Are you looking for a touch of luxury in the wilderness? There are many options for Boundary Waters accommodations, providing comfortable base camps to stay and do day trips, go on hikes and participate in other outdoor activities. You’ll find both classic cabins and all-inclusive resorts. For a unique experience, try Boundary Waters glamping—that is, glamorous camping.
Drive-in campgrounds are also available in the region for tent camping and RVs. Most Boundary Waters accommodations are located on the water, so they’re perfect for day paddling. A stay at a cabin or resort is also a great reward upon finishing a backcountry canoe trip.
[ This article is part of our Ultimate Guide To Canoeing The Boundary Waters. Find all the resources you need to plan a paddle trip in the BWCA.]
Boundary Waters cabins
Boundary Waters cabin rentals are a good option for those looking for do-it-yourself accommodations. You get your own private space—often with simple cooking facilities, or the option of lodge-based meals if you’d rather not cook—in wonderful locations. If you’re truly looking to DIY, start by checking out vacation rentals in Ely on VRBO.
Many outfitters offer cabin rentals and canoe trip planning services, allowing you to design a more complete vacation. One example is Seagull Outfitters, which has cabins on one of the Boundary Waters’ best lakes, located on the east side of the wilderness and accessed off of Highway 61. Tuscarora Lodge and Canoe Outfitters is another operator that combines accommodations with canoe trip planning, rentals and outfitting, also located on Seagull Lake.
Cabin rentals also make for a great base camp if you’re looking for more comfortable accommodations to set off on day trips. One example is Fenske Lake Cabins, which offers private waterfront cabin rentals near Ely, on the edge of the Boundary Waters. Vosburgh’s Custom Cabin Rentals also offers a wide array of vacation rentals near Ely that are perfect for paddlers. Meanwhile, Gunflint Lodge, one of the oldest establishments in the area, located on the Gunflint Trail on the east side of the Boundary Waters, offers three rustic, pet-friendly cabins as well as a luxe waterfront lodge.
Boundary Waters resorts
The Boundary Waters supports dozens of well-established resorts for a more all-inclusive wilderness retreat. Many are geared to support paddlers, anglers and general outdoor enthusiasts, and all include great services—such as meals, canoe and boat rentals, guided tours and outfitting packages—to make your vacation easy to plan and enjoy.
Start your search for an amazing northern Minnesota vacation with these great Boundary Waters resorts:
River Point Resort & Outfitting Co.
River Point Resort & Outfitting Co. is a family-run resort on the South Kawishiwi River and Birch Lake, near Ely. The facility is equally attractive to anglers seeking world-class walleye, northern pike and bass, canoe trippers wishing to start or finish their Boundary Waters adventure in style, and families looking for a comfortable way to experience the outdoors.
Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters
Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters provides everything you need on the Gunflint Trail. Rockwood has a lodge, cabins and a rustic bunkhouse for no-frills accommodations. The company also offers full canoe trip planning and outfitting.
La Tourell’s is a long-standing fishing and canoe trip outfitter with lodge facilities on Moose Lake, east of Ely. It holds the distinction of being the closest lodge to the Boundary Waters, located at the end of the road and just outside of the wilderness area.
Grand Ely Lodge
The Grand Ely Lodge is a little bit different, offering an impressive facility with cozy rooms and upscale amenities, including a swimming pool and full restaurant.
Boundary Waters campgrounds
Not quite ready for wilderness camping? Get a taste of the Boundary Waters at a Minnesota campground. There are six campgrounds in Superior National Forest, including:
- Cadotte Lake – 27 sites
- Birch Lake – 30 sites and two cabins
- Fall Lake – 64 sites, and a favorite for RV campers
- Fenske Lake – 16 sites, all tent camping
- South Kawishiwi River – 33 sites, including one group site that accommodates up to 35 people
- Whiteface – 30 sites, plus group sites and a walk- or paddle-in backcountry campsite
Private Boundary Waters campgrounds include:
Canoe Country Outfitters Campground
Canoe Country Outfitters Campground is located on Moose Lake, 20 miles east of Ely, and a popular entry point for Boundary Waters canoe trips. Canoe rentals, cabins, electrical sites and showers are available, as well as laundry facilities, sauna and a convenience store.
Timber Trail Campground
Timber Trail Campground features a mix of waterfront campsites and secluded forested campsites, all with water and electric hook-ups. Tent and RV sites are available, as well as waterfront cabins.
Gunflint Pines Campground
Gunflint Pines Campground has 18 large campsites, a convenience store and free firewood.
Golden Eagle Lodge and Campground
Located on Flour Lake, Golden Eagle Lodge and Campground has nine sites for tents or RVs with water and electric hook-ups. The resort features 10 waterfront cabins and a main lodge.
Boundary Waters glamping
Glamping is “glamorous camping”—a cross between lodge-based accommodations and tenting. For Boundary Waters glamping check out Ely’s Riverside Island Campsites, which offers comfortable canvas tents with beds in a remote island setting.