Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, the largest freshwater island in the world, has been circumnavigated at least a few times by kayak. Some accounts indicate difficulty in finding campsites on the north side of the island due to extensive development. I’m looking for the following information:
- Areas on the north side of the island that are especially inhospitable to kayak camping.
- Grocery stores anywhere on the outside of the island that are easily accessible by kayak without having to paddle deep into a bay.
- Landing spots in Little Current, one of those towns. I’ve heard that there is nothing but docks and break walls.
- Local rules & customs with respect to kayak camping on the shore.
- Any special considerations with respect to First Nations land.
Some info . . .
I’m no expert on Manitoulin, and even less on the north shore, but can offer some info.
All of Manitoulin Island is private property. If you just pull up on shore and pitch a tent without permission of the landowner you are trespassing. That said, there are miles of remote shoreline that rarely see people.
The communities on the north side, as well as the south side, are all in bays, some big, some small. From the west, Meldrum Bay, Gore Bay, West Bay and probably some others I can’t think of right now. West Bay is a First Nations community.
All the communities are busy in summer with boat traffic, especially Gore bay and Little Current. Don’t know about landing in Little Current but there are many docks.
Try contacting Manitoulin Wind and Wave at
I’m sure they can answer all your questions.
I live on Manitoulin so know it well. If you are still planning a trip you might find it much nicer to spend more time in the North Channel/Bay of Islands which is the area separating Manitoulin from the mainland as that part of your trip.It is granite rock, countless Islands, not so much privately owned, more sheltered and much more scenic. It can get busy with yachts in summer but so can all of the area. I kayak a great deal but always choose that area rather than the shore of Manitoulin. I know of someone who did that trip in the summer of 2009 and they had pretty rough weather with waves close to 6 feet. Wind and weather are a very big factor.
As the other person said: Manitoulin is all private property. It consists of a lot of limestone rock and few sandy areas on that north shore. Between towns are lots af areas with cottages and homes and plenty of uninhabited areas. Some of the shore is steep cliffs or very rough rock and cedar shoreline. Consider Gore Bay and Little Current to be virtually the only places with a good selection of groceries. The smaller towns will have very basic supplies. There are plenty of places close to both Little Current and Gore Bay to land and dock within walking distance of stores. Some grocery stores will deliver to the docks.
By far the largest area of native land is Wikwemikong, covering almost all of the east side, and you would have to get permission from their band office to camp.
I probably read the same TR as you at CASKA. I’m planning an overnight trip this summer from Tobermory to Manitoulin, and have been trying to find info on a place or places to camp on our way to South Baymouth. Good luck on your trip.