Sitting right by the border between the United States and Canada, International Falls, Minnesota and the surrounding Ranier and Rainy Lake area are well known for its spectacular displays of sunsets, starry skies and the beautiful Northern Lights.  The area offers visitors unforgettable experiences both on and off the water, with opportunities to enjoy scenic hiking trails, picnic grounds and incredible fishing.

In the summer, fishing enthusiasts will enjoy Rainy Lake and the Rainy River which are full of Walleye, Northern Pike, Crappie, Smallmouth Bass and Sturgeon.  There are a number of guide services and boat rental operations in the region, including Border Country Outdoor Adventures, where owner Ryan Schmidt serves as an expert fishing guide, full of knowledge from growing up on the lake.  For those wanting a day on the water but not into fishing, there are plenty of kayak and canoe rental options, as well as boat tours and charters in the area.  If you happen to be in town in August, there is the annual International Falls Bass Championship, a premier fishing tournament in Minnesota. It is a catch-and-release fishing tournament but has family fun activities located downtown in Smokey Bear Park, nightly entertainment, beer gardens, car shows & more.  August is also when the Ranier Summer Festival occurs, complete with a parades (including a dog parade!), local crafts, food, tours, games, entertainment and much more.  For golfers looking to hit the links, the River Golf Course is a public golf course located on Rainy River just west of International Falls and features 18 championship holes.

Voyageurs National Park is a must-visit during any trip to the region.  With over 218,000 acres of the Park features cliffs, wetlands, forests, streams and lakes, and was designated as a Dark Sky Park in 2020, meaning it is free from the excessive, misdirected, and obtrusive artificial light making it the perfect spot for stargazing.  In the park, you can visit the boundary between the U.S. and Canada which runs through the middle of the Kettle Falls Dam – allowing for a unique geographic phenomenon where visitors can stand on U.S. soil and look “south” into Canada. 

There are plenty of lodging options in the region, from vacation rentals and camp sites to houseboats and hotels.  Kettle Falls Hotel lies in the heart of Voyageurs National Park and is accessible only by water!  Full of history, the hotel has been welcoming visitors since 1913 and is a must-see if you are in the area.  Other local highlights include Loony’s Brew, a local craft brewery on the shores of Sand Bay on Rainy Lake and Cantilever Distillery, located in the heart of Ranier, a restaurant and distillery that sources ingredients with local farmers.

International Falls is a hidden gem, just waiting for you and your family to make memories.