Canada is a sailing paradise. There is no end to your choice of waterways and lakes to spend an idyllic few days (or longer) with family and friends. Wherever you go, the variety of climate and landscape scenery on offer will blow you away.
Most of Canada’s sailing destinations are suitable for all levels of experience. However, there are also some challenging locations so be sure to know what you are getting into.
In this article, we help you find the perfect destination for your next sailing adventure. We will also list some popular activities and attractions near Canada sailing destinations.
Here are our top picks for the 7 most beautiful places to sail in Canada.
#1 Georgian Bay, Ontario
Georgian Bay is a freshwater bay on the eastern banks of Lake Huron. This massive body of water has a surface area of almost 6, 000 square miles. Generally, the weather here is calm. This makes it a great location for beginner and experienced sailors alike.
This area is famous for spectacular sunsets and untouched natural terrain. Over 30, 000 scattered islands form part of Georgian Bay Littoral Biosphere Reserve. Nature lovers will enjoy discovering the many secret spots amongst these islands.
On the shoreline, you will find a mix of bustling towns and picturesque villages. Tie up for some sightseeing or spend a night out in town. Annual events include boat shows and music concerts. These entertain thousands of visitors each year.
#2 Northumberland Strait, Nova Scotia
This 140 mile/ 225km strait is located on the southern part of the Gulf of St Lawrence. The strait’s northern border is Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia and Eastern New Brunswick are to the south.
Conditions here are ideal for sailing. The swells are low and there is almost never any fog. The breeze is light to moderate and generally blows westerly or south-westerly.
Be on the lookout for marine life, whales are sometimes sighted in the strait. Swimming the narrowest crossing is safe as there are no sharks here.
Prince Edward Island is the major attraction along this strait. Spend time on Argyle Shore or one of the other iconic red sandy beaches. Prince Edward’s restaurants produce some of the most excellent seafood in the country, particularly lobster dishes.
#3 Okanagan Lake, British Columbia
Okanagan Lake is located in Kelowna, slightly inland from Vancouver. A dry climate ensures clear summer days with water temperatures reaching up to 24°C.
Sheltered bays and good marina facilities along the 220 miles of shoreline. This makes planning sailing holidays here a breeze.
The surrounding semi-arid landscape of hills and plateaus is wine country. Take time to drop anchor and visit a vineyard. You can also stay on the water and sip local wines on deck.
March-October is boat racing season. Visitors can join the crowds of lively spectators or even enter into a sailing regatta. The warm waters are also perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming. Remember to keep an eye out for the lake monster, Ogopogo.
#4 Lake Champlain, Quebec
Lake Champlain is sometimes called ‘America’s sixth great lake’. This gigantic body of water borders between New York and Vermont. The northern reaches of Lake Champlain extend all the way up into Quebec, Canada.
It is possible to cruise all the way to the charming city of Montreal along the 106 mile/173 km Richelieu River. Boat rentals at Lake Champlain make it possible to plan a trip that covers both the USA and the Canadian reaches of the lake.
A sailing expedition from Montreal to Vermont/ New York can take over 10 days. Be prepared to navigate a few locks on the Richelieu River. There are plenty of places along the way to fill up or spend a night.
#5 The Ottowa River, Ontario
This body of water runs through the Ottowa valley in Ontario and Quebec. Once a major trade route, 745 miles of river link Montreal and Lake Temiskaming. Today, impassable rapids separate the lower and upper reaches.
You can still easily navigate the entire lower stretch of the Ottowa River. From Ottowa to Montreal is 224 miles/ 360km. The river flows past impressive, dense stands of deciduous and coniferous forests.
Pembroke is a good base for a sailing trip on upper Ottowa. It is the largest settlement here and offers all the goods and services that yachters need. While on land, it is worth checking out Pembroke’s heritage murals or taking a walking tour.
#6 Harrison Lake, British Columbia
Harrison Lake is the largest lake in Canada’s south coast mountains. This 95 square mile body of water is one of a series of glacial lakes that feed into the Fraser River.
The weather on this lake is unpredictable making it more suitable for experienced boaters. Thunderstorms arrive without warning and gusting winds turn the icy waters white and rough in an instant. Be sure to check conditions and prepare your safety gear and fuel supplies.
Harrison Lake is the top spot to fish for White Sturgeon. Hot springs are another popular attraction on the lake shores. But that’s not all Harrison is known for; The area is home to the legendary Sasquatch. Plus you can visit Port Douglas, one of Canada’s most famous ghost towns.
#7 Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan
Lake Diefenbaker is a man-made lake that filled up in 1967 after the construction of the Gardiner Dam. The lake offers almost 500miles/ 800km of varied and beautiful shoreline to explore. Three full-service marinas make it easy to get onto the water.
The shoreline includes 6 parks and several golf courses. Take a break from sailing to enjoy a hike or hit a few holes. Fishermen enjoy the challenge of trying to hook a record from one of many game fish species in the lake.
The lake is an ideal destination with a wide array of accommodations and restaurants to choose from. There are also loads of stores and museums to visit while you drop anchor.