St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island in Ontario is an enchanting destination with small town charm

St. Joseph Island is a magical destination in Ontario for a weekend getaway that's full of history, diverse landscapes, and natural beauty, plus a welcoming small town that's definitely worth exploring.

Located a 6.5-hour drive from Toronto, just east of Sault Ste. Marie in the channel between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, the island can be accessed year-round via a non-toll bridge.

Spanning roughly 365 square kms, St. Joseph Island is the second-largest island in Lake Huron and has two main communities: Richards Landing and Hilton Beach.

Richards Landing is the closest to the bridge, hosts many events and festivals throughout the year, and has several historic sites, restaurants, and shops.

It also has a bustling waterfront area which caters to boaters, cyclists, and vacationers, plus a campground for those who would like to spend the night.

Hilton Beach, on the other hand, has one of the largest and most beautiful marinas on Lake Huron's north shore, appealing to those who wish to engage in all sorts of water activities from sailing to fishing.

It's also home to three sandy public beaches, outfitted with facilities like restrooms, picnic tables, and playgrounds.

Forbes Park Beach has a lovely boardwalk you can follow, stretching along the waterfront for 1.5 km before leading you to scenic views of the marina and St. Joseph Channel from the fishing pier.

History buffs can step back in time at the Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site. Once an essential strategic location during the War of 1812 to claim territory and defend against American invasion, you can take a glimpse into history at the site's visitor centre.

Another great stop on the island is the St. Joseph Island Museum, founded in 1963 by the Historical Society. The museum holds over 6,000 artifacts covering over 200 years of Island History, including Indigenous relics, military artifacts, blacksmith equipment, old photos, and much more.

Once you've worked up an appetite, grab a sweet (and very Canadian) maple syrup treat. St. Joseph Island is known for its maple syrup production, and they even host an annual Maple Syrup Festival each spring which attracts visitors from far and wide.

If you'd like to spend the night, there are several campgrounds dispersed around the island. If camping isn't your thing, there are also a few quaint inns and motels to choose from.

With year-round events, charming communities, outdoor activities, and unique historical attractions, St. Joseph Island is the perfect destination for your next road trip.

Lead photo by

jrtwynam


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