The Essex Region is surrounded on three sides by Lake St Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie, and also boasts a network of beautiful rivers, creeks and tributaries. Whether you enjoy motor boats, canoes, kayaks or other sports such as sailing and windsurfing, there are many local water based opportunities.

Where to Enjoy these Activities

Crystal Bay Conservation Area
Popular with motor boaters and jet skiers, but also accessible by paddle power, Crystal Bay is a man made sheltered area in the middle of the Detroit River near Amherstburg. Within the bay there is a smaller channel accessible in the east side that may provide quieter calm waters for paddlers and swimmers.  The current in this area of the Detroit River can be strong and is a shipping channel, so paddlers are advised to use extreme caution.

Cedar Creek Conservation Area
A canoe or kayak paddle from Cedar Creek to Cedar Beach takes just over an hour and provides some of the most breathtaking views of this region.

Hillman Marsh Conservation Area
Cut off from Lake Erie by a sand bar, the marsh can be paddled in canoes and kayaks; or motor boaters and paddlers can enjoy the view from Lake Erie on the east side of the marsh. Paddlers can access the lake and the marsh from Hillman boat launch and South Beach, as well as the main entrance for marsh access.

Holiday Beach Conservation Area
Boaters and paddlers can explore the shoreline and enjoy a fabulous beach here on Lake Erie at Holiday Beach.

Tremblay Beach Conservation Area
Forming an attractive cove on Lake St Clair, Tremblay Beach is a perfect place to explore by canoe or kayak. The water is too shallow for motor boats anywhere near to the shoreline, but paddlers can follow alongside the beach to the east end and turn south inland along Little Creek.

White Sands Conservation Area
A beautiful spot for motor boaters to take a break from cruising along the Detroit River. Many boaters will drop anchor to relax and enjoy the scenery, while others will come ashore to explore the excellent beach.

Canoe Access and Routes
Check out our Paddling Guide to the Detroit River.


  • Always wear a lifejacket and take appropriate safety precautions around the water.
  • Please be considerate to other visitors to these areas, and also avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Please visit the Canadian Coast Guard boat safety website before leaving on your trip to ensure that you have all the appropriate safety gear