It should come as no surprise that an island city like Montreal boasts an abundance of exceptional  opportunities to kayak and canoe—especially since Montreal sits at the confluence of two mighty rivers: the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, which converge just west of the city at Lake of Two Mountains. The combined currents of these rivers splinter around the islands of Montreal and Laval, creating the Riviere des Prairies and the Riviere-des-Mille-Îles, as well as the famous Lachine Rapids of the St. Lawrence.

Travel just an hour or so outside the city and you can very quickly discover more lively rivers and many beautiful highland lakes. With such an immense variety of waters, kayaking in Montreal ranges from tranquil touring among bird-filled wetlands to kayak surfing on the St. Lawrence and whitewater kayaking descents of the region’s exciting rivers. Get started planning your paddling adventure today with these top places to kayak in Montreal.

[This article is part of our 24 Adventurous Things To Do In Montreal series. Learn more about where to hike, bike, paddle and sightsee around Quebec’s largest city.]

 


 

Where to Kayak in Montreal

Îles-de-Boucherville National Park

For some of the very best sea kayaking around Montreal, head to this beautiful national park in east Montreal just a few kilometers from the city’s Old Port. Situated right in the middle of the St. Lawrence, five closely-knit, vehicle-free islands make up Parc National des Îles-de-Boucherville, offering a peaceful escape from the noise of the city with green spaces and leafy channels teeming with birds and aquatic life. Explore the lush grasses of Chenal du Courant’s expansive marsh and watch for busy beavers and ubiquitous deer—two marked water trails make it easy for visiting kayakers to navigate between the various channels.

You can rent kayaks, canoes and SUPs at Grosbois Visitors Centre or the park Rental Centre. If you have your own equipment, use the launch at the Rental Centre. And if a day in paradise doesn’t seem like enough, not to worry. Campsites and Ready-to-Camp tents on Îles Grosbois make it easy for kayak campers to linger longer.

Riviere-des-Milles-Îles

The “River of a Thousand Islands” flows gently across the top of Laval, forming an island-studded waterway that’s perfectly suited to leisurely exploration by kayak. In the Laval borough of Saint-Rose, launch from Parc de la Riviere-des-Mille-Îles, which encompasses some 20 islands scattered across the largest protected wildlife area in the metropolitan district—a pleasant labyrinth of water and vegetation just 30 minutes from downtown Montreal. The verdant wetlands, shady forest canopy and abundance of statuesque blue herons, sunbathing turtles and flotillas of geese and ducks make this river feel more like kayaking in the bayou than paddling in the city. Kayak, canoe and SUP rentals are available by the hour or day, and four self-guided paddling circuits keep navigation simple.

Oka National Park

Located on the mainland shore of Lake of Two Mountains just west of Montreal, Parc National d’Oka is a favorite escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is the place for a relaxing day at the beach, where you can paddle along 7 km of fine sand, or for a wildlife-filled tour of the vast marsh at Grande Baie. Oka also offers camping, trails, unique historic buildings and a rich cultural heritage. Kayak, canoe and SUP rentals are available in the park by the hour, half-day or full day. If you have your own equipment, launch at the La Crête boat ramp or from the main swimming beach.

Riviere des Prairies

Flowing between the islands of Montreal and Laval, the Riviere des Prairies offers a relaxing urban kayaking experience in the heart of the metropolitan area. Here, you can enjoy stretches of natural shoreline and an intimate view of the city’s finest waterfront homes. Consistent current and occasional swifts make this river best suited to downstream kayak journeys. Take advantage of two kayaker-friendly launch sites and a shuttle service on the Gouin Route of the river to plan a one-way trip from Beausejour Park to Sophie-Barat Nautical Site. Easy access, on-site kayak rentals and a unique bike back option along the adjacent bicycle path make for a fun, simple day of kayaking around Montreal.

Lachine Canal

For a unique perspective of the city, combine a leisurely kayaking tour of the historic Lachine Canal with all the food, culture and architecture you can handle in Old Montreal. Completed in 1825, the canal bypassed the treacherous Lachine Rapids of the St. Lawrence, allowing 19th century merchants to make Montreal one of the main hubs of North American trade. In its heyday, nearly 15,000 ships used the narrow canal each year, but with the completion of the much larger St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the Lachine Canal fell into disuse. Today, it is managed by Parks Canada as a national historic site, allowing kayakers and other pleasure boaters to traverse 14 kilometers from the Old Port of Montreal to Lake Saint-Louis. The canal is punctuated by five restored locks and a linear park lines its banks, making for easy options to rest, picnic or shorten your journey.

