We love the wilderness, love our family and friends, love exploring and love getting the most from a vacation. And we found it all, courtesy of Le Boat!
We’ve taken Le Boat trips in Europe before and found them to be the higher-end supplier of easy to use rentals of vacation watercraft, so now that they are in Canada, we figured why not give them a try? Some people have said they aren’t boaters. We say think again. The boats are so easy to use and surrounded by cladding much like a bumper car, and they aren’t fast. Training occurs at the base and friendly, knowledgeable staff take all the time you need until you are comfortable on boat function and navigation. It’s also great for bonding as you collectively plan the next stop, look for the next markers to navigate by, and work as a team to dock. A camaraderie exists with the other boaters you meet along the way. And these are smooth waterways with virtually no waves.
Canada is a great choice, particularly right now. The U.S. dollar is strong and that knocks about one third off the cost of the trip. In Canada there are no language barriers and no time zone changes, so you focus on fun, not jet lag recovery and figuring things out. From the Washington D.C. area, it’s just a few hours away. Hit the airport in the morning and have lunch at the marina. We enjoy the early and later shoulder season with fewer crowds, cooler nights, no waits at locks as boats line up for their turn, fewer insects, and in the autumn you get the absolutely beautiful colors of fall foliage.
Our journey along the Rideau Canal took us on peaceful glides along calm, serene, waterways with brief spans of canal connecting the countless huge lakes of Ontario. You are immediately struck by the wide open wilderness and serene scenery. Clear, mirror-smooth lake water, islands, forests, granite and limestone cliffs, birch trees and occasional vacation homes are scattered throughout. Everything is so clean, so pure, and these are sights can only be seen by water.
Days were spent taking in the views, and navigating to our next fantastic destination, being a quaint town like Westport with its ships and vineyards; or a thriving college town like Kingston, the former capital of Canada, or perhaps one of the historic locks such as Jones Falls to pass through. Others were enjoying the fishing paradise. Happily, we followed the itinerary the staff tailored specifically for us.
The locks offered not just a means of transportation, but a great historic site as well. These engineering marvels date one to two hundred years ago. Friendly lock keepers do all the work all costs are included, no worries on your part. Just take it all in and enjoy. They’ll even give advice on what’s coming up next. Literally everyone you meet is friendly and helpful. The locks have specific daytime hours and that’s taken into consideration in your itinerary. Overnight, you stay at either one of the last locks or a marina — either way, staying aboard the boat is surprisingly comfortable on our well-equipped, clean and functional boat with a nice lounge area with comfortable seating for up to 12 on top or inside. There is heat and air conditioning, and as many as five staterooms with a private mini bath in each and a fully equipped kitchen.
Always have a navigator working with whoever is captaining. While it’s easy to operate, particularly with the bow and stern thrusters and the ability to drive the upper deck, the captain needs to focus on driving. The navigator reads the charts and seeks the next cue sighting numbered channel markers indicating where to go next. It’s fun and team building all working together and taking turns. Everyone wants a chance to drive, navigate, or just relax and take countless photos as one breathtaking sight after another unfold before your eyes. This is, after all, a UNESCO world heritage site!
A few tips, especially if you select the Rideau Canal
- Have the Marina pre-stock your boat with basic food supplies. You can get more at other towns along the way, but it’s good to begin with the basics.
- Brown’s Marina located near The Opinicon Resort is the best for getting tanks pumped out if needed. They give great advice, and have a really helpful staff.
- Take a meal and an afternoon at The Opinicon Resort.
- Getting more provisions is easiest in Kingston and Westport.
- In Westport, don’t miss the Scheuermann Vineyard where you can get a fascinating tour, sample wines and get a great brick oven pizza. It’s a 5-10 minute walk, or take their free shuttle from the marina.
Ready to experience this? Go to RecreationNews.com and check out our photo and video library and see some of our views and the locks. To plan your getaway, first visit LeBoat.com and see floorplans of the various crafts, tip, itineraries, photos, videos, rates and, of course, to book your own trip!