How To Ride from Sparrow Lake to Parry Sound Ontario…
This Severn River South Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour is great self guided ride if you’re interested in a long weekend of scenic, accessible fun in Ontario, Canada on your jet ski adventures. After trailering from my Sea-Doo dealer, Gateway Powersports & Marine, we rode our six Sea-Doo watercraft from Sparrow Lake (just north of Orillia, Ontario) to Parry Sound. We had towed our Triton trailers to Lauderdale Point Marina & Resort, where facilities include a launch, secure parking and fuel, available to anyone on a Sea Doo, Jet Ski or Waverunner personal watercraft.
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour – Sparrow Lake to Port Severn…
The first part of our tour followed the western-most section of the Trent-Severn Waterway where the Severn River meanders along until spilling into Severn Sound. Along the way, we followed the markers along its many rock cuts and quiet bays through to the picturesque Gloucester Pool (check out Whites Falls at the north end!) The shore along this route is a mix of Canadian Shield wilderness interspersed with clusters of cottages. Fuel and food are available at numerous marinas along the way. We usually stop at either Port Severn or Honey Harbour to eat.
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour – Jet Skis on Marine Railway…
The beauty of riding Sea-Doo watercraft is that every lock has room for you, even when other boats have to wait for the next lock-thru. Good thing, because this Severn River stretch also includes a massive lock at Swift Rapids (#43) and a smaller one at Port Severn (#45), but the real eye-popper is the Big Chute Marine Railway (#44). Our Sea-Doo watercraft floated on to this engineering marvel and were lifted clear of the water (larger boats are in slings); then the whole rig descended over 17 metres on rail tracks down a hillside before re-entering the water again where we floated off. If you think a big cruiser dwarfs you on the water, try sitting dry-docked almost under one on the marine railway!
View Severn-Georgian Bay South Sea-Doo Tour in a larger map
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour – About PWC Navigation…
Our ride from Sparrow Lake to Parry Sound followed the navigation markers. They are plentiful in some places and far apart in others. Generally, a series of markers guides you through a tight channel or takes you through a change of course; if the next marker is not immediately visible, then your course is likely straight ahead and could be denoted by either buoys and/or shore markers.
It’s always a good idea to carry charts with you – I study them the night before and make note of the key buoy numbers where significant changes of course occur. There are plenty of rocks and shoals between Severn Sound and Parry Sound, but as long as you stick to the main channels as we did, you shouldn’t have a problem. Usually, many other large boats are making a similar journey, so when in doubt you can easily follow their lead. Carrying a GPS unit with the proper charts uploaded is also valuable.
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour – Port Severn to Parry Sound…
We passed under Highway 400 after the lock at Port Severn and followed the buoys into the Potato Channel that arrows west through Severn Sound. This is where the waterway changes from sheltered river to open water. The secret from here to Parry Sound is to follow the inner channel that winds behind islands and remains largely protected from the big waves of Georgian Bay proper. That’s why we made a sharp turn to starboard about one half a nautical mile past marker C50 to swing north toward Moore Point and followed the channel into Honey Harbour. Once you pick up the row of markers near Moore Point, keep a sharp eye out to stay between them; they meander around a bit to avoid shoals. Once again, plenty of marinas offer fuel and food in the Honey Harbour area, just be careful to obey the slow speed zones as the marine patrols are active here, especially in the vicinity of the now defunct Delawana Inn.
An hour or so north of Honey Harbour is THE place to stop for lunch. The world famous Henry’s Fish House is located on Frying Pan Island at Sans Souci (on your port side, just past marker C180). This is the heart of Georgian Bay’s equally renowned 30,000 Islands and home to the best pickerel eating you’ll every experience. The generous portions, excellent quality and outstanding hospitality make Henry’s an unforgettable treat that’s worth the journey all on its own.
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour At Parry Sound…
The 21 or so kilometres from Henry’s to Parry Sound follows channels through many of the 30,000 Islands. It’s well marked with buoys and its Group of Seven shores are dotted with cottages. Before long, we crossed under the swing bridge to Parry Island and swung into the Town of Parry Sound harbour. We fuelled up at Parry Sound Marina.
After a full day of riding our Sea-Doo watercraft, Parry Sound is an ideal stopover; we took in a free jazz concert on the patio at the Stockey Centre and admired vintage vehicles at a waterside classic car show. So plan to dock overnight at Big Sound Marina and stay at the Bayside Inn. Just give Jeff a call and he’ll pick you up at the marina!
Parry Sound is the area’s main commercial hub. A town of 18,000 permanent residents, it swells to about 60,000 in the summer and boasts attractions like the Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts and the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame. It also boasts some mighty fine dining and we sampled two exceptional choices: Wellington’s Bar & Grill; and the Bay Street Café.
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour At Pointe au Baril…
If you have three days, spend the middle day riding to the Ojibway Club near Pointe au Baril and back (see my article Georgian Bay North Sea-Doo Tour), staying over a second night at the Bayside Inn. If you only have two days available or want a more leisurely cruise, simply to do the return ride from Sparrow Lake to Parry Sound the next day.
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour Tips…
There are two key points to remember about riding Georgian Bay. It can get rough when it’s windy, so try to pick calmer days for your ride. Another good reason for riding smoother waters is that it’s much easier to spot the various marker buoys that line the main channels to guide you along. With the water levels the lowest they’ve been in years, you don’t want to stray much off the main course.
I should also add that if you only have one day to ride, either just do the Sparrow Lake – Port Severn (also a good choice for days that are windy) or launch from Port Severn and ride up to Henry’s for lunch and back, a perfectly doable one day outing.
Whatever you choose, this Georgian Bay South Sea-Doo Tour will keep you coming back for more!
Severn River Georgian Bay Sea Doo Tour Info – #ontariowaterways
- Round Trip Distance – about 250 km (Sparrow Lake to Parry Sound), give or take depending on how much exploring, plus 100 km return Parry Sound to Pointe au Baril
- Highway Access: 11, exit at South Sparrow Lake Road
- Water body(s): Sparrow Lake, Severn River, Gloucester Pool, Severn Sound, Georgian Bay
- Launch(s): Lauderdale Point Marina & Resort
- Lunch: Henry’s Fish House, plus various alternatives at Port Severn, Honey Harbour
- Fuel: Sparrow Lake (Lauderdale Point Marina), Port Severn (Starport Marina), Honey Harbour (Nautlius Marina), Sans Souci (Henry’s or LeBlanc’s Marina), Parry Sound (Glenn Burney or Parry Sound Marine)
- Lock/Transfer: Swift Rapids, Big Chute, Port Severn
- Lodgings: Bayside Inn, Parry Sound
- Docking: Big Sound Marina, Parry Sound
- Side Trip(s): Gloucester Pool, 12 Mile Bay, Go Home Bay
- Sea-Doo Dealer(s): The Cove, MacTier; Factory Recreation, Midland
- More Info: Muskoka Parry Sound Tourism
Riders should reconfirm the routes and services mentioned in this article as they may have changed since publication. Any map is for reference only and any marked lines or locations are not intended as an exact or accurate depiction of positions.