Skip to content
Sponsored Content

This Ontario city should be your next summer adventure basecamp

Find out why this destination tops the list of great Ontario vacations.
20230821-z62_8136

As Ontario’s premier outdoor adventure city, Sault Ste. Marie is heading up for another unforgettable summer. There is so much to do in this action-packed city including a scenic river boat cruise, an incredible train adventure, world-class mountain biking, summer festivals, sandy beaches, great dining, and the list goes on.

Here’s why visiting Sault Ste. Marie is once again topping the list of great Ontario destinations this year.

Riverboat cruise the northern way

Experience the wonders of the St. Marys River and Sault Locks on Miss Marie, sailing from June 10 until October 14. Take a 90-minute cruise where you can enjoy spectacular views while relaxing on this gorgeous vessel.

Miss Marie departs from the heart of downtown Sault Ste. Marie and travels back in history as it cruises through the famous Sault Locks, a feat of engineering that has connected Lake Superior and Lake Huron since the mid-1800s. Experience the Locks’ gates and chambers used to raise and lower boats between the water levels of the two Great Lakes.

20220811-missmarieraw_135_v2

From the Locks, Miss Marie passes under the International Bridge to the crystal clear waters of Lake Superior, eventually passing back through the Locks and returning to the downtown waterfront.

Cruises run in the day and in the evening and are suitable for all ages. The boat has a capacity of only 100 passengers so book ahead to avoid disappointment. For prices, booking, and more information, visit Sault Lock Tours online.

All aboard for one of Sault Ste. Marie’s iconic adventures

The Agawa Canyon Tour Train is one of Sault Ste. Marie’s iconic adventures. This one-of-a-kind experience conveniently begins in downtown Sault Ste. Marie and tour through beautiful spruce and maple forests. The train features a snack and beverage canteen, comfortable seating, audio commentary, and breathtaking views from the windows.

tour-train_summer1004

The train takes passengers through the incredible landscape of Algoma Country all the way to Agawa Canyon Park. Along the way, expect to be amazed by the incredible forests and wildlife of the Canadian Shield, which served as inspiration to the famous Group of Seven painters. Once the train arrives at Agawa Canyon Park, travellers have 90 minutes to explore, hike, picnic, or just relax in this impressive destination before heading back.

The train runs from August 3 until October 14 and all ages are welcome. To avoid the crowds and ensure your spot, be sure to book in August. And if you’re a leaf peeper, book later into the season to take advantage of the gorgeous fall foliage. For more information or to book your seats, visit the Agawa Canyon Tour Trains website.

Ride and race the Canadian Shield

Sault Ste. Marie has become one of the top destinations for mountain bikes in Ontario. There are trails for every age, ability and style. Whether you are looking for jump and flow trials or enduro-style trails, there is something for you in Sault Ste. Marie.

Hiawatha Highlands features over 60 km of trails rated from easy to advanced including 25 km of brand-new world-class trails and even more under construction including a mountain bike skills park.

20230821-z62_7991

To experience the Sault’s growing network of trails and have a good time doing it, check out three action-packed mountain biking events happening this summer:

The Salty Marie Trails Fest – July 27

The second annual Salty Marie Trails Fest is sure to be amazing. The Salty Marie is designed to have something for every level of rider. “We want novice riders right up through what people would consider expert riders to all have fun and be challenged at the same time,” says Graham Atkinson, one of the event’s founders. “We’ve got courses designed for just about every skill set and interest.”

The buzz around the Salty Marie and mountain biking scene in Sault Ste. Marie is undeniable, drawing riders from all over Ontario and the Midwest. It's a testament to the world-class trail system as well as the reputation of the Sault’s skilled and welcoming mountain biking community. Word is spreading – this is a place to test your skills, connect with fellow riders, and have one of the best mountain biking experiences in Ontario.

For those who prefer to go by foot, The Salty Marie Trail Fest also features three trail running events: the ‘InSault to Injury’ 10 km, ‘Sault in the Wound’ 21 km half marathon and the 'Salty Dog' 4 km fun run where you can team up with your four-legged friend.

If competing just isn’t your thing, you can still get in on the action as a spectator. Enjoy food, drink, and local vendors in the arena.

