Thousand Islands of Lake Ontario
This is another insider tip. I had never heard of the 1000 islands before. Given how much I enjoyed my visit that is a real shame! When you drive east bound along the Ontario shoreline of lake Ontario, past Kingston, you will reach a place of natural beauty of luxury indulgence. It’s right where the lake meets the Sant Laurence river that 1800 tiny islands were formed. This part of the river is called Thousand Islands.
Thousand Islands National Park
Thousand Islands National Park is a stunning destination for nature lovers, offering breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and its many islands.
Located in Eastern Ontario, this park offers visitors plenty of opportunities to experience the beauty of Canada’s natural landscape with activities such as camping, hiking and canoeing.
The park also provides access to some unique wildlife like beavers, otters and bald eagles that can be spotted from shore or by boat tour!
What is special about Thousand Islands National Park
It consists of 21 islands, many of which are only accessible by boat. The park is known for its diverse wildlife, including birds, fish, and mammals, as well as its picturesque views and rich cultural and historical heritage.
What to do in 1000 Islands
Several towns along the shore there have ports where short cruises are offered. They range between an hour and a half-day on the water and go to different places. Kingston offers them, but from there it’s still quite a distance to get to the islands. I would advise starting the cruise in one of the more Eastern ports.
We got the 11am boat from Rockport. They have a good touristic infrastructure with lots of parking and places to eat. So this makes for a great day trip. Our one hour cruise took us through the diverse seascape. Most islands are so small, there is only one or two houses on them.
If you are looking for something more exclusive, why not try a helicopter tour?
How do you spend a day in 1000 Islands
The Castle in the Lake
When I say houses, I don’t necessarily mean cottages. Some of them are mansions built by rich city people. The biggest one by far is Bolt Castle, which these days you can rent as event space for weddings etcetera.
Supposedly it was built as a summer residence for the builder’s wife who could not swim. He dropped her off there in the spring and picked her back up in the fall. So they told us on the boat 😉
Construction is expensive and takes a long time. Just think about having to transport all the materials there by truck over the frozen lake in the winter. Then wait for the summer to actually build anything.
Thousand Islands Bridge
The Thousand Islands Bridge is a system of bridges connecting the Canadian province of Ontario and the US state of New York. The bridges span the St. Lawrence River, connecting the mainland of each country with the Thousand Islands region.
The bridge system consists of two main bridges, the Thousand Islands Bridge and the Boldt Castle Bridge. The first is a cantilever bridge that was built in 1938, connecting Hill Island with Wellesley Island. The Boldt Castle Bridge was added to the system in 1953, connecting Wellesley Island with Main Duck Island. Both bridges are two-lane, three-span structures with a total length of over 4 miles.
The bridge is a popular tourist destination, and is a popular spot for sightseeing and fishing. The area is known for its spectacular views of the river and the surrounding islands, and it is a great place to spot wildlife, including bald eagles and ospreys.
My personal experience
First we crossed the 1000 islands bridge over the Sant Laurence river. Later that day I learned that in this area you’ll also find the shortest international bridge in the world. It connects Canada and the US. We had picked a bridge before, still with both ends in Canada for the view.
Unfortunately the footpath along the bridge was closed for maintenance, so we couldn’t walk across. But from the car I got a pretty good idea why people flock here in the summer. There’s also a look-out tower and a scenic parkway along the shore.
1000 Islands FAQ
Is 1000 Islands worth visiting?
Yes, the 1000 Islands is definitely worth visiting! It’s a picturesque area with a wide range of activities to enjoy, from hiking to kayaking to simply admiring the stunning views. Whether you’re looking for a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or just some time away from it all, the Thousand Islands offers something for everyone.
Is Thousand Islands in the USA or Canada?
The Thousand Islands are located on the Saint Lawrence River between Canada and the USA. The Canadian islands are in the province of Ontario and the US islands are located in the state of New York.
What is the best time to visit 1000 Islands?
The best time to visit the Thousand Islands is late summer through mid-fall, as the temperatures are mild and the foliage is beautiful. Additionally, the Clayton Island Tours runs the Rock Island Lighthouse cruise through the end of October. It is a great way to see the lighthouse without having to leave the boat.
Do you need a passport to go to 1000 Islands?
Yes, you do need a passport to visit the Thousand Islands. The Thousand Islands are located on the border between the United States and Canada, so you will need to present your passport when crossing the border. Additionally, you may need to present a valid visa depending on your nationality.
I hope the pictures can give you a bit of an idea of how serene and opulent at the same time this place is. I’ll keep you updated on my next adventures in Canada 🙂 Some of them I wrote about, such as