How to Spend A Weekend in International Falls, Minnesota.

Are you wondering how to spend a weekend in International Falls, Minnesota? I’ve created a fun weekend itinerary for the outdoor explorers who enjoy small towns! International Falls, Minnesota is a town located on the northern edge of Minnesota, bordering the Canadian Border. It is home to the famous Rainy Lake, which is over 360 square miles, and has 1,850 miles of shoreline! Rainy Lake is only 30% in Minnesota, and 70% in Canadian waters. International Falls, MN is also the location of Minnesota’s ONLY National Park, Voyageurs. Although, this is a great spot for fishing, there’s so much more here, it’s truly an outdoor lovers dream destination!

This experience was a paid partnership with Rainy Lake, but all opinions are my own!

How to Get to International Falls:

  • Fly into Minneapolis Airport (4hrs 50 min drive)
  • Fly into Fort Francis, Canada (5 min drive)
  • Fly into Duluth Airport (3 hr drive)
  • Drive from your location

Where to Stay for your Adventures:

There’s lots of lodging here, to name a few:

Where I stayed while in Rainy Lake

I personally stayed at Thunder Bird Lodge, and stayed in Cabin East. Which is a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom cabin, that sleeps up to 9 people. It has it’s own private deck with a grill, overlooking Rainy Lake. There’s hotel rooms, and different size cabins, you’re bound to find something for your family size! You can even reserve a spot on their dock for your boat, or depending on which tours you choose to go on, you can get picked up right from their docks! If you’re fishing here, they have places for you to clean your fish, so you don’t take the mess into the cabin!

Day 1: Settle In & Relax

This is usually a travel day, if you’re coming from the Twin Cities, you have a 4+ hours drive. Once you arrive to your lodging, I recommend, enjoying the night and relaxing. During our stay, at Thunder Bird we enjoyed the onsite restaurant and bar, which also has off sale liquor available. Indulge in amazing food, appetizers (get the fried green beans), and fun drinks (like a Minnesota Mule), while you take in the views of Rainy Lake during sunset. End your evening with a bonfire.

Day 2: Exploring the Town, Rainy Lake and Voyageurs National Park

Start your morning by grabbing coffee from Coffee Landing Cafe. Enjoy some Breakfast at The Library or On The Way Cafe.

Take a Boat Tour With Voyageurs to Kettle Falls Hotel

Voyageurs Outfitters is a place to go when you’re looking for fun in all four seasons. On top of boat tours, they have snowmobile tours in the winter. You can rent your own boat or have them give you a tour to Kettle Falls. This is about a 6 hour excursion, but well worth it! You get incredible views of iconic stops on Rainy Lake, such as Eagle’s Nests, Anderson Bay Cliffs, and of course, end your tour at Kettle Falls Hotel. You will stop here for lunch, don’t forget to grab a drink at the bar next door (try the pink drink)! This bar is nicknamed the “Tilted Hilton” because of the slanted floor. You can book this tour here. They also have other tours, such as snowshoe tours, dark skies, and canoeing. You can find those here.

When you’re standing on the overlook, at the dam, you are actually looking south into Canada. Which is one of the only places in the United States with a southern view of Canada!

What is Kettle Falls Hotel?

This is such a special place, because it is only accessible by boat or snowmobile! Kettle Falls hotel was built In 1910 through 1913. This hotel was a common ground for travelers to port their canoes, and boats, who were on an adventure to trade goods. It used to be a brothel location as well as a place they would smuggle liquor through during the prohibition. Today, the entire hotel has been taken down, all the wood and pieces saved, and rebuilt as an exact replica, but up to modern codes! There’s lots of history here that’s worth checking out, I can’t spoil it all! You can also stay the night here, as it is still an active hotel. You can book a room here. The hotel is now owned by the Voyageurs National Park.

After your full day on the water, head back into Rainer, MN and grab ice cream from Tara Warfs Inn. After, you could stop next door for a drink or appetizers from Cantilever Distillery. In this same area, at the end of the town pier, is the Iconic replica of the Rainy Lake Light Tower.

After head down the road and hike Tilson’s Bog Walk. According to, Rainy Lakes Website, “What makes a bog different from a swamp is bogs are made up of a floating mass of rotting moss resulting in a soil known as peat. The decaying process causes the peat moss to “burp” in the spring time as the moss releases gas into the atmosphere. “

  • dog friendly trail
  • floating side/board walk trail
  • 0.75 mile one way

Get dinner from Chocolate Moose Restaurant. There is a wide variety of items here, even a picky eater can find something to enjoy.

Before heading back to your stay, check out local events, like the International Falls Bass Fishing Tournament. You can find more information and dates here. This was such a blast, and they had weekend long activities, such as live music, food trucks, and you even got to watch the weigh inns on the fishermen’s catches.

Day 3: Hiking, Pizza, and Photo Ops before the drive home

Start your morning, by exploring Voyageurs National Park on foot. Don”t forget to check out the visitors centers, I loved the Ash River one and the Headquarters. Did you know that most of Voyageurs National Park is water? One third of the park is under water to be exact, and it has over 500 islands. This National Park has more than 270 campsites and offers 46 boat in campsites, plus hiking, snowmobiling, and skiing trails. But, still offers great hiking, some hikes I recommend are:

  • Blind Ash Trail
  • Beaver Pond Overlook
  • Sullivan Bay Trail
  • Voyaguers Forest Overlook
  • Kabetogma Lake Overlook
  • Echo Bay Trail

Find hiking details and trail conditions here.

After a long hiking day in the National Park, grab some pizza from Borders Bar and head over to Rainer Lake Beach to enjoy a picnic with lake front view! You can bring your dog, too!

Don’t forget to take a photo with the Iconic Smokey the Bear statue on your way out of town!

A few things I haven’t done but will be doing some day in the future are:

  • Rent a House Boat from Rainy Lake House Boats
  • Go on a fishing guide for sturgeon
  • Snow mobile tour
  • Backpack in Voyageurs National Park
  • Ice fishing camp trip

I hope I inspired you to check out this Northern Town of International Falls, along the Minnesota and Canadian Border! I have a special love for this area, because I grew up exploring this area, due to my grandparents living here for many years! Enjoy!

Scroll to Top