Land of Lakes and Forests: Lake Superior Camping Trip
Rocky shorelines, wind swept trees, endless lakes and rivers – these are the icons of the Canadian wilderness and Lake Superior has all of these aplenty. For us it was a 9-hour drive from the Toronto area, but the drive is worth it as you get access to this rugged, wild and sparsely populated region of Canada.
Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world by surface area and is known for its stormy and moody disposition. Half of the lake and coastline are in Canada, with the other half being in the US. The Trans-Canada highway runs along Lake Superior, making it a common route for travelers going cross Canada. There are numerous Provincial Parks and one National Park, giving you lots of choice for camping and exploring.
In addition to the natural environment, Lake Superior is Ojibway country and you can see pictographs at Agawa Rock and learn about how the indigenous people lived on the land and continue to today. Another interesting component of Lake Superior is the Voyageur history and its importance on the historical fur trade route.
Our first 2-week Lake Superior camping trip consisted of 4 nights at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, a 2 night backcountry trip at the Gargantua area of Lake Superior Provincial Park, 4 nights at Pukaskwa National Park and 5 nights at Agawa Bay campground at Lake Superior PP. There is nothing we would change about our itinerary and we think this is a great first visit itinerary to Lake Superior. On our second trip to Lake Superior, on a cross-Canada trip, we added a visit to Sleeping Giant PP, near Thunder Bay. Included in this article is a breakdown of the Parks we visited, the activities and hikes we did and other helpful information. These activities are all family-friendly as we travel with our three kids, aged 8-12.
The campground is located right along the Trans-Canada highway, meaning that you can hear road noise from most sites. The Park offers 325 sites, in a few rows of powered and regular sites and is spread a few kilometers along the beach. It is great to have bikes at this park as the long and thin layout makes the park a few kilometers from end-to-end. The best sites are the ones directly on the water, although you will have to book early to nab one. We managed to get one and we loved the direct access to the beautiful beach. Our site (469) had great privacy, good access to toilets and water and of course the beach on our doorstep. All sites have a fire pit and picnic table. There are also 5 yurts in the Park that can accommodate 5 people each: a great option for those without camping gear or just getting started camping.
Pancake Bay has outhouse toilets throughout the park and a few comfort stations with flush toilets, showers and laundry facilities. They also have a playground, which are kids loved to hang out at. There are programs offered at the amphitheatre and picnic shelter. Ice, firewood and park merchandise are available at the gatehouse. There are also Park hosts that can answer your questions and sell firewood at certain hours. We had good mobile reception, including data, from our campsite.If you are looking for provisions, the well-stocked Voyageur General Store offers camp food essentials, some camping gear, beer and alcohol and gas. It is located 10 minutes south of Pancake Bay PP at Batchawana Bay. Even if you don’t need provisions, make sure you stop for their rightfully-famous apple fritters – the best we have ever tasted! The Chicken Shack, 5 minutes south of Pancake Bay PP, serves fried truck food.