Family Fun for Everyone

5 ways to enjoy your summer vacation in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Did you know that about a third of summer visitors to Thunder Bay are here to see friends and family? That means there a lot of groups of mixed ages out there, looking for an outing that spells F-U-N for the gang. Whether you’re hosting a family reunion or are searching for some ideas for day trips while you’re in town, we’re got ideas on activities and venues that work for diverse groups that include little kids, seniors and everyone in between.

1. Head to a Park

Chippewa Park

Thunder Bay is blessed with lots of great community parks. Two stand-outs are Chippewa Park and Centennial Park. Chippewa is a large park right on Lake Superior with an outstanding view of the Sleeping Giant. It boasts a campground and RV park, a large playground for the kids, free Sunday afternoon concerts in August, a ball diamond, shaded picnic areas with grills, and a small amusement park (open 1-8 pm) with classic rides like a beautiful historic carousel and bumper cars. You can also book the wooden pavilion for larger groups. Or, head to Centennial Park at the north end of town, which has a playground, farm animals, a 1910 logging camp exhibit and picnic areas.

2. Experience Lake Superior


Tour the Thunder Bay harbour and surrounding islands on a sleek sailboat or a super-fast Zodiac skippered by Sail Superior. Cruise across the Lake and hike the giant, or relax on a Twilight Wine and Cheese tour.

If fishing is your passion, check out the angling opportunities right in the city. 

3. Check out the Waterfront

Prince Arthurs landing

Watch the sailboats and cargo ships in the harbour with the Giant in the background, play in the splash pad, playground or skateboard park, stroll the paths to see the variety of public art, and the award-winning Spirit Garden, shop or take an art class at the historic Baggage Building Arts Centre, and groove at a free concert on Wednesday evenings at Prince Arthur's Landing at Marina Park.

4. Get Down on the Farm

Belluz Farms Strawberries

Vanderwees Home and Garden Centre combines a huge garden and gift centre with a café, nature trail, small animal farm and a 18-hole mini-golf course. Or, head south of the city to Belluz Farms where you can relax in the greenhouse café, hop aboard a wagon to pick your own strawberries or raspberries, or shop in the farm store for locally produced cheese, meats, preserves and produce. Should you get stuck with a rainy day, the Centennial Botanical Conservatory is the perfect place to explore an indoor green oasis, and guided tours are available if you call ahead.

5. Taste Local Flavours

Local Motion Food Truck

Potluck meals are great…but imagine the reaction if you hired a local food truck to cater your get-together? The city has an impressive variety of food trucks serving up everything from “northern fusion” cuisine and Portuguese fare to barbeque and slushies. If you’re looking for a restaurant meal, the historic neighbourhood of Bay and Algoma is home to the city’s densest concentration of hip restaurants offering fresh dishes and regional ingredients. Be sure to eat your way through the Thunder Bay Country Market on Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings too.

Where to Stay in Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay is busy in the summer months. It is recommended to have a reservation before you arrive to avoid disappointment. Check out all the accommdation options in Thunder Bay - from Hotels and motels to campgrounds and hostels there is somewhere for the whole family to feel comfortable.

About Bonnie Schiedel

Bonnie Schiedel is the founder of, 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

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