 


 

Kayaking Near Montreal

Sorel Islands

The Sorel Islands–Lac Saint-Pierre Biosphere is one of the most ecologically diverse places to kayak near Montreal. Less than an hour down the St. Lawrence from the city, a dense archipelago of 103 islands stretches across the river at the western end of Lac Saint-Pierre. The Sorel Islands are the St. Lawrence’s largest archipelago and home to 50 percent of the river’s wetlands, making it an internationally significant waterfowl staging area. This is a bird-watcher’s paradise, as the islands also serve as North America’s largest heron nesting area.

The Société d’Aménagement de la Baie Lavallière (SABL) is responsible for the largest managed marsh in North America. This non-profit organization has set up two boat ramps that allow kayakers to launch and explore Baie de Lavallière and the Sorel Islands’ vast mosaic of hidden channels, maple swamps and wild wetlands. The eastern islands remain completely natural and undeveloped, home only to bird-filled marshes and secret, kayak-sized passages.

Two kayakers navigate wetlands in Montreal
Paddle your way through the rich, marshy mosaic of Baie de Lavallière and the Sorel Islands. | Photo courtesy of: Sorel Islands, Montérégie © Tourisme Québec // Gaëlle Leroyer

Chambly Canal

Across the St. Lawrence on Montreal’s South Shore, the historic Chambly Canal invites kayakers to travel back in time while enjoying a peaceful day in nature just 35 minutes from the city. Built in 1843 to bypass the thundering rapids of the lower Richelieu River and serve as a link between the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain, today the 19-km-long Chambly Canal National Historic Site is managed by Parks Canada as a recreational waterway. The canal’s 9 locks, eight of which are still operated manually by hand crank—as well as swing, rolling and lift bridges—set the pace for your kayaking excursion. Natural, grassy banks and towpaths make for easy launching and landing so you can enjoy a picnic or stretch your legs.

Riviere du Nord, Val-David

Set in a picturesque valley in the Laurentian Mountains just one hour north of Montreal, the charming village of Val-David seems conceived for the enjoyment of outdoor enthusiasts. At the foot of the mountains, the Riviere du Nord flows a gentle 7 km path through the village before reaching Lac Raymond, paralleled along its green banks by the P’tit Train du Nord cycle path. For a thoroughly relaxing half-day excursion, kayakers can paddle downstream to the lake and then pedal or hike back to their starting point. Based in Val-David, À l’Abordage! offers easy self-guided kayak and bike rental packages.

Mont Tremblant National Park

It’s hard to believe this huge national park is within such easy reach of the city. Less than two hours north of Montreal, the forested mountains, sparkling lakes and rushing rivers of Parc National du Mont Tremblant offer some of the best kayaking near Montreal, along with an incredible variety of other outdoor activities. Kayaking in the park ranges from easy sojourns on mountain lakes and kayak camping at beautiful backcountry sites, to exciting whitewater descents of the Diable and L’Assomption Rivers. Portage trails allow kayakers to skirt around the rapids, putting these one- to two-day river trips within the grasp of intermediate paddlers. Kayak rentals are available at the park.

Rivière Rouge

Rushing out of the Laurentian Mountains north of Mont Tremblant, the Riviere Rouge flows over 200 km south to the Ottawa River. It’s a river of many different moods, at turns meandering gently through bucolic rural landscapes and dashing violently through thick forest and steep-walled valleys. Where the current is calm, shallow sandbars and vast shoreline beaches invite leisurely paddle-swim-picnic excursions.

Classic flatwater kayaking routes depart from the villages of L’Ascension or Labelle—two hours north of Montreal—and finish at L’Annonciation (Riviere-Rouge) or La Conception, respectively. Here the Rouge River offers peaceful paddling, warm water, incredible sand point beaches and cliffs, and even a historic covered bridge. Most kayakers plan a downriver trip of 6 to 30 km, with numerous convenient take-out options to shorten the journey. Plan a half to full day for either section, depending on your distance of choice.

Find kayak rentals and shuttle services at Rouge River Paddling Adventures.

