St. Joseph Island Travel Guide

Discover the best places to visit, things to do, food and drink scene, and cultural customs in St. Joseph Island, Northern Ontario. Find out the best routes for hiking and biking, where to stay, and how to get around in this ultimate guide.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to St. Joseph Island in Northern Ontario

Introduction to St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island is located in the northern part of Ontario, in Canada, and is known for its stunning natural beauty and fascinating cultural heritage. It is situated in Lake Superior North Shore and attracts visitors from all over the world who come to experience its unique blend of outdoor adventures, history, and culture. The island has a rich history that is still reflected in its architecture, museums, and cultural festivals.

List of Places to Visit in St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island is home to a variety of attractions that cater to a range of interests. From cultural landmarks to natural wonders, visitors will find plenty to explore on the island.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. The St. Joseph Island Museum: A must-visit for anyone interested in the island’s history, the museum houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that trace the island’s past from the time of its earliest inhabitants.

  2. The Heritage Square: An outdoor museum that features a blacksmith shop, millinery shop, and a general store, the Heritage Square is a living history exhibit that provides an insight into the daily lives of the island’s first settlers.

  3. The Richards Landing Centennial Grounds: A park that celebrates the island’s 100th anniversary, the Centennial Grounds feature a pioneer farmstead, log barn, and a restored 1860s United Church.

Natural Attractions of St. Joseph Island: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. The North Channel: The North Channel offers pristine waters to explore, offering various water sports like fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding. Some areas of the North Channel are protected, including the St. Joseph Island Archipelago.

  2. The St. Joseph Island Trails: The hiking and biking routes are perfect for exploring the natural beauty of St. Joseph Island. The trails wind through forests, wetlands, and along the shores of Lake Huron, providing breathtaking views of the island’s landscape and wildlife.

  3. The La Cloche Mountains: A sprawling wilderness area that borders St. Joseph Island, the La Cloche Mountains offer a vast expanse of pristine forests, crystal-clear lakes, and rugged mountain peaks. The area is popular among outdoor enthusiasts and is perfect for camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting.

Hiking/Biking Routes of St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island offers plenty of hiking and biking routes for visitors. Some of the best routes include:

  1. Drummond Island Trail: This 18-kilometer trail offers a scenic ride through the island’s forests and wetlands, providing excellent opportunities for bird-watching and wildlife spotting.

  2. Echo Bay Trail: This five-kilometer trail takes visitors through the forests and along the shores of St. Joseph Island’s inland waterways, providing excellent views of the islands and mainland.

  3. Mountain View Trail: This seven-kilometer trail winds through the woods and provides stunning views of the northern landscapes.

Best Things to Do in St. Joseph Island: Activities and Tours

St. Joseph Island offers a range of activities and tours that cater to different interests, and some of the best things to do on the island include:

  1. Explore the North Channel: Visitors can take a boat tour of the North Channel and see the island from the water, or take part in water sports like kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding on the North Channel East waterways.

  2. Attend Festivals: The island hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Island Bluegrass Festival and the Annual Pow-Wow Celebration, which showcase the island’s culture and heritage.

  3. Visit Local Farms: The island has several local farms that offer tours and workshops on sustainable farming, cheese-making, and lambing.

Week-Long Itinerary for St. Joseph Island

Visitors can follow this week-long itinerary to make the most of their stay on St. Joseph Island:

Day Activity
1 Visit the St. Joseph Island Museum and Heritage Square.
2 Spend the day exploring the hiking and biking trails on the island.
3 Take a boat tour of the North Channel and explore island beaches.
4 Attend a local festival and experience the island’s culture.
5 Visit the local farms on the island and learn about sustainable farming techniques.
6 Take an outdoor adventure tour through the La Cloche Mountains.
7 Relax and unwind at one of the island’s local spas or beaches.

Food and Drink Scene of St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island has a vibrant food and drink scene that reflects the island’s history and natural resources. Visitors can enjoy a range of delicious local dishes and beverages during their stay on the island.

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Fresh Lake Trout: St. Joseph Island’s freshwater lakes offer some of the best trout around. Visitors can try it fried, baked, or grilled at one of the island’s many restaurants.

  2. Perch Tacos: Perch tacos are a local specialty that combines fresh-caught perch with a range of locally sourced vegetables and fruits.

  3. Blueberry Pancakes: St. Joseph Island is known for its wild blueberries, and visitors can try them in the form of blueberry pancakes that are often served at local diners.

Local Beverages

  1. Craft Beer: St. Joseph Island has several local microbreweries that offer a range of craft beers, made from locally sourced ingredients.

  2. Apple Cider: The island has several apple orchards that produce delicious cider, which visitors can taste and buy on-site.

Where to Stay in St. Joseph Island: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

St. Joseph Island offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Visitors can choose from hotels, hostels, and guesthouses that are located in different parts of the island, offering easy access to the island’s attractions.

What to Buy in St. Joseph Island: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Visitors to St. Joseph Island can take home souvenirs that reflect the island’s history and cultural heritage. Some of the best things to buy on the island include:

  1. Birch Bark Baskets: Made by local artisans, birch bark baskets are a beautiful and unique souvenir that reflects the island’s indigenous heritage.

  2. Maple Syrup: St. Joseph Island has several maple syrup producers that offer high-quality syrup that visitors can take home and enjoy.

Local Culture and Customs of St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island’s culture and customs reflect its history and the island’s strong connection to nature. Visitors should respect the island’s customs and etiquette to have a pleasant and respectful experience.

Best Time to Visit St. Joseph Island

The best time to visit St. Joseph Island is during the summer months, from June to September when the weather is warm and sunny, and all the attractions and activities are open.

Do’s and Don’ts of St. Joseph Island


  1. Respect the island’s natural environment and wildlife.

  2. Take part in island cultural activities and festivals.

  3. Learn about the island’s heritage and its indigenous communities.


  1. Litter or damage the island’s environment.

  2. Disrespect the island’s customs or heritage.

  3. Trespass on private property.

Safety and Health

Safety in St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island is a safe and friendly place, and visitors should take the same precautions as they would in any unfamiliar setting. They should avoid leaving valuable items in plain sight and be aware of their surroundings.

Health in St. Joseph Island

St. Joseph Island has excellent health care services, and visitors should have travel insurance to cover any unforeseen medical expenses.

Getting to St. Joseph Island: Transportation Options and Logistics

Visitors can reach St. Joseph Island by air, bus, or car. The nearest airports are Sault Ste. Marie Airport and Sudbury Airport, both of which are well-connected to major Canadian cities.

Airports Near St. Joseph Island

  1. Sault Ste. Marie Airport (YAM)

  2. Sudbury Airport (YSB)

Bus Stations Near St. Joseph Island

  1. Sault Ste. Marie Bus Station

Other Options

If you have your own transportation, you can reach the island by ferry or private boat.

How to Get Around in St. Joseph Island

Visitors can explore St. Joseph Island by bike, car or paddling. During the summer months, visitors can rent bikes or kayaks to explore the trails and waterways of the island.

Where to Go Next from St. Joseph Island: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

St. Joseph Island is located near several other popular destinations in Northern Ontario, including:

  1. Sault Ste. Marie

  2. Manitoulin Island

  3. Killarney Provincial Park


St. Joseph Island is a fascinating travel destination that offers plenty of activities, attractions, and cultural experiences for visitors to explore. This comprehensive guide will help you plan your trip to St. Joseph Island and make the most of your stay on this beautiful island.