Adventurers enjoy the view from the prow of the boat as it glides through clear waters in the Canadian Shield

Boat Tours & Cruises in Ontario

Adventurers enjoy the view from the prow of the boat as it glides through clear waters in the Canadian Shield

From sightseeing boat tours to leisurely cruising vessels to high-speed crafts and more, there are seemingly endless nautical adventures to be had in Ontario. Here are four ways to set sail this season. 

Classic Boating in Ontario: Cruising Rideau Canal and More

Travel through the heart of Ottawa via the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Rideau Canal Cruises, or on the Ottawa River with Paul’s Boat Line. Both will provide commentary on the landmarks you pass and the history of the city. Or take an easy ride down the Rideau Canal aboard a pontoon with Rideau Tours, departing from the top of Chaffey’s Lock, mid-way between Ottawa and Kingston. Hint: Ask about adding a gourmet picnic to your outing.

Yo ho ho, ye swashbuckling buccaneers, climb aboard the interactive theatre cruise with Pirate Adventures Ottawa on Mooney’s Bay. For more high-sea adventure, join Muskoka Steamships for their Pirate Cruises departing from Gravenhurst. Dress up for the themed excursions that engage with other ships on the pirate-infested waters of Lake Muskoka.

With a steamship heritage that out-dates Canada, cruising is a must-do in Muskoka. Experience the RMS Segwun, the oldest continually operating mail steamship in North America. Or explore the 30,000 islands and beautiful sites in Georgian Bay with Georgian Spirit Cruises.

Admire the turquoise waters and famed shipwrecks in Fathom Five National Marine Park and iconic Flowerpot Island aboard a glass-bottom or jet boat cruise with the Blue Heron Company in Tobermory.

For the adrenaline seekers, Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours will zip you out on a one-hour, high-speed ride through the rapids below Niagara Falls, leaving you soaked and stoked.

Head up to Thunder Bay for heart-pounding tours ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours on Sail Superior’s 12-person Zodiac aptly named the ‘Superior Rocket’. Or join all the hands on deck for a more leisurely Wine & Cheese Cruise aboard their 12 metre (40-foot) vessel.

Tour eastern Ontario’s 1000 Islands with City Cruises Gananoque on their signature ‘Lost Ships of the 1000 Islands Cruise’ or on the ‘Palaces and Palisades Cruise’ with Rockport Cruises.

All hands on deck for a guided outing with Sail Superior out of Thunder Bay for an unforgettable journey on the greatest of the Great Lakes.

Boat Toronto, Niagara and Beyond with a Dinner Cruise

Dial up the romance with dinner, drinks and dramatic sunsets on these three-hour tours.

Toronto’s skyline at night is an impressive setting for Niagara City Cruises’ sunset dinner and cocktail sail in the harbour. Grand River Cruises’ evening excursions set out just south of Hamilton on the scenic Grand River and treat you to a four-course dinner. The Chief Commanda cruises into the magnificent vistas of Callander Bay on Lake Nippissing, while a visit to Sunset Country isn’t complete without a sundowner aboard the MS Kenora. Muskoka’s magical landscapes set the stage for an evening of drinks, dining and cruising with Lady Muskoka.

Ojibwe for ‘big canoe’, the MS Chi-Cheemaun offers so much more than just a ferry service between Tobermory and Manitoulin Island; check the schedule for their special sunset dining and ‘stargazers delight’ night cruises.

Houseboating Adventures

Captain your own crew on a houseboating tour. With the freedom to drop anchor wherever you please, there’ll be little chance of mutiny.

Le Boat, a European luxury self-drive boating operation, offers its first North American fleet of 5-star, state-of-the-art cruisers based in Smith Falls and ready to sail the Rideau Canal. Navigate the Kawartha Lakes with Egan Houseboat Rentals or R&R Houseboats. In Northwestern Ontario, cruise Lake of the Woods with Houseboat Adventures or venture further north with Lac Seul’s Whitewing Resort.

Overnight Cruising 

Got your sea legs? Chart a multi-day course on these splendid voyages.

Sail out to the all-inclusive Grace Anne II Lodge. Gliding across Lake of the Woods, the 26 metre (85-foot) yacht Grace Anne II is a picture of elegance and craftsmanship. St. Lawrence Cruise Lines offers overnight cruises on the St Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers. And you’ll love the friendly atmosphere of the 45-passenger Kawartha Voyageur Riverboat on multi-day trips along the Rideau, the Trent-Severn or the Kawartha Lakes with Ontario Waterway Cruises.

Last updated: June 7, 2022

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