One of the perks of living in Ontario is that this beautiful province can be enjoyed all year round. With an abundance of natural beauty and opportunities for adventure, there's one question every Ontarian has to face — where should my next staycation be?

That being said, current restrictions are keeping us from going farther afield, and anyone itching to escape their surroundings and step into nature is encouraged to stay as close to home as possible. But when we are allowed to freely travel again and explore all Ontario has to offer, you might want to consider looking north.

Sault Ste. Marie (affectionately nicknamed "the Soo") is the place to go for unforgettable experiences right in your own backyard.

Nestled in between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, the Soo is just an hour by plane from the GTA (or a scenic seven-hour road trip) and has something to offer every adventurer.

From camping and fishing to kayaking, biking and much more, it can be hard to know where to start. Arriving with a convenient three-day itinerary like this one will help you make the most of the Soo for when it's safe to go exploring once again.

Day 1: A Healthy Mix Of The Outdoors & City Life

Mountain Bike The Hiawatha Highlands

Martin Lortz

Price: Free (bike rental available in town if you don't have your own)

Address: 780 Landslide Rd., Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: With all of the twists and turns that make mountain biking such an adventure, the Hiawatha Highlands will not disappoint.

Some of Ontario's best trails are just 10 minutes from the Soo's downtown with options for cyclists of any skill level. Nervous? Head out with a guide like Red Pine Tours and let them figure out the route while you take it all in.

There are currently 40 kilometres of trails to explore, with new developments coming this summer. Plus, you'll find waterfalls and lookout points along the way, perfect for a well-earned water break.

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Go Chasing Waterfalls At Chippewa Falls

Courtesy of Sault Tourism

Price: Free

Address: Algoma, Unorganized, North Part, ON

Why You Need To Go: Just 30 minutes north of your first destination is the 25-foot-high Chippewa Falls. Visible from Highway 17, these picturesque falls make the area a popular stop for folk road-tripping north.

The hiking trail is a leisurely 2.5-kilometre round trip, with a spectacular view to enjoy while you eat your picnic lunch.

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Bask In The Beauty Of Batchawana Bay

Price: Free

Address: 12729 Hwy 17N, Batchawana Bay, ON

Why You Need To Go: The perfect place to catch the late afternoon sun is just 10 minutes up the road at the striking Batchawana Bay Provincial Park.

Relax by the gorgeous blue water at this Lake Superior beach, snap some photos and even take a dip if the weather allows. Batchawana Bay is also a great location for wildlife sightings — bald eagle, osprey, beaver and mink can all be spotted in this area.

When you've had your fill of the glorious sunset, grab a local dinner at Voyageurs' Lodge before heading back out to stargaze. The clear skies above Batchawana Bay are well-known among local photographers for providing a spectacular view of the stars.

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Day 2: Dive Into All Mother Nature Has To Offer

Speed On The St. Marys River

Price: Prices vary

Address: Roberta Bondar Pavilion, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: Why would you come all this way and not get in the water? Located in the heart of Sault Ste. Marie, St. Marys River is the ultimate destination for urban paddling.

If you don't have much paddling experience, consider booking a guided tour and get a unique perspective of the Soo as you make your way down St. Marys River. Canoes for Conservation offer group tours in their iconic Big Canoe, or you could kayak the river with Thrive Tours or book a custom adventure with Forest The Canoe.

Keep an eye on the upcoming events listed on the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie website. For those who prefer a rush of adrenaline to a placid paddle, tickets are now available for a rip around Lake Superior in the "Superior Rocket" — a 12-passenger, military-style speed boat that can reach speeds up to 90 km/h.

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Fuel Up With Lunch In Town

Price: Prices vary depending on location

Address: Various

Why You Need To Go: With a big hike in your near future, this is your chance to enjoy a hearty, delicious lunch and grab some trail snacks. Luckily, there are tons of restaurants and cafes to match any kind of craving.

Stroll the boardwalk along St. Marys River and stop by Fluid Boardwalk Patio and Grill, indulge in a few baked goods and specialty coffee to go at Big Lake Cabin or head by The Queen's Tarts for their iconic butter tarts and pastries.

Also, make a stop by OutSpoken Brewing for some takeaway local craft beer to enjoy with the view later on (you'll see).

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Spend Your Afternoon Hiking Up Robertson Cliffs

Price: Free

Address: Algoma, Unorganized, North Part, ON

Why You Need To Go: Just 20 minutes north of Sault Ste. Marie, you'll find a hike that has it all — beautiful forests, a waterfall and spectacular cliff-top views.

