FAQ - Voyagaire Houseboats & Lodge


Here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions for parties interested in houseboat vacations. If you still have questions or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us; we are happy to assist you with your plans.

Do we have to start our houseboat vacation on a particular day?

No, you may start your houseboat vacation any day as long as the boat is available. A week is seven nights, and there is a three-night minimum.

When do we depart and return?

If you are lodging with us the night before your houseboat trip you qualify for priority boarding between 11:00am-1:00PM. If you are arriving the day of your trip, you may board your houseboat between 1:00PM-3:00PM. If not checked in by 4:00PM houseboats will not be allowed to depart until the following day.

Houseboats must be back to the dock by 9:00AM on your final day. 

How much fuel will we use during our houseboat trip?

We estimate 5 to 15 gallons per day on average, though usage will vary widely based on the size of the houseboat and hours spent cruising. Typically a houseboat will not need refueling in a week’s time. But for those needing gas, our hospitality service may be called to refuel the houseboat and/or the small boats. Fuel is also available at a few points throughout the Park. Remember, fuel is not included in the cost of your houseboat rental.

What are the standard features on all houseboats?

All houseboats are equipped with hot/cold running water, full bathrooms with showers, radio/CD player, gas BBQ grill, refrigerator/stove, furnace, all cooking/eating utensils, blankets/pillows, maps, screened windows, a cooler, deck chairs, life jackets, anchor/tie-up ropes, and a 12-volt outlet.

What is the hospitality service?

We offer “room service with a wake” only at Voyagaire! Call the lodge on your marine radio by 10 a.m. the morning you need “room service” to have the daily delivery boat stop at your houseboat. Give us a list of the items you need or want, such as gas, bait, ice, pop, or food. Our delivery boat will stop by your houseboat that afternoon or early evening. You can go about your day, and our friendly drivers will catch up to you. There is a small one-time fee for this service.

Do we need to purchase a Park permit?

Yes. Voyageurs National Park requires all houseboats to have and display an overnight permit. The permits are not site-specific, just an overnight fee for being in Voyageurs National Park. For more information on these permits and photos of some houseboat sites, visit the Voyageurs National Park website. Please visit http://recreation.gov to make a reservation and print your permit. Tip: Use Google Chrome as your web browser when printing the permit, as the site isn’t compatible with some other browsers, such as Internet Explorer.

Are pets allowed?

Yes. We accept pets in the lodge and houseboats for a non-refundable charge of $20 per pet per night. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after their animals and must keep their dogs on a leash while at base. Please notify us beforehand if you plan to bring your pet along with you on vacation.

When is the water warm enough to swim?

The lakes are normally warmest from mid-June to Labor Day.

Do we need any special navigational skills or licenses to operate a Voyagaire Houseboat?

No. We provide a complete set of fully marked charts and an informational booklet aboard each houseboat. A chain of color-coded and numbered buoys runs from one end of Voyageurs National Park to the other, each reflected on your map in its corresponding location. Even first-time houseboaters find this system very easy to follow.

Do we need a Canadian fishing license?

To fish in Ontario, you must have an Ontario fishing license. Most of the lakes you will be cruising, and all of the Voyageurs National Park waters are within the Minnesota boundary. Some avid fishermen purchase both a Minnesota and an Ontario license.

Do we need a fishing boat?

Coast Guard rules require a fishing boat and a 9.9 hp motor with each houseboat charter. You may either bring your own or rent one from us. Multiple boats, larger boats, runabouts, bass boats, and pontoon boats are easily towed behind the houseboat with the tow bar supplied. 

Are there generators?

All Voyagaire Houseboats come equipped with a primary marine generator. These are installed below the deck with sound shields and rubber isolation mounts. The noise produced within the houseboat is comparable to a refrigerator. The generator charges the house batteries and operates your air conditioning, TV/DVD, most appliances, and any other items you may bring from home that must be plugged in. 

How many people can we have on a houseboat?

12, per Coast Guard regulation.

How are emergencies handled?

Medical Emergencies: Call us on your radio for emergencies on your houseboat. All houseboats are equipped with a marine band radio. We will respond on our service boat or through 911 out of Crane Lake, Ash River, or Kabetogama (whichever is closest to your location). The Voyageurs National Park Rangers also help in medical emergencies and monitor an emergency-only channel on the radio.

Mechanical Emergencies: Should your houseboat need service while on the water, a service boat will be sent to correct the problem immediately. Our maintenance personnel are highly trained professionals, and we’ll have you on your way with minimal inconvenience.