The Underrated Waterfront National Park In The Midwest Samantha Brown Says To Visit

The Midwest is full of national parks to escape to for an adventure in the wild, but according to famous TV travel host Samantha Brown, Voyageurs National Park is the perfect spot for a remote retreat into nature. As described on her website Samantha Brown's Places to Love, Voyageurs is an enormous park — and the only national park in Minnesota — stretching more than 218,000 acres that is almost 40% water. The land in the park includes coastline and little islands dotted throughout the chilly lakes.


This park offers a rare glimpse into what the northern Midwest used to look like, with dense forests, fascinating wildlife, and no light pollution. It is also filled with places to enjoy a moment of quiet solitude in the wilderness, explore with your hiking buddies, or, as Brown suggests, rent a boat with your loved ones and enjoy one of the many boat-in campsites in Voyageurs, where you can fall asleep under the stars while gently bobbing on the lake.

Dive into lake country at Voyageurs National Park

If you've already finished your road trip around Lake Superior but are still hungry for more of the Midwest's gorgeous lake country, Voyageurs National Park is a perfect next destination. The three lakes that surround the Kabetogama Peninsula are particularly stunning, as you can look out at the reflections of the surrounding pine forest in the steely lake surface.


If you're able to, the best way to see this wilderness is by boat. There is a pontoon boat tour available at the Kabetogama Visitor Center that will take you on an over 5-hour journey all around the park while a park ranger tells you everything you could ever want to know about Voyageurs. However, if you would rather explore this park on your own, you can make your way around the park completely by canoe, kayak, or motorboat. That way, you can visit the smaller lakes in the park and see the hundreds of little islands on the water at your own pace.

Rock gardens and stargazing in Voyageurs National Park

While some visitors may feel that there's not much to do for people who don't enjoy boating or fishing, Brown suggests on her website that there is another side to Voyageurs National Park. In fact, every year, travelers come to Voyageurs to see the Ellsworth Rock Gardens. This unique place was sculpted by artist and carpenter Jack Ellsworth for two decades. Today, the majority of visitors to the park are there to see the thousands of flowers growing in this garden.


Badlands National Park might have the best sunrise and sunset, but after night falls, you might have a better view from Voyageurs. It is an International Dark Sky Park, which means that it is far enough from artificial light sources that you'll be able to see more stars than almost anywhere else. Brown also recommends using that to your advantage to spot an incredible celestial light show. Not only is it a wonderful place to watch meteor showers like the Perseids, it's the perfect spot to look for the Northern Lights.