You're  Going To Love It Here!

Choosing the right camp for your vacation can be an overwhelming process with so many locations and properties to choose from. We understand and appreciate that you have worked hard and that fitting a vacation into your busy life can be a challenge--this also means that you want and need to make the best vacation destination choice possible for you and your family. Here at YMCA Camp Northern Lights we are committed to ensuring that your vacation is enjoyable and memorable.

Location, Location, Location!

  • We have a great location on 30 acres
  • We're just 10 miles from Ely
  • Our accommodations span across nearly a half mile of shoreline
  • Our private driveway brings you nearly a mile off of the highway which adds to a peaceful wilderness experience
  • Complimentary WIFI in the Lodge
  • All of our accommodations offer a view of the lake
  • There's a unparalleled distance between cabins for extra privacy
  • We have classic 1, 2 and 3 bedroom cabins with modern updates
  • We offer large group cabin accommodations (up to 10 people)
  • Our spacious and luxurious 1 and 2 bedroom suites
  • It's CLEAN--not just our cabins/suites but the grounds too
  • Our cabins and suites are VERY well appointed
  • There is plenty of parking for your automobiles, trailers and boats
  • Well maintained docks with FREE docking and hookups
  • Amazing cold, clear and great tasting water right from the tap
  • Large private swimming area and beach with a sandy bottom
  • Clear water lake, great structure for exciting fishing opportunities
  • No motor restrictions on Bear Island Lake
  • No fishing slot restrictions on Bear Island Lake
  • The CLEANEST fish cleaning facility with commercial waste grinder so there is NO GUT BUCKET in our fish house so there is NO MESS and NO SMELL
  • Full service, lake side marina-no gas cans to haul, tie right up to the dock for service and we only charge .35 cents above the pump price
  • Direct access to XC skiing
  • Direct access to the snowmobile trail--go off in 5 directions

Services and Amenities Available:

  • Guest laundry facility (coin operated)
  • Cedar sauna
  • 11-person, 22' pontoon boat (rent daily or weekly)
  • 16' fishing boats with motors (rent daily or weekly)
  • Canoes (complimentary)
  • Solo kayaks (complimentary)
  • 20' RAVE Water Bongo
  • Swim raft
  • 4 campfire sites
  • Pedal boats (complimentary)
  • Shuffleboard and ping pong
  • Horseshoe pit
  • Basketball and tether balls
  • Volleyball and badminton play areas
  • 2 sandboxes
  • Ladder golf games
  • 3 ring toss games
  • 3 washer toss games
  • Chalkboard drawing easel
  • Hammocks
  • Charming "quiet spots" tucked out of the way
  • Snowshoes, adult and children's sizes (complimentary)
  • Toboggans (complimentary)
  • Kites (complimentary)

Unique to Camp Northern Lights:

  • Large reading library-many new titles
  • 250+ title video library
  • Large collection of games and puzzles
  • Inviting and comfortable lodge
  • On-site northwoods gift shop
  • Summer children's programs and activities
  • Scavenger hunt (summer AND winter)
  • Arrow painting (warm weather activity only)
  • Complimentary lake maps and fishing tips
  • Pet friendly property
  • Blueberries, huckleberries and wild raspberries
  • Mega Connect 4 Game--Outdoors
  • Lakeside photo frame

Here's what you won't find at YMCA Camp Northern Lights:

  • Camping sites
  • RV sites
  • Rustic or remote cabins
  • BWCA permits or outfitting
  • Canoe towing
  • Restaurant (we'll recommend our Ely favorites)
  • Bar

Deciding how to spend your vacation time and money is a big deal!  Let's chat and see if Northern Lights can meet your expectations. We realize that our camp may not be exactly what you are looking for and that's alright, we're happy to make referrals.

We've put together a Tips for Planning a Vacation Guide--compare us to the rest and choose the camp that best fits your vacation style.

Tip #1:  Photos of your destination are important: look carefully at the photos provided; if property and cabin photos don't exist, there's probably a good reason; how old are the photos? think about the furnishings, check the date stamp, photo properties, or even the clothing people are wearing as it can assist in dating a photo; are you seeing the SAME photo over and over throughout a website?

Kids Love It Here

Families and Kids Come First All Summer Long: During the summer, we "do more than a little extra" to make sure that everyone in the family enjoys their vacation. The kids love to take part in our scavenger hunts and arrow painting project. Every summer we host a collection of activities and always try to do something new making each stay here unique. Parents especially enjoy our movie and popcorn night in the lodge with the kids!

Adults Love It Here Too!

The Fishing Of Course!

On the Water: While Bear Island Lake is best known for its walleyes and crappies it also contains northerns, large and smallmouth 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. While many guests prefer to explore and learn the lake on their own, fishing guides are available. The Minneapolis Star Tribune called Bear Island Lake "one of the prettiest lakes in the North County."

We offer guests the perfect setting to experience a classic Minnesota resort vacation experience. Each of our cabins is generously spaced from the next cabin. Every cabin and suite offers a view of the lake. Guests can relax in our sauna, enjoy our sandy swimming and beach area or just relax in a hammock with a book from our library.