The Perfect Sault Ste. Marie Travel Guide for a First Time Visitor

Located along the picturesque shores of the St. Marys River, Sault Ste Marie offers a unique blend of history, natural beauty and cultural experiences.

A tour boat in the Soo Locks.
Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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Whether you’re in search of a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, you’ll find it in Sault Ste. Marie. Here’s a guide to the must-see and must-do attractions that will make your first visit truly memorable – and make you look forward to many returns.

Begin your journey at the iconic Soo Locks, located on the St. Marys River where freighters can navigate between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Witness massive freighters navigating the locks, an engineering marvel that showcases the town's maritime significance. For an up-close encounter, take a boat tour through the locks, providing an immersive experience into the world of shipping and trade.

A steel bridge in downtown Sault Ste. Marie
Downtown Sault Ste. Marie | Photo Courtesy of Place + Main Advisors

Step back in time at the River of History Museum, which offers a fascinating glimpse into the region's rich heritage. From Native American history to the fur trade era, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of Sault Ste. Marie's evolution. The historic architecture of the Museum Ship Valley Camp is another must-see, allowing visitors to explore life aboard a Great Lakes freighter.

Interior of Bird's Eye Outfitters
Bird's Eye Outfitters | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

No matter the season, nature enthusiasts will find paradise in Sault Ste. Marie. Stop into Bird’s Eye Outfitters to ask about stand-up paddleboard workshops, lessons and tours on the St. Marys River. Guided tours throughout the year also including kayaking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

For a touch of culture, visit the Tower of History, offering panoramic views of the town and the surrounding landscapes. Gain insights into the town's Native American and French influences, as well as its role in shaping Michigan's history.

Two pints of beer and a plate of fried chicken
The Wicked Sister | Photo Courtesy of Place + Main Advisors

Cap off your visit by exploring the local dining scene, where you can savor fresh Great Lakes whitefish or indulge in delicious pastries at one of the charming cafes.