Boating Lifestyle

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The Top Boating Destinations to Visit in Canada

When it comes to vacationing in Canada, the best way to experience it is by boat. From British Columbia to Prince Edward Island, summertime in Canada means it’s time to hit the water. Whether you’re tired of your local lakes or have a new boat you want to take for a spin, this list has you covered. We’ll run down some of the country’s most stunning boating destinations from coast to coast.

12 Amazing Boating Destinations in Canada to Visit This Summer:

1. Okanagan Lake (British Columbia)

Most things you could say about Okanagan Lake can also be applied to the Okanagan region as a whole. Stunningly beautiful, vast, and lush, Okanagan Lake offers miles of pebbly beaches to explore. The region is famous for its vineyards, many of which sit on the shores of the lake itself. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are also popular activities, but watch out - some say the lake is home to a giant lake monster, the fearsome serpent Ogopogo. 

2. Lake of the Woods (Ontario-Manitoba-Minnesota Border)

This massive lake occupies parts of Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota. After the five Great Lakes, it’s the largest freshwater lake located (partially) within the US. The lake was carved into the bedrock by receding glaciers over 10,000 years ago. The rocky outcroppings left behind became the lake’s nearly 15,000 islands, with endless great places for boating, fishing, and camping. 

3. Lake Muskoka (Ontario) 

Situated in Ontario’s famous Muskoka cottage country, near the towns of Gravenhurst and Bracebridge, Lake Muskoka and the surrounding area are a playground for outdoor activities on land or in the water. Hiking, fishing, and kayaking are just a few of the things to do here in the heart of Ontario’s cottage country. Although tourism drives the area’s economy, preservation remains essential; the Muskoka Lakes Association has been maintaining the region for future generations since it was formed in 1894.

4. Lac Saint-Jean (Quebec) 

This “inland sea,” as the Quebec Tourism site refers to it, is located in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. Not only does it offer over 1,000km of water to explore, the surrounding area is full of gorgeous vistas, rich history, and plenty of activities for visitors, from the shoreline to the historic city of Saguenay.

5. Thousand Islands (Ontario) 

Despite the name, Thousand Islands actually comprises 1,864 islands that stretch about 50 miles downstream from Kingston, Ontario. Whether you’re navigating the channels of the St. Lawrence River or throwing a wake on the wide open waters of Lake Ontario, it won’t take long for you to find out why Thousand Islands is described as a boater’s paradise.

6. Lake Winnipeg (Manitoba)

Located 55 km from the city of Winnipeg, Canada’s sixth-largest freshwater lake is a playground for boaters. If you get tired of being on the water, there’s no shortage of things to see and do on shore. From boreal forest, to sandy beaches, to limestone cliffs, Lake Winnipeg is a sight to behold. 

7. Lake Louise (Alberta)

Looking at photos of Lake Louise, “picturesque” seems like an understatement. Located within Banff National Park, flanked by the soaring peaks of the Rockies, Lake Louise must be seen to be believed. While kayaking and canoeing are popular, the lake is also surrounded by hiking trails that will bring you to some of the most beautiful views in Canada. 

8. The Sunshine Coast (British Columbia)

With a name like “Sunshine Coast,” it’s easy to imagine spending all day on the water here. Boating is a way of life on the Sunshine Coast, with anchorages and bays just waiting to be explored. You might even see some wildlife, with sea lions, orcas, and porpoises all being native to the area.

9. Georgian Bay (Ontario)

Located within the larger Lake Huron, Georgian Bay is a great destination for boaters and hikers alike. Don’t let the name fool you; Georgian Bay is only slightly smaller than Lake Ontario, and is sometimes referred to as “the sixth Great Lake.” Whether paddling around the lake’s 30,000 islands or fishing for bass and trout, Georgian Bay is a place you won’t want to leave any time soon.

10. Lake Simcoe (Ontario)

A popular spot for boaters from nearby Toronto, Lake Simcoe is situated just 90 km from the big city. A great spot for fishing in any season, it’s sometimes referred to as Canada’s ice fishing capital. In the summertime, Lake Simcoe’s 700 square kilometers of warm freshwater are perfect for boating, kayaking, and swimming.

11. Good Spirit Lake (Saskatchewan)

You think the Prairies don’t have any great boating destinations? Think again! Located in one of Saskatchewan’s six founding provincial parks, Good Spirit Lake features crystal clear waters surrounded by towering sand dunes. An excellent choice for boaters and beach bums alike, Good Spirit Lake is known for being one of Canada's top beaches. 

12. Harrison Lake (British Columbia)

About 100 km east of downtown Vancouver, tucked between the Lillooet and Douglas Ranges of British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, lies Harrison Lake. Although this glacial reservoir fed by the Lillooet river is colder than most on this list, it is also home to three hot springs and some of the best sturgeon fishing in the country.