The Little American Island Boat Tour is a 2 hour boat tour through Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. This ranger led tour gives you the opportunity to explore a historic gold mining island and learn more about the park.
Little American Island Boat Tour – Voyageurs National Park
The tour departs from the Rainy Lake visitor center near International Falls, Minnesota and the border with Canada.
Reservations are advised to make sure there are a minimum of six guests on each tour.
The tour can’t depart if a minimum of 6 tickets are not purchased. Tour tickets can be purchased on recreation.gov.
We highly suggest making sure you have sunscreen and sun protection with you for the tour. There is seating available inside and outside on the boat. We enjoyed sitting on the top deck and enjoying epic views of Voyageurs National Park.
The tour departs from the dock next to Rainy Lake Visitor Center. There is a restroom onboard the boat, but we do suggest using the one at the visitor center before departure, so you don’t have to use a bathroom on a moving boat.
Once onboard there is a safety briefing that takes a couple of minutes, and then the boat departs. The Park Ranger onboard provides commentary about the history of the area and how Voyageurs National Park was created.
The Little American Boat Tour travels in and outside of the park to reach the island. The island is on the edge of the park which provides the opportunity to hear more about the resorts in the area and the history of the area.
After passing the Sha Sha Resort and other resorts the boat docks at Little American Island, guests have the opportunity to enjoy a ranger-led walk around the island for 30-40 minutes that includes learning about the gold mining history of the island.
The walk includes a small hill to the top of the island and then circling the island to see three gold mining areas. The walk is on a gravel path and is fairly easy.
Little American Island was mined for gold during the brief gold mining rush of the 1890s.
On the island you can view mine shafts, tailing piles, and pieces of machinery used during the gold rush.
There is a bathroom on the island along with park benches if guests want to rest or enjoy the views. The history of the island is really interesting and helps you understand the gold mining days in Northern Minnesota.
We also saw the Rainy Lake Fault. The Park Ranger explained the geologic impacts of being on the fault line and the creation of the lakes within Voyageurs National Park.
After our time on Little American Island the boat traveled to a few other islands to look for Bald Eagles, Loons, and other birds. We sadly did not see any loons on our tour but they said they saw them the day before.
They even saw baby loons on a tour which would have been amazing.
The 2 hour Little American Island Boat tour was truly fantastic. It was incredibly relaxing and so much fun being out on the water.
The interpretive Park Ranger did a fantastic job explaining the history of Voyageurs National Park along with sharing the importance of the area.
Things to know when planning a Voyageurs National Park Boat Tour
Reservations – Reservations can be made on Recreation.gov
Departure location – The Little American Island Tour boards at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center, 1797 Township Road 342, International Falls, MN 56649.
Check in for tour 30 minutes prior to departure at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center
What to bring with you – Water is allowed on the boat. They do not allow any food on the boat tours. Make sure to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat that can handle the wind.
We suggest bringing your camera or phone for epic photos.
Duration - 2 hours
Tour Days - Every week on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
Accessible - Yes
Hiking Distance on Little American Island - .25 miles round trip, easy
Park Entrance Fee - $0.00, There is no entrance fee to visit Voyageurs National Park.
Planning a National Park vacation? America the Beautiful/National Park Pass covers entrance fees for an entire year to all US National Park Sites and over 2,000 Federal Recreation Fee Sites.
The park pass covers everyone in the car for per vehicle sites and for up to 4 adults for per-person sites.
Buy on REI.com and REI will donate 10% of pass proceeds to the National Forest Foundation, National Park Foundation and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities.
Restrooms - There are restrooms aboard the boat but we always suggest stopping by the visitor center ahead of time.
Smoking - Smoking is nor permitted on tour boats.
Additional National Park Resources
Voyageurs Trip Report - Check out our trip to the park including where we stayed and more.
Kettle Falls Hotel - Coming soon! Check out what it is like to stay at the only National Park Lodge in Voyageurs NP!
Printable list of US National Parks in Alphabetical Order
Check out all of the Minnesota National Parks along with National Parks in Wisconsin, South Dakota National Parks, National Parks in North Dakota, National Parks in Michigan, and National Parks in Iowa