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Take the helm and command the waters of the many lakes and rivers of Ontario’s Highlands from a boat. Boating is a fun activity that most anyone can enjoy. If you’ve never steered a boat before, there are many mariners and boat rental outfitters that can get you started with a watercraft appropriate for what you’re looking for in a boating experience.

Boating is also a launching point for many other water-centric activities and sports including fishing, waterskiing, tubing, and swimming. Out on the water, you can make your boating trip as exciting and full of adventure or as peaceful and laidback as you desire.

Boating Spots in Ontario’s Highlands

With close to 1,000 lakes throughout Ontario’s Highlands plus numerous river systems and the famous Rideau Heritage Route, you can quickly get out on the water to enjoy your boating experience. We’ve put together a list of popular boating spots you may want to try. When in doubt, ask your hotel accommodations or someone who lives in the area for a recommendation – it’s a great way to discover some of the best spots to explore!

Rideau Heritage Route

By power of sail, motor, or a paddle, the Rideau Heritage Route is an amazing boating destination made up of a chain of beautiful lakes running 202 kilometres from Lake Ontario in Kingston to the Ottawa River in Ottawa.


Baptiste Lake – A 2,226 hectare lake located in Bancroft that is part of a lake chain with Benoir and Elephant Lakes
Belmont Lake – Approximately 6 kilometres long and 1.5 kilometres wide, this lake’s maximum depth is 51 feet
Big Rideau Lake
Buckshot Lake
Bull Lake – Located on the Salmon River system, the lake is nearby the community of Elm Tree
Crotch Lake – One of the largest and most accessible lakes in the North Frontenac Parklands
Crowe Lake
Elephant Lake – Located in Harcourt, Elephant Lake is part of a 36-mile chain of lakes also including Benoir and Baptise Lakes
Golden Lake
Gull Lake
Hungry Lake – Located at the headwaters of the Salmon River
Kamaniskeg Lake
Kashagawigamog Lake
Kashwakamak Lake – A long and relatively narrow lake running east-west with 19 campsites available for rent plus backcountry campsites along the north shore
Kawagama Lake
Kennebec Lake – Located in Central Frontenac off highway, Kennebec Lake is approximately 20 kilometres west of Sharbot Lake
Kennisis Lake
Lake Clear – This lake is approximately 6 kilometres long and there are about 18 islands in the lake
Limerick Lake – There are accommodations for rent, a marina, and general store that make planning a fishing trip from this location convenient and easy
Lower Rideau Lake
Marble Lake – This smaller sized, motor free lake is excellent for fishing
Mazinaw Lake – Located in the Addington Highlands just north of Kaladar
Mississagagon Lake – A four season cottage resort located in the Land O’Lakes region
Moira Lake
Paudash Lake – The Paudash Lake Marina offers rental boats, tubes, skis, wakeboards, and kneeboards
Round Lake
Skootamatta Lake – Located in Addington Highlands at the head of the Skootamatta River, Skootamatta Lake is located just south of Bon Echo Provincial Park
Sharbot Lake – An excellent destination for outdoor recreation including fishing, boating, canoeing, and swimming
Stoco Lake


Black River
Bonnechere River – Connects Bonnechere Provincial Park to the shores of Renfrew County’s Round Lake
Crowe River
Gull River
Madawaska River – Approximately 230 kilometres long, the Madawaska River is a fierce river that drops 224 metres where it joins the Ottawa River in Arnprior and is popular among river rapid enthusiasts
Moira River
Ottawa River – This famous river was popular among the Algonquin First Nations and first French explorers who used to travel its 1,211 kilometres
Rideau River – You’ll find sandy beaches and fishing along this river
Skootamatta River
Tay River – A magnificent tributary of the Rideau River system in eastern Ontario
Tay/Rideau Canal – From the Rideau Canal, the Tay Canal winds up the Tay River and through the Tay Marsh on its way to Perth
York River

Boating Equipment

The type of activities you would like to enjoy from your boat as well as how many people you are bringing with you can help determine the size and kind of boat you should get. In general, the larger the boat, the more people you can have onboard. If you are fishing or swimming from the side of the boat, you don’t need a very powerful watercraft. But if you want to pull a waterskier or wakeboarder behind you, more power will be required.

For more information about getting started with boating, visit the Discover Boating website , which also has helpful information about buying a boat.

Boating-Related Activities

Often boating is simply a starting point for enjoying other water-related activities. You wouldn’t get very far on water skis if you didn’t have a boat to pull you along. Finding the perfect fishing spot is quite often dependent on having a boat. And depending on the type of boat you rent or purchase, you can even spend the night onboard and take an extended vacation out on the lake.

