Road Tripping with your PWC

Ontario has some of the most beautiful places to ride your PWC—so trailer up and explore these favourite road trip destinations!

Road tripping with your Personal Water Craft is a great way to explore Ontario. There are so many places to launch and ride PWCs, and many spots are easy road trips from the Greater Toronto Area. Here are three favourite PWC road trips, accessible from the GTA—and each one is guaranteed to make great memories.

Ottawa River

Stay in Hawkesbury at the Quality Inn & Suites. In the morning head to the Confederation Park Launch where you'll find a pay-for launch and parking, with washrooms available. You can also go to one of the smaller towns north of Hawkesbury along the river and launch at a marina such as at The Marina de L’Orignal.

Ride the Ottawa River upriver to Ottawa, about 2 hours depending how often you stop to enjoy the view. The river has glorious views of fields and small communities that dot the shoreline. Riding into Ottawa you will see the Prime Minister’s Residence, Rideau Falls, and of course the Parliament Buildings. Stopping here is a great photo op! You can also ride close to Rideau Falls for more photos.

About 2 kms east from the falls, stop at Rockcliffe Boathouse Marina for lunch and to refuel your PWC. There's lots of dockage available. Do you feel like you’re floating while you lunch? The restaurant is on the river, tied to the shoreline.

After lunch, work your way back to your launch enjoying some playtime on the river with your PWC. Once you’re back on land, head to your hotel, freshen up and go for dinner at Stephanie’s Grille. If it’s a nice evening, sit out on their patio while you dine. The menu has options for everyone, so no one will leave hungry.

The next morning launch your PWC, this time heading downriver towards Montreal. Travel through the enormous lock at the Carillon Canal National Historic Site. This is an interesting place to walk around while you’re waiting to lock through. The lock is the only Guillotine lock in North America. Make note of the last northbound lockage time when you’re here so you can be back in good time to lock though on the return ride.

Once you’ve locked, through-ride your PWC from Carillon to Montreal. Dock your PWC at the public dock before the locks at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Canal National Historic Site and walk along Rue Canal beside the water. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from for a tasty lunch, many having patios overlooking the water. Don’t dawdle too long as you need to ensure that you return in good time for the last northbound lock through at the Carillon Lock.

Tobermory

For this trip, in order to get the dates you want you must book well in advance as it’s a popular vacation region. There are hotels, B&Bs and AirBnBs to choose from. Our choice was the Harbourside Motel due to its location near the launch ramp, and the parking availability for trailers on the property and the adjacent street parking. The motel is walking distance to eateries, tourist shops and the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry.

For this ride you’ll want to pack a lunch in your PWC. Launch your PWC early in the morning into Little Tub Harbour and idle past the shops and docked vessels heading towards Tobermory Harbour. Ride into Fathom Five National Marine Park which includes an underwater park. Diving is a main attraction, so use caution when riding your PWC in this area to avoid diving flags and boats. What makes this place fascinating is all the underwater wrecks, some of which you can see from your PWC.

While exploring Fathom Five islands and waters, ride to and around Flowerpot Island. Stop for some photos in front of the flower pots and cruise around the island taking in the views.

From Flowerpot Island ride southeast over open water to The Grotto. It’s a popular landmark visited by many in the summer. You might carefully ride your PWC into one of the water access caves along the shoreline for a photo.

After spending some time enjoying the Grotto area, ride along the shoreline east towards Cabot Head. The Cabot Head Provincial Nature Preserve is a non-operating park, however you can ride your PWC into Wingfield Basin. There is a boat wreck that you can approach while exploring on your PWC.

On your return ride play around as you ride back to Tobermory. Take the time to pause at places that you passed earlier, take in the scenery and take more photos. If you still have lots of daylight before sunset keep enjoying your time out there. Dinner can wait.

When you do get back and you’re ravenous for dinner, head to The Fish And Chip Place and order, well, fish & chips.

Temagami

The coastline of Lake Temagami is rugged and natural. Chose a day with light to moderate winds for best PWC riding conditions.

As there is very little available in the small town of Temagami, use North Bay as your base. Staying at the Hampton Inn by Hilton puts you near a selection of restaurants and other services. Trailer parking is available behind the hotel.

Travel from the hotel to the launch ramp at Temagami Outfitting Co takes about an hour. Once at the launch you will find washrooms, information and souvenirs of the area.

I recommend packing a picnic lunch in your PWC for this ride as there are no services for boaters on most of the lake. Most services are near the launch so ensure your fuel tank is full and you have enough supplies for your ride. Also remember the rule of thirds - one third of the tank to go out, one third to come back, and one third reserve.

You will depart via the North East arm of Lake Temagami. It’s a lake known for its fishing, so if you’re an angler, bring your gear, find a spot and fish for your dinner. For those who prefer to explore, there are plenty of bays and channels. Temagami is a fairly low traffic lake where you will see mostly fishing boats and a few pleasure craft. When it’s time for lunch, find a beach or cove, anchor your PWC and enjoy the experience. Remember to pack out your trash leaving the area as you found it.

When it’s time to head back, take time to capture photos you didn’t take on the way out. Shoot a video going through Axe Narrows to remember what a great day you’ve had. After your day on the water, stop for dinner at the Temagami Shores Restaurant. They are open for dining both indoors and on the patio in the summer.

Road trips for riding your PWC are a great way to spend vacation time. A week, or even a weekend, makes for a great time exploring the water on your PWC. Ontario has some of the most beautiful places to ride. These are just three of my favourites.

About Marion Knaus

Marion Knaus is a Certified Fitness and Nutrition Coach and the owner of Granolala.ca who spends as much of her free time on the water as she can. Riding her Waverunner on any water body is her happy place. She is an admin with the Ontario PWC Riders Facebook group and gladly shares her PWC knowledge with anyone willing to lend an ear. 

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