8 Amazing Places to Paddleboard Near North Bay

Explore the area’s pristine waterways by SUP.

Paddleboarding near North Bay: Where to Go & Rentals

North Bay sits at the crossroads of Ontario’s finest paddling destinations. With Temagami to the north, the French River and Georgian Bay to the west, the mighty Ottawa River to the east, and Algonquin Park to the south, all points of the compass lead to amazing paddling. But North Bay itself is also home to some incredible paddleboarding. Set out from the city’s waterfront for a stunning sunset paddle on Lake Nipissing, or explore the deep clear waters and wild pine shores of Trout Lake. Whether you’re passing through or planning a longer stay, there’s a North Bay standup paddling adventure for you!

Before paddleboarding in Ontario…

Prior to venturing out, remember to check the weather, water levels and wind conditions. It’s best to always paddle with a buddy, and always wear a SUP leash and life jacket or PFD. If you are heading out for a sunset or sunrise paddle, remember to carry a watertight flashlight. Review Transport Canada’s rules for operating paddlecraft safely and always travel responsibly.

Paddleboard beached on a rocky lakeside shelf with a large chalk heart drawn on the rocks
Varied views on Lake Nipissing. Photo: Leanne Scanlan // @viewsfromtheback50

Marathon Beach, Lake Nipissing

Wrapping around the east end of Lake Nipissing, downtown North Bay boasts refreshing lake breezes and gorgeous sunsets all summer long. Launching your paddleboard from Marathon Beach offers the perfect introduction to the sparkling clear waters of this vast, glacially-formed lake. This popular spot features a long stretch of shallow water with a sandy bottom that’s great for beginner paddleboarders as well as fun SUP surfing on a windy day.

  • Boathouse Rental Co. has premium SUP boards and recreational kayaks to rent from May to October at their waterfront location beside Marathon Beach.
  • Take a ride back in time on North Bay’s Heritage Carousel.
  • Feeling hungry after your paddle? The Boat is North Bay’s landmark lakeside bar & grill, serving fresh fish and chips and other tasty specialties aboard a 99-foot retired Nipissing passenger ship.
  • Cruising the sparkling waters of Lake Nipissing remains a popular pastime. Enjoy a sunset dinner cruise aboard the Chief Commanda II, while discovering remote islands and intimate shorelines.
View from docks looking out over calm waters of Trout Lake
Trout Lake is the perfect jumping of point for a SUP adventure. Photo: Leanne Scanlan // @viewsfromtheback50

Birchaven Cove, Trout Lake

For deep blue waters and rugged Canadian Shield shoreline, head to North Bay’s “other” lake. Known locally as The Cove, this sweet little park and isolated beach area makes for a beautiful place to SUP, swim, and explore the natural scenery of Trout Lake. Departing from the sandy swim area, slip through a narrows into the hidden oasis of Camelot Lake. Or, paddle east across the cove to a cluster of rocky islets, and then continue along this undeveloped shoreline to Dugas Bay and more islands beyond.

  • For an introduction to one of Canada’s most historically significant waterways, pull ashore at Elks Beach Conservation Area in Dugas Bay and look for a commemorative brass plaque marking the La Vase Portages. Used by First Nations for millennia, the portages connect Lake Nipissing to Trout Lake and the Mattawa River. The Voyageurs later knew this traverse of waist-deep mud, bugs and beaver ponds as one of the most treacherous links in the entire cross-country fur trade. Learn more from the Friends of La Vase Portages.
  • Average Joe’s waterfront restaurant is anything but, with an amazing patio right on the shore of Trout Lake. Serving mouthwatering mains, sumptuous desserts and local craft beer on tap.
  • Stop by The Green Store on Trout Lake for a classic Northern Ontario selection of souvenirs, gifts, clothing and, of course, monster scoops of ice cream.

Restoule Provincial Park

With a spectacular landscape of shimmering lakes, towering cliffs and beautiful maple forest, Restoule Provincial Park is a local favourite just one hour south of North Bay. Visit in the autumn and you’ll be treated to some of the best fall colours in Ontario. The park offers standup paddleboard rentals and three vehicle campgrounds with private sites and sandy beach areas. Pick up a copy of the park’s day paddling routes map for five recommended adventures on Restoule, Stormy and Clear lakes. If you’re keen on SUP camping—or looking to test the waters on a first-time overnight—Restoule also provides an easy-access backcountry camping experience.

