Batchawana Bay Provincial Park is a small, day-use only beach space, north of Sault Ste Marie. Here's everything you need to know about it!
Continuing along the Trans Canada Highway - just a short distance past Sault Ste. Marie - I figured it would be the perfect spot to stop for lunch.
With a long sandy beach on the largest fresh water lake, we were basically guaranteed some fantastic views of Ontario’s Algoma Country!
It’s known for having relatively warm waters compared to the rest of Lake Superior, so I thought a nice dip before hitting the road again would be in order.
You know, if we managed to beat the rain that was forecasted!
The park... wasn’t quite what we expected, from reading up on it. Nice, just a bit different.
So, we figured we’d post about the experience, in case anyone else was wondering!
Fun fact: Batchawana Bay is considered to be the halfway point of the Trans-Canada Highway - which is the longest national highway in the world!
Park Name: Batchawana Bay Provincial Park
Address: 2729 Hwy 17N P.0. Box 61 Batchawana Bay, ON, ON P0S 1A0
Price Ontario Provincial Parks uses a pricing matrix across all their parks. See 2023 Day Use Fees for more details.
Reservations: Ontario Parks Reservations
Though the large sign at the main entry said that the visitor center was open, it was not.
We were there at noonish on a weekday, but it was after Labour Day... so maybe it’s a seasonal thing?
The park is only open from mid-May to October though, so it seems a bit weird to be closed before then.
The park is RIGHT off the highway, so it’s really handy as a rest stop. We have a seasonal pass for Ontario Parks, so we didn’t even have to worry about cost.
For those who don’t have a pass, you do need to pay day use fees in order to park there, and to use the park.
Unlike other provincial parks, this one didn’t have a gatehouse.
It made use of a self-serve bulletin board and envelope drop, so I guess it mostly relies on the honour system, for those who don’t book a pass online?
Note: You can book a pass up to 5 days ahead of your stay, to guarantee a spot. While that was *absolutely* not a concern on a Monday after Labour Day, I bet it gets pretty busy on hot summer weekends!
The self serve thing (It wasn’t exactly a kiosk or booth) was located to the right, upon entering the park.
The visitor center and RV parking was to the left.
Anyway, signage was mostly good, with one glaring example - the picnic shelter. More on that in a bit!
As far as cell coverage goes, it was pretty spotty. We had some degree of coverage in some places, lost it in others. It wasn’t fast / consistent anywhere in the park.
Entertainment and Activity
While it’s a small park, there are still a few activities that it can play host to:
The sandy beach is long and clean, and the water is SUPER clear. The sand on the beach is the coarse kind, and the ground under the water is rocky, but beautiful.
While it was very shallow for the first foot or so, it seemed to get a fair amount deeper, pretty quickly.
I mean a step or two out made the difference between being ankle deep, and being knee deep!
We were there on a cold day when it was threatening rain, though - I’d imagine it felt a lot warmer just a week earlier.
It had been less than a week since we were chilling in Kilcoursie Bay in Killbear Provincial Park, after all. It was 30 degrees Celcius that day, but it still felt wild to be swimming in Lake Huron it September!
Anyway, we knew we’d have to at least WADE into Lake Superior, just to say we did!
While we didn’t see anyone boating during our stay - we didn’t see many people at all! - the Batchawana Bay website advertises it as a good place to go for a short paddle.
There is no boat launch in the park, so boats have to be able to be carried down to the water - a very short walk from the parking lot.
Otherwise, there’s a boat launch east of the park, at the mouth of the Batchawana River.
Signs in the park warn boaters of the dangers of Lake Superior - I guess there’s a risk of sudden squalls, and such. Also, the currents can be dangerous for paddlers:
Much like with boating, we didn’t see anyone fishing. Again, probably a seasonal / weather / day of the week issue!
The official website for the park lists Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Rainbow trout, Salmon, and Walleye as the kinds of fish you may catch in the park, though.
(... and now I have “She Ain’t Pretty” stuck in my head. Thanks for the ear worm, Ontario Parks!
There are picnic tables throughout the park.
Most are located on the beach, a few are located on a grassy area near the beach, and there are a few nestled in a kind of secluded garden/patio situation behind the visitor centre.
All look like fantastic places to grab a packed meal, we opted to take lunch right on the beach itself.
... and we could NOT find it.
We walked behind the visitor center, drove the full length of the park (past the self serve sign), looked for any signage, trail, or other indicator of this picnic shelter.
So, if you’re planning to make use of the picnic shelter... I’d recommend tempering your expectations!
I’m wondering if it’s in the visitor center? That seems like a pretty silly place to advertise as a picnic shelter, but it’s kind of the only thing that makes sense, too!
Anyway, apparently this Brigadoon of a picnic shelter also has vault toilets available for use.
A Note on Accessibility
The beach isn’t wheelchair accessible - there aren’t any paved or otherwise covered paths out to the lake.
There was one “barrier free” picnic table that we could see. It was on a cement platform, with one side being benchless - to accommodate wheelchairs.
... but you have to cross a section of beach sand, to get to that platform!
As the visitor centre was closed when we were there, I’m not sure how accessible it or its washrooms are.
About 2 minutes north of the park is Voyageur's Lodge, a little motel, general store, gas station, and general tourist stop.
We’d heard SO much about their apple fritters, that we knew we’d *have* to stop in.
In one of the local camping Facebook groups we’re in, literally no post about camping in that area - or posts about must-get road trip foods - goes by, without at least a few mentions of these apple fritters!
They were $4 each, but HUGE.
Porter enjoyed one of the two he bought on the spot, really only having Tim Horton’s to compare it to. (“Much better than Tim Horton’s!”).
The next day, he re-heated the second one, and declared it AMAZING. Apparently reheating is the key to these doughnuts being mind-blowing. (His first was room temperature.)
The more you know?
Based on our stop at Batchawana Bay, we consider it to be a really nice rest stop. It was a fantastic place to stop for lunch and chill out for a bit!
I can see it being a popular destination on weekends and in warmer months, though! I could definitely see spending a day there, in different conditions. ]
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