Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a spur of the moment mid-week retreat, when it comes to having the perfect 48-hour adventure, Sault Ste. Marie is a real treat for everyone. Here is our suggestion on how to have the perfect two day stay in the Soo.
Arriving in the Soo
When you first arrive in town, you’ll want to check in with your lodging provider so you can start feeling right at home. Once you’re relaxed and ready to have fun, we suggest heading downtown to check out the shopping options and specialty shows. After exploring Ashmun Street and Portage Avenue you’ll probably want to have a seat and enjoy the atmosphere.
We recommend the rooftop at 1668 Winery & Soo Brewing Company. You can have a seat perched atop Portage Avenue and enjoy the sites of the Soo’s bustling downtown or watch freighter traffic near the Soo Locks. It’s a great spot to enjoy Soo Brewing’s Laker Gold blonde ale, a glass of 1668’s wine or even a homemade root beer. If you’re hungry, there is a great menu there too. Or you can try out one of the other great restaurants within walking distance.
After you’re ready to leave the rooftop, your sweet tooth may be aching. Luckily, the doctors in business on Portage Avenue. Visit Zak and Mac’s Chocolate Haus for a scoop (or two…or three) of over 30 different types of ice cream. You can enjoy the sweet stuff right at Zak and Mac’s or you can take a picture perfect stroll through the Soo Locks Park right across the street. Who knows, you may even get a salute from a 1,000 ft. freighter.
The Soo Locks Park is open late into the evening (10 p.m. during the summer!) and is a great place to wind down your first night in town. If you’re up for more late night adventure, there are a lot of fun establishments featuring Michigan made beers downtown. Whether you decide to score extra Zs or try a couple pints, you’ll want to get back to your lodging destination to get ready for a huge day ahead.
An action packed day
The possibilities on how to spend a full day in the Soo are endless. To really capture a perfect day in the Soo, we start the day at Superior Café. And to make sure we have enough energy, we’re swinging by Oh! Crepe for a breakfast crepe. From here, we’re spending the rest of the day outdoors.
If you brought your kayak or stand-up paddleboard with you, you’re in luck. The Soo is a paddler’s paradise. The must-paddle path everyone has to take is around Voyageur Island. You launch for the island at Rotary Park all the way down at the Sugar Island Ferry. From here you can explore the water paths and take in natural sights. You may even see a beaver!
The beautiful thing about this kayak path is you can see freighters, you can fish and even land on Voyageur Island. The island has its own hiking pathways and viewing platforms for freighters. It’s one of the most unique paddling destinations in the whole state! And it’s all within a few minutes of Rotary Park along the St. Marys River.
Once you’ve paddled to your heart’s content, you’re going to be pretty hungry and wanting to shift into eating mode. Luckily, if you’re craving a hamburger, milkshake and an order of onion rights, Clyde’s Drive-In will come in clutch. This classic 1950s drive-in restaurant is also right next to the Sugar Island Ferry and Rotary Park. Be prepared for a feast, especially if you dare to try its famous ¾ pound “Big C” burger.
Afternoon is a great time to visit the city’s attractions, especially after a busy morning of paddling and exploring. If you’re feeling a little worn out yet, we suggest taking a boat tour through the Soo Locks. A ride on the Famous Soo Locks Boat Tours or Original Soo Locks Boat Tours is essential to a perfect day in Sault Ste. Marie. Both rides are about two hours and feature a narrated tour along the Sault Ste. Marie waterfront.
Following a boat tour, the city’s other attractions are must stops. The Museum Ship Valley Camp is a perfect all-ages location with a hull full of stories to be told. The Tower of History offers a bird’s eye view of the Soo. If you’re visiting in the fall, this stop should be a priority for enjoying the perfect day in the Soo.
As the afternoon winds down into the evening, you should circle back to the Soo Locks Park. This is the city’s most famous attraction and offers a bevy of sightseeing spectacles. The observation deck peers over the MacArthur Lock and is as close to the Poe Lock as you can possibly get. This helps it serve as the closest grounded spot you can see a freighter in the area. The Soo Locks Visitors Center is also in the vicinity and provides a wealth of information on the engineering marvel. The park itself is a relaxing area featuring a Friends-esque water fountain and a handful of monuments and gifts, such as the torii that was the original entry into the park.
If you’re really chasing the perfect day in the Soo, you’ll want to balance your lunch with a dinner at West Pier Drive-In on the western end of Portage Avenue. This drive-in, like Clyde’s, is straight out of the 1950s and serves even larger hamburgers than its eastside counterpart. If you’re wanting to eat a little lighter and enjoy a beverage and chill atmosphere, we also recommend Bird’s Eye Outfitters.
Winding down and capping off 48 hours
Now that we’re at the tail end of our perfect 48 hours in the Soo, there is one nearby spot that everyone who visits the area and the Upper Peninsula should see – Tahquamenon Falls. This is a beautiful morning drive no matter the time of year, but just like the Tower of History, autumn really amplifies the beauty of the ride.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is about 90 minutes from the Soo and well worth the wait. The two waterfalls are some of the most famous attractions in the entire Midwest. The Upper Falls is actually one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi!
Once you’ve made your way back to the Soo, your 48 hours should just about out. Do you feel this was a perfect day? What would a perfect day in Sault Ste. Marie be like in your book? Share highlights of what makes a perfect day with us on social media by using the hashtag #ilovethesoo. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.