  • Reserve a campsite at Restoule Provincial Park’s Putts Point, Bells Point or Kettle Point campgrounds.
  • Rent SUPs, kayaks or canoes at the park office and don’t miss the short paddle to Stormy Lake’s 100-metre-high bluff, topped by a historic fire tower.
  • Explore the park’s six hiking trails and eight kilometres of mountain biking trails. Bike rentals are available at the park office.
Trees and rocky shores line the Mattawa River
You’re sure to discover many secrets of the past along the Mattawa River. Photo: Josie Dinsmore Photography

Mattawa River

History, scenery, waterfalls, beautiful campsites and incredible paddling—the Mattawa River has it all. For thousands of years, indigenous travellers used this east-west waterway to paddle between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence; later the Mattawa served as an important route for voyageurs, trappers and loggers. The river’s historical significance and abundant natural beauty led to the creation of Ontario’s first provincial waterway park in 1970. Today, recreational paddleboarders can enjoy a number of excellent day trips, while those equipped for overnight touring can spend two to four days paddling the full 76 km from Trout Lake to the confluence with the Ottawa River at the town of Mattawa.

  • The most popular day trip along the Mattawa River is from Pimisi Bay to Portage Campion in Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park. Your reward for portaging around several short rapids is paddling right up to the base of beautiful Paresseux Falls, a six-metre-high waterfall. For a shorter tour, head upstream from Pimisi to Talon Chutes, towering cliffs line the river en route to a falls with amazing swimming. Check out this Mattawa River trip planner to learn more.
  • Algonquin North Wilderness Outfitters serves the Mattawa River and area, providing a wide range of services, from paddleboard rentals and shuttles for one-way trips to complete trip outfitting or fully guided trip packages.
  • If you love to explore the best kept secrets and want someone with local knowledge along for the ride, book a fully outfitted and guided kayak day trip with North Bay’s Shockwave Paddle Adventures. Route options include the Upper Mattawa River and Talon Gorge.
  • Dedicated SUP racers and enthusiastic amateurs can take part in the annual Mattawa River Canoe Race (kayakers and paddleboarders are also welcome!), held near the end of July. The full race is 64 km long, with a 13-km family and youth race option.
  • Nestled on 196 hectares just 15 minutes north of Mattawa, Nature’s Harmony Ecolodge offers unique cabin, camping, and glamping accommodations in a beautiful natural setting amid the Laurentian Mountains. Paddle on peaceful Bang’s Bay, which connects to the Ottawa River, hike and bike over 25 km of trails, and enjoy incredible stargazing.

Otter Lake

After Lake Nipissing and Trout Lake, Otter Lake is the largest lake within North Bay’s expansive city limits. Set among tranquil scenery just 15 minutes from downtown, the lake is surrounded by pristine hillsides of maple forest, making Otter Lake one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Aside from a beach area and hiking trails, there are no facilities here, just a wild shoreline for paddleboarders to explore.

Bow shot from a teal-coloured paddleboard on a lilypad-covered lake
Escape from the city on Lake Nosbonsing. Photo: Leanne Scanlan // @viewsfromtheback50

Lake Nosbonsing

Twenty minutes southeast of North Bay, the inviting, spring-fed waters of Lake Nosbonsing offer a popular holiday escape from the city. Cottagers, campers, and day trippers enjoy the lake’s sparklingly clear water, pine-fringed shores and first-rate fishing. Even better, a handful of family-friendly cottage resorts dot the shores; and public launches in the hamlets of East Ferris and Bonfield provide easy day-use access to the lake’s west and east ends, respectively.

  • Family-run Cozy Camp Cottages occupies an idyllic peninsula in Lake Nosbonsing’s Maple Cove, with comfortable waterfront cottages set among tall pines and sunny gardens. A sandy beach and fleet of paddleboards, kayaks and canoes make this the perfect basecamp for water-loving families.
  • Another option for an overnight stay on the lake, Birch Hill Camp boasts a lovely beach with southern exposure. The camp recently added paddleboards to their beachfront, or try out their glass-bottom kayaks. Rent a cottage, bring your RV or pitch a tent right by the lake.