Many bonding moments between friends and family have taken place on a boat. To be safe, make sure guests wear non-skid deck shoes and a life jacket. With kids, you might want to go over the rules of the water before embarking on your adventure.

Boating Tips

Not sure where to start on boating safety? Never towed a boat before or used a boat launch access ramp? Here are some helpful resources to get you started.

CPSECP’s Boating Tips Channel
Boating with pets, Discover Boating – Some key points for safe boating with your pets
Types of lifejackets (PFDs) – Video – Tips on types of lifejackets that are available and the differences between each

Boating License

Boaters are required to obtain a Pleasure Craft Operator Card. Luckily, there is an introductory course that prepares you for boating and earns you the card, too. Learn more about the Pleasure Craft Operator Card and courses before planning your boating trip.

You can also take an online exam, access the study guide, and find exam locations for the Pleasure Craft Operator Card at the BOATsmart! website.

In general, boats and recreational vehicles under 15 gross tons that are powered by an engine of 10 horsepower or more need to be licensed or registered. Visit the Discover Boating website for more information.

Boater Services

Ontario’s Highlands features a variety of marinas and lodges to help you plan your boating vacation. Many lodges and resorts are lakefront and offer varying amenities from dining options to Jacuzzi tubs to fireplace suites.

Oakview Lodge and Marina – A country inn offering bed and breakfast accommodation and couples getaway packages
Buttermilk Falls Resort – Waterfront Haliburton Ontario cottage rentals with sand beach, fishing, canoeing, hiking, snowmobile, and ATV trails
Lakeview Lodge – Located at Baptise Lake in Bancroft
Calabogie Lodge Resort – A four-season resort surrounded by rolling hills situated on the shores of Calabogie Lake
Smart’s Marina – Everything you need to enjoy your day out on the water, including fishing and pontoon boats, boat rentals, and motor sales
Limerick Lake Lodge and Marina – A unique year-round getaway location only three hours from either Ottawa or Toronto
Halimar Resort – Offers full service lakefront cottage and vacation accommodation with fireplace, Jacuzzi suites, sand beach pool, and dining room facilities suitable for family vacations
Haliburton Heights Resort – Resort features sandy beaches along the lake, hiking, cross-country ski trails, and more
Wigamog Resort Conference Centre and Spa – A year-round, waterfront resort situated on 42 acres overlooking Lake Kashagawigamog in the Haliburton Highlands
Algonquin’s Edge Resort – Located on the beautiful sandy shores of the famous Madwaska River
Chris’s Live Bait – Get ready for your boating trip and pick up tackle, bait, and other fishing supplies
Miner’s Bay Lodge Ltd – A family-oriented summer resort in Haliburton
Pineridge Resort – Located on Fifth Depot Lake, come and enjoy a relaxing family vacation
White Lake Marina – A full service marina offering sales and service of boats, motors, and related products
Calabogie Peaks boat rentals – Full service boat rental, docking, and fishing supply centre on beautiful Calabogie Lake

Boating Resources

Location: PO Box 219, Madawaska

Located on the sandy shoes of the Madawaska river and just a 15 minute drive to the beautiful Algonquin park. We offer 2 and 3 bedroom fully equipped housekeeping cottages.Canoing, hiking, biking, fishing, atving, boating, paddle boat, campfires, bbq,

(613) 637-5492
Location: 275 Victoria Street South P. O. Box 624, Tweed

Thirteen, 1-4 bedroom, fully equipped housekeeping cottages in Tweed Ontario. Sandy beach, boat rentals. Free wireless internet. A/C, Cable T.V., propane B.B.Q's, individual fire pits, Kids play area.Rec Hall.

(613) 478-5353
Location: 4024 Round Lake Road RR#5, Killaoe

Sandy Beach, Park Store, Canoe/Kayak Rentals, Laundry Facilities, Electrical Campsites, Cabins, Hiking Trails, Boat Launch, Playground, Waterfront Campsites on Bonnechere River, Kids & Family Programs, Trailer Dumping Station, Pet Friendly

(613) 757-2103
Location: Boshkung Lake 16941 Hwy 35, Algonquin Higlands

Resort on 11.5 acres with Lakefront self catering Log Cabins and Cottages on Boshkung Lake adjacent to Buttermilk Falls. Beautiful cottages in a spectacular setting. Open all year. Ice fishing in Winter.

(705) 489-1904
Location: 729 Mill St, Calabogie


(613) 752-2676
Location: 30 Barrett Chute Road, Calabogie

The ultimate family mountain resort in the Ottawa Valley offers the best ski & ride programs, terrain (29 runs, 2 terrain parks & 3 lifts), tubing, snowmaking, and accommodations. Also summer activities: golf, hiking, beach, tennis, xcountry biking & more

(613) 752-2720
Location: 203 Christie Lake Lane 32 RR#4, Tay Valley

Cabin Rentals

(613) 267-3470
Location: P.O. Box 160, 34 Card Road, Lake St. Peter

Family run summer rental cottage business on beautiful Lake St. Peter. Clean, comfortable and safe for children waterfront. Boat storage & boat rentals also.

