GRAND PORTAGE NATIONAL MONUMENT

On the northeast tip of Minnesota overlooking Lake Superior, Grand Portage National Monument is a living history site. Volunteers and park staff in period attire reenact and describe the site's importance to the French-Canadian fur trade of the early 1800s, and to the Indians who initially guided those voyageurs based on their centuries of experience.

Living history activities take place in and around the Historic Depot, with a log-built great hall, kitchen, and canoe warehouse, and an adjacent Ojibwe village and voyageurs' encampment. The Heritage Center offers museum exhibits, films, and books shedding light on the site's significance.

The highlight of the year, on the second weekend in August, is Grand Rendezvous Days and the Rendezvous Days Powwow, the latter sponsored by the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe).

Grand Portage National Monument | Explore Minnesota                                                                                   Aerial of Grand Portage National Monument | Explore Minnesota

VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK

Voyageurs National Park is uniquely water-based among national parks, its interior accessible only by water. 240 sites designated for houseboats, tent camping, or day use dot the shores of four large, island-studded lakes, and dozens of smaller lakes, along the Canadian border. There are roughly 500 islands and 655 miles of shoreline to explore within the park's more than 200,000 stunning acres.

The park is named after the French Canadian voyageurs - French for "travelers" - who paddled these waterways in large birch back and cedar canoes in the 17th and early 18th centuries, trapping and transporting pelts of beaver, otter, mink, and more.

Voyageurs National Park | Explore Minnesota

Today, visitors enter by motorboat, canoe, kayak, and sailboat for day trips or camping within the park. But Voyageurs is perhaps best known as Minnesota's premier destination for houseboat vacations. Imagine a luxurious floating vacation home moored on your own private bay or island, with a hot tub and a waterslide for the kids, and a motorboat attached for fishing or exploring the park's extraordinary sights. Houseboats can be rented from businesses just outside the park.

Tent camping sites are accessible right on the shores of the larger lakes, but there are also hike-in sites on smaller lakes within the vast interior of the Kabetogama Peninsula. The hike-in sites are accessible by way of the park's trails, the trailheads of which can be reached by boat. Some of the 15 hiking trails are accessible by car on the southern border of the park, but no campsites can be reached without a boat.

For shorter trips, the Kabetogama, Ash River, and Rainy Lake visitor centers provide guided boat tours, hikes, and canoe excursions into the park. Some boat tours take visitors to the historic Kettle Falls Hotel, which was built in 1913 near a dam between Namakan and Rainy lakes and offers lodging and dining.

Voyageurs National Park | Explore Minnesota


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