Have you heard of the world-famous 1000 Islands in Ontario, Canada? Would you like to know all the amazing things you can do on the 1000 Islands?
The 1000 Islands in Ontario nestled over the St. Lawrence river are truly Mother Nature’s work at best. Formed around 12,000 years back during the last ice age, the Thousand Islands comprises over 1800 islands, an archipelago of 1,864 islands. The islands span across the Canada-US border & stretch for about 80 km downwind from Kingston, Ontario.
The islands range in size from the biggest, Wolf Island, which is over 40 square miles inhabited by a heavy number of residents & farms, to smaller islands, mostly uninhabited or occupied by a single residence. The Canadian islands are nestled in Ontario, whereby the islands to the U.S. are in New York state.
Why Visit The 1000 Islands?
By the early 20th century, the Thousand Islands became a popular name among the rich & famous. Privileged visitors back then built mansions, lighthouses & luxurious homes over their private islands. Soon such instances led a few of the castles & villas to become international landmarks. Two such famous castles are the Singer & Boldt Castles, which remain a premier tourist attraction to date.
The 1000 Islands region is flooded with recreational activities & scenic sights for tourists to see. Surrounded by nature and water from all four sides, this scenic beauty cannot get any better.
The region is a perfect destination for family trips. With over 8,000 acres of land, there are plenty of things to do, including fishing, hiking, biking, and even kayaking. The area has so much to offer, from adventures to relaxation opportunities, that one cannot miss.
Amazing Things To Do In 1000 Islands
There is so much to do in the 1000 Islands that you might not know where to start. This is why we have made a list of the nine amazing things you can do in the 1000 Islands. Here are your options:
1. Take a Tour of 1000 Islands National Park
Previously known as the St. Lawrence National Park, the 1000 Islands National Park was established in the year 1904. The National Park area is open seasonally, from May to October. It is the oldest & the first National Park of the Canadian Rockies.
The park features over 20 islands between Kingston & Brockville regions. And is a paradise for sightseers with authentic outdoor activities. You can either hike from one island to another or build up a tent and stay overnight. The Parks Canada oTENTik provides easy camping accommodations on site.
There is no better way to feel close to nature than pitching a tent on an island, with fully equipped beds, light furniture & lighting facilities. Having over 20 islands in the thousand islands national park area, activities & facilities differ from island to island.
The park also has a visitor center at the Mallorytown Landing, which provides the visitor with an introduction to the park, activities, & interpretive programs.
2. Up Above The Sky With 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours
Address: 88 County Rd 32, Gananoque Ontario
One of the most exciting attractions & activities in the 1000 Islands is flying high up above the sky with the 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours. Flying First Class cannot get any more spectacular than this.
The helicopter tours are open all year round, providing an intimate setting while you enjoy a bird’s eye view of the magnificent beauty of the 1000 Islands. They are certain to let you through the best experience from the air.
They offer the most spectacular views with five unique tours, 1000 Islands Tour, Boldt Castle Tour, Aerial Views & Seaway Hues, Kingston Tour, and The Works.
Each of the five tours varies in tour duration and rates. The 1000 Islands Tour is the cheapest at $99 per person, lasting for a duration of 10 minutes.
To experience the most of all the 1,864 islands, The Works is the ideal tour at $450 per person for a duration of approximately 60 minutes. This tour also includes a personalized video of yours and a free tee shirt.
And there’s still more; they offer three different styles of full-day packages for every kind of adventure seeker. There is so much to discover in the 1000 Islands, and these packages help you deal with that.
3. Entertain Yourself At The 1000 Islands Play House
Address: 85 South Street, Gananoque
The 1000 Islands Playhouse is a performing arts theatre, that brings full doses of entertainment to the scenic island region. It is one of the most charming theatres Canada has.
The Playhouse features two theatres; The Springer Theater & The Firehall Theatre, both on the Saint Lawrence River banks. The playhouse was built in 1982, which was originally a Gananoque Canoe Club. It was later refurbished into a 360-seat theatre that we have today as the Springer Theatre.
The Playhouse is considered to offer one of the top live theatre experiences in Ontario. The Playhouse runs shows from season to season, with mostly Canadian content. To date, it has presented over 200 productions. It produces varying genres, including comedy, musicals, and dramas (both classical & new day work).
(For the last season, the Playhouse hosted online drama workshops for High School students across Eastern Ontario)
4. Explore 1000 Islands On Wheels
There are more ways of exploring 1000 Islands than by boat. You can also go by the roads on two wheels. Exploring 1000 Islands on a bike rather than a boat gives you a completely different experience & insight into your journey.
You can start your journey on the path running parallel to the 1000 Islands Parkway & the Saint Lawrence River. There are plenty of access points throughout the track, ensuring a safe & sound ride.
Even if you don’t have a bike of your own, you can still enjoy the roads with rentals from Thousand Islands Bicycle Co. They offer rentals & guided bike tours throughout Gananoque & Brockville.
The parkway bike path is a waterfront trail that seemingly offers gorgeous sights. It is a 37 km long trail, ideal for day cycling tours. As you cycle your way down the journey, fresh breezes off the waters come running by.
The trail is lined with gardens, wildflowers, waterfront cottages, & granite cliffs on the sides.
Must-See Stops Along The Route
- Mallorytown Landing
- Brown’s Bay Beach
- Ivy Lea Campground
5. Cruise Your Way With The 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises
Address: 30 Block House Island Pkwy, Brockville, Ontario
Experience 1000 Islands in an adrenaline-rushing way with the 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises. Founded in 1994, the cruise features adventure trips to suit every taste with their ever-changing vessels.
