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10 Best Paddleboarding Spots in and around Ottawa

10 Best Paddleboarding Spots in and around Ottawa

With all the hubbubs of life, taking a little break is always a good idea. Sometimes, embracing the tranquillity of the waters is just what we need to relax and enjoy nature’s playground – the perfect reason to paddleboard!

So where should you go, exactly? No need to worry about that because we decided to hit the waters and give you the best spots for paddleboarding in and near Ottawa. It’s time to embrace tan lines and paddle on!

Britannia Beach

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Address: Britannia Beach, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Contact Information: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 am – 10:00 pm

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 am – 10:00 pm

Admission: Free

Britannia Beach is a popular spot for water sports activities to Ottawans because of its close proximity to downtown. It’s just a few minutes away, so no need to drive long.

When paddling, you’ll want to stay near the beach area, especially if you’re a beginner. On some days, it can get pretty windy, and the waves will be stronger and may be challenging for paddleboarding.

Nonetheless, there’s a buoyed area where you’ll want to stay in, and there are plenty of shallow waters. Plus, the well-maintained beach makes for a family-friendly spot.

Pro Tip:
Don’t paddle too far, especially past the Britannia Yacht Club, because rapids will be there. Winds can change at any moment, which can be dangerous, especially if you’re a beginner.

Petrie Island

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Address: 795 Tweddle Rd, Ottawa, ON K4A 3P4, Canada

Contact Information: [email protected]

Operating Hours: Victoria Day weekend – August, Monday – Sunday: 10:30 am – 7:00 pm

Admission: Free, except for parking – $2 for 5 hours

A home away from home is Petrie Island, a little island east of the city along the Ottawa River. It’s ideal for flatwater paddling because the waters are pretty calm.

You can go a little further in Ottawa River or check out the islets, but if you want to paddle where the waters are relatively calm, stay near the shoreline. Once you get to the open waters, paddling can be a little challenging due to the currents. 

Petrie Island has plenty of parking areas all through Tweedle Road and can accommodate 320 vehicles. It’s not too far from downtown as well, which makes it a nice getaway in the city.

Pro Tip:
There are no change rooms available on the island, so it’s better to bring baggy clothes to change into. There are public washrooms, though, but they’re not available 24/7.

Lac Leamy

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Address: NCC Parking Lot, Gatineau, Quebec J8X 3P5

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 10-minute drive, 6 km

Contact Information: 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free)

Operating Hours: June – September, Monday – Sunday: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm (for swimming, when lifeguards are available)

Admission: Free, except for parking – $12.50 per day (maximum of 8 passengers)

A popular spot for paddleboarding is Lac Leamy, a beginner-friendly lake due to its calm waters. You’ll come across plenty of people doing water sports activities here, including kayaking.

What’s convenient here is you can start at the NCC parking lot or from the beach at the park. It’s a supervised beach as well, with lifeguards on duty in the summer—so stick to the buoyed area if you’re a beginner.

You can venture out near the casino, where you’ll find a water fountain (yup, in the lake!). It’s easy to spot the buoys, too, so you won’t venture out too far.

Pro Tips:
Some days, the beaches will be unsupervised due to a shortage of lifeguards. If you’re a beginner, you can visit when lifeguards are available or bring a companion or two.

Washroom facilities are available at the park. But check for updates about the weather because from May to mid-October, openings are weather permitting.

Rideau River

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Address: 2680 Donnelly Dr, Kemptville, ON K0G 1J0, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 24-minute drive, 52.5 km

Contact Information: 613-258-2740

Operating Hours: Depending on the season, open from May to October

Admission: Vehicle permit, depending on the type of vehicle and time of the year

Bring your paddleboard to Rideau River Provincial Park for a quiet and relaxing time. It’s not a busy area and there aren’t a tonne of people around, so you won’t encounter boat traffic.

It’s just a 35-minute drive from downtown Ottawa, making it super close for day trips. But keep in mind the park is open only from May to October and closes in winter months.

That being said, the best time to go is during the summer or from September to October, when the trees turn orange and red. Do check weather updates, though, because it can get chilly in October.

Pro Tips:
Always check the park rules to avoid paying fines. If your vehicle is still in the park after closing, you’ll have to pay a minimum fine of $125.

If you plan on staying at the cabin in the park, there’s one available with a spot for easy launching to the river.

Lac Meech

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Address: Lac Meech, Chelsea, QC, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 28-minute drive, 24.1 km

Contact Information: 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867 (toll-free)

Operating Hours: 

  • O’Brien Beach: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 am – 9:30 pm
  • Blanchet Beach: Monday – Sunday: 7:00 am – 9:30 pm

Admission: Free, except for parking – $13.50 a day for vehicles maximum of 8 passengers

Lac Meech is known for its stunning scenery. Paddleboarding here will always be a unique experience, especially around early fall when the trees are turning and the waters are warmer.

It’s an ideal spot for beginners due to the calm waters. There’s freedom to roam and enjoy the area, including secluded beaches and forests where you can spot wildlife activity.

