5 Fantastic Ways to Explore the Water in Thunder Bay

Discover Northwest Ontario's largest city along the scenic shores of Lake Superior.

The city of Thunder Bay, Ontario is a city that enjoys an intimate connectivity to its natural environment.  Situated upon the traditional lands of the Anishnawbae Peoples of Fort William First Nation, on the edge of the world’s largest contiguous boreal forest and upon the shore of Lake Superior, the planet’s largest freshwater lake, it’s a place for people who love the outdoors and particularly for people who love being on the water.  In fact, we like to say that we’re the base camp to the world’s biggest natural waterpark.

1. Explore by Boat

Thunder Bay-based Sail Superior has a diverse fleet of sail and powerboats to get you onto the water for 90-minute harbour cruises and sunset wine and cheese tours to day trips to renowned Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, overnight adventures and even a trans-Superior zodiac tour!  Their luxurious Lagoon 500 catamaran will take you and your friends for an experience unlike any other on the Great Lakes, offering guests the feeling of chartering a private yacht while exploring the lake’s nooks and crannies in a way few get a chance to see.  

Their high speed Hurricane Zodiac, the Superior Rocket, propels you across the lake for an exhilarating experience.  The “Rocket” offers a variety of itineraries including short outer harbour and island tours and even an epic multi-day adventure from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie.  See the Canadian coast of Lake Superior in an intimate way like few others get to explore.

2. WhatSUP?

Paddleboarding is all the rage these days and there’s plenty of flat water around Thunder Bay to give it a try for the first time or for experienced paddlers, Prince Arthur’s Landing or the Silver Harbour Conservation area make for a great launch point to explore the big water.  If you’re new and curious to it, you can enjoy expert instruction and rentals from local Lake Superior surf legends Natribros on any number of local lakes of your choosing like Boulevard Lake right in the city to Hazelwood and Little Dog a short drive away.  Paddleboard yoga, also offered by Natribros, is a real thing and a great way to chill out and reconnect yourself to nature. 

3. Canoe or Kayak?

For kayak, canoe and SUP rentals, Wilderness Supply, just a short two blocks from Prince Arthur’s Landing or Chaltrek, can equip you with the gear to get out and explore some of the thousands of lakes and rivers in the area for a day, weekend or week.  Quetico, Wabikimi, Sleeping Giant and Pukawasa are just some of the world-renowned provincial and national parks located within a three-hour drive of the city to explore by water.  

4. Be a Lighthousekeeper

Explore Porphrey Island, home to a remote island lighthouse on Lake Superior just a short shuttle trip from Silver Islet.  This two hundred and sixty-acre island features restored lighthouse, lightkeepers home, storage buildings and hiking trails.  Access to the island is easy, with regular shuttle service provided by Archie’s Charters from the Silver Islet dock or for the adventurous bucket list types, charter a helicopter from Thunder Bay to take you there and back. The lighthouse, operated by the Canadian Light Houses of Lake Superior Inc, offers opportunities to be term light keepers during the summer and welcomes boaters, helicopters, and kayakers for the day or for overnight camping.  

5. Cast a Line

Our area is regarded by many as North America’s best freshwater angling with tens of thousands of lakes and rivers to cast a line in.  Add some world class Lake Superior fishing onto your itinerary with Archie’s and try your hand at catching trout, walleye, whitefish or even salmon.  There’s nothing quite as Canadian as a fresh-caught shore lunch.  When you return to Silver Islet, don’t forget a visit to the Silver Islet General Store, a 151-year-old icon of this former mining community that serves up fresh baking and ice cream throughout the summer with a fascinating side of local history.

Explore and Reward Yourself

After a day on the water of sailing, paddling, exploring or angling, there’s nothing better than celebrating your adventures with a locally curated culinary experience from one of dozens of local restaurants or a pint from one of the five local craft breweries that call Thunder Bay home.  Thunder Bay’s Waterfront District is a walkable downtown waterfront neighbourhood that’s a must visit destination unto itself for Goods and Co, open air dining options, coffee shops, baked goods or cocktails.  Rest easy with a stay in one of the numerous hotels, motels or hostels in the waterfront area or properties within a twenty-minute drive across the entire city that are easy to book online.

Visit www.visitthunderbay.com for more information on what to see and where to stay on your next Canadian adventure.

About Northern Ontario

Welcome to Northern Ontario, Canada! Bigger than Texas, wilder than the west, more welcoming than a campfire in October, Northern Ontario is like no place else. Sunset Country is famous for its spectacular fishing lakes, Superior Country has friendly towns and a superior coastline, Algoma Country has bucket list drives and epic outdoor adventure, and the Northeast provides excellent vacation destinations close to Toronto and other large urban centres in Southern Ontario.

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