Georgian Bay suggestions?

I’ve been reading trip reports and looking at videos on Georgian Bay paddling. I’d like to go late next July or early August. First trip. The plan is to fly to Toronto, rent a car, drive over and rent kayaks from an outfitter (such as Killarney or White Squall). What I haven’t figured out is where best in Georgian Bay to be able to stay in sheltered water: the Parry Sound area or the Killarney area. My paddling partner will be a beginner kayaker in her first season – although she’s a longtime, good canoeist and we’ve done some extended canoe trips together (Bowron Lakes, Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone, the Everglades). I have moderate sea kayaking skills (BCU 3-star Sea). The two of us just like camping in beautiful places and paddling to enjoy nature. We might stay out a week. I would welcome any suggestions on where to paddle in calm waters and preferably avoid open water crossings, if such a trip is possible. I do plan to order a guidebook I found online. But I figure PNetters know!
Thanks for any suggestions.
Ginger in North Carolina

The French River Delta is wonderful but there were major forest fires that closed that park this summer. Usual access is from Hartley Bay out to the Delta and then perhaps out to the Bustard Islands winds willing ( its about a two km crossing) You can view on Google Maps.
Its just south of Killarney
Another option is the circumnavigation of Philip Edward Island and Killarney Outfitters can help you with that. Its exposed and wildly beautiful on the south side but does have hidey places and actually a couple of portages for canoeists to avoid rounding points The north side is still very pretty and very sheltered. If you venture out to the Fox Islands you indeed can get a five days paddling trip and allow yourself safety wind days…

I just haven’t paddled in the Parry Sound area to be of any help

Here is a trip report from someone else re PEI

Thanks a lot, Kim! That is a fantastically good trip report.

Give the Massasauga Provincial Park a thought. It is just south of Parry Sound and is a great place to explore. You will need to reserve campsites as it can be quite popular.

I agree with Kim that Phillip Edward Island is an excellent paddling destination. My son, two friends and I circumnavigated it in touring kayaks during the summer of 2017 and had a great time. We had to cut the trip short due to two of us hurrying back to Florida to prep for hurricane Irma so we spent most of our time on the back side of the island.
Here is a slideshow I put together of our trip:

Hartley bay is a good starting point, there are several outlets of the French river to Georgion bay. You should get a good map of the area. When I was there, we took the “safe” route that required a 100 yard portage. Someone had left a wheel barrow on the wooden walkway that made things easy. Virtually any area you go to is scenic.

Killarney is another great place to start a circumnavigation of Prince Edward island. Try Herbert’s Fishery in Killarney, excellent fish and chips.

I live about 45 minutes drive from the bottom of Georgian Bay and have paddled everywhere around it from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula all the way around to Killarney. The only part I haven’t paddled is between Killarney and Manitoulin Island, but most of that is reserve land and camping is prohibited.

Philip Edward Island is amazing, but you specified that you wanted sheltered water and this can be very exposed unless you go down the back channel (Collins Inlet). If you do that you miss most of the amazing scenery that PEI has to offer. There have been talks going on to hand most of this over to the First Nations but I don’t the status of that. It’s worth checking out before you try to camp there. Killarney Outfitters would have the latest information.

I’ll second the suggestion of Massasauga Provincial Park, as it is mostly sheltered, well-maintained, and organized. Yes, it’s also busy in the summer. If going by kayak and wanting to avoid lots of portaging, put in at Pete’s Place access. You’d have to check whether White Squall would deliver rentals there. If not you’d have to pick them up just north of Parry Sound and car-top them to the put-in at Pete’s Place (Blackstone Harbour). You could easily take a week in there hopping from site to site, or staying put for a few days somewhere. Just make sure to reserve very early to get the sites you want. Site 604 in Gooseneck Bay has a really neat rock formation throughout the site.

In between the two would be to head out and around Franklin Island from Snug Harbour. This is very close to White Squall and is the “go-to” place for them to put in. You may be able to get in on a group kayak delivery depending when you’re there. Franklin Island is Crown Land, and technically you need a permit if you aren’t a Canadian citizen. I doubt you’ll encounter anyone that will question it though. Plan to leave a very light footprint. Franklin Island gets too much traffic as it is, so leave it in better shape than you found it. There’s only a small crossing to Franklin from the mainland, and circumnavigation in a week is easy with time to relax and stay places more than one night. Be aware though that power boaters tend to take the “good” sites early in the day, which leaves kayakers coming in late to take whatever is left.

Edit: Note that only the east side of Franklin island is sheltered. The other three sides, but especially the south and west are exposed to the potential fury of Georgian Bay. The north end of the island has some smaller islands that offer some protection.

All of the above places also include parcels of private land, so make sure you know where it is before setting up camp. A cottage is a dead give-away, but you may also check out the Crown Land Use Policy Atlas online for interactive maps.

If you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to try my best to answer them.

Here are trip reports from Georgian Bay kayaking group. You might get a good idea from the reports. All my trips have been open water so I have no help for you directly. .

Here are some pictures of some of my trips

Take trip reports from local groups with a grain of salt. Many of them describe trips with unnecessary amounts of risk. I’ve been out with former members and have heard many scary stories.

Thanks so much, Sparky, Andy, rival, and dc9mm. Really appreciate your suggestions trip reports, and photos, Especially the photos. What a beautiful place!