Fort Frances, Ontario, is a small town of about 8000 people nestled in, well, the forest, lakes and rocks of north western Ontario. A 3.5 hour drive from Thunder Bay, Ontario, and directly on the border of International Falls, Minnesota, don’t let the remoteness of Fort Frances fool you. The town is in a beautiful area with plenty of outdoors recreation for travellers.From the Grind Up
From the Grind Up is a relatively new cafe in Fort Frances, opened in the last 2-4 years (around 2012-13 I think). I love From the Grind Up, I make a point of visiting there whenever I am home. They have (or had last I checked) gluten free options and almond milk, the drinks, soup and sandwiched are good, and you can get loose leaf tea to bring home with you. (Facebook – From the Grind Up)The Harbourage
The Harbourage isn’t exactly gourmet dining, but I’ve always had a good meal there and it’s right on the river, so it has a nice view.
La Place Rendez-Vous
The Rendez Vous is pretty much the nicest hotel to stay at in Fort Frances, with the added benefit of being right on the lake with a beach next door. It is has a gorgeous view, nice rooms and a rather nice restaurant to eat in, as well as a bar.
Northwoods Gallery & Gifts
Northwoods is my favourite store in Fort Frances. You can find it on Scott St., it is probably legit the nicest gift store you’ll ever go into (or one of the nicest), and the person who handles the supplies makes sure they carry nice local-esqued stuff, not tacky stuff. Also, don’t forget to go upstairs because there is an art gallery up there. I have one of Connie Cuthbertson’s paintings of Greece, which is an absolutely gorgeous addition to my living room.
Quetico Provincial Park
I love Quetico Park. It’s about 2 hours east-ish from Fort Frances, it is the perfect place to go camping in a canoe with a tent. It’s gorgeous, and if you’re a fan of what I’d call “real” camping, then it is the perfect get away. You can canoe (or kayak) into the lakes, portage over a few areas, and really get into the beautiful provincial park. I’d love to go back to Fort Frances someday for the sole purpose of roughing it in Quetico Park for a week. It’s definitely beautiful and a lot of fun in my opinion.
Travel Plan Suggestions
Stay in Fort Frances for about 2-3 days – you can fly in from Minneapolis, MN to International Falls, MN and cross the border. You can also fly to Winnipeg, MB or Thunder Bay, ON and drive the rest of the way, which might be worth it, especially from Thunder Bay, if you’d like a scenic drive. From there, I’d recommend going out to the lake for as many days as you want. You can go camping at Quetico Park, one of the places I recommended here, or set yourself up with a place where you can rent a cabin, go fishing, etc. (there are a number of fishing or camping companies)
Other places to stay, eat or do:
The Super 8 Motel
Fishing camp (Google-able)
Hunting camp (Google-able)
I have left off the fishing/hunting camps off my review list because I haven’t spent time at any of the places and can’t reliably speak to the quality or greatness of any of them, but I have heard through a number of other people (families, or groups of friends) that they love them.