6 Dreamy Places to go Paddleboarding Near Lake of the Woods

Go for an afternoon, or make it a multiday affair.

Lake of the Woods is renowned for fishing. The first clue is the 12-metre “Husky the Muskie” in Kenora. The lake’s 14,500 islands also make it a fantastic place to explore with a paddleboard. The water is warm enough for swimming in the summer, and it’s easy to find a secluded stretch of shoreline. To be sure, LOTW itself is just one of the many waterbodies in the area, with nearby provincial parks and smaller lakes aplenty. The heart of Sunset Country also includes the Migizi leg of the Path of the Paddle, a long-distance canoe route stretching from Lake Superior to Manitoba.

This area is great for spending an afternoon on a standup paddleboard. But a few days in a row would be even better. Waterfront rental accommodations are abundant. Check with the cottage or cabin owners for great outing suggestions, but you will probably have incredible paddleboard opportunities right outside the rental’s door. For a bit of adventure, here are some more trip ideas.

motorboat sits at dock in the misty dawn lakeside light
Enjoy misty mornings on Laurensons Creek. Photo: Megan Lemay // @meg_pie_l

Laurensons Creek

You can launch your paddleboard at the Kenora Recreation Centre and head out onto Lake of the Woods or up the creek to Laurensons Lake. This short paddle cuts through downtown Kenora, running about two kilometres in each direction. Along the shores, you’ll have a chance to spot wildlife like great blue herons or beavers. If you choose to go the other direction, you can paddle out onto Lake of the Woods and cruise along the Kenora Harbourfront.

Distance: 2–10 kilometres

Duration: One hour to full day

Norman Beach

Close to downtown Kenora, Norman Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the summertime. Drive to washroom-equipped Norman Park, where you’ll find the nearby Discovery Centre with its information centre and seasonal exhibits. You can launch your paddleboard right from the beach and take a half-day cruise around Coney Island, where you can stop at the beach for ice cream and before paddling back.

Distance: 8–10 kilometres

Duration: Half to full day

  • Rent a paddleboard from nearby Tall Pines Marina
  • Play at the Hoopla Island Adventure Park. This family-friendly floating water park is just offshore of the beach in Norman Park
  • Eat at Myer’s Dockside (an offshoot of the 60-year-old Myer’s Deli) in the Tall Pines Marina, a five-minute walk from Norman Park. This micro-deli specializes in sandwiches and ice cream—in other words, everything you need
  • Stay at the quaint Timberland Inn, nearby in the community of Keewatin
Evergreen trees are silhouetted lakeside at dusk
Paddle from sun up to sun down at Blue Lake. Photo: Ontario Parks

Blue Lake Provincial Park

The crystal-clear Blue Lake makes for a great paddle about an hour's drive east of Kenora. On a sunny day, you even see the shadow of your board on the lake bottom. It’s about seven kilometres for a complete circumnavigation, starting and finishing at the provincial park landing. Check out the impressive headlands on the north end of the lake as you paddle along. If you aren’t up for a long paddle, you can just cruise up and down the beach.

Distance: Up to seven kilometres

Duration: One hour to full day

  • Camp at Blue Lake Provincial Park, where you’ll find 190 campsites, half with electrical hookups. There are also eight trailers for rent in the campground. There are some great hiking opportunities, including the 11-kilometre Goblin Lake Trail
  • Stay in one of the numerous lodges in nearby Vermilion Bay. A fishing haven, many of the lodges here also offer boat rentals or guided fishing trips
Looking out over lake with fire ring and campfire wood in foreground.
Camp and paddle at Sioux Narrows. Photo: Trystan Petrash // @trystanpetrash

Sioux Narrows Provincial Park

In the sheltered east end of Lake of the Woods, this Provincial Park is smaller than the other ones on the lake. You’ll find that it is a bit quieter, with secluded walk-in campsites. Many of these sites are right on the water, and they all have easy access to it. Put your paddleboard in at the boat launch and take a tour, exploring the granite shorelines of this quintessentially northern park. With the network of waterways, you can easily spend a full day touring on your paddleboard here. Take a short tour into the nearby wetlands of Willow Bay, peeking for herons or other marsh-loving animals.

