Ontario Lake Superior Circle Tour Travel Planner
Lake Superior Provincial Park to Sault Sainte Marie
Ontario North Shore Travel
Traveling South from Wawa to Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario
About 35 miles south of Lake Superior Provincial Park you encounter the Pancake Bay-Batchwana Bay region offering opportunities for picnic stops and extended stays. Pancake Bay Provincial Park offers an expansive sand beach and 325 camping sites, including 160 with electrical hookups. Most sites have a view of the lake or catch a nice breeze off the lake (worthwhile during the buggy season or when it is hot). A little further down the road is Batchwana Bay Provincial Park, a day use only park, that also offers an expansive sand beach for swimming, sunbathing, and beach combing. About 7 miles further down the road is the Chippewa River rest stop where you can see the falls from the bridge. From the wayside picnic area, there’s a hiking trail leading to the top of falls and beyond. There are a number of motels and places to eat along this stretch of the road.
From the Chippewa River rest stop it is about 30 miles to Sault Sainte Marie.
The Ontario Sault Ste. Marie is one of the three larger cities on Lake Superior (along with Duluth, Mn and Thunder Bay, Ontario). It is also one of the oldest communities in the upper midwest. Like Duluth and Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie has a lake walk – only in this case it is more accurately a river walk. It extends 1.5 km from Canal Drive to the Civic Center.
The “Soo” has a number of quality chain motels with familiar names: Best Western, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Super 8, Travelodge, etc. As it is five times the size of its US twin, it offers many more lodging, dining and entertainment choices. Your first stop after crossing the bridge should be at the tourist information center (turn right on Huron St. and go towards the river). Nearby are a number of attractions in the downtown area along the river front. Plan to spend at least 2-4 hours along the Boardwalk and Canal-Locks Park. You’ll need a whole day if you do the Agawa Canyon Tour train.
Recommended places and things to do in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan:
The Sault Ste. Marie Canal and Locks, a National Historic Site. Tours, exhibits, and structures dating back to 1895
St. Mary’s Island Nature Preserve and Hiking Trails.
The 1.5 km Riverside Boardwalk, Roberta Bondar Waterfront Park & Pavilion, and riverfront hospitality establishments
Excursion Boats and Lock Tour Cruises
Agawa Canyon Tour Train
Hiawatha Park and Crystal Falls (for hikers and waterfall explorers)
When in the Ontario Soo area, the campground we most often use is Point Des Chenes Park about 10 miles west of the city on Whitefish Bay. Two other camping facilities are at the northern edge of the city off highway 17, including the KOA campground which we also recommend.
Restaurant Review – Boots & Saddles Roadhouse
The Roadhouse is several miles west of town on Highway 550 near the International Airport. We stopped there because we were camping nearby at Point Des Chenes.
I had a steak and veggie stir fry; Jo was in the mood for a deluxe burger. Ample portion size, tasty, the right temperature. Amiable waitress staff. Had to wait longer than expected for the meal to arrive but when it came, it was hot and properly prepared. Reasonable prices. As name suggests, it has a western motif and a “beefy” menu. Bar area separate and elevated. Noticed no problem with cigarette smoke – one of Jo’s pet peeves.***stars
Dockside Riverfront Grill & Restaurant
This downtown area restaurant is along the Riverfront Walkway with good views of the water and a choice of dining indoors or out on their deck. We had lunch there, Jo choosing a mushroom & swiss burger and me their Reuben, with a nice ice-cold 20 oz schooner of Molson Canadian. Sandwiches were good; service, friendly but inattentive. Our particular wait staffer was young and new and it was early-season for outdoor dining. We liked the place enough to want to return for dinner sometime. ***stars
Crossing into the United States
If you cross the International Bridge on a weekend or holiday, be aware you could easily require a half hour or more just to go a few miles. One bonus of the delay is that you have time to get a nice aerial view of the locks and the river!