Park boundaries.

Keep Voyageurs National Park Wild for Future Generations: The Voyageurs Conservancy is the park's official nonprofit partner representing a community of people who care about the ongoing stewardship of Voyageurs National Park. VNPA works to fund projects and programs that will help sustain the park's waters, wild character, and visitor experience for generations to come. Become a member today, follow them on Facebook and Instagram , or sign up for their e-newsletter .

Permit & Season Information

This permit allows you to stay overnight in a houseboat, cabin cruiser or sail boat within Voyageurs National Park. A houseboat is defined as a registered vessel that contains sleeping facilities, cooking facilities and a no-discharge toilet. 

Permits are required for houseboat overnight stays from May 1 through October 31 and become available November 15 of each year for the following summer season. Permit holders must print and display the permit on their boat when staying in the park. The maximum stay in the park is 14 consecutive days and no more than 30 days in a calendar year.

Need to Know

Houseboat Definition: A houseboat is defined as a registered vessel that contains sleeping facilities, cooking facilities and a no-discharge toilet. Cabin cruisers and sailboats with the required facilities fit into the definition of a houseboat. If vessel doesn’t meet these requirements, you must reserve and stay at a developed campsite. 

Overnight Use: Houseboats staying overnight in the park from May 1 through October 31 are required to make a reservation on Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. 

Permits:

Entrance Locations: There are multiple ways to enter the park. However, the National Park Service offers three designated boat launch ramps for visitors at the Rainy Lake, Kabetogama Lake and Ash River Visitor Centers. 

Mooring:

Length of Stay: The maximum stay in the park is 14 consecutive days and no more than 30 days in a calendar year, except at group campsites where the maximum stay is seven days. 

Bear Safety: All items with an odor such as food, trash and toiletries must be stored inside the houseboat. 

Food & Trash:

Campfires & Firewood:

Pets:

Cell Phones & Emergencies:

Park Operating & Quiet Hours:

Be considerate to other visitors by:

View a complete list of Voyageurs National Park rules and regulations. 

Remember: You must print your permit before you enter the park. For any changes or cancellations to your reservation, contact Recreation.gov.

Fee Policy

Houseboat Overnight Recreation Fee
$10 per houseboat per night

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

The first night's $10.00 recreation fee for your Voyageurs National Park permit reservation is non-refundable. If you cancel your reservation prior to printing the permit, you will receive a refund of the overnight houseboat fees, minus the first night's non-refundable $10 fee.

Cancellations must be made through Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Change Policy

A change to the group size on the reservation is allowed at any time, prior to printing your permit. Increasing or decreasing the group size will not incur additional fees/refunds.

To make a date change to your reservation you must cancel your current reservation and make a new reservation. If you cancel your reservation prior to printing the permit, you will receive a refund of the overnight houseboat fees, minus the first night's non-refundable $10 recreation fee.

Changes can only be made by calling Recreation.gov at 1-877-444-6777

Contact Information

Mailing Address

360 Hwy 11 East International Falls MN 56649

Phone Number

218-283-6600

Photo Gallery