Distance: Up to 10 kilometres

Duration: One hour to full day

  • Camp at one of the park’s beautiful walk-in sites by making an online reservation
  • Stay at one of the nearby lodges, cabins or private campgrounds in Sioux Narrows

Eagle-Dogtooth Provincial Park

A trip into Eagle-Dogtooth Provincial Park blends sheltered waters with wilderness scenery for adventurous paddlers who want to try a paddleboard overnighter. This park is just 30 minutes east of Kenora, and is an access point to an extensive network of waterways. There are lots of different sand beaches and coastlines to explore. Dogtooth Lake is a non-operating park, so there are no designated campsites but plenty of opportunities.

The access to Dogtooth Lake is at Rushing River Provincial Park. You’ll need to pay the day-use fee to leave your vehicle here, but you do not need a permit to camp at the first-come-first-serve campsites on Dogtooth Lake.

Distance: 5–20 kilometres

Duration: 1–2 days

  • Camp at one of the Rushing River’s 217 sites. Seventy-five of these have electrical hookups, and many are RV-friendly
  • Stay in a cabin at the family-friendly Dogtooth Lake Resort. You can paddle from here onto the route as well
  • Rent a paddleboard from the Hardwear Store in Kenora
Woman sits on paddleboard with dog on a lake while man stands in water nearby
Start your journey on beautiful Ena Lake. Photo: Krista Nelson // @kristamnelson

Ena Lake to Vermillion Lake

Experienced SUP trippers looking to scratch a wilderness itch will appreciate this route involving a portage into a lake without cabins on it. If you pick the right weekend, you’ll have the place to yourself. The put-in is at the Ena Lake Landing dock, with free parking. From here, it’s just under four kilometres to the portage at the northern end of the lake. The uphill portage is a manageable 150 metres. Once onto Vermillion Lake, there are campsites nearby. Explore the north end of Vermillion Lake and find hiking trails and waterfalls.

Distance: 10–25 kilometres

Duration: 2–3 days

  • Cruise on the MS Kenora as you pass through town. See Lake of the Woods in style on one of the lunch or dinner cruises
  • Stay in the nearby Minaki Yurts before or after your trip. These cozy yurts are on a quiet lake with trails - it’s a nature lover’s dream
  • Celebrate the end of a successful trip with a bite to eat at the renowned Log Cabin Tavern

Where to rent paddleboards near Lake of The Woods

Kenora’s boardshop sells snowboards, skateboards, wakeboards, and paddleboards. Rentals are available.

Green Adventures
Offers guided trips, rentals, and boat tours on Lake of the Woods and in the surrounding areas. Also provides guided diving and rock climbing outings. They are a hub of local knowledge, contact Green Adventures for maps or route planning assistance.

LOTW Docking Co.
Offers paddleboard rentals for up to a week. Also rents pontoon boats and jet skis and provides marine services at its locations in Kenora and Keewatin. Guided fishing and sightseeing tours are available.

The Hardwear Company
One of Kenora’s outdoor shops, the Hardwear Company, sells bikes, watersports equipment, and apparel

Tall Pines Marina
Located in Keewatin, they rent paddleboards as well as pontoon boats and jet skis. The pro shop on-site sells marine gear.

Minaki Yurt Adventures
There are five beautiful all-season yurts on-site, with access to a 20-kilometre biking/hiking trail. Paddleboards and a canoe are complimentary for guests to use on their private, secluded pond.

About Jake O'Flaherty

Jake O’Flaherty is a freelance outdoor guide who loves to explore the remote corners of the world, but Lake Superior is where he feels most at home.

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