Ready for your perfect weekend getaway during the winter? Now, I know you're probably thinking of somewhere warm, but we have an alternative idea for you. Imagine spending a weekend up in Sault Ste. Marie experiencing a winter adventure like you've never had before.

We're talking one-of-a-kind scenery and nature, activities for everyone, great shopping, amazing food and drinks, and so much more! From skiing and snowshoeing to skating, there are so many winter activities that you'll love. Plus, you can do all these things while enjoying the gorgeous scenery that the Sault has to offer; you definitely won't be able to explore ancient mountains and freshwater seas like you do up in the Sault!

So take some time away from the city to experience some one-of-a-kind outdoor winter adventures. Without further ado, here's an awesome list of all the winter activities you can look forward to this year in Sault Ste. Marie

Explore ice caverns that are unique to the area

Price: Free

When: February - March

Where: Along Lake Superior, but especially Gros Cap, Red Rock, Alona Bay, Pancake Bay, Mica Bay, and Coppermine Point

Why You Need To Go: Because, honestly, where else would you be able to explore the inside of ice formations without having to travel very far? Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding area are home to breathtaking ice caves that, when taking proper safety precautions (never go alone, proceed with caution, and research safety conditions beforehand!), can be super fun to explore! How fun? Well, let's just say, The New York Times has named Sault Ste. Marie's ice caves one of the best 52 places to visit in. The. World! 

Website

Find your upper-body strength and try ice climbing

Price: $150.00 for a beginner course

When: All winter

Address: 44 Great Northern Rd, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6B 6H4

Why You Need To Go: From beginner to advanced instruction, why not try ice climbing? The classes are small, so you're guaranteed one-on-one time with the instructor. Group sizes can range from two to six people. Also, not only will you get to spend time actually climbing, but the trained instructors can teach you a lot about ice formations, ice-climbing history, and other interesting facts. I bet there are some great views while climbing, too! You'll have to find out for yourself and check it off your activity bucket list. 

Try one of the many local breweries — like Outspoken Brewing

Price: Depends on your picks!

When: Open all season

Address: 350 Queen St E, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 1Z1

Why You Need To Go: From a list of brewed in-house ales and IPAs, this company is for beer lovers of all kinds. This place may be small, but there's tons to discover: you can attend both on-site and off-site Outspoken Brewing events and enjoy delicious beer and food as an indoor winter activity. So stop by when you need to warm up from your snow-filled fun! You can count on the delicious drinks to keep you warm. 

Take a winter wonderland sleigh ride at Mockingbird Hill Farm 

Price: $100 for couples; $200 for group rides

When: November - April

Address: 943 Landslide Rd, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 6J8

Why You Need To Go: This sleigh ride is unlike any other. Not only are you getting to take in the beauty of winter on a horse-drawn carriage (how romantic), but the ride will pass by historic buildings and head into the forests of the farm. It's a truly relaxing, serene experience. 

Besides, if there's anyone who's not interested in joining the sleigh ride, then they're welcome to stay back and enjoy the petting barn!

Watch the Northern Lights, right in your own backyard 

Price: Free

When: January - February

Where: Somewhere untouched by light pollution

Why You Need To Go: Situated in Northern Ontario, Sault Ste. Marie's unique location makes it the perfect spot to catch one of nature's most spectacular sights. Make sure to find an area with as little light pollution as possible, and enjoy! Algoma District also delivers amazing views. However, if we're talking prime location, Lake Superior Provincial Park (just north of SSM) was officially recognized as a nationally certified Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada — only the second provincial park to earn this designation!

Website

Enjoy the great outdoors while skating on an ice rink

Price: Free admission

When: All winter

Where: Various locations

Why You Need To Go: There are a ton of outdoor ice rinks in the Sault, and most are open until late with free admission! That includes Clergue Park Skating Trail, a unique skating trail along the shore of St. Mary's River, connecting the inland sea of Lake Superior with Lake Huron. Get all the romantic feels with your partner as you glide on the ice together and watching ocean-going freighters cruise up the shore.

Here's a list of some other common ones:

  • Anna McCrea Rink 
  • Merrifield Rink 
  • Esposito Rink 
  • Art Jennings Speed Skating Oval 

At each of these places, you'll be glad to join a game of pick-up hockey or just twirl around on the ice at your own leisure. It's your vacation, so it's your choice!

Website

Take advantage of ski-resort living

Price: Depends on your dates & picks, but around $340

When: All winter 

Address: 103 Searchmont Resort Rd, Searchmont, ON P0S 1J0 

Why You Need To Go: Experience the two-night ski-and-stay package at the beautiful Searchmont Resort, one of the biggest mountains in Ontario. Spend your days being lifted up the mountain to fly back down, enjoy fine dining, shop, and (best of all) relax! It's known as the true mountain experience. For the inexperienced, there are ski classes too! It's the ultimate ski-cation, and definitely needs to be part of your Sault Ste. Marie winter getaway.

Experience the trails of Stokely Creek on a cross-country ski adventure

Price: $13.56 for a half-day, and $23.00 for a full day 

When: All winter 

Address: Pickard Rd, Goulais River, ON P0S 1E0

Why You Need To Go: On these trails, ranked one of the top five great places to cross-country ski in North America by CNN Travel, you're guaranteed views of a lifetime. You'll be challenged, but you'll reach personal milestones at the same time. The Stokely Creek trails are marked and well taken care of, so there's nothing to fear! There are more than 100 miles of varied terrain and trails for every ski level. Enjoy the beauty and silence of the wilderness and go at your own pace. Don't forget to snap a few good Insta photos while you're there. And when it's finally time to wind down, Stokely Creek Lodge has cozy accommodations, a homey ambiance, and great homemade food to make your stay as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.

Warm up and sip some java from a local cafe, like Scott Coffee Co. 

Price: Depends on your pick!

When: All winter

Address: 248 Northern Ave E, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6H 4H6

Why You Need To Go: Your entire trip doesn't have to be about adventure 24/7. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a great cup of coffee. Local cafes are serious hidden gems; there's nothing better than a unique cup of joe in an environment full of great vibes. You can find all that at Scott Coffee Co., among many other great cafes in the Sault too. Oh — and there are delicious treats to snack on while you enjoy well-deserved caffeine. Wouldn't you love to get coffee from a cafe that looks like a real gingerbread house?

Price: Free

Price: $50 for a Season Pass or $5 for a Day Pass + $10 for rentals

When: All winter

Address: 780 Landslide Rd, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 5K7


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.


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