Rainy Lake Points of Interest: Planning the Perfect Trip

If you’ve never visited Rainy Lake, you might be wondering about some of the top attractions in the area. Serene waters, easy stargazing, and world-class fishing are all a given, but there is more to Rainy Lake than meets the eye.

If you know where to steer your houseboat, you’ll have the opportunity to check out attractions that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Read on to discover the Rainy Lake points of interest that deserve to be on your itinerary or book your trip now.  

A Glimpse into the Past

In the summer of 1893, Rainy Lake experienced a miniature gold rush. Prospectors discovered small amounts of gold on Little American Island, which spurred frenzy in the area. Although the gold rush turned out to be a bust (miners only unearthed $5,000 worth of gold in a year), the island still retains remnants of this bygone era.

  • Check out the 210-foot mining shaft that hopeful men once used for venturing into the depths of the island.
  • Learn about old-time mining techniques by viewing equipment that’s over a century old.
  • Take a guided tour or view the island at your own pace — both walks provide a unique way to follow the footsteps of adventurous prospectors.

Plants with a Purpose

The Ojibwe Ethnobotanical Garden is a one-acre collection of plant life native to Voyageurs National Park. Prior to 2010, this garden was overrun with reed canary grass, a non-native species that spoiled an otherwise pristine area. Members of the Voyageurs National Park association and other volunteers took it upon themselves to restore the garden with some of the most beautiful plants of the area.

Today, the garden’s paths feature plant markers that indicate different types of vegetation. Connect with Ojibwe culture by reading about some of the traditional uses for each plant. You might be surprised to learn that the native plants have provided food, medicine, and building materials for the native population for many generations.

Whether you love learning about history, or you’re just looking for the perfect stroll through nature, the Ojibwe Ethnobotanical garden is a great place to explore.

Wildlife Worth Watching

Because Rainy Lake is a part of Voyageurs National Park, the wildlife in the area is protected from human development. As a result, the lake is one of the best locations in the state to spot animals you wouldn’t see near towns or cities.

You will find abundant biodiversity on the shores, in the water, and in the skies. While the entire lake offers countless wildlife vantage points, there are some areas that are exceptional for observing animals in their natural habitats.

When you want to view a wide range of animals in a single spot on the lake, head over to the Fox Island Rookery. Located at the northern reaches of the park, this area is made up of a collection of rocks that jut out of the water and provide a resting place for a variety of birds. Here, you can observe species ranging from seagulls to cormorants as they take a break from a day of flight. Anchor your boat between the rookery and the shore to view birds, bears, and big fish (if you’ve got a line in), all from the comfort of your boat.

Living History

When you’re in the mood for a social gathering spot with a tangible historic atmosphere, dock your boat at the Kettle Falls Hotel. You don’t have to book a room to enjoy the hotel’s dining room and saloon, both around since the 1890s. The hotel’s storied past is immediately obvious in the building’s architecture and interior décor. Nearly every nook and cranny is filled with some piece of historic memorabilia.

For well over a century, free-spirited vagabonds and tourists alike have visited the Kettle Falls Hotel to relax and plan for the day ahead. From the wide-open porch, the fast pace of life seems to slow down just a little bit, and for a second, you might just forget what century you happen to be in. It’s the perfect place to gather your thoughts before you undock and head to a new destination.

Set Out on a Journey

We’ve only touched on a few of the attractions at Rainy Lake, but the truth is, there are more places worth visiting than you could ever fit into a single trip. Half the fun of visiting Rainy Lake on a houseboat is encountering new surprises you never knew existed. When you choose a few sights to see but leave plenty of time for unplanned adventures, you experience the best of Rainy Lake.

Ready to plan your trip? Contact our team today to book your houseboat before it’s gone!