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5 Unique Paddling Experiences

Here are some recommended (and special) ways and places to experience Algoma Country’s waters.

Updated: By Diana Lee

Located between two Great Lakes, countless inland lakes and meandering rivers, Algoma Country, home of the Anishinaabe since time immemorial, is a dream paddling paradise. From rocky shorelines to accessible docks, there are countless spots to launch your canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard (SUP, my preferred way to explore the water) in spring, summer, and fall.

Before heading out on your adventure:

  • Check the weather, water levels and conditions, and go with a buddy.
  • Wear the right gear according to the weather and water you’re playing in.
  • Always wear a lifejacket and a SUP leash if you’re on a paddleboard.
  • Review Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide (which includes info for human-powered watercraft).

1. Indigenous-led Paddling Adventures

paddling the root river in garden river first nation

Watch eagles soar above you while you paddle through special waterways with Indigenous-owned and operated eco-tour guides, Thrive Tours. Based out of Sault Ste. Marie (traditionally known as Baawaating), Amanda and Brad offer customizable water-based (and land-based) outdoor adventure combined with cultural education. Learn Indigenous traditions, teachings, and stories while watching salmon jump up next to your SUP and sipping Cedar Tea next to a campfire. This experience will deepen your connection to nature and understanding of Indigenous perspectives.
Paddling ability: All levels.
Bonus adventure: Paint & Paddle with local Indigenous artist Lucia Laford (Waawaaskone Qwe) and learn about traditional Woodland art.

2. Waterfront Adventure Centre

paddling at the sault waterfront adventure centre st marys river

Situated along St. Mary’s River just minutes from downtown Sault. Ste Marie, the Waterfront Adventure Centre (WAC) is an inclusive community space that welcomes you to enjoy the water. With an accessible boat launch and facilities, you can bring your own boat (BYOB) or rent from the WAC. Enjoy a pre- or post-paddle snack at the Ziibi café on-site.
Paddling ability: All levels.

paddling kayak dock bellevue marina

Looking for other accessible boat launches? Check out Bellevue Marina.

3. From the bottom to the top of Robertson Lake and Cliff

inland lake paddling experiences

Paddle an inland lake, fuel up at local food stops, and hike to a breathtaking lookout – all in one day on the Friends of Fall Colours Tour with Forest The Canoe. Trained interpretive guides Ryan and Shana offer various ways to sample the “True North” on their adventure bus.
BYOB or book a guided tour with Forest The Canoe (they’ll take care of transportation with pick-up and drop-off right from your hotel!)
Paddling ability: All levels, no experience required.

robertson cliffs hiking

4. Paddle, Camp/Cabin, Repeat

paddling experiences at ojibway park

Launch your boat right from the front porch of cute waterfront cabins at Ojibway Park in Garden River First Nation (GRFN). Located just 25 minutes from Sault Ste. Marie, this family-friendly campground was originally for the women and children of Garden River First Nation to gather traditional medicines during the early 1950s. Today, it is open for everyone to enjoy Laughing Water Beach and the views of Lake Huron/Lake George. Bring your own boat (BYOB) and enjoy a day paddle (day passes available) or stay the night and paddle at sunrise and sunset (the sun sets here!). Electrical and non-electrical campsites and shower facilities/comfort stations are available.
Paddling ability: All levels can enjoy a shallow and sandy shoreline.

inland lakes paddling experiences cottage resort

Looking for a more remote paddle + cabin location? Check out Northern Skies Resort, located in Thessalon, just 1.5 hours from Sault Ste. Marie.

5. Fly In/Train In SUP

sup paddling experiences fly-in remote lodge

Hop on a float plane with White River Air or take the VIA Rail to Mar Mac Lodge, an all-inclusive wilderness resort located on Esnagi Lake. You’ve probably seen all the ads about Algoma being an angler’s paradise. Well, it is, but you don’t have to be a fishing pro or actually into fishing to experience a fly-in (or train-in) northern Ontario adventure!

sup paddling experiences fishing

Photo Credit: Alisha Elford

While I brought my inflatable SUP, and it is possible to bring your own canoe or kayak, Mar Mac Lodge has watercrafts available for guests.

dianalee-sup-lake

Your next paddling adventure awaits in Algoma Country!

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About Diana Lee

Diana Lee lives for adventure, the great outdoors, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP)! She is a certified ISA SUP Instructor, a librarian, and a reporter for Get Out There Magazine. Find out what she’SUP to @only1phoenixx on Instagram and Twitter.

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