Personal watercraft riding delivers some of the best boating in Ontario—exhilarating adventure, exciting destinations and fantastic scenery. That’s the Province of Ontario, Canada—a world-class jet ski destination. Ontario waterways boast 1/3 of the world’s fresh water, including four of the famous Great Lakes, plus about 250,000 other lakes and 100,000 kilometres (62,000 miles) of riverways. With over one million active boaters, no wonder Ontario is North America’s premier PWC riding destination—there’s no place like this!
When summer hits, Ontario’s warm, sunny days typically range from 24 to 30˚ C (75 - 85˚ F), ideal for Sea Doo cruising and exploring. Many of Ontario’s popular boating routes are interconnected and uninterrupted by dead ends, transfers, dams or non-navigable sections. So jet ski lovers have countless choices for hours of exceptional riding: one-day excursions; multi-day rides returning to the same waterfront resort each night; or saddlebag tours overnighting at different shore side destinations. Most popular waterways are dotted with these resorts, marinas and restaurants, so getting service while riding your jet ski on popular routes is never a problem. Nor is stopping for an ice cream cone, a short stroll down a bustling main street, or a quick visit to a summer festival or event.
For the more experienced and adventurous, the Great Lakes—Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario—offer many big-water riding opportunities, launching from numerous marine-friendly communities along the province’s extensive shorelines. If you’re looking for a wilderness or camping experience, that can be yours too, especially on northern lakes like Nipissing, Temagami, Temiskaming and Lake of the Woods.
One of my favourite rides is the Ottawa River from Pembroke to the Town of Temiskaming Shores, a 668-kilometre (410-mile) round trip that follows the original fur traders’ route. Cruising the inner channels of Georgian Bay from Honey Harbour to Killarney is another amazing multi-day ride for experienced riders, as is the PWC ride on Lake Huron’s North Channel between Spanish and St. Joseph’s Island.
Those unfamiliar with this huge province or less experienced with Sea Doo touring can ride the relatively protected waters of two world famous canal systems – the Trent Severn Waterway (386 kilometres [241 miles] – view ride article) and the Rideau Waterway (202 kilometres [125 miles] – view ride article). These two heritage routes offer a variety of riding opportunities and overnight camping at most locks. Ontario’s signature cottage country regions of Muskoka (view ride article) Haliburton and the Kawarthas are also ideal jet skiing choices.
With Ontario’s long time popularity of marine tourism, cottaging, boating and fishing, it’s easy to find riding choices that are easily navigable, mapped, marked and well serviced. Accessed by numerous highways and a multitude of secondary roads, most lakes and rivers are clearly identified by road signs.
The popularity of Ontario boating also means that countless boat launches, both public and private, dot Ontario’s shorelines, many in Southern Ontario. Public launch signs are usually posted on nearby roads and often marked on municipal maps and websites. Many municipal launches include a public dock or docks, as is the case with most municipal marinas and facilities in Ontario. Most launches have parking nearby. For a small fee, Ontario’s many private marinas also provide launch, dock and parking facilities. There are also plenty of marinas along the shores of these waterways. Most municipal and private marinas also have dockside fuel available.
If you don’t own a PWC or can’t bring it with you, Ontario offers dedicated PWC rental locations, plus marinas and dealers who also rent boats and PWCswho also rent boats and PWCs. Another alternative is to stay at one of Ontario’s fabulous lakefront resorts, many of which offer or can arrange jet ski rentals for their guests. I’ve often used a resort as a base for my Sea-Doo rides: when making your reservation, ensure that the resort has a good boat launch with appropriate dock space.
Start planning your PWC ride in Ontario by exploring other posts on this site and also check out my Intrepid Cottager site for other valuable information, tour tips and planning advice. So this summer, why not load your jet skis onto your trailer, hit the water and see why Ontario is yours to discover?