 


 

Whitewater Kayaking Montreal

Two people surf on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal
Park and play in the standing waves at Montreal’s famed rapids. | Photo courtesy of: Montréal © Tourisme Québec // Gaëlle Leroyer

Rapids Park, Lachine Rapids

Located in Montreal’s LaSalle borough, the Parc des Rapides offers terrific park-and-play access to the famous Lachine Rapids of the St. Lawrence River. Experienced kayakers can connect with local surfers and paddlers for beta on the best surf waves, such as Big Joe, Gaétan, and the Pyramidal. If you’re more of a novice or intermediate kayaker, it’s highly recommended that you book a lesson with LaSalle’s whitewater and surf experts, KSF (Kayak Sans Frontieres) for your first foray into the rapids. They can get you started on beginner-friendly Guy’s Wave and help you progress into the larger rapids.

Habitat 67 Wave

This popular urban surf wave is named for the architecturally unmistakable apartment complex that towers above it. Built for Montreal’s World Exposition of 1967, the buildings resemble a Jenga tower of stacked cubes, making for a distracting backdrop between surf sessions. Habitat 67 Wave is accessible from Parc de Dieppe, located on a splinter of land between Montreal’s Old Port and the twin islands of Île Sainte-Hélène and Île Notre-Dame. Interestingly, these large islands were also built for Expo ‘67—from the debris excavated during construction of Montreal’s subway system!

 

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Rouge River

Just an hour’s drive west up the Ottawa River from Montreal, the fast and furious Riviere Rouge is renowned for adrenaline-pumping whitewater kayaking and rafting. In its final 10 kilometers, the river enters a canyon and drops precipitously toward its confluence with the Ottawa—a cathartic spill of rapids and falls that have made the Rouge one of Quebec’s most popular whitewater rivers.

Ranging from moderate class II-III rapids to heart-pounding drops and continuous class III-IV rapids, the Rouge attracts both novice and expert whitewater kayakers. Early in the season, you can brave the high water of Harrington Canyon, while summer offers challenging descents of the rambunctious Seven Sisters section. Beautiful scenery, sandy beaches and surf waves make this an unforgettable kayaking destination. If it’s your first time paddling the river, book a lesson with local paddling school ABV Kayak. Located at Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, they offer beginner to advanced courses, one and two-day packages, equipment rental and riverside camping.

 


 

Kayak Courses Montreal

Boreal River Adventures

Learn to paddle the powerful rapids of the Ottawa River at Gatineau in a single day with this unique, introductory 4.5-hour workshop from Boreal River Adventures. Paddling in a stable kayaraft (inflatable kayak-raft hybrid), you’ll learn whitewater skills and safety concepts while challenging the class II rapids of the Ottawa. This course is offered at Parc Moussette in Gatineau, 2 hours west of Montreal. Boreal River Rescue also offers whitewater rescue and wilderness first aid courses for kayakers.

Location: Various locations
Phone: 866-242-9383
Website: www.adventures.borealriver.com/

KSF (Kayak Sans Frontieres)

The city’s oldest and best-known paddling school, KSF offers SUP and whitewater kayak lessons Montreal-style—you’ll follow a step-by-step progression to take you from flatwater to the advanced level surf waves of the Lachine Rapids. Based right at Rapids Park on the riverfront in LaSalle, KSF’s kayak program is divided into five 3- to 6-hour courses so you can learn safely and at your own pace.

Location: 7770 Blvd LaSalle, LaSalle, Montreal
Phone: 514-595-SURF (7873)
Website: https://ksf.ca/

NAVI

Based on the waterfront in Verdun, NAVI offers introductory 3-hour sea kayaking lessons (plus rentals and tours) on the St. Lawrence River below the Lachine Rapids.

Location: 6500 Blvd LaSalle, Verdun, Montreal
Phone: 514-800-0481
Website: www.espacenavi.ca/en/

KLN (Kayak Latins du Nord)

If you’re serious about sea kayaking, KLN offers day courses and outings, surf and current clinics, and Paddle Canada courses from beginner to expert in and around Montreal. Instruction is led by a top-level sea kayak coach, with courses and private coaching available in English, French and Spanish.

Location: Various locations
Website: www.kayaklatinsdunord.com/

 

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GUEPE Nautical Sites

Familiarize yourself with paddling before setting off on the Rivière des Prairies. The GUEPE organization offers 1-hour training plus 1-hour single kayak rental packages at Parc Beauséjour on the river’s Gouin Route.

Location: 6891 Blvd Gouin Ouest, Montreal
Phone: 514-713-6829
Website: www.parcoursgouin.ca/

Parc de la Riviere-des-Milles-Îles

All summer long, the Eco-Park offers 2.5-hour kayak lessons in co-operation with MEC. Learn the basics, practice your skills and receive a gift certificate for a free kayak rental in the park at the end of your lesson.

