Ontario is home to one-third of Canada’s population, and Toronto, the nation’s largest city, is where most of the nation’s top tourist destinations, nightlife, and retail establishments can be found. The more rural “cottage country” areas are where Canadians travel to enjoy the great outdoors, while the national capital of Ottawa is home to many significant sights relating to Canadian history and governance. Home to 250.000 lakes and over 100.000 km of rivers, waiting to be discovered by kayak, canoe or a motor boat.
Ontario has more boats than the rest of Canada combined. Runabout, small fishing, pontoon, day cruiser, and performance boat owners have a vast range of boating venues to choose from, each with its own distinct personality. The majority of places can be reached by boaters who own larger yachts and motorised sailboats.
Any one of these amazing boating places in Ontario will make for a memorable family holiday.
Drive easily to the City of North Bay to stock your boat with supplies. After a leisurely dip at a beach in the city, set out from the marina for a fascinating tour of Lake Nipissing. For a relaxing vacation, follow the coastline and stop at one of the Manitou Islands. Lake Nipissing is a stunningly large yet shallow lake surrounded by a city and numerous towns. Nipissing was derived from the Anishinaabe name “Nbissing,” which means “little water,” because Indigenous traders compared its size to that of the Great Lakes. Although small in comparison to those mighty lakes, Lake Nipissing is Ontario’s fourth largest lake and takes about three and a half hours to drive around nonstop.
What could be more central than Lake Simcoe, which is located less than an hour from Toronto? Thousands of cottages and homes dot the Simcoe shores, and the cities of Barrie and Orillia provide both safe moorage and a variety of interesting daily activities. According to a 1980 survey of Ontario sport anglers, Lake Simcoe received the most fishing effort of any Ontario inland lake. 400,000 to 500,000 angler-hours were spent on the lake each winter from 1980 to 1983, and 2,000 to 3,000 ice fishing huts were rented each year. Lake Simcoe’s proximity to major urban centres in the Oshawa-Toronto-Hamilton corridor is primarily responsible for the lake’s intense sport fishery, which is located about 50 kilometres from Toronto and is within an hour’s drive of more than half of Ontario’s population.
READ MORE: Muskoka, Ontario’s desirable place to be
The Ottawa River
The Ottawa River, which runs north from Ottawa, provides a relaxed cruising experience with sandy beaches and family entertainment. A pleasant cruise downriver from Ottawa and through the Carillon lock will take you all the way to Montreal. There are many interesting sections, and, of course, because it’s a river, you won’t get lost. It is now a fast-moving river that takes you past rocks and trees before arriving at cottages and marinas. On one side is the province of Quebec, and on the other is the province of Ontario. As you pass through Pembroke, you will come across “Rocher Fendu,” a 12-kilometer stretch of wild whitewater. There, daring canoeists, kayakers, and rafters from all over the world test their skills in the rapids. At Arnprior, you’ll pass through Gillies Grove old growth forest, which is home to the tallest White Pine in Ontario – a 50-metre-tall White Pine!
The number seven destination is a favourite of anglers all over the world. Rather than a single body of water, it refers to a region that contains hundreds of smaller lakes that are ideal for fishing.
It is the area surrounding Lake Nipissing, which contains numerous lakes and streams. Regulations, licences, and lake access routes are easily obtained, and local fishing guides can recommend lakes to catch specific species of fish. If fishing is your passion, this could be the best option.
The Rideau Canal
Relive a historic voyage by boat. The Rideau Canal, which opened in 1832 as an alternative military route between Lake Ontario and the city of Ottawa, is Ontario’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This 202-kilometer, well-marked waterway is the oldest continuously operated canal in North America, with 45 locks at 27 lock stations. Unlike open water boating, this trip will pique your interest with each kilometre travelled, beginning at Old Fort Henry in Kingston and ending at the stepped locks leading to Canada’s parliament buildings in Ottawa.
The Muskoka Lakes
Muskoka is known for the beauty of its granite-lined waterways and the spectacular summer homes of celebrities and millionaires.
