Ontario is home to over 250,000 lakes and 100,000 km of rivers. There are also countless access points to Canada’s Great Lakes from this province. So, as you can imagine, paddle boarding in Ontario is an astonishing experience.
From picturesque landscapes to barren scenes, trendy cities to iconic views, Ontario is an epic place to visit with a stand-up paddle board. Just imagine, leaving land behind and immersing yourself in Canadian nature out on the water.
Whether you are after a place nearby for a quick dip on a SUP staycation or a faraway destination to fuel your paddle-boarding inspiration, this is the guide for you! Keep reading for some serious dreamy SUP spots in Ontario.
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Toronto is one of Canada’s biggest cities. Along with soaring skyscrapers and a dynamic metropolis, this city has plenty of green (and blue) space available for sports, walking, and of course, paddle boarding.
Toronto Islands offers the best urban paddle-boarding experiences in Ontario. Escape the downtown crowds and enjoy the Toronto skyline by SUP without having to leave the city. There are several beaches within the Old Toronto area that are perfect for gentle paddle boarding days out:
Paddle boarding Toronto Islands is perfect for beginners during the summer months. Most of the beaches are sheltered and quiet, however, Cherry Beach can get busy and is better for intermediate paddlers. The water here gets choppy and there is often a lot of boat traffic coming out of the harbor.
One of the Great Lakes of North America, Lake Ontario is impressive both on and off a paddle board. The lake is surrounded by sand dunes, forests, wetlands, and rocky cliffs, providing a home to a huge range of wildlife.
There is an abundance of sandy beaches on Lake Ontario where you can launch your SUP from. Here are a few recommendations:
Niagara Falls is one of the most visited natural sites in North America and is one of the most famous waterfalls in the world. Cliffside parks and observation decks offer amazing views of the Falls from the Canadian side.
When it comes to paddle boarding, of course, you cannot get that close to the Falls. If you want that view, then you will need to join a tour group on a larger boat. However, you can still enjoy the Niagara River that separates Canada from the States.
If you are a beginner stand-up paddle boarder looking for the best place to go in Ontario, then head to Fanshawe Lake. The calm and protected waters are perfect for learning basic skills and finding your way around a SUP.
The Thames River feeds the Lake and can also be paddled. Sections of the river have technical rapids that challenge your technique. Always do your research and be aware of the river level before heading out with paddle boards.
Lake Simcoe is the fourth largest lake in Ontario and offers a plethora of places to SUP. There is a fee to launch SUPs and kayaks onto the water varying from $10 - $20 per day. If you have an iSUP then you may want to consider parking further out to avoid the higher parking fees.
Here are some suggestions for where to launch your paddle board onto Lake Simcoe:
Wasaga Beach offers the gateway to paddling routes on the winding Nottawasaga River, perfect for intermediate paddle boarders looking for a challenge. The beach itself on the other hand is a beginner's dream location (with the right conditions). Generally, this beach offers calm waters, great for mastering techniques or even giving SUP yoga a try.
You can take your own equipment here or there are several places where you can rent from. Blue Wave operates from Wasaga Beach and offers some great lessons and packages to suit every level of paddle boarding.
Canada’s capital offers culture, natural beauty, and paddle-boarding opportunities. Ottawa sits on the Ottawa River near the US border. The best time to visit Ottawa with a SUP is between May and October.
Ottawa River runs through the heart of Canada’s capital and is one of the biggest recreational waterways in the region. There are several tributaries that branch off giving paddlers so many choices on where to go. The Upper Ottawa River is even named one of the world’s best whitewater rapid sections! Don’t worry though, the city beaches are perfect for flatwater recreational paddle boarding.
In need of SUP rentals and facilities? Head to Petrie Island, Westboro, and Britannia beaches. If you have your own equipment then you have more options. We recommend checking out Blair Road, the Rockcliffe Yacht Club, Rowatt Street near the Britannia Yacht Club, and Dick Bell Park.
Just 15-minutes out of downtown Ottawa and you have escaped into one of Canada’s most beautiful parks. Technically Gatineau Park is in the province of Quebec, but we have still included it on this list because it is so close to Ontario.
This lake is perfect for swimming and flatwater paddling during winter months. There are several sandy beaches where you can launch your SUP to access the crystal-clear water.
The Rideau Canal sweeps through downtown Ottawa. Enjoy the water on foot or get more intimate by getting the paddle board out. Go for a relaxing paddle around Dows Lake part of the canal, enjoying Ottawa’s Little Italy and urban parkland. Or take on short excursions from Fifth Avenue, perfect for beginners looking to level up their flatwater paddling skills.
Access points include:
If you love discovering the beauty of nature, then the Bon Echo Provincial Park will be your playground. Surrounded by dense forestry and impressive cliffs, paddling through this park is a real adventure.
There are several swimming lakes in the park that you can paddle from. We recommend launching into Mazinaw Lake to see the most impressive cliffs and rock formations. SUP rentals are available within the park.
Charleston Lake has 75 km of shoreline making it a dream destination for paddle enthusiasts. There are numerous bays and coves to explore, perfect for SUP adventures. Section of Running’s Bay and Slim Bay on the lake is restricted to non-motorized vessels only. Paddling here is dreamy and serene, a true escape into the Canadian wilderness.