Location: 345 Blvd Sainte-Rose, Laval
Phone: 450-622-1020
Website: www.parc-mille-iles.qc.ca/en/

Lachine Canal Nautical Centre

Located within the Lachine Canal National Historic Site just across from the famous Atwater Market, the nautical center offers 2-hour introductory sea kayaking courses (plus rentals and tours on the canal).

Location: 2727 Rue Saint-Patrick, Montreal
Phone: 514-842-1306
Website: www.aventuresh2o.ca/

ABV Kayak

Experience the thrill of challenging the Rouge River’s famous rapids by whitewater kayak with beginner to advanced course offerings from this kayak school located at the powerful rapids of the lower Rouge. One and two-day packages, equipment rental and riverside camping are available.

Location: 1199 Chemin de la Rivière Rouge, Grenville-sur-la-Rouge
Phone: 888-844-5292
Website: www.abvkayak.com/en/

 


 

Montreal Kayak Tours

NAVI

Based on the waterfront in Verdun, NAVI offers 2- and 3-hour, beginner-friendly sea kayaking tours on the St. Lawrence River below the Lachine Rapids. Choose from an easy tour to Rock Island; a more challenging descent to the southern tip of Île-des-Soeurs, including a few small rapids; or a full moon night paddle to enjoy the magic of Montreal after dark.

Location: 6500 Blvd LaSalle, Verdun, Montreal
Phone: 514-800-0481
Website: www.espacenavi.ca/en/

Parc de la Riviere-des-Milles-Îles

At dusk every Friday and Saturday through summer, park staff offer a naturalist-guided, twilight outing in the archipelago of the Riviere-des-Milles-Îles. These 2.5-hour sea kayak tours are a great chance to see some little-known wildlife hiding on and around the islands—including beavers, turtles, bats and great blue herons.

Location: 345 Blvd Sainte-Rose, Laval
Phone: 450-622-1020
Website: www.parc-mille-iles.qc.ca/en/

Lachine Canal Nautical Centre

Located within the Lachine Canal National Historic Site just across from the famous Atwater Market, the nautical center offers 3-hour interpretive tours of the canal and Montreal’s Old Port. Your guide will share the fascinating history of the Lachine Canal while you enjoy a new perspective of the city. Choose from a morning tour through the St-Gabriel Locks to the Old Port, or a sunset kayak and brewery tour.

Location: 2727 Rue Saint-Patrick, Montreal
Phone: 514-842-1306
Website: www.aventuresh2o.ca/

Excursions Kayakalo

Excursions Kayakalo, based in Sorel-Tracy, offers guided sea kayak tours of the Sorel Islands, the Boucherville Islands and the Rivière-des-Mille-îles. The tours are flexible and can be adapted to a variety of interests. Basic kayak techniques are taught, and all equipment is provided.

Location: 2786 Chenal du Moine, Sainte-Anne de Sorel
Phone: 450-880-1654
Website: www.kayakalo.com/

Nerrivik Aventures

Based just east of Montreal, Nerrivik Aventures is a sea kayaking outfitter specializing in day trips and multi-day tours on the St. Lawrence from the Boucherville Islands to the Sorel–Lac Saint-Pierre archipelago. Guided trips to the lakes of Mont-Tremblant National Park are also offered. Develop your kayaking technique and learn about the river and region’s natural and cultural history on a custom excursion with Nerrivik’s experienced guides.

Location: Joliette
Phone: 450-898-6715
Website: www.nerrivikaventures.com/

 


 

Kayak Rental Montreal

KSF (Kayak Sans Frontieres)

Based right at Rapids Park on the riverfront in LaSalle, KSF offers surfboard, paddleboard, touring kayak and whitewater kayak rentals, as well as all the necessary gear and equipment to play in the water.

Location: 7770 Blvd LaSalle, LaSalle, Montreal
Phone: 514-595-SURF (7873)
Website: https://ksf.ca/

NAVI

Based on the waterfront in Verdun, NAVI offers single and double sea kayak and recreational kayak rentals on the St. Lawrence River below the Lachine Rapids.

Location: 6500 Blvd LaSalle, Verdun, Montreal
Phone: 514-800-0481
Website: www.espacenavi.ca/en/

GUEPE Nautical Sites

Two-hour rental packages on the Rivière des Prairies include kayak rental and bike transport, so you can paddle the river from Parc Beauséjour to Sophie-Barat nautical site and return by bicycle.

