Canada is big and beautiful. It’s such a great place to go kayaking. This North American country has 3.85 million square miles to explore, so there are a dizzying array of gorgeous waterways to paddle through. Also, the diverse geography of Canada means that it’s possible to access a variety of different vibes and experiences, depending on where you decide to do your kayaking!
Nicknamed, “The Great White North”, Canada features three territories and ten provinces, which stretch from Pacific to Atlantic.
Canada is the second-biggest nation on the planet.
Today, we’re going to share a host of interesting information about 10 of the best kayaking spots in Canada. Once you’ve discovered these superlative kayaking locales, you may be inspired to plan a Canadian paddling adventure of our own.
If you do, you will not be disappointed.
- 1 Maligne Lake, Alberta
- 2 False Creek, British Columbia
- 3 Athabasca River, Alberta
- 4 Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
- 5 Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick
- 6 Churchill River, Manitoba
- 7 Bonaventure River, Quebec
- 8 Georgian Bay, Ontario
- 9 Tofino, British Columbia
- 10 Hopewell Rocks (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick
Maligne Lake, Alberta
This lake measures twenty-two kilometers and it’s situated in Jasper National Park. As far as Rocky Mountain lakes go, this one is the deepest and the longest. Its surreal beauty is legendary. Expect to hear the cries of loons while you paddle…and keep your eyes out for bears in the distance.
There are a couple of campgrounds at the park and you may book stays at them through Parks Canada. Keep in mind that Maligne Lake is a popular tourist destination. Book well in advance if you want to camp close to the lake during your kayaking adventure.
This glorious lake has a mirror-lake finish. While you’re in your kayak, you’ll be able to see reflections of the area upon its still surface. As you paddle, you’ll marvel at the color of the water. Its sediment content means that it shifts from green to blue-green to blue regularly.
The further away from shore you travel, the more dramatic the views will become.
Paddle at your own pace. This huge lake will give you so much room to explore, at a speed that works for you. Beginners should do fine at Maligne Lake. However, the winds do pick up now and then and paddling may be more challenging at these times. Also, since the lake is so big, it’s smart to choose a route that fits your stamina level.
False Creek, British Columbia
If you want to enjoy some kayaking right in the heart of a world-class city, then you should definitely go paddling at False Creek. This Canadian kayaking destination is located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The creek was dubbed “false” because it’s an inlet which is protected, which stretches out from English Bay. So, it’s not really a creek at all.
False Creek divides the downtown core of Vancouver from the remainder of the city.
Flanked by pricey condos and dotted with luxury watercraft, False Creek offers splendid city views. If you haven’t been to Vancouver, you may not know that it’s a city which is bordered by mountains. It also has lush parks, including its crown jewel, Stanley Park.
Vancouver is a great place to paddle. It’s also a wonderful place to shop and dine. Robson Street and Granville Street are excellent places to eat…and indulge in retail therapy! You’ll find that False Creek is very close (maybe a ten minute walk, at the most) to Vancouver’s most popular shops and eateries.
If you want to kayak at False Creek and you don’t have your own kayak with you…don’t worry. You may rent a kayak (lots of people rent them from Creekside Kayak Rental at the Creekside Community Centre). Doing so will be smart, as you’ll be able to return the kayak after you paddle and then go out and enjoy the city’s many urban pleasures.
Athabasca River, Alberta
This Albertan river used to be a route for fur traders. When you kayak the Athabasca River, you’ll be able to follow the same historic routes that fur traders used back in the old days. Also, this river has some whitewater. If you’re up to the challenge, be sure and do some whitewater kayaking. Tackling the rapids will be a great way to get a shot of pure adrenaline.
There are different ways to enjoy this beautiful river in a kayak. You should be able to select a route which matches your preferences and skill level to perfection.
Situated in Jasper National Park, this river moves through gorges and along icefields. While you paddle, you should be able to spot some wildlife on the shores and in nearby marshes. This Northern Alberta river has so much rich heritage and it offers two hundred kilometers of unspoiled wilderness.
You’ll love the contrast between the serene waters and the surging Grand Rapids. Also, keep an eye out for artifacts and ruins from the days of the settlers, trappers, voyagers and gold miners.
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario
This park in the province of Ontario features a couple of thousand kilometers of kayak routes and portages. Since there are so many routes available, you’ll be able to customize your trip route to suit your needs, schedule and preferences.
Go for a day trip or choose an adventure which is extended. Kayaking in the gorgeous Algonquin backcountry will be such a great way to get in touch with nature.
This park is located in the southeastern part of Ontario. It features rivers, a range of lakes and lush forests. One lake of note is the Lake of Two Rivers. It’s big and its surrounding area attracts bears and moose. Expect to enjoy loon song while you’re on the water.
Also, this provincial park features a heritage site, The Algonquin Logging Museum. If you visit the museum, you’ll be able to see a recreation of an old-fashioned logging camp, as well as a tug boat which is powered by steam.
You won’t be able to kayak every waterway in the park. There are just too many of them! Choose a lake or river that appeals to you. Some are much easier to access than others. When you visit this park, you’ll be enjoying an adventure in the Canadian Shield.
