The Lake Superior Circle Tour offers ceaseless opportunities to explore a unique portion of North America. Spanning through five distinctive regions; Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ontario’s Superior Country, and Ontario’s Algoma Country. Encompassing around 1,300 mi (2,092 km) of the largest Great Lake offering remarkable panoramic views and awe inspiring geological marvels. Here are some attractions you shouldn’t miss on your Circle Tour journey.
One of Michigan’s most popular attractions, the Shipwreck Museum offers Circle Tour travelers a glimpse into some of the dangers faced by those who traveled Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes of North America. Take a 56 step climb to the top of Whitefish Point Light Tower with a guided tour and experience this American Civil War Era Lighthouse. Full of history, great views, and fun times for the entire family the Great Lakes Shipwreck museum will be one of your most memorable visits along your Lake Superior Circle Tour journey!
With close to 81 square miles (130 km) of immaculate undeveloped woodland this State Park is one that should not be missed. The centerpiece of the park is the impressive Tahquamenon River and waterfalls. An accessible path leads you to observation platforms for the Upper Falls that rushes nearly 50 feet down and more than 200 feet across. A 4 mile (6.4 km) hiking trail along the river leads you to the picturesque Lower Falls, an arrangement of 5 smaller cascading falls. The restaurant, brewery, and gift shop were originally logging camps and the buildings are a replica of the original. A perfect way to end a visit to the park with amazing food, brew, and a memory to bring home with you.
Hugging the shoreline of Lake Superior, nestled between Munising and Grand Marais is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There you will find more than 40 miles (64 km) of pristine beaches and impressive sandstone cliffs. The famous and unique Pictured Rock cliffs have been shaped by the absolute power of Lake Superior, so named by the streaks of mineral stain that decorate the weather sculpted sandstone. Within Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore, you will discover incredible scenic hiking trails, waterfalls, and back-country camping opportunities in a truly spectacular setting.
Popularly referred to as Marquette’s recreational crown jewel Presque Isle Park on the Lake Superior Circle Tour is defiantly a must see. This peninsula extends into Lake Superior with a natural beauty that is unmatched. Some Circle Tour travelers boast that there is no better way to experience Presque than a family picnic. You will enjoy a quiet atmosphere as you sit back and experience over 100 plant species, spectacular pebble beaches, and a beautifully rich forest. With a must-see marina and the beautiful Upper Harbor Lighthouse this piece of Marquette should not be missed along your Lake Superior Circle Tour!
Just off the Circle Tour sits the must do and see experience of the Copper Falls State Park . This nature lovers dream world will be sure to offer you an adventure of a life time. Witness canyons, streams, and even water falls in between a swimming and camping experience that you will be sure to never forget. With year-round trails Copper Falls State Park is a relaxing and rewarding Lake Superior Circle Tour attraction!
Known as the Historic Mural Capital of Wisconsin, Ashland’s business district is covered in works of art depicting the city’s rich and vibrant history. Sixteen full-color murals along eight-blocks tell the fascinating story of Ashland from the nineteenth century to modern time. The murals were painted by local artists Kelly Meredith and Susan Prentice Martinsen, whose newest addition is entitled “Women of Ashland”. Take a stroll or guided trolley tour through Ashland’s past of this must-see exhibition of the town’s history and culture.
With 12 miles of mainland shoreline the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore will be sure to captivate every member of your Lake Superior Circle Tour journey. With world class boating, camping, hiking, sight seeing, and so much more you can easily spend days at this great national park. For the more ambitious, and those looking for the true Apostle Islands experience, you can make your way to the islands themselves by embarking on a cruise or by taking a water taxi. You will never forget the feeling of the complete beauty the Apostle Islands offers on the Lake Superior Circle Tour!
The Wisconsin Point Lighthouse was built in 1913 and is located between the twin ports of Superior and Duluth. The lighthouse is nestled between a 10 mile (16 km) long sand bar that splits in the middle to form the Wisconsin Point and Minnesota Point, making it the longest freshwater sand bar in the world. The lighthouse is not open for tours however it is a popular attraction to visit and is a favorite among photographers.
One of the most frequented and photographed landmarks in Duluth, or on the Circle Tour for that matter, is the 386-foot Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. Watching huge impressive ships coming through the canal and under the bridge as it lifts to a clearance of 180 feet never gets old. Canal Park itself is bustling with things to do while visiting this amazing 900-ton structure. Spend a day sampling culinary delights, visiting brewpubs and art galleries while watching the bridge raise and lower for water traffic.
The Great Lakes Aquarium , located at the beautiful waterfront of Duluth Minnesota, boasts a mission to inspire visitors to explore their connection to Lake Superior; and accomplishes that mission tenfold! This stop is a must for your Lake Superior Circle Tour and offers a memorable experience for all ages with hands on exhibits, interactive zones, and live animal displays. The great experiences you will have at this excellent attraction will be a highlight of your Tour!