Kawawaymog Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park

North Bay serves as a gateway to the lightly travelled north side of Algonquin Provincial Park, allowing for easy day trips or weekend escapes away from the crowds. At the northwest corner of the park, just one hour from the city, Kawawaymog Lake is a scenic jewel dotted with islands and surrounded by rolling hardwood hills. Enjoy day paddles or venture into the park along the narrow, wildlife-filled Amable du Fond River for SUP camping on spectacular North Tea Lake.

  • Located at Kawawaymog Lake, Voyageur Quest Outfitting is a full service outfitter with canoe, kayak, and paddleboard rentals, overnight cabins, guided canoe trips, shuttle service, meals, and accommodation.
  • Perfect for family gatherings or groups of friends, Voyageur Quest’s Algonquin Cottages offer modern lakefront comfort, a stunning floating sauna and use of canoes, kayaks, and SUPs for independent paddling adventures.
Underwater rocks are visible beneath the surface of clear lake waters with small island in background
There’s so much of Lake Nipissing to explore, you’ll keep coming back for more. Photo: Leanne Scanlan // @viewsfromtheback50

South Bay, Lake Nipissing

The southern shoreline of Lake Nipissing is a vast expanse of undeveloped crown land, pristine forest and wild, island-filled outlets. Paddleboarders equipped for overnight touring could spend days exploring west from North Bay to the outlet that feeds the French River and beyond. But there are a number of equally exciting day trip possibilities in the lake’s South Bay area. The cottage resorts of Nipissing Beach and the South Shore make convenient basecamps for venturing out into the South Bay island archipelago or enjoying a gentle journey on the South River.

  • Conveniently located Cosy Cove Cottages is your best bet for paddleboarding adventures in the vicinity of Nipissing Beach, with free use of the resort’s paddlecraft for guests.
  • The 13 red-and-white clapboard Bear Creek Cottages provide an old-timey feel and stunning lake views just steps from a beautiful sandy beach. Paddle up the tranquil meanders of Bear Creek, or aim for the rocky offshore islands of Hunters Bay.
  • Tucked in a protected bay with spectacular sunset views, Chalkley’s Sandy Bay Cottages boasts a 105-m beach with canoes and kayaks for guests to enjoy.
  • Flowing into the head of South Bay, the South River is an enticing waterway for paddleboarders seeking calm waters and serene Northern Ontario scenery. Family-friendly South River Resort occupies a leafy peninsula with the river on one side and Beatty Creek on the other. Paddle to pretty Chapman’s Chute for fantastic rock ledge swimming.

Where to Rent Paddleboards in North Bay

Boathouse Rental Co
200 Memorial Drive, North Bay

Located beside the municipal pier and Marathon Beach on the Lake Nipissing waterfront in downtown North Bay, it offers SUP, kayak, and bike rentals from May to October.

Algonquin North Wilderness Outfitter
16 Highway 630, Mattawa

Serving the Mattawa River area and Algonquin Provincial Park’s northern access points, located 30 minutes east of North Bay at the junction of Trans-Canada Highway 17 and Highway 630. Algonquin North provides paddleboard, canoe, kayak and camping equipment rentals, as well as shuttle service, complete outfitting packages and fully guided canoe trips.

Cozy Camp Cottages
49 Trails End Road, Corbeil

Nestled on the edge of Lake Nosbonsing, just 25 minutes from North Bay, this charming cottage resort also offers daily and weekly paddleboard, canoe, and kayak rentals to non-guests.

Discover Exceptional Paddleboarding near North Bay

Base yourself in North Bay for easy access to northeastern Ontario’s varied and beautiful waterways. Whether you are seeking solitude on a serene lake or looking for a more challenging river journey, North Bay offers something for paddleboarders of every skill level.

About Virginia Marshall

Virginia Marshall is a freelance outdoor adventure writer, photographer and editor with roots in Muskoka and Lake Superior. Read her work in Adventure Kayak, Canoeroots, Rapid, Paddling Magazine and Backroad Mapbooks.

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