You can launch your paddleboard at O’Brien Beach, which is close to the Gatineau P11 parking lot. But since the lake’s pretty big, there are several access points you can find, including the P12 parking lot.

Pro Tips:
The machines at Lac Meech parking lots won’t accept bills and debit cards. Bring an exact change or a credit card to pay the fee.

Know which beach you want to go to because water access starts when the parking lot opens at O’Brien Beach and Blanchet Beach. Also, getting there early will likely secure you a parking spot closest to the beach.


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Address: Boat launch – 3250 River Rd Unit A, Manotick, ON K4M 1B4, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 30-minute drive, 23.8 km

Contact Information: 613-762-9692

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 24 hours (subject to change depending on the season)

Admission: Free

The charming suburb of Manotick is a perfect spot for paddling adventures that’s just a short drive from Ottawa. With the area’s picturesque scenery, you’ll have a beautiful backdrop while exploring the waters.

There’s a boat launch at River Road, and this spot is also beginner-friendly because the water currents are strong, Plus, it’s not a busy place, so you likely won’t encounter boat traffic.

Just keep in mind that you’ll encounter shallow waters if you venture out near the Long Island Locks. So, watch out for rocks and boulders and paddle slowly and steady to avoid these.

Pro Tip:
If you don’t have your own paddleboard, check out Beth’s on the Bay at Manotick Main Street to get a rental. Also, keep an eye out for future paddleboarding events you can join in, which they offer for beginners.

Mississippi Lake

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Address: Mississippi Lake, Lanark County, ON, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 37-minute drive, 52.8 km (may vary depending on route)

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 24 hours (subject to change depending on activity and season)

Admission: Free

If you want to spend hours paddling on the water, you can check out Mississippi Lake. The drive here will vary depending on the route, but it’ll only take over 30 minutes from one of the boat launch points.

A good access point is at the end of Lake Avenue at Carleton Place. There are two launches, and the left side tends to be a little deeper—so check which one you feel comfortable in.

It’s a pretty popular spot for fishing, too, so try to steer clear to avoid spooking the fish. And if you feel like going around to meet new people, Carleton Place Canoe Club is nearby.

Pro Tip:
Head there early on a nice day because the parking area gets full quickly. Around midday, you’ll most likely see a lot of people, so expect a little boat traffic.

Fitzroy Provincial Park

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Address: 5201 Canon Smith Dr, Fitzroy Harbour, ON K0A 1X0, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 51-minute drive, 63.8 km

Contact Information: 613-623-5159

Operating Hours: 

  • Sunday – Thursday: 8:00 m – 8:00 pm
  • Friday – Saturday: 8:00 am – 9:00 pm

Open May to October only

Admission: Vehicle permit, depending on the type of vehicle

Celebrate nature with a nice quick trip for the weekend at Fitzroy Provincial Park, which offers plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family. Here, you can paddle, ride a boat, go fishing, and camp for the night.

Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the park shop if you don’t have one. There’s also a boat launch to take you directly to the Ottawa River. 

Paddling here will allow you to see Kedey’s Island and Alexandria Island, but stay far away from Chats Falls since the water currents will be strong. You can stick to calmer waters near the shoreline, but there are going to be strong currents if you venture out.

Pro Tip:
If you see a dam, you better paddle far away from that because the area will have strong currents that can be very dangerous. Always check the signage for your safety.

Calabogie Lake

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Address: Greater Madawaska, ON K0J 1H0, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 1 hour and 7-minute drive, 105.7 km

Contact Information: 613-752-2222

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 24 hours, may vary per season

Admission: Free

Just an hour from downtown is where you’ll find the charming town of Calabogie. It’s popular for winter sports but is also a great place for paddleboarding due to its pristine waters, with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy.

You can launch near the Visitor Centre, just a little walk from the picnic area. But you can also head over to Calabogie Peaks Resort and get a day pass for all-in-one access, which includes paddleboard rental and access to the private beach club.

Pro Tip:
Avoid paddling near the dams, where currents are strong. Also, be ready to paddle hard when you get to Grassy Bay because, as the name suggests, you’ll need to cross grassy areas.

Edja Lake

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Address: Boat Ramp – 14 Chem. Beaudry, Blue Sea, QC J0X 1C0, Canada

Estimated Distance from Downtown: 1 hour and 33-minute drive, 114 km

Operating Hours: Monday – Sunday: 24 hours, but minimal noise before 7:00 am and after 9:00 pm (subject to change)

Admission: Free

One of the most beautiful and tranquil lakes to paddle on is Lake Edja. It has calm, crystal clear, turquoise green waters and underwater rock formations that will surely take your breath away!

The lake is small but is an absolute beauty surrounded by lush trees. During your paddle adventure, you’ll encounter rocks—just turn so you won’t hit them.

We suggest following the shoreline so you can take in the beauty of the place, but stop once you see the buoys. There’s also a sandy part, which is so shallow you can walk on it.

Pro Tips:
Before heading in the water, don’t forget to wash your paddleboard at the Boat Washing Station, or you’ll get a fine of $300.

There’s a parking lot near the lake, but it’s small. So we suggest heading there early to get a spot.