Where to Paddle

The catch phrase for the summer of 2021 is plan ahead, book ahead and definitely necessary when planning your paddling adventure. Consumer demand for paddling equipment and rentals is high this year, so call way ahead of time to buy or rent your canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP). Book a guided paddling tour with a local outfitter (see list below) to fully experience the watery wonders of BruceGreySimcoe.

This region has evolved into a go-to destination for canoeing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.  BruceGreySimcoe is home to rivers with rapids and without, calm inland lakes and the wide expanses of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.  For paddlers of all skill levels, many outfitters offer lessons, rentals and shuttle services, plus a wealth of knowledge about the routes travelled.


The popular Saugeen River starts in Hanover, flows through Paisley and on to Southampton and Denny’s Dam, which marks the end of the paddling route.  One of the best canoe routes in Southern Ontario, the 102-kilometre river route passes smoothly by wooded shorelines, through small communities and between soaring bluffs. 

The gently flowing Beaver River, navigable from Kimberley to Heathcote, is just right for novice paddlers.  The route features some of the most spectacular scenery in Southern Ontario.  Take a breather to marvel at the panoramic views of the Niagara Escarpment and the surrounding countryside. 

If only a river mouth could talk! The historic Nottawasaga River, stretching 23.5 kilometres from Edenvale to Wasaga Beach, would certainly have stories to tell.  It played a central part in the lives of the area’s Indigenous peoples, was the route of famous explorers and played a significant role in the War of 1812.

Lake Huron & Georgian Bay

On calm days, there is nothing quite like a paddle along the Lake Huron shoreline. For intermediate paddlers, a popular destination is Chantry Island, a federal bird sanctuary about 2 kilometres off the shore of Southampton.  It’s also the home of the Chantry Island lighthouse and a restored lightkeeper’s home (book a tour to visit the island in 2021).  Please note that foot traffic is not permitted on the island (must be with a tour group). Near Oliphant, the Fishing Islands are a chain of islands stretching 20 kilometres north from Chief’s Point to Pike Bay.  

For the very experienced and adventurous paddler, a sea kayak is the preferred vessel of choice for exploring the clear waters and majestic shores of Georgian Bay, “the sixth Great Lake”.  From Tobermory to Owen Sound to Collingwood to Wasaga Beach, up to Awenda Provincial Park and around to Midland, Victoria Harbour and Port Severn, the shoreline is dotted with numerous bays and inlets to explore.  In Tobermory, glide over shipwrecks in both Little Tub and Big Tub harbours and, near Thornbury, the wreck of the Mary Ward is a 4-kilometre paddle from Northwinds Beach (note that parking fees apply).  And, remember, when paddling in Georgian Bay that much of this route is shared with larger, motorized boats.

Some hints & tips for a rewarding paddling adventure:

  • Review the “Visitor Manifesto
  • Install the “what3words” app on your phone– the app can help rescue workers find you if you are lost or need emergency services
  • Let someone know your planned paddling route and your itinerary
  • Check the marine forecast before heading out
  • Review the Mandatory Gear required for your canoe, kayak or SUP (stand up paddleboard).
  • If the parking lot is full at the access point, switch to another less-busy access point
  • If possible, paddle at less busy times like mid-week or during the spring and fall (check ahead for water conditions, no matter what season it is))

For More Info and Experiences:

Other Lakes and Rivers

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