If you are coming from out of town for our wedding, you will likely be flying here or maybe even driving. Here are a few tips if you plan to do either.
The easiest and most convenient way to get to Thunder Bay is by plane and with enough notice you can usually buy a ticket for a very reasonable price. We have seen everything from $98 to about $400 for a one-way ticket from Toronto so our advice is to wait for a seat sale (or not, it’s up to you). We normally fly with Porter but Air Canada and West Jet also have regular flights to the Thunder Bay airport.
If you have the time to do so, driving to Thunder Bay (from the east) is incredibly beautiful – especially in the fall. Once you get to Lake Superior in Sault Ste. Marie, Highway 17 follows the shoreline almost the entire way to Thunder Bay. There are a ton of great lookouts and places to stop along the way. Some of our go-to include:
- Stopping in Pancake Bay to get some delicious smoked white fish at Agawa Crafts & the Canadian Carver
- Hiking the 10km Awausee trail through a beautiful mature mixed forest in Lake Superior Provincial Park for some exercise and sweet views
- Going to see the Ojibwe pictographs at Agawa Rock in Lake Superior Provincial Park
- Stopping to have a picnic or just enjoy the views at Katherine Cove and Old Woman’s Bay in Lake Superior Provincial Park
- Stopping in Wawa to fuel up, check out the town’s mascot (a giant Canada Goose), and get some fudge at Young’s General store
- If there is time, taking a detour to do a day hike along the stunning rugged coastline in Pukaskwa National Park and stopping by Pic River First Nation to walk along the sand dunes
- Going into the town of Marathon to fuel up and stop by pebble beach
- Hiking the picturesque “Under The Volcano” trail at Neys Provincial Park
- Checking out the beach and Aguasabon waterfalls in Terrace Bay
- Taking a detour into the village of Rossport to have dinner at the Serendipity Gardens Café
- Fueling up on the Nipigon First Nation Reserve which is another great spot to pick up smoked fish and gorgeous moccasins
- Stopping by Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park in “Canada’s canyon country”
- And finally, admiring the view coming into Thunder Bay from the Terry Fox Lookout on the highway
When we do the drive we normally camp along the way (either in Provincial Parks or for free on crown land) otherwise there are a number character motels (and some big chain hotels) along the way. The drive from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay can be done in one long day and, as mentioned above, the best places to fuel up in between are in Wawa, the town of Marathon (not on the highway), and on the Nipigon First Nation reserve which is on Highway 11 about 500m north from the Highway 17 turnoff.