About family camp

Spending time together in nature is one of the best ways for families to grow together. That’s why the YMCA has added a second family camp in northern Minnesota through the purchase of Timber Wolf Lodge and Northern Lights Lodge & Resort.

Camp Northern Lights is unique among YMCA camps in that it provides programming centered on connecting families. Our mission is to strengthen families by providing opportunities for individual and family growth, supporting spiritual development, and enhancing environmental awareness in a wilderness setting.

YMCA Camp Northern Lights seeks to promote an atmosphere where all persons feel welcome, included, and respected. At Northern Lights, we pride ourselves on appreciating the value of diverse populations and welcome all! Our programs are designed to enhance the relationships of any and all those that you consider a part of your family.

In addition to Summer Family Camp, we also offer fall/winter/spring getaways and events for groups.

About the property

If your family is ready to explore northern Minnesota, then we invite you to plan your next Minnesota vacation up north with us on Bear Island Lake near Babbitt. Our property includes incredible lakeshore, great hiking and skiing trails, and lots of recreational opportunities.


While Bear Island Lake is best known for its Walleye and crappies it also contains Northern Pike, Large- and Small-Mouth Bass and, of course, plenty of pan fish. There are no fishing or motor restrictions on this clear water lake and it is a structure fisherman's dream with more than 20 islands and over 20 miles of shoreline and bay fishing opportunities.

Fishing boats and pontoon boats are available to rent for an added fee. You can sign up for boat rentals when you arrive at camp.


While at Camp Northern Lights, you can enjoy free use of:

  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Pedal Boats
  • Stand-up paddleboards
  • Water trampoline
  • Swim raft


Camp Northern Lights operates two saunas. Our electric sauna is located in North Point Village and our wood burning sauna is located in Buena Vista Village. Our wood burning sauna was recently completely remodeled! During the fall/ winter/ spring you can work with our camp staff to schedule a time for a private sauna, during the summer we will offer a variety of sauna options you can sign up for! Our electric sauna can be used first come, first serve in the fall/winter/spring. In the summertime, family/cabin groups can sign up for a specific one hour time block.

Games and sports

While at Camp Northern Lights, you can enjoy playing:

  • Shuffleboard
  • Ping pong
  • Horseshoes
  • Tetherball
  • Volleyball
  • Badminton
  • Ladder golf
  • Bags
  • Outdoor Connect 4

Winter fun

Winter is another phenomenal time to enjoy the north woods! The winterized cabins provide a cozy environment to relax and re-energize. We have snow shoes and fat tire bikes available to go out on family adventures. Cross country skis are also available, as well as over a mile of groomed trails! If exploring the woods isn’t what you’re looking for we also have ice fishing gear for you to use.

Fire wood

Fire wood is provided for you at Camp Northern Lights and is included in your reservation. Please do not bring fire wood to camp. Conservative camp fires are permitted.

    Pet policy

    No dogs are allowed at Summer Family Camp—house-trained dogs are welcome September to May in cabins Cygnus, Callisto, Lyra, Karhu, Virta, Pegasus, and Cassiopeia. The fee to bring a dog is $25 per day.

    If you plan to bring your dog along to camp, please follow these rules. If cleaning needs are excessive you might be charged additional cleaning fees.

    Do …

    • Let us know in advance you plan to bring your dog(s)
    • Know that some cabins/sites are designated as dog-free
    • Ensure your dog has a current rabies vaccination
    • Make sure your dog wears a collar and ID tags
    • Leash your dog
    • Pick up after your dog, secure waste in a bag and put in the trash
    • Know you are responsible for any damage your dog causes

    Don’t …

    • Leave your dog unattended unless kenneled
    • Allow dogs on beds or furniture
    • Let your dog dig in sand or soil

    Service dogs are welcome at camp at any time of year, free of charge. Email us at CampNorthernLights.Info@ymcanorth.org if you are planning on bringing your service dog to camp with you. Service dogs must be leashed and under control at all times.