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Isle Royale National Park

A view of Isle Royale National Park

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Isle Royale National Park is on an island in Lake Superior. It’s part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but it’s also close to the borders of Minnesota and Canada. There are no cars on the island - all travel is done by foot or by boat. The park is home to moose, gray wolves, red fox, beavers, mink, and more. The island has several charming lighthouses, and the lack of vehicles means you’re promised solitude in the middle of scenic Lake Superior.

Definitely keep an eye on the weather when planning your trip to the park. Conditions can change quickly, and you’ll want to be prepared. If you’re planning a trip during the summer, bring layers including warm clothing and rain gear. Summer temperatures often feature highs in the 60’s and 70’s, with lows in the 40’s and 50s overnight. During the winter, you’ll want plenty of gear to keep you warm - winters can get extremely cold, with highs in the teens and 20s and lows in the single digits, often dipping below zero.

There are towns in both Michigan and Minnesota that are near the ferries and planes that transport you to the park, and Canada isn’t far either. Explore the trail carved thousands of years ago during the Ice Age, visit a wildlife refuge, or learn more about the rocks and minerals that are unique to the Lake Superior area.

If you’re looking for adventure within the park, you can find Isle Royale National Park’s scheduled events here. Most events occur between June-August, but the park is open even during the frigid winter months. You can also do many self-guided activities throughout the park, including visiting the lighthouses, taking a cruise around the island, kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, hiking, and more.

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Weather
  • Spring 40-50 F
  • Summer 60-70 F
  • Fall 35-50 F
  • Winter 20-30 F
Location & Hours
  • Coming soon
Park Info
  • Isle Royale National Park Per Person: $7
  • Isle Royale National Park Season Pass: $60

Isle Royale National Park Hiking Trails

There are many trails in the Rock Harbor and Windigo areas of the park, as well as plenty more backcountry hiking trails. Explore a sea arch, look for moose and other wildlife, or tackle Mount Franklin on a longer trek.

Rock Harbor Trails

Windigo Area Trails

Things to do Outside Isle Royale National Park

There is much to explore along the shores of Lake Superior. You can explore sandstone cliffs, learn more about the indigenous people of the area, sample local seafood, and see the beautiful rocks and minerals that form around the Great Lakes.

Restaurants

Shopping

Sightseeing

Discover Nearby Towns and Cities

RV Resorts & Campsites in Isle Royale National Park

As the island is only accessible by ferry or seaplane, if you wish to camp at the park, you need to pack everything in. There is also a lodge available on the island. Back on the mainland, there are many private campgrounds that allow tent and RV camping. If you’re traveling in an RV, make one of those your base camp, and venture to the park from there.

Campgrounds Near Isle Royale National Park

Find the Best Dumpstations Near Isle Royale National Park

An unglamorous but necessary aspect of RVing? Dump stations. Knowing where the best dump stations are near you will allow for more ease and less stress in your travels. Dump stations are an easy and convenient way to clear waste from your RV. Use our guides to find dump stations on your route, so you can get back to the good stuff – exploring, relaxing, and making memories on the road.

Dumpstations Near Isle Royale National Park

How to get to Isle Royale National Park

There are four passenger ferries and one seaplane that offer transportation to Isle Royale National Park. The Ranger III, which is the largest piece of equipment owned and operated by the National Park Service, ferries passengers from Houghton, Michigan to Rock Harbor on the northeast end of the island and back. The Isle Royale Queen IV operates between Copper Harbor, Michigan and Rock Harbor. The Voyageur II runs between Grand Portage, Minnesota and several pick-up and drop-off points along the north and south shores of the island. The Seahunter II ferry operates between Grand Portage and Windigo on the southwest end of the park, and Isle Royale Seaplanes offers service from Houghton to Rock Harbor on the north end and Windigo on the south end of the island. All of the ferries and the seaplane offer both overnight trips or day trips to and from the island.

If you’re traveling to the park from Houghton, Michigan, the closest airports are the Houghton County Memorial Airport in town, or Sawyer International Airport in Marquette, Michigan about 100 miles away. If you’re getting to the island from Grand Portage, Minnesota, the closest airport is Thunder Bay International Airport in Canada. It’s about 40 miles from Grand Portage.

Another way to travel around the Upper Peninsula and Isle Royale National Park is by renting an RV. This allows you to travel in comfort, and at your own pace. If you don’t have an RV, RV rentals are available in many places. You can fly into one of the airports above and rent an RV in town, or rent one in your hometown to drive to Michigan.

While there are no RV campgrounds in Isle Royale National Park, there are plenty in the towns that the ferries and seaplanes serve. Consider parking your RV there and heading into the park. Be sure to check that the campground is open at the time of year you want to visit, and make reservations ahead of time.

FAQ Icon
Frequently Asked Questions
    Is Isle Royale National Park accessible for disabled visitors?

    Yes, Isle Royale is accessible for disabled visitors. The visitor centers, boat tour, and several restrooms in the park are accessible. The film shown at the Houghton Visitor Center also features closed captioning, and there are services for people who are blind or have low vision.

    Are pets allowed at Isle Royale National Park?

    No, pets are not allowed at Isle Royale National Park. This includes pets on boats within the park boundaries. Service dogs are allowed but need a permit and must have a vet visit shortly before they arrive.

    What are the top things to do in Isle Royale National Park?

    Top things to do at Isle Royale National Park include taking a ferry ride, hiking around the park, and touring one of the three lighthouses. There is plenty of sightseeing, boating, hiking, and other outdoor activities as well.

    Are there designated camping spots in Isle Royale National Park?

    There are 36 campgrounds across Isle Royale National Park. However, campsites can only be accessed by foot or boat. RV campers can find nearby campgrounds on the mainland where they can return after a day at the park.

    What is the climate of Isle Royale National Park?

    Isle Royale stays cool in summer, with lots of rain and temperatures that rarely go above 80°. Winters are very cold, with weather that can drop to -25°. Because winters are harsh, the park is only open from mid-April until early November.