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Family Getaways Along the Shores of Bear Island Lake

Spending time together in nature is one of the best ways for families to grow together. Enjoy the wonders of the wilderness in northern Minnesota at YMCA Camp Northern Lights, a non-profit family camp operated by the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. Escape to the north woods, where you can surround yourself in serene wilderness, take a break from life’s many interruptions and relax together as a family. From modern conveniences to nature-focused atmospheres, there are lodging options for everyone—including cabins that are open for use in any season. Your time at Northern Lights can be spent enjoying Bear Island Lake for swimming, fishing or paddling. Hike, snowshoe or ski the surrounding trails and follow-up your activities with a visit to the camp sauna. On the edge of the Superior National Forest, experience a natural setting that promotes relaxation, exploration and community. The camp is situated on Bear Island Lake near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and offers year-round lodging and program opportunities.

All-Inclusive
Beach
Family
Reunions
Nature
Fishing
Ski/Snowboard
Pet Friendly
Lake
Cabins, Cottages, and Chalets
YMCA Camp Northern Lights takes all the stress out of planning your next adventure. Their all-inclusive rates ensure you have access to everything you need for your Minnesota vacation. Great lodging along the shores of Bear Island Lake and a wide assortment of activities are included in your stay! Summer stays offer age-specific programs and activities for all ages including arts and crafts, family saunas, campfires, and so much more. You can take out their canoes or kayaks to explore the waters at your leisure or enjoy guided hikes and paddles.. Inquire today to start planning a truly unique family experience you'll remember forever!
Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Dock at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. YMCA Camp Northern Lights' premier location on the shores of Bear Island Lake provides you with a quintessential Minnesota beach vacation. Enjoy the two private sandy beaches which offer easy access to the lake for a day of swimming, sunbathing, kayaking and plenty of other water sports. The kids will love the water trampoline, or beach games like volleyball and building sandcastles!
Exterior view of YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin kitchen at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin dining room at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin kitchen at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin living room at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Northern lights at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Dock at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Boating at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Family at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Reunions at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Located along the edge of the Superior National Forest and overlooking beautiful Bear Island Lake, YMCA Camp Northern Lights is the perfect place for family fun. Summer stays offer staff-led, age-specific programming for a portion of the day and all-family programs in the afternoons and evenings. Discover all the natural beauty on several nearby hiking trails around camp and the surrounding area, or head down to the beach for a day of swimming, sandcastle building, and even fishing. The water trampoline is always a hit with the kids as well, plus you can't miss out on an evening campfire with marshmallows and storytelling!
Reunions at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. YMCA Camp Northern Lights has 26 lakefront and lake view cabins and 8 tent sites that are spread over 115 acres, making them the perfect venue for family reunions and weddings. Each year they are pleased to host many family reunions. Families enjoy the close proximity to unique activities including fishing and swimming at Bear Island Lake or nearby Lake Superior, hiking through the Superior National Forest, and so much more. Inquire today and start planning a memorable family adventure!
Northern lights at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Loons at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Exterior view of YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Boating at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Family at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Reunions at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. The natural beauty of Bear Island Lake and the surrounding Superior National Forest places you in the heart of some of the best nature experiences in Minnesota. Join YMCA Camp Northern Lights early in the morning to observe bald eagles fishing near the docks or circling high above 110-acre Bear Island, which is located in the center of the lake. Wake to the distant call of the resident loon population. And each year some lucky campers hear the distant call of the timber wolves or enjoy the Northern Lights overhead!
Dock at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Boating at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. YMCA Camp Northern Lights rests along the shoreline of 2,362-acre Bear Island Lake. This fantastic Minnesota lake boasts plenty of native species including walleye, crappie, bluegill, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and northern pike. The lake is also a DNR fishery with 900,000 new walleye fry released every other year! Since this program began, the DNR has released over 5,000,000 walleye fry into the waters. Fishing boat and pontoon rentals are available for an additional fee.
YMCA Camp Northern Lights is a great choice for your winter getaway! Their ideal location in northern Minnesota surrounds you with spacious terrain to explore in the winter months. Miles of cross-country skiing trails are available both at camp and in the surrounding area for you to enjoy and get close to the snowy surroundings during your stay. If you enjoy downhill skiing or snowboarding, Giants Ridge is only 40 miles from YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Inquire today and start planning the ultimate winter vacation!
Family dogs are welcome at YMCA Camp Northern Lights during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Dogs must be well-behaved, sociable, and kept on leash while you are on camp property. They are sure to enjoy playful times with you on Bear Island Lake and exploring the miles of wilderness that Ely offers. A $20 per day or $95 per week dog fee will be applied to your reservation.
Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Dock at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Boating at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Beach at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Family at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Fishing at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Loons at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. YMCA Camp Northern Lights offers many lakeside cabins. Each cabin enjoys a dock or screen porch that overlooks Bear Island Lake. These are great spots to unwind with a great book and enjoy your first cup of coffee in the morning. Not only a hot spot for boating and fishing, Bear Island Lake is one to be explored - with 22 islands, including 110-acre Bear Island that rests right in the middle of the lake. Remember that all water toys, such as canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle-boards are free to use during your stay. Plus, the private sandy beach offers a water trampoline for your kids.
Lake view at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Exterior view of YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin kitchen at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin dining room at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin kitchen at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin living room at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin bedroom at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. Cabin exterior at YMCA Camp Northern Lights. YMCA Camp Northern Lights features 26 lakeside and lake view cabins and 8 tent sites. Featuring between one to five bedrooms, these cabins let you find the perfect size to accommodate your group. All of their cabins are beautifully furnished and maintained and offer modern amenities to ensure your comfort and convenience. Full kitchens, private fire pit, fireplace/wood stove, and much more are available.
Amenities
Open Dates
  • All Year
Property Size
  • 26 units
Nearby City
  • Ely
Nearby Water
  • Bear Island Lake
General
  • Gift Shop
  • Pack N Play
  • Outdoor Playground
  • Sauna
  • Internet
  • Wireless Internet
Room
  • Coffee Maker
  • Deck
  • Fireplace
  • Full Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Patio
  • Picnic Tables
  • Refrigerator
Activities
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Horseshoes
  • Ice Cream Social
  • Kid's Activities
  • Shuffle Board
  • Sightseeing
  • Swimming
  • Volleyball
  • Beach
  • Bird Watching
  • Boating & Watercraft
  • Boat Docks
  • Canoeing
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Fire Pit(s)
  • Fishing Pier(s)
  • Freshwater Fishing
  • Outdoor Grill(s)
  • Hiking
  • Ice Fishing
  • Ice Skating
  • Kayaking
  • Wildlife & Nature
  • Picnic Table(s)
  • Play Ground
Parking
  • Free Parking
Services
  • Babysitting/Daycare
  • Fishing Guides
  • Meeting Room(s)
Suitability
  • Handicap Access
  • Children Welcome
  • Pet Friendly
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