Spend Your Weekend Down by the Bay

Explore the cityscape and the landscape in Thunder Bay with this family-friendly 2-day itinerary.

The northwestern city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, is one of Canada’s top natural playgrounds for families with a fun range of bucket list outdoor activities to try with the kids—and lots of ways to relax at the city’s hip eateries and venues during your downtime too.

Photo credit: Niall Beatty

Take your pick of family-friendly outdoor adventures in Thunder Bay. 

Friday Afternoon

Book a family SUP lesson with SUPerior Stand Up Paddleboarding and discover how you can really walk on water, whether it’s on Lake Superior or one of the smaller, warmer lakes in the region. Or, get a whole new perspective on the city and the world’s largest lake with a 90-minute nautical tour by Sail Superior.

Photo credit Aric Fishman, Outdoor Skills And Thrills

Saturday Morning 

Burn off some of that kid energy with a rock climbing lesson on accessible ancient rock cliffs at The Bluffs overlooking Centennial Park or near Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Outdoor Skills and Thrills and Boulder Bear Climbing Centre both lead family outings. And there are dozens of indoor routes to try at Boulder Bear’s modern indoor facility. 

Photo credit Aric Fishman, Outdoor Skills And Thrills

Saturday Afternoon

For a family hike, head to Cascades Conservation Area to see the tumbling rapids of the Current River, or to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park for more rugged natural trails and breathtaking views. One family fave is Middlebrun Bay Trail, which leads to a pristine sandy cove on Lake Superior.

Refuel with delicious meals made with fresh local ingredients: thin-crust pizza made in a wood-fired oven at Both Hands Pizza, fantastic pasta and other Italian fare at Nook, and save room for decadent artisanal sorbet and gelato at Prime Gelato.

Then it’s off to the waterfront at Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park to take in free outdoor movie screenings or concerts under the stars.

Sunday Morning

With Animikii Tours, you can leave the driving to someone else and take in the sights on a mini-van tour that’s limited to six people. One good bet for families is the 90-minute Port Arthur option that includes stops at Hillcrest Park, with fun playground equipment and stunning views of the Sleeping Giant; the natural beauty of Boulevard Lake and Fisherman’s Park; and a final stop at the Terry Fox monument where the Canadian hero ended his cross-country run.

Drive south of the city to the beautiful rolling countryside of the Slate River Valley, bordered by the flat-topped Nor’Wester Mountain range. Stop by Thunder Oak Cheese Farm to see how their award-winning gouda cheese is made—and try a few samples of course. Another must-visit spot is Belluz Farms, where you can meet a few friendly animals, have a snack at the greenhouse cafe and ride out on the farm wagon to pick your own juicy strawberries and raspberries (in season).

Bonus Activity

Sports fans can cheer on the Thunder Bay Chill or the Border Cats which both play in outdoor stadiums throughout the spring and summer.


Make some lasting family memories in Thunder Bay this spring and summer!

About Bonnie Schiedel

Bonnie Schiedel is the founder of www.tbaywithkids.ca, which covers fun family-friendly attractions, events and restaurants in Thunder Bay. She enjoys canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing and travel, and you can read more of her award-winning work at www.northstarwriting.ca.

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