Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie

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See how 10,000 ships travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes every year at Soo Locks. Historically significant, the first versions of these locks were built in 1855 to accommodate a 6.4 m (21 ft) drop between Lake Superior and Lake Huron, and they still are noted for their engineering prowess. Today vessels traveling through the lock system here transport more than 86 million tons of cargo. The locks are named for the two cities on either side of the St. Marys River, one in Michigan and one in Canada. Both cities are names Sault Ste. Marie, with Sault pronounced as "Soo." The locks now make up 2.6 km (1.6 mi) of a canal that is run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Plan your Soo Locks visit and explore what else you can see and do in Sault Ste. Marie using our Sault Ste. Marie travel route planner.
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Soo Locks Reviews
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  • If you love ships and want a true appreciation for those on your the Great Lakes, one has to visit this amazing Michigan gem. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers do a fantastic job at operating and mainta...  more »
  • If you have not gone to see the freighters come in thru the locks, you must go at least once to see these massive boats. It's unbelievable the size of these vessels up close. Plus the city has lots of...  more »
  • Visited on 01/11/18 which is only a few days before closing. The Tower of History was closed so we tried to view from the park. The glass viewing center was closed so we could only stand out in the -1...  more »
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  • See the locks from the viewing station and check out the visitor's center while there. It's filled with fascinating info. Then ride the locks ink the Soo boat tour. A nice little tour of the locks and the river, and the captain provides an informative narration throughout. I wouldn't recommend bringing young children. The few I saw were clearly bored. However, it's a fascinating engineering marvel for those older enough to appreciate it.
  • Soo Locks is worth a stop if you're in the area, but isn't exactly a stand alone attraction. I would describe it as interesting, but kind of boring at the same time. It certainly tests your patience and threshold for watching slow moving things.
  • Amazing watching the freighters traveling through the lock on their journey through the great lakes. If feats of engineering are something you enjoy this has to be on your must see list.
  • Great view and free to observe. Lots of ships come through these locks, 1000 ft supercarrier ship just came through, Edwin H. Gott, Great Lakes Fleet.
  • It's hit or miss on if a boat will be going through at the time you will be there unless you do some homework. AFTER 6PM THE PARKING METERS ARE FREE. We did not read them and put in a quarter before someone pointed this out too us lol.

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Where to stay in Sault Ste. Marie

Hotels by the water have unrivaled views of ships passing through the Soo Locks. This downtown also features lively shopping streets, interesting architecture, and some fine restaurants. Many of the other accommodations in the city are located along the street leasing to the downtown area. Along this lively and convenient avenue, you'll find a bunch of motels and budget hotels.
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