The Walleye is Thunder Bay’s premier magazine featuring great articles on local businesses and talent. The August issue’s cover “Life’s a Beach!” featured 18 local spots to ‘beat the summer heat’.
After reading the article I instantly decided I was going to visit all 18 places by the end of summer. I suggested the idea to a few friends who were immediately on board and the adventure was quickly labelled ‘Beach Tour 2016’. In the first couple weeks, we checked off half the list – usually visiting two places on one outing. There were a few spots that were over 3 hours away, which would require a couple overnight camping trips.
I find it difficult to put into words what this experience meant to me. The breathtaking scenery was endless. If you were hiking anywhere around us you might have thought we recently learnt the word ‘amazing’ because it was pretty much repeated over and over.
The camping trips were a blast! We packed some hot dogs, pizza sandwiches, s’mores and maybe a few bottles of wine and hit the highway with our windows down and music blasting. Our half-ass itinerary was out the window when our first stop did not allow any overnight camping. So there we were still driving around at 10:30pm trying to find the perfect spot, refusing to stay in a motel. We took the road less travelled many times, hoping it might lead us to a beautiful lake. In most cases it did not, but I did improve on my off-roading skills.
Somehow everything worked out perfectly – the beach gods must have been looking over us.
Here is a small summary of all 18 stops we made 🙂
Boulevard lake is a man made lake in the city with a beautiful walking trail surrounding it. We didn’t go swimming on this particular day as it has a tendency to have high levels of bacteria, but we did dip our big toes in.
Just a short drive out Lakeshore you will find Wild Goose beach. I’m sure I was probably here as a child but I don’t remember it, so I will say it was my first time there.
The beach was really nice, it was just tricky to find a spot as it was packed. Made for some fun people-watching though.
Another place I don’t recall visiting before was Sandy beach at Chippewa. I really enjoyed this beach and for some reason we had it all to ourselves.
Sidenote: If you want to take a fun picture lying in the sand be prepared to spend some time in the water rinsing off after, it gets everywhere!
The Cascades does not really fall into the ‘beach’ category but is still a great place to catch some rays and cool off. There was a constant line of teens taking turns jumping off the rocks into the water. While I am not brave enough to attempt the rock jumping, it did make for some entertainment as we enjoyed our coolers… er, I mean water.
Mackenzie point – one of my favorite stops on the beach tour. Again, doesn’t really qualify as a beach but it was beautiful. We sat on the rocks at the waters edge enjoying the view while the waves gently splashed onto us. The perfect spot to relax with a coffee and a good book.
Just a short drive from Mackenzie point you will find Mackenzie river. The day was cooling off a bit so we didn’t swim there but we did go exploring up the river which was a lot of fun.
Besides wine, my other guilty pleasure is s’mores. So when National S’mores Day fell on one of our planned beach tour days we HAD to celebrate.
The beach here was not as nice as some of the others we visited but the view was beautiful. I think I slipped into a sugar coma for a couple days after this stop.
If you want to swim somewhere fairly close to the city with crystal clear water, go to Oliver Lake. The beach is quite small so it can be tricky to find a spot on a busy day but the water is amazing (oops there’s that word again).
I was pleasantly surprised at how nice Trowbridge is now – I had not been there for many years. While we did not swim on our stop, I will definitely be going back next summer on a hot day.
So funny story about this stop on our beach tour. Our intended destination was East Bay, but we ended up in Armstrong which is another hour and a half past where we were trying to go.
In our defense the directions said it was a two hour drive out the Armstrong highway and didn’t mention that you needed to make a turn off of the highway. So we drove, and we drove some more. We had no phone signals so we weren’t able to get some better directions. I still laugh when I think about us driving into Armstrong – where the heck were we! We stopped at a gas station to ask for some directions with no luck. “You girls need to go back to Thunder Bay” was about all we got out of the gentleman working there. Well alrighty then.
We were definitely not going to just head back home. We had a nice picnic packed and we were going to find a beach! So we headed back out on the highway, keeping our eyes open for a nice spot to stop at. After driving for a bit we passed a dirt road. For some reason we felt like we should take a drive down there and Voila! – there was a beautiful beach at the end.
We never did find out where we were but had a great afternoon there!
I have visited Kakabeka beach many times throughout my life. It is a nice beach close to town. While we were here my friend wanted to do a short hike and show us Little Falls which she had been to once before. The hike ended up being a little longer than we expected and we may have doubted her a few times during, but we eventually reached our destination.
It was such a nice little spot, I would love to go back. Next time I think I will wear runners over flip flops though.Centennial was a quick stop on our way back from one of the overnight trips. The weather was not favorable for swimming but I could see how this would be a popular place in the summer.
We had originally planned on camping at Mirror Lake but the campground was pretty full and we wanted a little more privacy. The beach here was a little small but still a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
This was my first time visiting the Sleeping Giant provincial park and Lake Marie Louise. High winds, pesky ducks and an aggressive skunk only added to a hilarious and unforgettable camping trip. The endless hiking trails and stunning scenery puts it near the top of the Beach Tour list for me.
Terrace Bay beach was another beach we had planned on camping at but there is no overnight camping allowed there. It was kind of a dreary day so we just took a few pictures and moved on.
I was surprised at how big it was, I imagine it is packed with people on a hot summer day.
I loved Pebble Beach. We enjoyed a nice early morning breakfast there. It would be a tricky place to lay down a towel and sit -as the entire beach is rocks.
The beautiful stones combined with all the driftwood did make for some gorgeous scenery though.
What can I say about Horseshoe Beach – it was incredible! We felt like we were on a tropical vacation, not a few hours from Thunder Bay. The hiking trails were as stunning as the beach – my only regret is that we didn’t get to spend more time there.
I saved the best for last! Neys Beach. WOW.
We spent one night at this tropical paradise and I did not want to leave. With miles of white sand beach and waves so big I felt like I was swimming in the ocean, this was my number one stop!
Beach Tour 2016 was an incredible experience spent with some amazing friends.
It may be a minor example but just goes to show – you can do anything you put your mind to!
Onto the next adventure…..