Crank the Shield, August 16-18

Riders come from all over North America to have the opportunity to race in this epic multi-day event. Brace yourself for a three-day point to point stage race hosted by Superfly Racing.

Experience one of the continent’s most challenging and popular stage races while enjoying great food, fantastic aid stations, and making new friends for life. Racers can choose to include food and on-site camping/RV parking to their race or even book a VIP experience with enhanced accommodations.

Race organizer Sean Ruppel of Superfly Racing loves what Sault Ste. Marie has to offer. “I love introducing my favourite part of the world to a lot of my friends,” he says. “One tip I have for participants: don’t underestimate how much climbing there is in the Sault! Make sure you train the legs!”

Start planning your mountain biking adventure here and see why Sault Ste. Marie is considered Ontario’s best trail town.

Discover some of the best beaches in Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie has a remarkable coastline of exquisite sandy beaches, some of the best in Ontario and just a short drive from the City.

Step onto the expansive golden sands and admire the crystal-clear blue waters of Lake Superior. It's a tranquil place where you can create cherished memories with your loved ones and soak up the endless summer vibes. At Point Des Chenes Park, you can unleash your inner adventurer, whether it's swimming or playing a friendly game of disc golf.

20220809-dji_0882_cf_aug2022

If you're looking for a secluded retreat, Batchawana Bay offers a picturesque 5km beach, a hidden gem waiting to be explored. You can also embark on an exhilarating journey on a SUP or kayak, navigating the calm and sheltered waters of Pancake Bay.

Plan your unforgettable beach vacation here.

Breathtaking hiking trails that offer up Instagram-worthy views

Embark on a memorable adventure within the city limits, immersing yourself in the beauty and experiences that Sault Ste. Marie has to offer. One of the top choices is the John Roswell Hub Trail, spanning an impressive 22.5 kilometres. This trail winds its way through various city neighbourhoods, green spaces, commercial districts, and along the stunning St. Marys River. Whether you prefer hiking or cycling, this trail welcomes both enthusiasts.

20220810-dji_0009_cf_aug2022

For a captivating nature experience make sure to visit Whitefish Island, a National Historic Site of Canada and territory of Batchewana First Nation. Conveniently connected to the Hub Trail, here you'll find three kilometres of winding trails that will take you on a journey surrounded by the iconic Sault Locks, tranquil ponds teeming with wildlife, and the energetic rush of the St. Marys Rapids. It's an opportunity to reconnect with nature and capture some incredible shots for your Instagram feed.

Just a short 15-minute drive from downtown Sault Ste. Marie, you'll discover the enchanting Hiawatha Highlands. This natural paradise offers a chance to hike alongside the cascading waters of Crystal Falls. Wander along the elevated boardwalk, allowing the soothing sounds of the falls to relax your senses. Along the trail, you'll encounter various viewing platforms where you can pause, admire the breathtaking views, and capture the essence of this serene setting.

Discover your next hiking adventure here.

Mini urban adventures that will fit in any schedule

20240507-z62_6796

Between biking events, boat and train cruising and days at the beach, there are countless bite-sized urban adventures that will fit within the busiest schedules - and they shouldn’t be missed.

  • Crystal Falls at Kinsmen Park (10 minute hike to the upper falls. ): Walk the boardwalk to the base of the falls and explore multiple viewing platforms or hike the lower falls and discover Minnehaha Falls as well.
  • Odena Lookout at Hiawatha(5 - 90 minute hike): Hike the longer 4.2 km loop or take the 400 m uphill shortcut to the incredible views of the Odena Lookout.
  • Beaver Loop (Farmer Lake Trail - 2+ hour hike): This manageable 4 km out and back loop offers beautiful views of the serenity of Farmer Lake.
  • Attikamek Trail on Whitefish Island (+45 min hike): Access the island from Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site. Whitefish Island is located in the Batchewana First Nation Whitefish Island Reserve which is a traditional territory of the Anishinaabe people of the Great Lakes.

There really is no end of things to do this summer in Sault Ste. Marie. Sandy beaches, incredible dining spots, craft breweries, hiking and paddling adventures, and great fishing are all right here.

To plan your escape and make this summer the yet, visit Tourism Sault Ste. Marie.