Terrace Bay isn’t a “blink and you’ll miss it” kinda small town on the Trans Canada Highway. It makes itself known and draws you in. From the 50 foot tall roadside lighthouse in the center of town, to the unusually long and often mispronounced road sign directing you to Aguasabon Falls & Gorge (ah-gwa-saw-bin). Terrace Bay’s Superior Six Attractions and accommodations will have you stop, explore and stay a while.
Let’s delve into the places to play and stay in Terrace Bay shall we?
Aguasabon Falls & Gorge is an attraction that can not be missed during a stay in Terrace Bay. It’s as easily accessible as it is magnificent offering no risk with the highest of reward! The parking lot can accommodate any size vehicle, there are convenient restrooms, picnic areas, boardwalk and access to the Casque Isle hiking Trail.
The boardwalk leading to the falls is a stunning and sound structure with brilliant cobalt blue railing set amid the forest. As you walk along the boardwalk the sound of the rushing falls grows louder. A platform above the gorge offers the perfect vantage point above Aguasabon Falls in all its glory. Aguasabon Falls plunges 100 feet into the 2.6 billion year old gorge where the river flows down to Lake Superior.
If you haven’t had your waterfall fill yet, there’s more! A section of the Casque Isle Trail will take you from the falls to the lower falls of Aguasabon River near Terrace Bay Beach. This smaller waterfall cascades over craggy rock just above the river mouth.
If you’re a hiker, explorer, adventurer, waterfall chaser, canine or human, you will love the Casque Isle Trail! This wilderness recreational trail spans 53 km (33 miles) all the way from Terrace Bay to Rossport. But don’t feel like you have to complete it all in one go! It is divided into 5 segments with 11 different access points. Lyda Bay is Terrace Bay’s 7 km (4.3 mile) segment of the Casque Isle Trail and offers a wilderness adventure with some of the most picturesque views on the north shore.
An access point at the sandy Terrace Bay beach will take you to a bridge crossing over lower Aguasabon Falls up to the upper falls and gorge. Continue through the Terrace Bay Nature Reserve down to Danny’s Cove. A beautiful tucked away, secluded beach with shallow and warmer water that invites you to dip your toes in. You will also encounter boulder beaches that are remnants from the last ice age higher up from the shoreline and Pukaskwa pits dug by early inhabitants, ancestors of the Ojibwa. The climb up to Lyda Bay Lookout offers panoramic views that will absolutely take your breath away, 65m/200ft above Lake Superior. And Lyda Bay itself will have you staying awhile wading in the bay’s shallow waters.
There are access points at Terrace Bay Beach, Aguasabon Falls and Hydro Bay Road to Danny’s Cove for shorter hikes. Don’t forget your camera, these are views you’ll want to take with you!
If you love sun, sand, and surf then you’ll love Terrace Bay Beach! This beach truly has it all, with a parking lot that can accommodate large vehicles and trailers, beach volleyball court, boat launch, accessible kayak launch, restrooms, and picnic areas. It is an access point to Slate Islands Provincial Park and the Casque Isle Trail and is quickly becoming a prime surfing destination for surfers seeking to catch some Lake Superior waves.
From the beach you can observe Lower Aguasabon Falls and river as it flows into Lake Superior. Launch your canoe or kayak and paddle upstream for a closer look or take the Casque Isle Trail to the bridge above it. Aguasabon Golf Course is close by where you can get a bite to eat from the clubhouse after an afternoon in the sun or to pack up for a picnic lunch on the beach.
New to the beach in the summer of 2021 is a pavilion and 300 metre long boardwalk that leads visitors on a nature trail to a set of Parks Canada Red Chairs. The pavilion is situated at the mouth of Aguasabon River and has a visitor centre operated by the Parks Canada Lake Superior NMCA team. They will be offering recreational information, merchandise, fun and interactive programs, and events.
If you like this sun-soaked beach during the day (and you will), then you’ll absolutely love it at night! Being sheltered from light pollution, it is the ideal setting for stargazing while listening to the waves roll in. Be sure to hit up the beach before settling in for the night. You won’t be disappointed.
