Why you should camp within Sault Ste. Marie
By Mikel B. Classen
One of the best things about Michigan's Upper Peninsula is that there are some amazing parks and recreation areas to enjoy. Many of them take you to the quiet rustic wilderness regions but there are others that are placed right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the region. In Sault Ste. Marie, you can get away from it all, in the midst of it all.
Camping the Sault, puts you in the heart of the action. All located on the shores of the St. Mary's River, this is front row for ship viewing. Both, Aune Osborn Park and the Soo Locks Campground, afford incredible views of the ships entering and leaving the Soo Locks. Sherman Park, though inside the city gives the slightly more rustic feel of the upper St. Mary's. Nowhere can these ships be viewed better from the comfort of your lawn chair than these three places.
Aune Osborne Park
Located on East Portage ave., this campground features 100 modern (water & electric) campsites. With ships of all kinds sailing within a few hundred yards, they come ever closer as they enter the narrow passage of Sugar Island. Nearby is the Soo's Bushplane landing site. Bushplanes are frequent visitors to the St. Mary's waterfront and a delight to watch. Across the river in Ontario is the Bush Plane Museum, worth a day excursion.
(Video of Great Lakes Freighter Shot from Here.)
The St. Mary's River is well known for its fishing and water sports. Aune Osborne Park has a boat launch giving you access to the wonders of the St. Mary's waterway. Fishing is so good on the river, that the Masters Walleye Circuit has an annual event at this park. Yes, in the Soo, even the fishermen go downtown. When fishing and boating in the river always keep in mind that there is an international border running down the middle of it. Crossing it while fishing can be problematic.
Everything here is modern and is set up to handle RVs. There are common areas along the shore, access to phones and you are only a few hundred yards away from one of the legendary eateries in Sault Ste. Marie with Clyde's Drive-in.
Fees are reasonable at $29 a night for waterfront and $27 for non-waterfront. It never hurts to call in case of changes. (906) 632-3268 Further information can be found at their website: http://www.sault-sainte-marie.mi.us/aunecamp.htm
Soo Locks Campground
Also located on East Portage Ave., a mere 12 blocks from the Soo locks, this where you get the good long looks as the ships slow and approach the locks. Nearby is MCM Marine, home of the supply tug Ojibway which resupplies the big freighters. It is a marvel and fascinating to watch. The Soo Locks Campground is also the best place to watch the annual Tug Races. Of course the tug parade also comes right by. This campground is definitely up close and personal with the ships.
(Video of the Tug Races shot from here)
Open from May through October, this campground has 100 sites too. The sites are modern and include all of the amenities. There are common areas on the waterfront so everyone can enjoy the sights of the St. Mary's and the Locks. Keep in mind that the Soo Locks Campground is pet friendly, a big plus for someone like me that has two labradors.
They accommodate all types of camping from RVs to tents. There are showers and laundry facilities. Even on rainy days there are things to do with a game room, gift shop, general store and lounge area, of course equipped with coffee. Heck, they even have wireless so you can post all your pictures on Facebook. Don't forget to tag me, I'd like to see them too.
Again, fishing is encouraged with boat docks available free to all campers. This place is a seriously great time waiting to happen.
For information and reservations call: (906) 632-3191
Their rates are: $25.00, $27.00, and $29.00. $2.00 a night extra for more than two people. You can check out their website as well: http://www.soolockscampground.com/
Located one mile off of West Easterday Ave., signs clearly mark the way, Sherman Park is a 68.7 acre park located on the upper St. Mary's River. Though within the city limits, the park is laid out in a rustic beautiful area along the upper river shore. This is a place for the family to make memories.
There is a nice beach with handicap access, along with tons of playground equipment. The playground does include things for adults, horseshoe pits, basketball hoops, volleyball nets. There's even Bocce courts. You have to work to be bored here.
The campground has facilities for all types, from tents to RVs. There are fire pits with the sites and best of all, there is a view of ships sailing on the river while sitting under towering pines and maples in your favorite power lounger.
As an added bonus, Sherman Park has Nature trails for those that like an occasional hike. There are great photo ops along here so don't forget cameras. These trails double as cross-country skiing in the winter.
Rates for camping here are reasonable at $15 a night for residents, I said earlier this was popular with the local folks, one of the best endorsements for a place you can get, in my book. $20 a night for non-residents.
Staying here it's easy to forget you are within the city limits of Sault Ste. Marie, but Sherman Park is literally minutes from all of the great places to see in the Soo area.
For more information you can call: (906) 635-5075 or you can visit their website at : http://www.sault-sainte-marie.mi.us/sherman.htm
With these three gems for parks, camping in Sault Ste. Marie is like nowhere else. The finest facilities placed right in the heart of all of the action on the St. Mary's River. Pick your spot, front row seats are always available. Camp the Sault!