This Lighthouse, located in Two Harbors Minnesota along the Lake Superior Circle Tour offers some of the most memorable views of the lake. It was from a November storm in 1905 that issued the need and eventually the construction of the Lighthouse which is now one of Minnesota’s most beautiful and best known landmarks. Through its restoration Split Rock Lighthouse allows you to travel back in time to the 1920s and experience Lake Superior in a whole new ‘light’! This national historic landmark is a must see during anyone’s Lake Superior Circle Tour!
Located in Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the Devil’s Kettle is a rock formation that has bewildered visitors for decades. Until recently, geologists had no explanation as to how the flowing water of a river could seemingly vanish, never to be seen again. A short hike will lead you to Brule River, which splits in two as it goes over the Devil’s Kettle waterfall. Astoundingly, while one side of the river continues into Lake Superior, the other half disappears. Scientists believe they have now uncovered the mystery of the Devil’s Kettle, but you’ll have to visit this incredible marvel and find out for yourself.
This Niagara of the north, situated only 19 miles (30 km) west of Thunder Bay in Superior Country , boasts a 130 ft. height making it the second largest waterfall, by capacity, in Ontario. The Kaministiqua River, which hosts this marvelous attraction, is a historic route to the First Nations of the region. It is surrounded by beautifully maintained walking and hiking trails that offer spectacular scenery to any Mother Nature enthusiast. Kakabeka falls is a must experience stop along your Circle Tour Journey and offers great camping, swimming, and wild life experiences!
In Dorion, 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Thunder Bay, Ouimet Canyon serves as a testament to the sheer force of nature. Over millions of years, the natural elements have worked to carve a 330 ft. deep gorge from solid rock. The bottom of the canyon is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna that can otherwise only be found in the arctic. The ecosystem is so fragile, in fact, that visitors aren’t allowed down into the canyon itself – but don’t worry! A short trek on an accessible path will lead you to breathtaking views of the canyon.
Relive the adventurous and thrilling children’s book Paddle to the Sea, published in 1941, by visiting Nipigon, only an hour east of Thunder Bay in Superior Country. The park, boasting a range of twelve play stations, leads your family on an adventure from downtown Nipigon to its beautiful marina offering majestic views of Lake Superior and the beautifully constructed Nipigon River Bridge. This park is fun for all ages with story telling taking place at each of its locations. You will be sure to lose yourself in its great story. With a newly integrated splash pad this is a great place to experience while cooling off on your Lake Superior Circle Tour!
The Aguasabon Falls & Gorge is a stunning, must-see attraction in Terrace Bay and on the Circle Tour. There is an accessible boardwalk that leads straight to a viewing platform for instantly gratifying views of the falls, gorge, and Lake Superior. With a magnificent ferocity in the spring and a tranquil beauty in the summer and autumn, this spectacular 100 ft. waterfall cascades into the Aguasabon Gorge—flowing along a 2.6-billion-year-old rock face. The Casque Isle hiking trailhead begins at the parking lot and is said to be the most popular segment of this incredible 33-mile (53 km) trail along Lake Superior.
Poised over the junction of the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 101, stands the Wawa Goose. Another widely popular and photographed attraction on the Circle Tour. In Ojibway, Wawa means “Wild Goose or Land of the Big Goose” so this 28 ft. tall structure is a very fitting welcome for millions of visitors to the town. Originally made of plaster, the Goose has been through a few iterations and is now the mighty steel construction we see today that is sure to stand up to the elements for years to come.
Along a rugged rock-face in Lake Superior Provincial Park, 81 mi (130 km) north of Sault Ste. Marie, Agawa Rock is a sacred site where the area’s Ojibwe went to record their stories. The pictographs are said to date from the 17th and 18th centuries, and depict visions and dreams from the past. Agawa Rock is only accessible when Lake Superior is calm, and visitors are encouraged to exercise caution along the short but slippery trail.
All aboard! In the center of Sault Ste. Marie, located in Algoma Country, sits the Agawa Canyon Tour Train Station waiting for your arrival and to take you on a journey of a life time. There is no better way to witness the beauty of Algoma Country then from your comfortable and relaxing Agawa Train. With a fully operational dining car you can take in a wonderful meal while bringing your mind back to simpler times. This is a great stop along the Circle Tour any time of the year but is especially recommended during the fall for a colourful experience that will never be forgotten!
This must-see attraction, located in the beautiful Sault Ste. Marie in Algoma Country, tells the fantastic story of Canadian Bush Plane history through hands-on experiences and displays. With an all new children’s section, and many different and interactive exhibits, your family will be sure to have a great time while learning some great Canadian history. The number of things to do at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre are uncountable. Your Circle Tour wouldn’t be complete without a visit this attraction!
The Lake Superior Circle Tour boasts endless adventure for those ambitious enough to take on the challenge. From natural marvels to treasured pieces of nostalgia, Lake Superior is home to a plethora of must see attractions. What are you waiting for? Start planning your Lake Superior Circle Tour today!