Bruce Peninsula National Park offers a taste of Ontario wilderness while still being relatively accessible. With Lake Heron to the west and Georgian Bay to the east, and an abundance of inland lakes, it is safe to say this national park is a paddle boarder's dream.
Cyprus Lake is a good spot to head to for beginners and those looking for an easier adventure. There are routes that take you to the larger Cameron Lake from here as well. Emmett Lake is another good location within the park that offers a slightly more secluded experience.
Killarney Provincial Park is a super inspirational place to go paddle boarding in Ontario. The OSA Lake centerpiece gleams in aquamarine colors, surrounded by pines and breathtaking landscapes. Remember to pack your waterproof camera when you head here!
This park often organizes music and arts events, so keep a lookout for available tickets. You could extend your SUP weekend and enjoy an artist in residence at the same time.
Temagami is a legendary canoe location. So why not take a paddle board out on the water instead? From breathtaking views to impressive waterfalls, this region is awe-inspiring in every direction you look.
Without a doubt, Temagami is one of the most inspirational places to paddle board in Ontario. It is also one of the more remote destinations for you to dream over.
Also known as the Gateway to the North, Ontario’s French River is a sight to behold. Impressive banks lined with pine trees carve through the landscape making for a picturesque paddle excursion.
If you are searching for the best destination for a multi-day SUP expedition in Ontario, this is the place to go. With lodges dotted along the parts of the shoreline, you can make the trip super comfortable as you explore Canada’s great outdoors.
Fancy a real adventure? Lake of the Woods is raw, huge, and totally mesmerizing. This lake is over 70 miles long and wide, with 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. Taking your SUP here is the ultimate bucket list goal that most of us will only dream of.
Waterfront lodges and cottages are dotted throughout the area, so you can escape your life for a getaway into nature. Of course, with such a huge amount of water comes an insane amount of paddling opportunities. Here are some ideas of places to launch your SUP to get you started:
Lake Superior is enormous, offering countless places to take a SUP, all with crystal-clear waters and plenty of sandy beaches. It is no surprise that this is one of Ontario’s most popular tourist destinations.
Thunder Bay is highly rated for stand-up paddle boarding. The calm waters, sandy beach, and choice of SUP rental outlets are great for families and groups wanting to get out on the water. Go east to Silver Harbour for excellent views of Sleeping Giant, one of Canada’s seven wonders to see. You can also explore Rossport and the Wawa area, among other places, to paddle in some of the clearest water in Canada.
Again, the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is an enormous part of Ontario that has so many options for paddle boarders and adventure seekers to explore. This park offers alternative views across Lake Superior and Thunder Bay.
Head over to Marie Louise Lake for spectacular paddling on beautiful waters. There are campgrounds and lodges on the sandy shores, perfect for having a super memorable retreat getaway.
One of the lesser-known places to explore, Abitibi Canyon is ideal for those wanting to escape the crowds and find their own adventure. You will need to venture deep into the boreal forests and be rewarded with unbelievable scenes. Raw, powerful, and inspiring… We are adding this place to our dream list!
The Wabakimi Provincial Park is a tapestry of lakes, waterways, and forestry. Full of elusive wildlife and dreamscape views, paddle boarding here offers outdoor lovers the golden ticket.
However, due to the remoteness of the area, this park is strictly reserved for experienced paddlers. You will need some serious skills and be prepared for hardcore paddling if you visit here.
Before you head out to one of the Great Lakes or somewhere equally incredible in Ontario, it is important to keep some safety aspects in mind. While there are many places with easy access to cities, some of the best places to explore by SUP are remote. This makes safety even more important!
There are several paddling courses in Canada that cover paddle safety and aim to improve your skills in the water. If you are new to paddle boarding or need a refresher, then it is worth checking these out.
Canada requires “a properly sized PFD on board for each person on a boat.” This includes SUPs. Locals must have a Transport Canada-approved PFD. Tourists can use their own equipment as long as it meets their home country's requirements.
You are liable to a fine of up to $300 if you do not have a PFD with you while paddle boarding.
Yes! Paddle boarding is getting increasingly popular, which means there are an increasing number of SUP rental, hire, and lessons available across the Great Lakes areas. There are several places to paddle from on the Great Lakes, including Killarney and Bon Echo.
Yes! Lake Ontario is one of the best places to paddle board in the province. There are countless beaches that you can go from. We recommend Scarborough Bluffs Park and Lakeshore Beach at Sandbanks.
Ontario has so many incredible places to paddle board. Many of the Provincial Parks have a choice of lakes and rivers for you to explore. You can also find plenty of inner-city beaches to paddle board, like Toronto Islands, which offer accessible paddling and beautiful waters.
Toronto Islands and Fanshawe Lake are two awesome places for beginners to practice their SUP skills and master the techniques. During the summer months, most of the lakes in Ontario are suitable for novice paddlers as they are calm with sheltered areas.
Ontario has countless sandy beaches to enjoy. Gatineau Park is a great choice close to Ottawa. If you are looking for something further afield, check out Thunder Bay in the Lake Superior Provincial Park.
With so many paddle-boarding opportunities, taking your own SUP equipment to Ontario is a must. You can launch your own board on most lakes and rivers. Always be sure to check local guidance before heading out on your paddle board in Ontario.
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