They kick start from Brockville’s waterfront featuring a wide range of cruises that fit both your budget & taste.
Keeping up with the latest trend of shorter-duration cruises, the 1000 Islands & Seaway Cruises introduced a high-speed adventure ‘Wildcat’ to take over the traditional sightseeing cruise experience. It’s a 2-hour adventurous experience of the 1000 Islands like never before.
In case a speedy tour is not on your list; you can choose from their traditional cruises, including the Dinner Cruises & Special Events. They also offer five amazing package deals such as the Cruise & Theatre Package and Best of Brockville Package. These packages are ideal for those who want to spend more time experiencing the cruise.
6. Blast From The Past: Visit The 1000 Islands History Museum
Address: 125 Water Street, Gananoque, Ontario
While visiting a place, getting a chance to know its deep-rooted history adds an authentic touch to your trip. Likewise, while taking an adventure tour of the 1000 Islands, you have an opportunity to learn all about its past at the 1000 Islands History Museum.
The History Museum was founded in 1995, and it preserves all the greater aspects of Gananoque & the 1000 Islands. The museum tells every story from Gananoque’s past, including the glaciers to the pirates.
The museum has a relaxing waterfront setting which visitors enjoy the most. It hosts interactive exhibits for visitors from time to time. Visitors can either explore the museum independently or contact the authorities beforehand for a guided tour.
Also, there is a thousand islands boat museum if you are not into history that much.
Every exhibit, program & operation of the museum is managed through donations from the public because they are a registered charity. Visitors can stay connected with the community through the memberships that the museum offers.
They offer a total of 7 premier memberships, starting at $30 (single) to $2500 (St. Lawrence business membership).
7. Skywood Adventure Park
Address: 1278 Thousand Islands Pkwy, Mallorytown, Ontario, Canada
The Skywood Eco Adventure Park is a Saint Lawrence Park Commissions Attraction nestled across Brown Bay Beach. This adventure park is a perfect day tour for families.
This eco-park offers you an opportunity to reconnect with your inner child and enjoy the best recreational activities. The adventure park features all sorts of activities for all ages & abilities. The park takes you across an aerial adventure worth remembering with the sets of swings, nets & ziplines.
There’s something to enjoy for every age group starting from 3-5-year-old kids. For the kids, there are Discovery Courses & 2-aerial adventure courses. For the younger adventure seekers, there is the Treewalk Village, with a full network of treehouses joined by nets & slides.
In total, there are five courses to enjoy throughout, namely, The Adventure Course, The Zipline Tour, Children Discovery Courses, Accessible Zip Line, & Treewalk Village.
Every course varies in difficulty levels & durations, separated by different minimum age groups.
8. Thousand Islands Tower
Address: Hill Island, 716 Highway 137, Lansdowne
The Thousand Islands Tower is one of its kind tourist attraction in the 1000 Islands. The tower was built in 1965 and hailed on Hill Island on the US-Canada border.
The tower is at of height of 400 feet above the Saint Lawrence River, offering panoramic views of both nations. The visitors can witness the best of everything the area has to offer, from the very top of the tower.
The tower has a total of three observation decks for visitors. A bird’s eye view of the region is one of the greatest ways to appreciate the beautiful area, and the 1000 Islands Tower makes it possible for those who couldn’t manage to fly over the region.
Earlier, visitors had to take the stairs to reach all the observation decks; however, an elevator whisk has been introduced. In less than 50 seconds, the elevator takes the visitors to the first one of the observation decks.
A tour guide is available to assist you at the top of the tower and provide you with all the knowledge & history of the area. And after visitors are done enjoying the views, they can pay a visit to the on-site gift & ice cream shop.
9. Go Golfing At Wellesley Island
Address: 42773 County Route 100 Fineview, New York
The 1000 Islands region is not just sightseeing or recreational activities, but you can also enjoy the sports activities the place has to offer. The Wellesley Island State Park Golf Course is one such place.
The State Park Golf Course is an 80-year-old public golf course on Wellesley Island. It is a fair 9-hole course offering rolling fairways & challenging shots. The course was previously known as Golf Links and is created by 1000 island prink granite outcroppings.
The golf course features a marina & a restaurant as well, making it a more comfortable single-day trip destination. It is considered one of the best courses to play in Northern New York.
The course offers 2,730 yards of greens with rolling fairways. Although it is a 9-hole course, a golfer can experience an 18-hole round if played twice from different tees.
Visitors are most likely to enjoy their guided hiking tours, cabins & campsites.
Few Interesting Facts About 1000 Islands
- The largest island in the archipelago, Wolfe Island, nestles completely in Ontario.
- One of the islands, Deer Island, is owned by the society of Skulls & Bones (an undergraduate senior student secret society)
- There is one artificial island in the region: Longue Vue Island
- Zavikon Island in Canada is a pair of islands.
- The footbridge between the largest island in Canada & the smallest in the States is the shortest international bridge.
- Geographically speaking, most of the islands are located where a Canadian Shield branch, best known as the Thousand Islands-Frontenac Arch Biosphere, is.
In conclusion, the 1000 Islands region is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations that anyone can visit.
The thousand islands region and its vast estates have many things to see like the famous boldt castle, heart island, dark island, alexandria bay, and other vantage point on the canadian side.
So, Whether you are an avid adventurer or just someone who loves to relax and enjoy nature, this region has something to offer.
The seasonal and year-round activities are diverse and cater to everyone’s interests. This guide can help you plan your trip to this region and discover all the wonderful things it has to offer.
With its perfect blend of pleasure and adventure, the 1000 Islands region on Eastern Lake Ontario & St. Lawrence River is a must-visit for anyone who loves the great outdoors.