Lakes and Rivers to Explore Across Ontario

Ottawa River | Kyle Mesdag

Ontario provides unmatched options for those who enjoy being on the water. There are more than 250,000 lakes in this massive province, which accounts for more than one-fifth of the world’s fresh water, and that figure doesn’t even include Ontario’s numerous rivers. We’re here to share the ideal lakes and rivers for kicking back and beating the heat of an Ontario summer.

Cyprus Lake

The Bruce Peninsula, one of Ontario’s most famous natural destinations, is a scenic area with two national parks and clear waters reminiscent of the Caribbean. Cyprus Lake is a small lake in Bruce Peninsula National Park. Grottos and caves run through its clear, warm waters, and a large campsite right along the water’s edge accommodates overnight visitors.

Lake Simcoe

Lake Simcoe, an expansive lake in Southern Ontario, is one of the province’s more popular all-season lake destinations. In the winter, visitors love ice fishing for trout, whitefish, and other freshwater catches, and in the summer, it is a haven for boating and water sports. It has a surface area of around 720 square kilometers, so there is plenty of space for fun on the water. 

Lake Simcoe | Alexander Anderson

Lake Saint Clair

Lake Saint Clair, along Ontario’s border with Michigan, is an expansive clear lake known for its many sport fisheries. While not particularly deep, it is ideal for boating, water sports, and swimming, making Lake Saint Clair a perfect summer getaway. 

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods is at the western end of Ontario, the eastern edge of Manitoba, and the northernmost tip of the U.S. state of Minnesota. This gorgeous, rugged lake, surrounded by lodges, campsites, and cabins, is a popular vacation destination. Anglers love the abundance of fish in the lake’s murky blue waters, including muskie, pike, bass, and many more. 

Ottawa River

The Ottawa River runs along a significant portion of Ontario’s border with Quebec. Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is based along this gorgeous river, and residents love strolling around its scenic shores. It is one of the largest rivers in Canada and contains many diverse ecosystems. Visitors enjoy boating along the lake in allowed areas, and this scenic natural landmark is a significant part of the Ottawa cityscape.

Ottawa River | Hamid Siddiqi

Lac Seul

Lac Seul, a massive lake in northwestern Ontario, is one of the largest bodies of water entirely within the province’s borders. This sprawling reservoir encompasses over 1,650 square kilometers and has more than 4,800 kilometers of shoreline. It is famed as one of the best places for fishing in Ontario and has been referred to as the “Walleye Capital of the World.”

Lake Joseph

Ontario’s cottage country, part of the Muskoka region, is renowned worldwide. Lake Joseph is considered one of the gems of Muskoka, a gorgeous lake surrounded by luxurious cottage properties. It is the site of Muskoka’s famed Billionaire’s Row, which has some of the best lake homes in Canada. The lake is also ideal for tubing, water skiing, and boating.

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