Surrounded by vast lakes and history, unspoiled beauty and urban adventures collide.
One of the oldest French settlements in North America, Sault Ste. Marie was first settled by the French in the 17th century, though First Nations have long used the area as a meeting place. Explore this history at area museums and national historic sites in “the Soo,” as the city is known, as well as in galleries and the historic downtown’s vintage stores and cafes. Sault Ste. Marie is connected to the US city of the same name by a bridge border crossing.
Set on the shores of vast Lake Superior, this seasonal (May to October) park offers cliffs, beaches, swimming, boating, more than 200 camping sites, and an opportunity to hike out to an Indigenous sacred site to view the 400-year-old Agawa Rock Pictographs—35 red ochre images on the rocks.
St. Joseph Island
Connected to the mainland by a bridge, this 140,000-acre island between Lake Superior and Lake Huron has two sweet communities perfect for visitors with campgrounds, restaurants, beaches, marinas, and the Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site (where the War of 1812 began).
Famous for its massive Goose, a 50-year-old roadside attraction, Wawa is a small town that hosts drag racing, fishing festivals, and summer music festivals. The town is surrounded by hiking, camping, and fishing.
This rugged park full of pristine lakes and rugged hills offers amazing hiking—especially along the 130-meter-high Helenbar Trail Lookout where you’ll find views, trout fishing, kayaking and canoeing, and a large number of rustic campsites (including pull-through sites for RVs). Cars are only allowed in the park from May to October.
While much in the city itself is open year-round (tourism isn’t a major industry in Sault Ste. Marie) and winter pursuits are popular, winter camping in northern Ontario is only really for hardcore campers, as temperatures can drop below -40°C. Plus, provincial parks and other campgrounds are mostly only open from May through October. Summers in the Soo can be very pleasant, and camping in the area is gorgeous long into fall.