Slate Islands Provincial Park is one of the most unique provincial parks in the country. It is made up of an archipelago of volcanic rock islands on Lake Superior approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of Terrace Bay. To get to the park visitors can go by charter boat or sea kayak. It is recommended that experienced kayakers attempt reaching the islands and a guide is preferable.
The crown jewel of the park is Slate Islands Lighthouse situated on the southern side Patterson Island – one of the main islands of the park. This octagonal lighthouse is elevated 224 feet above sea level and is 36 feet from its base to lantern.
You can explore the islands through caribou trodden trails and even set up camp for the night. The rustic campsites here with the absolute absence of light pollution and just the right atmospheric conditions are an ideal place to experience the Northern Lights.
Woodland caribou have called the Slate Islands home since the early 1900s and are the largest herd in Ontario! Lucky visitors to the islands have a chance of seeing them roaming around. This particular herd have even been known to stroll into campsites to lick the ashes of extinguished campfires. It is important that visitors respect these bashful inhabitants and not disturb them with loud noises, unleashed dogs, and outside food. Caribou do not need a slice of your Margherita pizza.
There’s no missing the Terrace Bay Lighthouse – like a beacon welcoming you to town. Directly in front of Simcoe Plaza and beside Drifters Motel & Restaurant – so convenient! This 50-foot-tall lighthouse was designed to replicate the one found on Slate Islands Provincial Park.
Climb the stairs to the observation platform and be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding town, boreal forest, and Lake Superior out to the Slate Islands. A coin operated telescope helps you get an even better look. You may even be lucky enough to see some caribou roaming around the island. This is a must-see north shore attraction whether it’s a stop to stretch your legs or if you’re staying awhile to experience Terrace Bay as your vacation destination.
This is also the site for a Group of Seven installation where creative inspiration was born. The installation showcases the painting entitled Slate Islands, Lake Superior by Group of Seven artist A.Y. Jackson in 1921. The lighthouse is open to visitors from May to October. Don’t forget to sign the guest book to say you were here.
Fore!!! Tee up and drive anytime at the beautiful 9-hole Aguasabon Golf Course. Whether you’re an avid golfer or a Mulligan Marty, you’ll have a great time on this course. Set along the Aguasabon River and touching Lake Superior, with pristine greens of bentgrass and bluegrass, the scenery is on par with the golfing.
The pro shop offers all the golf accessories you may need. Golf clubs, pull cart, and powered gas cart rentals are available. And good news for tourists, if you’re staying at a local motel you get the Stay & Play promotion of a 10 dollar discount for a round of 9 or 18 holes. You can’t go wrong with that kind of deal! After a rousing round a golf, unwind on the clubhouse patio and take in the views with a meal and a cocktail.
Now that we have the play covered, you’ll need a place to rest your head for the night. Terrace Bay has you covered with a few great places to stay.
A stay at Drifter’s Motel will give you an excellent idea of just how friendly this community is. This family owned establishment and the hospitable staff will be sure to make you feel at home. The clean and comfortable rooms with lake views offer a relaxing oasis after a day of adventure. The rooms have all the amenities you might need including minifridges, microwaves and coffee makers.
Upgrade to a suite with a living space, fireplace, and whirlpool tub for ultimate luxury during your visit. Perfect for a romantic getaway or a girls’ weekend. You can even order delicious room service from the restaurant.
Drifter’s has an Italian restaurant with a cozy, intimate atmosphere. They have an extensive menu including everything from burgers to steak and lobster. Enjoy your meal with a cocktail on the seasonal terrace.
The Red Dog Inn is another great option for your home away from home. The staff is well versed on the local attractions and offer local brochures and pamphlets for guests. There are over 40 comfortable rooms in this Tudor style motel with all the amenities of home. Enjoy free WiFi, cable TV, mini fridge, coffee maker and air conditioning.
The Norwood Motel’s convenient location and beautifully appointed rooms make for another great option for your stay in Terrace Bay. Even their standard rooms aren’t so standard offering rooms options with a dining table, desk area, furnished kitchen and walk out patio.
Opt for a suite for the ultimate home away from home with a furnished kitchen, living room, desk area and separate king-sized bedroom.
There certainly is a whole lot to experience packed into this humble community. From Terrace Bay’s Superior Six Attractions to charming accommodations, you’ll want to Play and Stay in Terrace Bay!