Are you tired of playing the role of screen time police? Sick of seeing your family glued to their devices? Wishing you could find something that would leave everyone feeling charged up instead of searching for a charger? We’ve got three words of advice: CUT THE CORD!

Researchers have found that the main reason children like video games is that they offer a fun challenge, relieve stress and offer companionship with other players or friends. There’s some good news hidden here. These factors can be easily experienced on a family paddling trip that’s so fun your kids won’t even miss their screens. If you’re worried that the suggestion of a day out on the water is going to be met with objections by family members who aren’t pro-paddling, arm yourself with the following argument enders.


The Objection:
“We hate long car trips!”

Thanks to the Grand River, amazing paddling adventures that make you feel like you’re 1,000 miles away are much closer than you think. Paris and Brantford, which are both about an hour west of Toronto, are easy access points for this Canadian Heritage River than runs all the way to Lake Erie. From most of Southern Ontario’s larger cities, in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee and play a few rounds of I Spy, your family will have the road trip behind them and be on the banks of the Grand River.


The Objection:
“We don’t have a canoe or any paddling gear.”

Experienced Grand River outfitters, like Grand Experiences and Grand River Rafting,specialize in taking care of equipment for a day out on the water.  Life jackets, boats, paddles and dry bags are all included in most of their packages. They’ll even shuttle your group to back to the car following your float.


The Objection:
“Our kids are too young or don’t know how to swim.”

The Grand River’s gentle currents make it a great choice for children as young as two years old. Life jackets are a must for any boating activity and families with young children can always opt for a float on large, inflatable rafts, which are virtually unflippable.


The Objection:
“Taking a whole family on a paddling trip sounds expensive.”

Compare the cost of a Grand River paddling trip to a family outing to an amusement park and you may be pleasantly surprised by the numbers. Grand River Rafting, for example, offers Turbo Tube rentals, which are like mini-kayaks with an inflated seat cushion. Their 11-km or 13-km trips, which take between three and five hours, are just $35 per person, and that includes the tube, paddle, life jacket, a group dry bag and a shuttle ride upstream at the end of your float.


The Objection:
“We don’t know anything about paddling.”

The Grand River is a perfect place to learn how to paddle because it is a very gentle river. If you’re still unsure, opt for a guided paddling experience and an expert teacher will accompany your family on the trip to show everyone the ropes and ensure the day is a success. Read on for a list of some of our favourite guided trips that are great choices for families.

Pick a sun-filled day and get your lazy on! Grand Experiences’ relax and float with their Lazy River Tubing package.  From Paris, enjoy a wonder half day self-guided trip offering plenty of small swifts to keep your interest piqued as you drift downstream to Brant Park. View Great Blue Herons, Ospreys, turtles and on the shores, a white-tailed deer. Lining the banks is the rare Carolinian Forest where to occasional Bald Eagle may just soar above. Enjoy from early June through to mid-September.

Grand Experiences’ Learn to Paddle and Paddle Canada Basic Skills Certification Experience is a full-day experience packed with learning. The day begins on the calm waters of Pinehurst Lake, where participants master the basics of draw and pry strokes for maneuvering, 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 will all be paddling like pros and earn your Paddle Canada Canoeing Basic Skills Certification.

For families that want to paddle and camp, the Guided Grand River Camping Experience is a great option. Setting out from Paris, your guide will help you learn to paddle, navigate the route and point out wildlife you encounter as you pass miles of stunning scenery. You’ll dock for the night at Brant Conservation Area and launch out the following morning on the Mohawk Run, which will take you past the historic Her Majesty’s Royal Chapel of the Mohawks and Chiefswood Estate National Historic Site. At the end of day two a shuttle will take you back to your vehicle.

Grand Experiences’ Grand Voyageur trip is a four-hour guided paddle down the Grand River in a 12-person Voyageur canoe. A Paddle Canada certified guide, trained in the river’s history and wildlife, will point out unique natural features like cold springs and wildlife such as eagles, osprey, blue herons, beavers and white-tailed deer. Part of the way through the journey there is a guided hike along the Trail of the White Cedars that offers a chance to experience the rare Carolinian forest the area is so well known for.

