If you’d like to get out on the water in a canoe, kayak or raft, but aren’t sure where to begin, Hamilton Halton Brant has plenty of options for paddling beginners to pick up their oars and dip in!


Get Going on the Grand

The Grand River is a perfect place to learn how to paddle. It is a very gentle river, and area outfitters such as Grand ExperiencesGrand River Rafting and Heritage River Canoe and Kayak Co. make it so easy to gear up and go. You can opt for a guided or instructional canoe, kayak or rafting experience where an expert teacher will accompany you on the trip to show everyone the ropes and ensure the day is a success.

Here are some great choices for instructional, learn to paddle experiences:

Get some canoeing cred with Grand Experiences’ Learn to Paddle and Paddle Canada Basic Skills Certification Experience. This is a full-day experience packed with learning that begins on the calm waters of Pinehurst Lake, where participants master the basics of draw and pry strokes for manoeuvring, and sweeps and the “J” stroke for steering. Next, it’s on to the Grand River’s Mohawk Run to learn how to read a river and determine what strokes to use in different conditions. By the end of the day, you’ll be paddling like a pro and earn your Paddle Canada Canoeing Basic Skills Certification.

Grand River Rafting offers beginner canoeing lessons with or without a guided trip. These are practical, hands-on canoeing lessons for leisure recreational paddling on the Paris to Brantford canoe route. Instructors provide the one-hour lessons on land and water, then shuttle participants upstream for a 2-3 hour trip down the Grand River.

Learn to kayak in white water with Grand Experiences’ Nith River Learning Adventure.  The Nith is an ideal river to learn on in spring high waters, and instructors start by teaching power, steering, and brace strokes. After an on-river morning of basic techniques, enjoy a hot riverside lunch at Viking Beach. After lunch, continue developing your skills by navigating Swift Alley, the deceptive currents of Devil’s Cave, and the Level 1 and 2 rapids of Arrowhead, Big Curve, and Penman’s Pass. You can also kayak the Grand River with Grand River Rafting, an outfitter offering beginner lessons with or without a guided trip. Kayakers head out on the Paris to Brant Park Route and start with land-based instruction, followed by two to three hour paddles.

If you’ve never given rafting a try, Grand River Rafting offers a special beginner trip, the Grand River Cayuga Paddle. It starts in the town of Paris and ends 12 kilometres downstream, a 3-4 hour trip. En route, spot osprey, a blue heron nesting area, and wildlife like deer and muskrats.


Canoeing at Cootes

Give paddling a try in paradise! At Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, the Cootes Paradise marsh is the site for a number of guided canoeing programs designed for beginners where you’ll see the wetlands’ inhabitants from a new perspective.

Introduction to Canoeing is offered on various dates starting in June. If you don’t know a bow from a stern and think going straight is easy but don’t know how to turn, join ORCKA-certified instructors for two half days of canoeing instruction focused on teaching safety and techniques. Participants spend the mornings paddling and experiencing Cootes Paradise while mastering the quintessentially Canadian J-stroke.

Paddle in Paradise guided tours give participants a view of wetland plants and wildlife and a glimpse of the astounding life that depends on the health of the marsh for its survival. RBG supplies the canoes, paddles and life jackets, and participants bring your camera and binoculars. The Family Canoeing program is recommended for 2 adults and up to 2 children over age 4 and is another guided canoeing adventure to learn about Cootes Paradise.


Become a Paddleboard Pro

Find out why stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is taking the world by storm. Get out and enjoy the water with lessons at Burlington Beach with Burlington Beach Rentals or a two-hour introduction to the sport at WhaSUP in Troy. Grand River Rafting in Paris has mapped out a great route on the Grand River and will provide a lesson before you set out.

Travel Deals View All >>

Experiences & Tours View All >>

Now thru May 1

MacNab’s Kitchen at Dundurn Enhanced Experience

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

2 hour experience. Available year-round, mornings only. Minimum 15 persons.

December 26 - February 17

Winter Wagon Rides

Conservation Halton

2259 Milburough Line Campbellville, ON L0P 1B0

* Available daily December 26th, 2019 until January 5, 2020 and weekends and holidays January...

Now thru January 5

The Collection Continues: A Quarter Century of Collecting

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Special Exhibition Admission Applies

December 27 - January 5

The Science of Music: Holiday Drop-In Activity Centre

Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology – National Historic Site

900 Woodward Avenue, Hamilton, ON

Dec 27-31, 2019 & Jan 2-5, 2020, 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM. This is a...

Now thru January 6

David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden Experience

Royal Botanical Gardens

680 Plains Road West, Burlington, ON, L7T 4H4

1.5 hour experience. Minimum 15 persons.

Now thru December 31

Float High in the Sky at iFLY Toronto(Oakville)

iFLY Toronto

2007 Winston Park Drive Oakville, L6H 6P5

FLIGHT HOURS Monday: CLOSED Tuesday to Thursday: 2 PM - 9 PM Friday: 11 PM...

Now thru December 15

Santa’s Workshop Experience During Christmas on the Farm

Springridge Farm

7256 Bell School Line Milton, Ontario L9E 0N7

10 am - 3 pm Admission to Santa’s Workshop is $10 (includes HST) per child....

Now thru December 22

Christmas Evening Tours

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

Time:        7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Cost:        $30 per person. Pre-registration is required, weekends only.

December 13 - 15

Christmas Evening Tours

Dundurn National Historic Site

610 York Boulevard, Hamilton, ON, L8R 3H1

Cost:        $30 per person. Pre-registration is required. Time:        7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

December 15 - March 31

Glen Eden Ski and Snowboard Centre Rentals and Lessons

Kelso Conservation Area / Glen Eden

5234 Kelso Rd. Milton, L9T 2X7

Pre-Season - Open daily 7 days a week 8:30 am to 4:30 pm In-Season -...

Now thru May 1

The Collection: A Hands-On Experience

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West, Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Duration of Experience: 3.5 hours Availability: Year-Round, Afternoons Only Minimum Person: 12

Now thru November 6

Free Fridays

Art Gallery of Hamilton

123 King Street West Hamilton, ON, L8P 4S8

Free Admission 11:00 am – 8:00 pm Free Tours at 6:00 pm

Similar Stories View All >>

Warm up to Winter Break

Day trips and activities to warm up the school break.

Read More

Discover all things Fall in Milton

Binbrook Conservation Area: Triple the Fun

Splash, climb, swing and wakeboard this summer.

Read More

8 Ideas for a Nature Lover’s Bucket List

Look to these landscapes for your must-do’s.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Wilkes Dam/Grand River Loop

Follow the Grand River for 18 kms of awesome.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Waterfront Loop

Enjoy historical sites and lakeside breezes.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Paris Two Rivers Loop

Discover the riverside trails of Paris, Ontario.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Going to the Chapel Route

A true Niagara Escarpment adventure with scenic vistas.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Felker’s and Albion Falls Loop

Waterfalls highlight a route along Hamilton mountain.

Read More

Hamilton & Area Hikes Dundas Valley All-Falls Loop

Explore 1,200 hectares of lush Carolinian forest.

Read More

The Best of Spring: Six Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors

The definitive spring guide to fresh air forays.

Read More

Discover Even More Cool Claims to Fame

The list of our region’s claims to fame keeps growing.

Read More

Get Travel OffersEvent Details and Planning Ideas for Your Next Trip

Sign up to receive the latest Hamilton Halton Brant travel news delivered right to your inbox.