Getting there: Voyageurs lies on the Canadian border, about 5 hours from the Twin Cities; the biggest town in the vicinity is International Falls, which makes a good base for exploring the park.

The terrain: The park covers about 340 square miles, or more than twice the area of Ramsey County. The landscape is a rugged mix of exposed bedrock and pine-and-birch forest, set among 30 lakes. The centerpiece of the park is the roadless 75,000-acre Kabetogama Peninsula, accessible by boat.

Visitors: Park officials say about 250,000 people visited the park last year. There is no entrance fee, but overnight parties must get a free permit, available at the visitor centers and boat launches.

Hiking: For the first time, the park will ferry backpackers and hikers to the Kabetogama Peninsula this year. Beginning in June, hikers will be able to reserve a spot on the park's tour boat for a lift from the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center to the Locator Lake Trailhead on the peninsula at 9 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The returns will be at 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The cost, $20 round trip. Call the park for more information (1-218-283-6600).

Houseboating: Several vendors rent houseboats for vacations at Voyageurs National Park. Costs vary depending on the season, the size of the houseboat and the services required. (Having the boat pre-stocked with food and drinks, for example, adds a lot to the price). The boats are equipped with radios; houseboat vendors will deliver groceries and gas (and help out should anything go awry). We used Voyagaire Houseboats out of Crane Lake (1-800-882-6287; www.houseboatvacation.com). Others include Ebels at Ash River (1-800-253-5475; www.ebels.com), Northernaire of Rainy Lake (1-800-854-7958; www.northernaire houseboats.com) and Rainy Lake Houseboats (1-800-554-9188; www.rainylakehouse boats.com.)

More information: Go to the national park website (www.nps.gov/voya/) or call 1-218-283-6600.