Launch your boat at one of the free town ramps, rent from a local marina, or book a day cruise on the Segwun, North America’s oldest operating passenger steamship. You might want to spend a few nights at one of Muskoka’s classic resorts while you’re there, as you’re sure to enjoy the crystal clear waters and scenic shorelines. You may recognise the name ‘Muskoka,’ and you may even know something about her, but experiencing her wilderness firsthand cannot be overstated. Muskoka was named the best place in the world to live in the summer by National Geographic Traveler Magazine, and it’s no exaggeration if you enjoy sunshine and solitude. And, to be honest, who doesn’t? There are too many options to list, but if you have a day off and a full tank, there’s no reason not to go exploring on land and water.
The 1,000 Islands and St Lawrence River
Start your boat excursion to the 1,000 Islands in Kingston, Gananoque, Brockville, or any of the several marinas along the St. Lawrence River’s north coast. Despite the fact that there are roughly twice as many islands within an 80-kilometer stretch of the river, this boating region is known as the “1,000 Islands.”
Visit castles, hiking trails, museums, fishing holes, summer activities, and even a casino in your boat. While travelling along this route, you will almost certainly be in areas with large commercial ships, but you will always be close to land. Numerous websites provide guidance on where to stay in a hotel or resort or dock your boat for the night. Heaven for boating. The 1000 Islands is one of the most well-liked boating destinations in North America because of the variety of this river.
The wide-open waters of northeastern Lake Ontario and the winding channels and coves of the St. Lawrence River are included in this destination-for-everyone. There are all different kinds of boaters here, including sailors, speedsters, and cruisers.
READ MORE: Most visited tourist attractions in Canada
The Trent-Severn Waterway
After taking a trip down the Trent Canal, you’ll want to go again. Make it a weeklong vacation, or travel one section at a time. For tiny boats, there are many hotels and B&Bs available. At each of the 45 locks, overnight docking for cruise ships can be arranged.
You will not only be able to observe incredible, top-notch nautical equipment as a boater; you will also be a part of it. You and everyone aboard your boat will be enthralled by the two enormous lift locks and the magnificent marine railway. Additionally, there are a tonne of art galleries, museums, and historical sites to see as you boat the countless cities, settlements, lakes, and rivers that the Trent borders. The Trent-Severn is frequented by over 120,000 boaters each year, so make sure to do your homework before you arrive to prevent missing any places of interest that may catch your eye. Throughout Kawartha Lakes, a magnificent 386 km path of interconnected rivers, lakes, locks, and canals makes up the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada, which is overseen by Parks Canada.
30,000 Islands, Georgian Bay
When asked if they have cruised Georgian Bay, any genuine yachtsman in Ontario will respond by praising the breathtaking beauty on their tour across the infinite isles and channels in the North Channel. Although Georgian Bay is incredibly well-marked, grounding shouldn’t be an issue. Yes, there are rocks, and you will need to pay attention to your charts.
Select a launch point and take all the time you need to enjoy the natural splendour of the islands. There are many Ontario parks where you can dock or anchor for the night. There are additional camping options. The Parry Sound area encompasses the area east of Georgian Bay, from Honey Harbour in the south to Killarney in the north. The Parry Sound region is an outdoor lover’s paradise with eight provincial parks, a national park, more than 30,000 islands, and a profusion of inland lakes and rivers. This region is home to the Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Massasauga, Killbear, French River, and Killarney Provincial Parks, all of which provide exceptional options for backpacking, RV, and backcountry camping, as well as for kayaking and hiking.
READ MORE: Best luxury hotels in Canada
The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are Ontario’s top boating destination since they comprise the biggest collection of freshwater lakes in the world, including Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. This is a fairly diverse range that includes many different boating styles.
Due to their diversity and the opportunities they give for boaters of different skill levels and experience, they are classed together in very generic terms. They are the closest thing we have to ocean boating, yet they can be even more dangerous at times. For instance, larger cabin cruisers and yachts are probably best suited for Lake Superior.
Even small boats can safely navigate the majestic shorelines of the Great Lakes and enjoy the seemingly endless variety of ports to visit with a little planning. The Great Lakes are the best for big water, a variety of scenery, and the best selection of town and marina stops. Raw Watersports rents fishing boats in the Windsor area and will deliver to other areas.
Each of these locations is more than just a vacation spot; they offer some of the best boating opportunities in the world in easily accessible locations. If you enjoy boating, make plans to visit one of them soon. You’ll remember it for the rest of your life.