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Your Next SUP Destination

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Your Next SUP Destination

• Credit: Diana Lee

6 stand-up paddleboarding adventure ideas in Northern Ontario

Whether it's camping, fishing, or beach time you're after, Algoma's got the perfect SUP adventure for you.



Located in the heart of Northern Ontario is Algoma Country. You might have already heard about how fantastic the fishing is here, the rugged and remote landscapes, or that it's a paddle destination for kayaking. While those things are all true, I'll share how those features make Algoma a great stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) destination!

Every time I drive along the scenic stretch of Highway 17 north of Sault Ste. Marie, Algoma's largest urban community, I am always blown away by the stunning views of Lake Superior, my favourite of the Great Lakes. The name itself calls for stand-up paddleboarding on it—Lake SUPerior!

With an area of over 70,000 square km, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the spots to paddle, so I’ve picked six of my favourite ways to explore and enjoy Algoma on a stand-up paddleboard.

Before paddleboarding in Ontario…

Prior to venturing out, remember to check the weather, water levels and wind conditions. It’s best to always paddle with a buddy, and always wear a SUP leash and life jacket. Review Transport Canada rules for operating paddle craft safely here and check the local municipality for the most up-to-date safety guidelines. Always travel responsibly.

1. SUP to Waterfalls in Wawa

Discover fun spots like this (and more) while paddling the historic and scenic Michipicoten River, one of the largest rivers flowing into Lake Superior.

waterfall

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Take a guided or self-guided EcoTour of the Michipicoten River with Naturally Superior Adventures (NSA). Whether you take the full-day excursion or half-day experience, there’s no shortage of beautiful nature spots. The name of the river itself means “big bluffs” in Ojibwe, referencing the large hills at the river mouth.

The Michipicoten River is also culturally significant and sacred to the Ojibwe, specifically the Michipicoten First Nation.

I recommend going with an NSA guide the first time you check out the Michipicoten River. They can point out all the heritage spots and wildlife to spot on the river.

SUP in the wilderness

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Location details:

  • Paddling experience required.
  • Rentals for SUP, canoe and kayaks are available.
  • Stay a safe distance away from the falls.
  • Option to stay in Rock Island Lodge, located right next to the beach, or you can camp on the beach!

2. Upgrade your SUP Skills

Build your vacation around while building up your stand-up paddleboarding skills on the world’s largest freshwater inland sea.

2 SUP on Lake Superior

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Whether you’re new to SUP or an experienced paddler, I highly recommend taking paddling courses to get more comfortable, competent and confident on the water, which only leads to more paddling adventures!

I spent three days completing my Paddle Canada Advanced SUP Certification with Naturally Superior Adventures.

Taking a course here did not give the same feeling of going to school. During these three days, I camped on the beach, went for sunrise SUP and sunset surf sessions, and even enjoyed a live concert on the rocky shores of Superior and one night at the Rock Island Lodge.

people sitting in wilderness

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Location details:

  • All paddling levels are welcome.
  • Don’t have a lot of time? There are 2-hour Basic SUP Skills classes (which include a mini-tour) and Advanced Flatwater Skills courses for paddlers with some experience.

3. Fly-In SUP

Go on an above (literally) and beyond paddling adventure and paddle a lake that might not have ever been SUP’ed before!

SUP on remote inland lake

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Bring your SUP aboard a floatplane with White River Air and immerse yourself in the remote wilds of Northern Ontario with Mar Mac Lodge Wilderness Resort. Wake up every morning and explore a new spot every day on Esnagi Lake, a 45-km long lake, an excellent spot for paddlers who are training for paddling long distances.

Location details:

  • Paddling experience required.
  • Bring your own board or contact Mar Mac Lodge to see if SUP rentals are available.
  • If planes aren’t your thing, you can also train in on the Via Rail.
  • Clean and dry your board and gear before taking it to a new paddling spot to prevent the spread of invasive species.

4. SUP Fishing

Experience the world-class fishing Northern Ontario offers, right from your board!

SUP angler esnagi lake

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a paddler looking to try your hand at fishing, Mar Mac Lodge warmly welcomes everyone at any stage in their fishing journey to discover this bucket list experience.

As an official Experience Fishing operator, Mar Mac Lodge offers a Discover Fishing Package that provides all the gear you need—fishing rod, lures, tackle, and bait to try fishing off your board! This experience is perfect for people (and paddlers) new to fishing.

The guides will help point you to the hot spots in the lake for walleye or pike and will top off the fun experience by preparing your fresh catch for the most delicious shore lunch!

shore lunch

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Location details:

  • Paddling experience required.
  • You can bring your SUP, but canoes and fishing boats are also available for guests to go exploring or fishing in.

5. SUP & Camp Along Lake Superior

Combine your love for SUP and spend a night out under the stars with either front-country or backcountry camping experiences.

SUP lake superior provincial park

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Lake Superior Provincial Park is one of my favourite parks to camp, hike and, of course, SUP in. I love being able to wake up and walk your board right out to one of the largest lakes in the world from your tent or camper!

With unreal blue-green waters, rocky shorelines, pictographs to check out and learn about, there’s no shortage of cool things to see on the water.

lake superior sup

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Location details:

  • Intermediate to advanced paddling experience required. Many sections along Lake Superior are remote and inaccessible.
  • Paddlers must be prepared for cold water and changing water conditions (even on hot summer days that start off looking calm).

6. SUP & Picnic Beach Roadtrip

Take breaks along your drive to take in the open water views of Lake Superior from your board or spend a beach day (or two) to bask in the warmth of the sun after a paddle.

sup old woman bay lake superior

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Lake Superior has the longest undeveloped coastline of all the Great Lakes (less than 5%!) This means more spots and opportunities to disconnect from the busy city life and enjoy a relaxing beach day where you can float out on your SUP.

With several stunning and often secluded beaches to choose from, one of my favourite rest spots, whenever I drive up north is Batchawana Bay Provincial Park. This day-use park is perfect for families and beginner SUP-ers as the water is shallow and considered one of the warmest spots on Lake Superior. It is also the mid-point in the longest national highway in the world, the Trans Canada Highway and an important fishing site for the Ojibwe.

Make sure you pick up their park crest sticker and add it to your Ontario Parks passport!

A sure sign that Algoma is for stand-up paddleboarders.

agawa bay lake superior

(Photo credit: Diana Lee)

Location details:

  • All paddling levels are welcome.
  • Even though this is a beginner-friendly spot, always check the weather, water levels and wind conditions. There are no lifeguards on-site.

This is just part one! I'll be back, Algoma!

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Sault-Ste Marie is a 7 hour drive from Toronto

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