Houseboating is an increasingly popular option for exploring Voyageurs and lets you enjoy the wilderness with all the comforts of home. No experience (or license) is needed and the rental company will set you up with everything from food to maps.
The NPS maintains designated mooring sites with fire rings throughout the park, or you can overnight at one of the resort areas. Four companies can set you up with a floating cabin, and according to the National Park Service, all are tightly run operations.
Voyagaire Houseboats (7576 Gold Coast Rd., 218/993-2266 or 800/882-6287, www.voyagaire.com, prices start at $260 one day) at Crane Lake is the largest, while Ebel’s Voyageur Houseboats (10326 Ash River Trl., 218/374-3571 or 888/883-2357, www.ebels.com, $290 one day) operates out of Ash River.
Both Northernaire Houseboats (2690 County Rd. 94, 218/286-5221 or 800/854-7958, www.northernairehouseboats.com, $249 one day) and Rainy Lake Houseboats (2031 Town Rd. 488, 218/286-5391 or 800/554-9188, www.rainylakehouseboats.com, $560 three-day minimum) operate on Rainy Lake.
Prices range anywhere from about $249 a day for the basic boat, which sleeps 2–4 people comfortably, to over $5,500 a week for the most luxurious model with private bedrooms for a dozen people, hot tubs, entertainment centers, air-conditioning, and other top-notch touches.
Spring and fall discounts are as high as 20 percent, plus Ebel’s and Rainy Lake have substantial midweek discounts during the summer.
© Tim Bewer from Moon Minnesota, 3rd Edition