(613) 338-1022
Location: 2359 Eagle Lake rd, Haliburton

Outfitter, Hunting and Fishing Live Bait and tackle, Boat Licensing Agent

(705) 754-1637
Location: 6073 Elephant Lake Rd., Harcourt

Golf Course Boat & Motor rentals, restaurant and tavern on premises

(705) 448-2861
Location: 2797 Kashagawigamog Rd, Haliburton

Year-round air-conditioned cottage resort, Jacuzzis, wood fireplaces. Over 650’ of sandy beach, outdoor “SALT WATER pool, tennis, beach volleyball, spa, kid's club, golf, snowmobiling, Relaxed & carefree, traditional resorting, packages are fun, affordabl

(705) 457-1300
Location: 5254 Calabogie Road, Calabogie

Lotcated on the shore of Calabogie Lake, All seasons, Motel Efficiency units, Chalets, Seasonal Log Cabins Boat rentals, great beach

(613) 752-2107
Location: 1539 Kirk Kove Rd., RR#1, Arden

Kirk Kove Cottages is a vacation destination with a history, specializing in traditional fishing, family vacationing and hospitality. We are situated on Pristine Big Gull Lake - Eastern Ontario which is notorious for its beauty and excellent fishing.

1 (877) 688-8388
Location: Sand Lake P.O. Box 53, Plevna

3 Bdrm Cottage rentals Boat & Motor Rentals

(613) 479-0028
Location: Baptiste Lake RR 2, Bancroft

Located in the quaint village of Baptiste Lake, fifteen minutes from the town of Bancroft, Ontario. Come and enjoy some of the best fishing Ontario has to offer. Relax in front of the most picturesque sunsets you will ever lay eyes on.

(613) 332-3596
Location: 123 Limerick Lodge Road, Gilmour

Fishing lodge, guest cabins, campsites, and a full service marina on beautiful Limerick Lake. One of the premier bass and lake trout fishing lakes in Ontario.

(613) 474-2144
Location: 2471 Hwy 506, Myers Cave

Cabins and resort rooms rental

(613) 336-9900
Location: 2029 Little Hawk Lake Rd., Algonquin Highlands

Romantic boutique country inn on Little Hawk Lake in the Haliburton Highlands with luxury accommodations and licensed fine dining. We offer you the warmest hospitality with attention to every detail.

(705) 489-2463
Location: 1841 5th Lake Rd, Parham

Boat and motor rentals available and 50 campsites, log home, 11 smaller cottages

(613) 375-6240
Location: 1127 Sir Sam's Road, Eagle Lake

Located on Eagle Lake in the heart of Haliburton’s beautiful & rewarding tourist area. Modern, newly renovated, fully equipped housekeeping cottages sits around a sandy beach with fabulous views. New boats, and a raft of new activities.

(705) 754-2497
Location: 1018 Smart Rd, Cloyne

Full Service Marina. Princecraft Boats, Mercury & Evinrude Etec Motors Sales and Service. Naylor Dock Systems. Check us out for all your cottage toys.. kayaks, canoes, wake boards, water skis, wake skates and much, much more! Come & visit us soon!

(613) 336-2222
Location: 4195 Watsons Corners RR#1, Lanark Highlands

Cottages, Campsites, Serviced trailer lots. Situated on Dalhousie Lake & Mississippi River. Golf, swimming, boating, fishing, cycling, hiking. Dalhousie Lake Restaurant on site. Dine overlooking beautiful lake vistas. Or Snack at our Lakeside Chip Shack.

(613) 278-0091
Location: 69 Lindsay Lane, White Lake

Full-service marina open year round and located on White Lake in the Ottawa Valley. Offering sales & service of boats & motors, atvs, utvs & trailers. Also rentals of pontoon & fishing boats and ice fishing huts in the winter time. Storage & dockage.

(613) 623-2568
Location: 1701 Wigamog Rd, Haliburton

The Wigamog Resort, Conference Centre & Spa is a year-round waterfront retreat over looking Lake Kashagawigamog in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands only 2.5 hours northeast of Toronto. We offer Lakeside suites, Poolside studios and cottages.

(705) 457-4800
Location: 1111 Woodland Park Dr. RR#4, Arden

Family Campground on beautiful Bull Lake offering serviced and unserviced sites for tents or trailers. Wilderness sites also available. Large, clean, sandy beach, children's play area, store. Cabins and boats available for rent.

(613) 335-3240


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