Turn onto the marked trail called Ila's Loop, named after an avid hiker, Ila Aho, who created this route herself. The trail is five kilometres total, but you can head straight up the ascent if you prefer.

The hike is a little challenging — come prepared with sturdy footwear, lots of water and a protein-packed snack — but the incredible views are worth the trek.

If you want more from your hike than a workout and a great view, Thrive Tours offers camping and hiking experiences around the Sault Ste. Marie area. Indigenous-run and owned, this local company is passionate about sharing knowledge of the Soo with fellow adventurers.

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Catch The Sunset At Gros Cap Marina

Price: Free

Address: 4817 Second Line W, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: Is there anything better than taking in a gorgeous sunset after an adventure-packed day? At this conservation area and beach, you'll find rock faces and bluffs that line the rugged coast of Gros Cap.

With cliffs that reach heights of 300 feet, you'll have the perfect elevated view to take in the rainbow skies at dusk over Lake Superior.

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Wine & Dine Yourself

Price: Prices vary depending on location

Address: Various

Why You Need To Go: The half-hour drive back into Sault Ste. Marie is the perfect time to browse which of the Soo's restaurants you'd like to sample for dinner.

Check out local favourites like the Northern Superior Brewing Co., which has been a part of the community for over a century, or Ernie's Coffee Shop, serving up diner dishes with a gourmet spin.

If cozy bars are more your speed, look up Broers Jansen and sample a "Bro'cuterie Board", perfectly paired with a glass of wine.

Whatever cuisine you're feeling, ordering takeout from a local restaurant (or patio dining if restrictions allow) is a great way to try out all the Soo has to offer and support small businesses at the same time.

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Day 3: Savour Every Last Moment

Catch Some Fish In The Rapids

Price: Free, if you have your own equipment (or hire a guide locally, prices vary)

Address: St. Marys River Rapids, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: Thanks to the amount of fresh water in the Algoma region, fishing opportunities in this area are abundant.

If you're a fishing enthusiast, don't miss this chance to throw on your waders and cast your fly rod. The St. Marys River Rapids are a world-famous destination for Atlantic salmon, five different Pacific salmon species, steelhead and rainbow trout.

For novices, there are plenty of guides ready to introduce you to the joy of fishing the rapids. Jump in a boat with Redwood Charters, wade into the shallows with John Giuliani Fishing Adventures or start from scratch with Angling Algoma.

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Learn About The Important History Of Residential Schools

Courtesy of Sault Tourism

Price: Free

Address: Algoma University, 1520 Queen St. E, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: The Sault Ste. Marie region is an excellent destination for learning about and celebrating Indigenous history and culture, but it's not just art, crafts and food that deserve recognition. From 1873 to 1970, the campus of Algoma University operated as one of Ontario's 17residential schools for First Nations children.

Algoma University has since become home to the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC), which works with Survivor groups, researchers and educators, churches, descendants and friends to educate the public on the history and impact of residential schools in Canada.

Visitors are welcome for educational tours from Tuesday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment and can be booked up to two weeks in advance.

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Indulge Your Artistic Side

Price: Prices vary

Address: Downtown, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: At the Art Gallery of Algoma, 10 East St., you'll find the work of local, national and international artists. After adventuring in the great outdoors, it's the perfect place to relax and unwind — just be sure to check current lockdown restrictions before planning a visit to the gallery.

In addition to 20 exhibitions a year, the AGA has a permanent collection on display featuring art by iconic Canadian artists like the Group of Seven.

When you've had your fill of the gallery, continue your artsy afternoon by taking a stroll past the numerous murals downtown. The Downtown Mural Project's five large-scale murals bring vibrancy and character to the streets of Sault Ste. Marie.

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Bring A Piece Of The Soo Home With You

Price: Prices vary

Address: Downtown, Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Why You Need To Go: Before heading home, soak in your last moments of Sault Ste. Marie with a browse in the shops. Pop in and out of stores along the boardwalk, or check out the historical downtown along Queen street.

Pick yourself up a souvenir to commemorate your adventure-packed weekend, or perhaps a gift for friends and family who will no doubt be green with envy.

If shopping isn't your bag there are plenty more things to squeeze into your final day (or check out this guide for inspiration).

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Whether you prefer relaxing on the beach, visiting museums, getting your adrenaline pumping or checking out all that the Soo's downtown has to offer, there are endless opportunities to find your dream staycation in Sault Ste. Marie.

For more information on planning your trip to Sault Ste. Marie, check out the city's website and find them on Instagram and Facebook.

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.