Location: 6891 Blvd Gouin Ouest, Montreal
Phone: 514-713-6829
Website: www.parcoursgouin.ca/

Parc de la Riviere-des-Milles-Îles

Montreal’s largest kayak rental center, the Eco-Park offers 3-hour and daily rentals of single and tandem kayaks, as well as canoes and SUPs.

Location: 345 Blvd Sainte-Rose, Laval
Phone: 450-622-1020
Website: www.parc-mille-iles.qc.ca/en/

Aventure Milles-Îles

Situated in a peaceful park-like setting on the banks of the Riviere-des-Milles-Îles, this center rents single and tandem recreational kayaks, fishing kayaks, SUPs and canoes. Cabin rentals and a pick-your-own orchard are also located on-site.

Location: 1553 Rue du Parc des Plaines, Laval
Phone: 514-463-1402
Website: www.aventuremille-iles.com/

Lachine Canal Nautical Centre

Located within the Lachine Canal National Historic Site just across from the famous Atwater Market, the nautical centre rents single and tandem sea kayaks, as well as pedal-powered sit-on-top kayaks. Half-hour, 1- and 2-hour rentals available.

Location: 2727 Rue Saint-Patrick, Montreal
Phone: 514-842-1306
Website: www.aventuresh2o.ca/

SABL

The Société d’Aménagement de la Baie Lavallière (SABL) offers half-day and daily rentals of single and tandem kayaks to explore Baie de Lavallière and the unique natural habitat of the Sorel Islands.

Location: 3742 Chemin du Chenal-du-Moine, Sainte-Anne-de-Sorel
Phone: 866-742-5716
Website: www.maisondumarais.org/

Îles-de-Boucherville National Park

Rent kayaks, canoes and SUPs at the park’s Grosbois Visitors Centre or at the Rental Centre.

Location: Îles-de-Boucherville National Park
Phone: 800-665-6527
Website: www.sepaq.com/pq/bou/

Oka National Park

Kayak, canoe and SUP rentals are available in the park by the hour, half-day or full day.

Location: Oka National Park
Phone: 800-665-6527
Website: www.sepaq.com/pq/oka/

Dépôt Plein Air

Montreal’s huge go-to store for kayaks and paddling equipment offers 3-day and 7-day kayak rental from their downtown location (roof rack rental also available).

Location: 8267 Blvd St-Laurent, Montreal
Phone: 514-381-4399
Website: www.depotpleinair.com/

 


 

Kayak Shop Montreal

KSF Surf Shop

Montreal’s oldest and best-known paddling school, KSF also operates an on-site surf boutique and online store selling kayak, SUP and surf equipment and apparel.

Location: 7770 Blvd LaSalle, LaSalle, Montreal
Phone: 514-595-SURF (7873)
Website: https://shop.ksf.ca/us/

Boutique Boréal Design

Makers of fiberglass and plastic sea kayaks, recreational kayaks and fishing kayaks, Boréal Design’s South Shore boutique offers a try-before-you-buy program, as well as a full range of paddling accessories and apparel from top brands.

Location: 3600 1ere Rue, St-Hubert, Longueuil
Phone: 450-812-3614
Website: www.boutiqueborealdesign.com/

Dépôt Plein Air

Montreal’s huge go-to store for kayaks, paddling equipment, camping gear, outdoor apparel and more.

Location: 8267 Blvd St-Laurent, Montreal
Phone: 514-381-4399
Website: www.depotpleinair.com/

La Cordée

Quebec outdoor retail chain La Cordée operates a flagship store just north of the Old Port and steps to the St. Lawrence. Purchase whitewater, sea and recreational kayaks; paddling equipment and apparel; camping gear and much more. If you’re in Laval, there’s also a La Cordée location here.

Location: 2159 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montreal
Phone: 514-528-3546
Website: www.lacordee.com/en/

MEC Montreal

Outdoor retail chain MEC operates Laval and South Shore locations in addition to their main Montreal store just north of Mont Royal, stocking everything you need to get on the water or out into the wilderness.

Location: 8989 Blvd de l’Acadie, Montreal
Phone: 514-788-5878
Website: www.mec.ca

SAIL

With locations in Laval and the South Shore (Brossard), outdoor retail chain SAIL carries kayak, paddlesports, camping and outdoor equipment and apparel.

Location: 2850 Ave. Jacques-Bureau, Laval
Phone: 450-688-6768
Website: www.sail.ca/en/


Montreal has kayaking to suit your style, all within easy reach of the city. | Photo courtesy of: Sorel Islands, Montérégie © Tourisme Québec // Gaëlle Leroyer

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