Avid kayakers love the Lake of Two Rivers, Lake Opeongo and Whiskey Jack Lake. Expect to see some canoes while you’re on the water. This park is very popular with kayakers and canoe owners alike.
Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick
Grand Manan island is a perfect example of Canadian Maritime beauty. Located in the eastern part of Canada, in the province of New Brunswick, this beautiful isle is the biggest island in the scenic Bay of Fundy. It rests at the boundary between the Atlantic coast’s Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy.
Grand Manan Island features a small population of just over twenty-three hundred and many tasty lobsters are fished out the the local waters.
If you want to see seabirds and whales as you paddle, this Maritime island will be an ideal kayaking destination. We recommend exploring the coastline by sea kayak. Lots of local tour companies offer guided day tours. Choose one of them or explore on your own, at your own pace.
Keep an eye out for osprey and whales while you paddle through the waterways of Grand Manan Island, with the striking coastline cliffs in full view. These dramatic cliffs rise to over four hundred feet!
When you’re not paddling, take in the charms of the island, including its key attractions, such as Swallowtail Lighthouse, the Old North Head Post Office and the Seal Cove Herring Smoke Sheds. This island has so much character.
Churchill River, Manitoba
This splendid Canadian river is large. It runs through three Canadian provinces, which are Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. The overall length of this major river is sixteen hundred and nine kilometers. When you paddle the Manitoba portion of Churchill River, you’ll have an excellent chance of seeing adorable Beluga whales in their own habitat.
Lots of inland sea kayakers have close encounters with these lovable whales and you may have the same experience.
Beluga whales are also called, “sea canaries”, This is because they make odd, high-pitched noises which are similar to the chirping of birds. These whales love warmer water, so they congregate in Manitoba’s Churchill River after the ice starts to break. They are playful creatures and watching them frolic from inside of a sea kayak will be a magical experience.
If you visit the area, you’ll also be able to discover why Churchill, Manitoba is known as the “polar bear capital of Canada”. These pure-white bears are easiest to find during the cold-weather months, but they are there in summer, too.
The Bonaventure river is situated within the province of Quebec’s picturesque Gaspé Peninsula. Measuring roughly one hundred and fifteen kilometers, the river rises into the Chic-Choc mountain range and then heads south, where it empties into the Baie des Chaleurs. This “baie” (bay) is close to Bonaventure town.
Seventy-eight percent of the Bonaventure River may be accessed by the public, so you’ll be able to explore it from an array of starting points. Widely considered to be the clearest salmon river on the planet, the Bonaventure is a perfect kayaking destination for those who want to indulge in a little fishing during their trips. The bed of this transparent river is composed of ledge, gravel and small stones.
The Mi’kMaq native tribe named this river Wagamet. This means, “clear water”. If you choose the Bonaventure River for your next paddling adventure, you’ll love the beauty of this unspoiled Canadian waterway.
Georgian Bay, Ontario
This glorious bay is beloved by kayaking enthusiasts. It’s often ranked as one of the premier paddling destinations in the world. If you’re looking for a Canadian kayaking destination which gives you access to ancient rocks, majestic pine trees and sheltered areas, you should definitely visit Georgian Bay, Ontario.
The region is composed of a staggering thirty thousand islands. It’s the perfect place for enjoyable sea kayaking. The area has natural beauty which is incomparable. Its vistas and waterways have provided inspiration for so many painters, including the esteemed Group of Seven.
This large bay is part of Lake Huron. Georgian Bay is located in south central Ontario. While you enjoy your Canadian kayaking adventure, be sure to spend some time in Georgian Bay Township. It was a hotbed for lumber trade during the 1800s. Today, it’s a popular place for tourists. You’ll love the cottage communities in the Georgian Bay area.
Tofino, British Columbia
If you want an authentic West Coast experience while you’re in Canada, you will love what Tofino, British Columbia has to offer. Tofino is a part of Vancouver Island and it spreads over a peninsula which is found in scenic Clayoquot Sound.
When you paddle in Tofino, you’ll be dazzled by the beauty of the region. It’s loaded with ancient rain forests, inlets and lakes. As well, the soft and sandy beaches are wonderful. Tofino attracts plenty of surfers each year, so you may want to try surfing when you’re not inside of your kayak.
You’ll also love the mellow resort town of Tofino. It’s such a great place to hang out and it’s found at the tip of the peninsula.
Highlights of a kayaking adventure in Tofino should include excursions at Cox Bay, Long Beach and Chesterman Beach. Also, think about touring the harbour islands near Tofino.
Hopewell Rocks (Bay of Fundy), New Brunswick
The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. If you want to appreciate the bay’s tidal phenomenon close up, be sure to visit Hopewell Cape and then kayak near the stunning Hopewell rocks. These rocks are definitely a popular tourist attraction.
The best time to paddle in this beautiful part of the province of New Brunswick is while the migration of shorebirds is happening. Each summer, the upper part of the bay, including Hopewell Cape, becomes a backdrop for huge flocks of shorebirds. These birds are making their way from the Arctic part of Canada to warmer locales in South America.
When you’re not in your boat, check out Hopewell Cape village and consider a trip to Albert County Museum. New Brunswick residents are Maritimers and they are some of the warmest and friendliest people in the world. We think that you’ll love everything that a paddling excursion in New Brunswick has to offer.