After such an amazing break from their electronic devices, your family may not be in such a rush to return to their plugged-in ways. Extend the connection a little longer by booking an overnight stay at an area hotel.The Arlington Hotel in Paris, Days Inn Brantford, Holiday Inn Express Brantford and The Bear’s Inn in Ohsweken are all great options. All that fresh air is sure to work up some healthy appetites, so keep a list of tasty dining diversions at the ready. Some favourites in Paris include Edit at The Arlington Hotel, The Paris Wincey Mills Co., Cobblestone Public House and 2 Rivers RestaurantDevlin’s Country Bistro in Mount Pleasant is another great choice. In Brantford, The Olde School Restaurant and enjoy dessert at The Exchange Café at the Bell Homestead National Historic Site are all perfect places for peckish paddlers. Burger Barn in Ohsweken makes a burger so buzzed about that it’s been featured on the television show You Gotta Eat Here and The Village Café is another popular spot in Ohsweken.


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

Paddle the Grand Travel Deals View All >>

Paddle the Grand Experiences & Tours View All >>

May 1 - October 18

Private Boat Shuttles on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

7 days a week. Reservations are a must by phone or email.

May 1 - October 15

Grand River Tuscarora Route – Glen Morris to Brant

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Offered Daily

May 1 - October 15

Paris to Brant – Grand River Day Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

May 1 - October 15

Voyage of the Iroquois, Group Package

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

12-person Group Experience

April 11 - October 15

Grand Overnight Adventure One Night Hotel Package Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Guided Canoe or Kayak Adventure

Now thru April 27

The Cayuga Winter Hike

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Offered Daily

Now thru June 30

Upper Nith River Experience in Spring

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Check for available dates.

Now thru October 15

Grand River 2-Day Canoe and Camping Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

8-Hour, Self-Guided

Now thru May 18

Nith River – Experiential Learning Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Check for available dates.

April 13 - November 2

Experience The Grand – 2 Day/1 Night Package

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Order by phone, at our shop or on-line

April 6 - November 15

Glen Morris to Paris – Grand River Day Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Daily departures.

May 1 - October 18

Canoe Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

April 5 - October 30

Weekend in Paris Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

May 16 - September 20

The Beast… the 8 Person Super Board Trip

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 2 - October 18

Grand River Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) Rentals and Trips

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

Now thru October 30

Friends & Family Float on the Grand (Rafting)

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Daily departures, check for availability.

Now thru October 26

Learn to Paddle Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Sunday Departures

May 16 - September 20

Turbo Tubing… The Paddling Adventure For Everyone.

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Not recommended for newborns to 2 years. *Save 4.00 off per person when you bring...

Now thru May 18

Nith River Adventure Getaway

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Available daily October 2019 to May 2020. Check for available dates.

Now thru October 28

The Natural Path

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Offered Daily

April 6 - November 15

Cambridge to Paris Grand River Day Trip

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Route Running

October 1 - November 30

Upper Nith River Experience in Fall

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Fall Colours!

Now thru December 31

Cook the Trout Survival Challenge

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Available 7 days a week. . Reservations are a must (phone or email)

Now thru May 18

Nith River Adventure – with a Whitewater Experience

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Excilerating!

May 1 - October 18

Rafting Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 1 - October 18

Tandem Kayak Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 1 - October 18

Kayak Trips on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

May 1 - October 15

Mohawk Run

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

Nature Galore!

April 24 - October 26

Grand River – Rafting Adventure

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

A Great Canadian Adventure!

April 5 - March 31

Burger Barn’s 35 Burger Experiences

Burger Barn

3000 Fourth Line, Ohsweken, ON, N0A 1M0

April 20 - November 18

Grand Voyageur

Grand Experiences Outdoor Adventure Company

115 Grand River Street North, Paris, ON, N3L 2M4

4-Hour Guided Trip, Offered Daily

May 1 - October 18

Tandem Yak Trip on the Grand River

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Launch times are 10am-1pm, 7 days a week. Reservations are a must (phone, email or...

Now thru December 31

Indigenous Edible Medicinal Hike

Grand River Rafting Company

31 Mechanic Street, Paris, ON, N3L 1L1

Available 7 days a week. . Reservations are a must (phone or email)

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