Spending time in nature is one of the best ways for families to grow together. YMCA of the North offers two getaway destinations for families, groups and individuals.
Camp du Nord has been welcoming families for more than 50 years and has generated a loyal and passionate following; some families have been visiting for three generations. Once you experience the beauty, rejuvenation, and community of camp, it’s almost guaranteed you will return. To meet the increasing demand for these types of family experiences, the YMCA opened a second camp for families in 2019—Camp Northern Lights, which had a hugely successful opening year.
Both camps are situated in the serene beauty of Minnesota’s Northwoods. Camp du Nord, located just northwest of Ely, is situated on Burntside Lake near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Camp Northern Lights, located in Babbitt, is on Bear Island Lake next to the Superior National Forest.
While summer is typically the busiest season, both camps are open year round. Each season brings unique opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and connect with nature and others. Minnesotans understand there is something magical about fall, when the vibrant colors of the leaves pop in the sunlight, the lake air is extra crisp, and the smell of a bonfire or wood-burning stove warms the soul. Hike the wooded trails, paddle the lakes, roast marshmallows, explore your creativity, and make memories with your family.
As Minnesotans continue to live in the midst of a pandemic, families may have more time and flexibility—or simply the desire—to get away. During times of upheaval, people crave connection and peace. Being in nature is an excellent way to connect to our spiritual selves and ground us in peace. Now is an ideal time for a family to recreate, rest, and be present together.
Family camps are an excellent way to enjoy a fall vacation while still physically distancing; families stay together in cabins, and your playground is the outdoors. This fall, there are opportunities for family stays, group retreats, and programmed weekends at Camp du Nord and Camp Northern Lights. Full-amenity cabins are available with access to camp equipment, including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, row boats, fishing boats and pontoons, as well as skis and snowshoes in winter. Programmed weekends also include staff-led arts and crafts, guided hikes and paddles, and naturalist programs.
Visit camp Sunday through Wednesday, and receive a mid-week discount. The YMCA believes everyone should experience camp, regardless of income; financial support is available to campers who need a little extra help. To register for a stay, apply for financial assistance, or get more information, visit ymcanorth.org.