People are naturally attracted to water! With Lake Superior on the doorstep, and a number of rivers connecting to the lake within city lmits, your connection to water on a visit to Thunder Bay is not too far away. The views are fantastic, and the experiences like kayaking and tubing get you in the water to cool off on a hot summer day.
Go Wading in Superior
Lake Superior is—let’s face it—really, really cold. You may not want to take a full swim in it, but there are lots of opportunities to go wading, investigate interesting rocks and driftwood and gaze out at the lake.
Take a 30-minute drive south of the city on Highway 61 to Little Trout Bay Conservation Area, a protected bay on the big lake managed by the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. Lunch at the picnic area and watch boats launch from the two launch ramps (or bring your own boat!), or take little ones for a walk to explore the rocky shore.
A little further south, close to the American border, is Pigeon River Provincial Park. Two inland hiking trails take you to scenic Middle Falls and High Falls, but if it’s Lake Superior you’re after, stroll the short boardwalk (suitable for strollers and young walkers) that meanders through the coastal forest to a small scenic bay strewn with driftwood and great views of the lake.
Go Tubing on the Kam
What better way to while away a few hours on a hot summer’s day than floating down the Kaministiqua River?
River Rat Rentals, located in Stanley a short drive in the countryside to the west of Thunder Bay, rents inner tubes equipped with fitted tarps so you can comfortably drift down the river, watching the riverside residences and natural habitat. The facilities also have a snack bar as well as beach volleyball and beach ping pong ball equipment. The hours of operation for River Rat Rentals are 11 am to 7 pm, and the cost is $8 for kids under 12 and $13.50 for adults. (Bring your own life jacket.)
Learn to Canoe or Kayak
There are surprisingly few companies that offer paddle sport lessons in Thunder Bay, so book ahead if you can. A new kayaking outfitter is Sea Kayaking Lessons, which has customized group kayaking lessons for three to six people, and a half-day course is $100 per person. If you already know how to canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard, but would like to introduce the skills to your family or friends, rentals are available at outfitters such as Wilderness Supply for about $30 a day and up.
Boardwalks, lookouts and walking trails over and around the falls are definitely suitable for strollers and family walks, and you get a cooling blast of mist in many locations. Feel like relaxing water playtime? Head for the beach upriver. Shallow and sandy, the beach on the Kaministiqua River (known locally as the Kam) is an ideal place to get your feet wet or build a sandcastle. A picnic area and playground are right beside the beach.
From the big lake to waterfalls and the Kam River, Thunder Bay gives residents and visitors lots of opportunities for a splashing good time. Try them all—what will be your favourite way to cool off on a hot summer day?