Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

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MicahN
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Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by MicahN » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:03 pm

Hi there,

I'm curious to know if anyone has had any issues arriving/departing from Thunder Bay Airport (YQT)? I read it's the closest airport to the park (50 min?), but I wasn't sure if crossing the Canadian border presented any issues or added time? Assuming I need to bring my US Passport and that there's some kind of checkpoint? What's the process?

Also, any recommendations on places to stay in Thunder Bay? My plan is to arrive Thursday night, drive to Grand Portage Friday, and embark on the ferry on Saturday morning.

Any information would be helpful. Thank you in advance!

Micah


Midwest Ed
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Re: Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:58 pm

The first thought that comes to mind is not related to any question asked. How are you driving to and from Grand Portage? I don't know of any commercial carrier so my first thought is car rental? Special restrictions typically exist to taking a rental across the international boarder. Something to check on anyway. Crossing the boarder there is no different than anywhere else between the U.S. and Canada. I've crossed there but not in a long while. Typically the border crossing by car only takes a couple of minutes but anything might happen. Your biggest hassle or time delays can be expected entering Canada as they have become much more strict regarding their limitations based on anything that shows up in their background checks (they plug your ID into an online checking system). Even serious misdemeanors such as a DUI record will block you from entering (not casting any aspersions mind you, just an example :oops: ). Thunder Bay is a large enough metro area that you will have no problems finding accommodations to your liking.

Were it me I would be inclined to drive the extra miles from Duluth if my ferry requirements demanded the Voyageur II. Otherwise, consider flying into Houghton, Michigan. From there your ferry or seaplane choices are close and there is also limo service to Copper Harbor for the IR Queen.
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MicahN
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Re: Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by MicahN » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:17 pm

Thanks for the feedback and insights!

I'll be flying into YQT/Thunder Bay, and then renting a car from YQT to drive to Grand Portage. It was much cheaper to fly into YQT, and rental car rates were less expensive than Duluth. When I found out it was closer too (50 min), seemed like an ideal fit.


Midwest Ed
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Re: Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:30 pm

Flying into Houghton is not an option?
Hotels and Ferry are just a few minutes from airport.

There used to be a bus/limo service between Duluth and Grand Portage. Maybe/maybe not. I couldn't find it but I did discover this suggestion for commercial service from Duluth to Grand Portage. :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Ingo
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Re: Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by Ingo » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:40 pm

MicahN wrote:
Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:17 pm
I'll be flying into YQT/Thunder Bay, and then renting a car from YQT to drive to Grand Portage. It was much cheaper to fly into YQT, and rental car rates were less expensive than Duluth. When I found out it was closer too (50 min), seemed like an ideal fit.
I live in NC and have family in Duluth--airfares into, as well as rental cars from, Duluth are usually ridiculous (on rare occasions reasonable). I'll be interested to hear how Thunder Bay works out, so please do report after you trip :).
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Re: Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by Capt Don » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:35 am

We have quite a few people do this each year and it seems to be getting more popular. Rental cars have not been a problem in the past just make sure you tell them that you will be entering the US.I have brought rental cars from the US into Canada several times with no issues. Border crossing is straight forward, have a passport, rental car agreement and your airline tickets and there will be no issues getting into and out of the US or Canada. There is also a bus that leaves Thunder Bay shuttling gamblers to and from the casino but I am not sure of the times or frequency. You could look under Happy Time Tours, they are the bus line that runs the shuttle.
Hope this helps.


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Re: Thunder Bay (YQT) as Entry Point

Post by LeftOvers » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:45 am

The Lodge and Casino offer free bus rides to and from Thunder Bay to promote gambling. According to their website the bus pickup point is "close to the airport." If you were planning on spending night at the Lodge, maybe this can work for you. You then look around the Lodge for someone else going to Isle Royale the next day and hitch a ride to the ferry (a VERY long walk). It'll be easier to hitch a ride back - everyone on the boat is driving away.
FYI - Thunder Bay is on Eastern time (like Isle Royale). Grand Portage is on Central time.

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