You know that feeling you get when you are way too excited to do something or go somewhere? Those inner-child feelings like you’re about to go to Disneyland for the first time? That’s how I get every time I know I get to go on an exciting ride where I'll experience and see new things by machine.
I’m sure fellow gearheads can relate, but what if you’re not a hardcore gearhead and instead of feeling excited, you feel incredibly overwhelmed at the fact that you have so much to plan? Well, don’t fret; we’ve got your back. Sit back, relax, and prepare to be surprised—the planning can be one of the best parts of the trip!
First off, I must stress the importance of checking with the Canadian Coast Guard for weather and wave conditions and predictions for the day(s) you plan on riding on big water. Wind and waves can brew up fast on big water, so it’s important to ride on a day where the wind and waves are minimal, as newer riders may not be able to handle larger waves.
Make sure to assess you and your group’s riding ability in relation to weather and wave conditions and plan accordingly. We have had to postpone our Parry Sound to Midland trip twice so far due to waves being higher than what we would ideally like, as we always travel in a group which has at least two less experienced riders. We want to make sure everyone is safe and having a fun experience!
Canadian Coast Guard information that we use
My family and I are from the Parry Sound area, so launching from here to make a personal watercraft (PWC) trip to Midland, Ontario is ideal, and it can be for you too. Whether you’re traveling from Toronto or north of Sudbury, launching from Parry Sound is ideal due to the ample amount of water access and free truck and trailer parking. Launching from Parry Sound is also ideal for newer PWC riders, as it will give them a chance to become acquainted with the PWC, and figure it out before embarking down the coast of Georgian Bay.
Renting A PWC
No PWC? No problem! Luckily, Parry Sound is the ideal area for all sorts of motorsports so there are a number of places where you can rent Personal Watercraft.
PWC rentals are available all over Ontario. Click here to see the list!
Parry Sound: Where to Launch
We always launch at the “Salt Docks” in Parry Sound, there is a free public boat ramp and ample free parking for trucks, cars, trailers, etc.
Plan of Attack: Route from Parry Sound to Midland
We obtained nautical maps from the Canadian Coast Guard, and downloaded an app called Navionics, so we 100% knew where we were at all times. You do have to pay for the phone app, but it tracks and records your route in live time, and can definitely come in handy if in a situation where you cannot find out where you are. There will be a lot of places to stop and rest along the way.
Destination Midland: Where to Eat
The Boathouse Eatery is located at the town docks of Midland overlooking Georgian Bay. The popular restaurant offers a large patio, inside dining, great food and customer service. The Boathouse Eatery is one of Georgian Bay’s best waterfront restaurants! Along the town docks, you won’t have trouble finding places to dock your PWC.
Where to Stay: Parry Sound
If you’re planning on staying in Parry Sound, there are many great options all with ample parking for a PWC trailer. I would suggest the Bay Street Bed and Breakfast on 40 Bay Street. There is a lot of room for parking across the street and a number of restaurants on the same street including Boston Pizza, Bay Street Café and Bistro By The Bay.
PWC Trip Life Hacks
- If you’re anything like me, you like to take a million pictures everywhere you go, and not just iPhone pictures. I lug around my Canon DSLR (yes, even on PWC trips—sketchy, I know) but to keep it safe and dry, I keep my DSLR wrapped in a ZipLock plastic bag and then, keep it in its carrying bag in the waterproof compartment in the PWC
- Wrapping your iPhone in a Ziplock bag and taping the back so the plastic bag is tight against the screen will allow you to protect your phone (if you don’t already have a life-proof case) and use it as well. Bring your phone’s headphones in case you get bored while riding and want to listen to music, or for children—they can put the iPod or phone in a pocket and stay entertained on a longer ride such as this.
- Bring extra clothes! Always. Always. Always. I can’t stress this enough, as I personally forget and always end up wishing I had brought some.
- Sunny Savers. Enough said. Ain’t nobody got time for losing $200 Oakleys to the depths of Georgian Bay. Been there, done that, not fun.
- The double S: snacks and sunscreen. Obvious, yet very important.
- For the ladies: hair elastics, headbands, hairbrush, and leave-in conditioner will save your life. Unless you want to lose 10 pounds of hair after a full day of PWC and brushing or even cutting out a tangled mess, bring all the above and keep your hair in a tight bun.
Unfortunately, the date that we had planned to take this PWC trip was not a date that Mother Nature intended for us to be out on the bay. High winds and larger waves were not something we wanted to get into with beginner level riders in our group—we wanted everyone to have a safe and fun time on their PWC. The day will come, and when it does we will be more than prepared. My advice: get the planning part of your PWC trip done well ahead of time so that when the moment arrives you'll be ready for it!