Paddling Adventures & Outdoor Fun Just North of Toronto, Ontario

Canada is a world-renowned paddlers’ paradise and turns out, the very best place to paddle is only two hours directly north of Toronto.

With thousands of lakes and rivers carpeting this stunning region of Ontario, you’ll be able to dip your blade into sparkling blue waters just about everywhere you turn. Read on for more details, including where to rent gear, guided tours, and some additional adventures you won’t want to miss this summer and fall. (Need directions to paradise? Follow along to the end for more info.)

Sea Kayaking on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron

Beautiful Georgian Bay is one of the most spectacular bodies of water to explore anywhere in the world, and it’s no wonder UNESCO designated this part of the fresh water archipelago as a significant biosphere. With its windswept white pines dotting narrow inlets as well as the rugged, granite shorelines of the Canadian Shield, sea kayaking on Lake Huron is a great way to experience these “30,000 Islands”. This part of Georgian Bay (lovingly nicknamed “the sixth Great Lake”) is mainly accessible by water, and a sea kayak lets you go where bigger boats can only dream of.

Sea Kayaking & SUP with Georgian Bay Tours / Snug Harbour, Nobel

Take a guided adventure with one of many guiding companies in the Parry Sound area, including Black FeatherWhite Squall Paddling Centre & Outdoor StoreCanadian Adventure Expeditions, Voyageur Quest and Georgian Bay Tours. Ask about rentals if you’d prefer to organize your own trip.

Canoe Algonquin & Then Some

On the east side of the region is Canada’s oldest provincial park – one of the most-visited destinations in the country. Algonquin Provincial Park is command central for canoeing enthusiasts of all skill levels, with thousands of visitors exploring its pristine lakes and well-maintained campsites annually from May to October. In fact, there are over a dozen national and provincial parks to explore in the region, offering plenty of paddling opportunities, so plan to visit more than one during your stay.

Far from that madding crowd in Algonquin Park. Photo by @NateMuskoka on IG

If camping’s not your thing, there are exceptional resorts located within the park, and multiple charming communities surrounding its borders to make as your starting point for a day of adventuring, including the rustic villages of the Almaguin Highlands of Ontario to the west, and South Algonquin on the eastern edge. (Be sure to check out South Algonquin especially if you seek an accessible Algonquin getaway; this group of tourism businesses has worked hard to ensure everyone is able to enjoy the wilderness.) Plenty of glamping opportunities are to be found as well – a happy medium for those who want a more refined camping experience.

Classic guided canoe trips on the west side of Algonquin Park with Voyageur Quest.

Whether canoe or kayaking, there are lots of guided tours to consider for an iconic Canadian adventure, including a great selection for all skill levels with the following seasoned companies:

Algonquin Adventure Tours Algonquin Park
Algonquin Bound Outfitters Dwight
Algonquin Outfitters Algonquin Park
Canadian Adventure Expeditions Algonquin Park & Georgian Bay
Driftwood Paddle Algonquin Algonquin Park
Georgian Bay Tours Parry Sound
Liv Outside Bracebridge
Outdoor Adventures South River
The Portage Outfitters Algonquin Park West Gate
Voyageur Quest Algonquin Park
White Squall Paddling Centre Nobel

You can also learn new certification skills by taking lessons with the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre, based in Parry Sound.

Stand Up Paddle Board

“SUP” has become mainstream over the years and now rivals canoeing and sea kayaking for most popular outdoor water adventure. Ask local outfitters and accommodations about rentals – and maybe consider just a little instruction if you are new to the activity; you may wobble a bit at first, but soon enough it will be smooth paddling.

The yard at Liv Outside on the Muskoka River.

Be sure to ask for some guidance and get your gear to tour the south branch of the famous Muskoka River with Liv Outside in beautiful Bracebridge, Ontario, home of a breathtaking waterfall right in the middle of town!

Waterfront Accommodations: Easy Access to Paddling Fun

The region is home to and known for iconic resorts and waterfront establishments that offer easy access to paddling fun. Most establishments will have canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards on site, so be sure to ask what’s available when you book your stay.

Rentals: They’ve Got You Covered

Don’t want to haul your own gear to the region? No problem! Local outfitters ready to supply everything you’ll need to chart your own adventure.

Algonquin Basecamp Kearney
Algonquin Bound Outfitters Dwight
Algonquin Outfitters Brent, Canoe Lake, Huntsville, Lake of Two Rivers, Opeongo & Oxtongue Lake
Canoe Algonquin Kearney
The Detour Store Nobel
Eagle Lake Narrows Country Store South River
Grundy Lake Supply Post Britt
Liv Outside Bracebridge
Northern Wilderness Outfitters South River
Opeongo Outfitters Whitney
Outdoor Adventures South River
The Portage Outfitters Algonquin Park West Gate
Swift Canoe & Kayak Georgian Bay & South River
White Squall Paddling Centre Nobel

More Great Adventures

This neck of the Ontario woods is not just known for its epic paddling. From world-class golf (legendary courses built into the unique granite landscape) to hiking to atv-ing and more, there are endless ways to get your outdoor fix. And cyclists take note: this region is one of the most popular in Ontario to tour, train or trek on your bike. Check out over 200 routes and rides to explore across the region!

Autumn is also a fantastic time to visit the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto. Warmer Septembers and extended peak seasons are now the norm, making fall an amazing extension of summer. And there’s no better place in the world to see the brilliant, annual ‘foliage fireworks’ display than in these parts. It’s truly a breath-taking experience to paddle on these lakes when the orange, red and yellow maple leaves are mirrored off the serene blue waters.

Getting Here

Located two hours north of Toronto, Ontario, the region known as the great Canadian wilderness is easy to get to, no matter where you’re coming from. Click here for directions.

From New York:

From Michigan:

For more information on paddling and more outdoor adventures in the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto this summer and fall, click here. To plan your stay, click here.

About Explorers’ Edge: We are the regional tourism organization for the region of Ontario known as ‘the great Canadian wilderness just north of Toronto.’ For more information, email [email protected]