Happy National Paddling Week! This week’s parks all boast stellar paddling opportunities, whether you prefer a kayak adventure on Lake Superior or quiet paddleboat through the pond.
Across Ontario, most parks still have a good selection of sites available for the weekend, for tent and RV campers alike!
Scout out your ideal campsite on our Campsite Browsing/Reservation tool (including pictures of most campsites!), or check out these featured campsites (available as of noon, June 16):
The wide Pigeon River offers excellent canoeing for beginners, and canoes and paddleboats can be rented at the Park Store. Many unique frogs and birds can be found in the wetland along the River. Head out exploring to see wetland wildlife in their natural home.
Bonus: Natural Heritage Education (NHE) programming starts on Saturday!
Emily is just outside Peterborough, only 1 hour from Oshawa, and 2 hours from Toronto.
Paddle on the sheltered waters of Black Lake or tackle the larger Sharbot Lake. A short portage connects the two bodies of water. Canoes can be rented in the park. Walleye, bass, northern pike, perch and sunfish can be found in both Black and Sharbot Lakes.
Sharbot Lake is 1 hour from Kingston, and 1.5 hours from Ottawa.
A popular day trip takes paddlers out through the marsh area along Spring Creek and into the lake at the mouth of Sandusk Creek. Selkirk also offers great birding opportunities along the hiking trail, in the campground and near the lake.
Selkirk is 1 hour from Hamilton, and just over 1 hour from Niagara Falls.
This historic waterfall used to power a timber mill and generating station. Now flanked by immature forest, the falls are the end of the Rankin River canoe route, ideal for novice canoeists. Canoe rentals available.
Sauble Falls is 3 hours from Toronto, and 2 hours from Barrie.
One of the Ottawa Valley’s hidden gems, your family will fall in love with Bonnechere.
Explore the quiet Bonnechere River, a great spot for introducing little ones to paddling. The park rents kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards, which can be picked up right at the boat launch.
Bonnechere is 2 hours from Ottawa, and 3 hours from Kingston.
Whether you stick to Sturgeon Bay or head onto Georgian Bay, you’ll find scenic views and excellent fishing opportunities. Bring your own canoe or rent one from the park!
Sturgeon Bay is 3 hours from Toronto, and 1.5 hours from Sudbury.
There are excellent paddling opportunities on Remi Lake, especially exploring the park’s undeveloped north shore, and the park rents canoes and kayaks.
This is an ecological region known as the Boreal Forest, often called the songbird nursery because so many nest here each summer. The four sandy beaches, shallow, clear water and buoyed areas are perfect for family swimming.
René Brunelle is less than 2 hours from Timmins.
Marten River is the southern gateway to the Temagami area and makes the perfect base for canoeists, boaters and anglers. Nearby, Kenny Forest Provincial Park has a number of large, interconnected lakes to paddle that can be accessed by water right from Marten River’s campgrounds. For whitewater enthusiasts, the Temagami River is a great whitewater canoe or kayak route, either for the day or overnight. Red Cedar Lake and Temagami River Provincial Park can be accessed by canoe via several portages on Marten River, or at the Loon Bay picnic area on Highway 64.
Marten River is 45 minutes from North Bay, and 1.5 hours from Sudbury.
Why, yes — these campsites ARE on the Lake Superior shoreline.
A cruise along the pristine Lake Superior shoreline will delight novice and experienced paddlers alike (beginners should stick to calm days). Enjoy viewing sub-Arctic plants, or hike up to the Pagoda to get a spectacular view of Pic Island as it was immortalized on canvas by Lawren Harris of the famous Group of Seven.
Neys is 3.5 hours from Thunder Bay.
The peaceful waters of Caliper Lake offer a relaxing option for a day of canoeing, while the large beach and buoyed swimming area provide family fun. Caliper Lake’s clean, warm waters are home to northern pike, walleye, crappie and small-mouth bass.
Caliper Lake is 3.5 hours from Winnipeg, and 4.5 hours from Duluth.