There’s no better way to get a true taste of Canada than spending a few hours floating in one of the country’s most beloved national symbols. And if you have to pick just one river for a picturesque paddle, the Grand River is a definite best bet. The Grand River has a past so rich it has been designated a Canadian Heritage River, but tales of days gone by aren’t the only thing this waterway boasts. Eighty at-risk species call the Grand River watershed home, and more than 90 species of fish and 250 species of birds have been spotted swimming in and flying over the river.

While most canoe trips require a long drive fighting cottage country traffic the whole way, two of the Grand River’s key access points, Brantford and Paris, are located about an hour’s drive west of Toronto. Add in the fact that the region boasts experienced outfitters that are happy to take care of all the details and equipment for your trip, and it really couldn’t get any better — unless you live in the United States, of course! Already affordable trips offered by these outfitters become an even better deal when you factor in a very favourable U.S. exchange rate at a stunning location that is only a two-hour drive from the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan.

Whether you’re a Canadian looking to get away for an easy overnight escape, or an American looking for a great deal on a new nature adventure, these six trips are sure to please.

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Check out the fun that’s already happening on and around the Grand River by searching and following hashtags: #PaddleTheGrand, #NatureUnexpected and #HamiltonHaltonBrant. #paddleON and #discoverON also regularly feature great paddling inspiration. Don’t forget to share some pictures of your paddling adventures too!

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