With countless lakes, rivers, and coastlines to paddle in Ontario, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to go. Toronto-based, adventure stand-up paddleboarder and outdoor enthusiast, Diana Lee, shares five incredible places to SUP in Northeastern Ontario.
Things to know before you go
Before venturing out check the weather, water levels, and conditions, and go with a buddy! Always wear a SUP leash, lifejacket, and review Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide (which includes info for SUP-ers). And, check the local municipality for the most up-to-date info on COVID-19-related safety guidelines and always travel responsibly.
1. Restoule Provincial Park – Paddle to the Bluffs on Stormy Lake, Restoule
Distance from the boat launch to the 100-metre high cliff face: Approximately 2.5 km paddle there and back.
Located on the land of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and the Huron-Wendat, Restoule Provincial Park is a dream park for SUP camping or day paddling adventures. Paddlers can explore Restoule Lake, Stormy Lake, or the Restoule River.
After a severe forest fire in 1909 and concerns of more fires threatening the newly regrown forest, a 30-metre high metal fire tower overlooking Stormy Lake was built in 1954. While you can hike the 4.1 km trail up to see the park’s iconic tower, I highly recommend the paddle! The fresh scent of pine trees over the water makes this a magical paddling place. Learn more about Restoule here.
- Washrooms and parking available at the boat launch. Canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard rentals are also available here. Visitors wishing to rent are required to bring their own personal flotation device (PFD) as PFDs are unfortunately not available from the park at this time.
- While this is a short, easy, and rewarding paddle, check weather and wind conditions to avoid getting blown out onto the open Stormy Lake.
- For more suggestions on where to paddle in Restoule, check out their Day Paddling Routes map.
2. Marathon Beach, North Bay
Distance from launch to the water: A short walk from the parking lot that takes you past the Waterfront Marina.
Located in downtown North Bay on traditional Anishinabek territory, this popular Lake Nipissing beach has a large, shallow swimming area, great for beginner SUP-ers. It is usually a supervised beach, but currently there are no lifeguards on duty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the right wind conditions, there can be waves for some SUP surf fun!
- Washrooms are available onsite with ample parking spots. There was even a fry truck! Yes, I’ll always mention whenever there’s an opportunity to pick up a pre or post-paddle snack (like in my last article for SUP destinations in Toronto).
- SUP and kayak rentals available on-site through FunRentals.ca
- One day (with the right weather and wind conditions), I aim to go on an adventure paddle over to the Manitou Islands Provincial Park, a 10 km paddle out into Lake Nipissing.
3. Finlayson Point Provincial Park, Temagami
Distance from launch to the water: Depending on where your campsite is, you could be steps away! There are several access points, including a boat launch and beach.
Situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, and Omàmiwininiwak (Algonquin), Finlayson Point Provincial Park is another excellent place to combine your love for SUP and camping. This park is also an access point to Temagami, a region known for its vast wilderness, including five backcountry parks. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned SUP-er, there’s a paddling spot for everyone (there are more than 2,000 lakes in the region!)
- Book a campsite (or the cabin) at Finlayson Point. Explore some of the nearby islands by day or head further into Lake Temagami. Return to your home base and enjoy a sunset swim or paddle (or do both). Fall asleep to the sound of loons. Swoon.
- Watch for powerboats and floatplane traffic in Portage Bay, the north part of the park (it is a seaplane base in Ontario).
Enjoy a refreshing swim off your SUP, right in front of your campsite! Note that there are steep drop-offs–take caution if you're swimming outside of the designated beach areas.
This little beach is a great sheltered area to paddle on Lake Temiskaming / Timiskaming, which in the Algonquin language means deep (‘tim’) and open waters (‘kami’). Despite its name, the water here is shallow for quite a distance out with the water quality regularly tested by the Ottawa Riverkeeper.
- Parking and public washrooms are available near the New Liskeard Waterfront Mini-Putt, where you can also get ice cream! There are lots of other facilities nearby, including a skatepark, beach volleyball courts, waterfront pool and fitness centre.
- On the drive here, you’ll see signs to Take the Lake Way, and as a water person, I agree! This scenic detour will take you through:
Read more about Lake Temiskaming and the community of Temiskaming Shores, a place that celebrates two provinces and three cultures here.
5. Devil’s Rock, Temiskaming Shores
Distance from launch to the cliffs: Approximately 4 km paddle there and back in open water.
Devil's Rock is a 2.2 billion-years-old granite escarpment that towers 92 metres over Lake Temiskaming. The Anishinaabe treated this site as a sacred place and originally called the cliffs "Manidoo-Wabikong" which translates to "Manitou rock" in English. Learn how it got its name here and about the Ojibwe legend of the Memequayshowak "rock demons" that inhabit this cliff here.
You’ll see a lot of powerboats visiting this iconic spot but paddling over allows you to take in the heavily-treed shoreline of this glacier-carved lake, and watch the cliffs slowly appear around the corner.
I could have spent all day here, staring at the cliff features, wondering about the climbing routes (yes, rock climbing here is possible but rare), and spooking myself out looking into the dark entrances of the mining tunnels just steps from the water.
- The paddle to Devil’s Rock is a fun mini-adventure paddle for self-supported intermediate paddlers and comfortable with open water. The route is remote, with no access to roads.
- You can camp and launch from Bucke Park Campground, a campsite and RV park with a boat launch. There’s even a fishing prep hut if you’re into fishing off your SUP! The trailhead for one of the hikes to the top of Devil’s Rock is also here.
- Make sure to check the weather, especially for the wind conditions before paddling out–offshore winds could take you over to Quebec (which is a whole other paddle adventure)!
There are so many cool places to go stand-up paddleboarding in Northeastern Ontario! Whether you're a beginner or a pro–this region has plenty of options for an amazing day out on the water. So whichever SUP adventure you choose, I know you'll have an amazing and memorable experience!
For more information about planning a trip to Northeastern Ontario, visit us here.