Learn about the top things to do in the Thousand Islands.

If you’re looking for a new and exciting vacation destination, consider traveling to the Thousand Islands. Found in the St. Lawrence River between Canada and the U.S., this location includes a group of almost 2,000 islands. The Thousand Islands contain gorgeous scenery and a variety of landscapes, making it ideal for travelers who love the outdoors. As you wander through the region, you’ll fall in love with the lush environments and spectacular views of the river. If you’re interested in visiting the Thousand Islands, check out our article below. We’ve curated a list of the most exciting things to see and do while vacationing in the Thousand Islands.

1. Visit the historic Boldt Castle

thousand islands - Boldt Castle

Credit: Hamidreza

When you visit the Thousand Islands, you might be surprised by how much history can be found here. The area has long been a favorite vacation destination for travelers from the northeastern U.S. Houses built in the early 19th century were made for summer getaways and adventures through the outdoors. One of these estates, created by millionaire George Boldt, was the expansive Boldt Castle. This enormous estate contains 120 rooms and comprises a total of five buildings. You’ll definitely want to check out this incredible Thousand Islands site.

At Boldt Castle, visitors can tour the entire site and venture through the endless number of rooms. Found near Alexandria Bay, New York, travelers may locate the castle on Heart Island in the St. Lawrence River. Visitors can embark on self-guided tours during the months of May to October. You could even rent out the castle for a destination wedding or special event, like an anniversary.

2. Embark on a boat tour around the islands

thousand islands - boat tour

One of the best ways to get a great view of the Thousand Islands is to take a boat tour. When you’re riding around on a boat, you’ll be able to see all of the islands in an unparalleled manner. As the Thousand Islands can be found in the St. Lawrence River, it seems logical to travel by boat. Visitors may find themselves enjoying the breezes and views of the landscape while they ride across the water.

You can find a number of companies to rent a boat if you don’t have one of your own. Those who would rather relax while they ride can try a cruise ride. These 90-minute tours will include discussions of numerous sites around the islands, like the famous lighthouses and historic attractions. Pontoon boats also provide hour-long tours through the water if you don’t want to waste too much time.

3. Go fishing in the St. Lawrence River

thousand islands - St. Lawrence River

Another activity involving the St. Lawrence River, fishing remains one of the top things to do in the Thousand Islands. Those travelers who enjoy exploring the landscape will get to do so while unwinding by the water. Test your patience by sitting out by the river and casting a line or two. You might catch a few pike, bass, or other fish while spending a few hours near the water. Popular fish caught here also include salmon, trout, and 60-inch long muskies.

Visitors to the Thousand Islands should know that you need a license in order to fish in the river. However, if you plan accordingly, you can get a license in time for your trip. Licenses may be obtained from either Canada or the state of New York. If you don’t want to fish in the river, you might also stop by the islands near Lake Ontario. Those unsure about their fishing abilities can additionally hire a fishing professional to teach them how to fish.

4. Learn cool facts in the Antique Boat Museum

Antique Boat Museum

Looking to learn about the maritime history of the Thousand Islands? Boats remain a huge aspect of the identity of the Thousand Islands. Since the islands sit in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, the boating industry has long existed here. If you’re interested in educating yourself on the history of boats in the area, check out the Antique Boat Museum. This unique site houses countless exhibits that children and adults will enjoy exploring.

The Antique Boat Museum, located in Clayton, contains over 300 different boats that have been restored for viewing. Many boats here have been made of wood, giving you an idea of how antique boats were once crafted. You can find canoes, speed boats, and skiffs throughout the expansive museum. If you’re visiting the Thousand Islands during the summer, definitely be sure to stop by the site. The museum hosts an annual Antique Boat Show, where boat lovers can see amazing examples of the water vehicle.  

5. Camp inside Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Credit: Jocelyn Kinghorn

If you’re a traveler who loves spending time outdoors, make sure to visit the Thousand Islands National Park. This massive region contains various kinds of environments for visitors to explore. After you’re done traveling through the lush landscape, set up camp and stay for the night. Both visitors and residents alike love camping in the park, as it provides a relaxing escape from busy modern life. Those who want to find their inner peace in nature will surely find it while spending time in the park.

The Thousand Islands National Park actually spans over 19 of the islands. While exploring one of the included islands, you can encounter natural attractions, like pine forests and rocky cliffs. Bring your own camping equipment and find a comfy spot to lay down in the designated camping areas. The park also contains oTENTiks, which provide residences for visitors on the islands.

6. Drink wine at the Coyote Moon Vineyard

Coyote Moon Vineyard

Any travelers with a taste for wine will want to visit the Coyote Moon Vineyard in the Thousand Islands. While the islands have many different places to drink wine, you can find some truly tasty drinks here. The Coyote Moon Vineyard may be found in the heart of the Thousand Islands. This vineyard has won numerous awards from wine competitions around the country. When you stop for a drink here, you might never want to leave.

This Clayton, New York vineyard serves wines that have been lovingly handcrafted by the Randazzo family. Wine produced here comes from special grapes that grow in the north and can withstand extremely cold temperatures. The grapes, unique to the Thousand Islands, make the wine taste specific to the island region. With these wines, visitors won’t be tasting anything they’ve ever tried before. If you’re hoping to buy something to eat, try the Coyote Moon Casa Papa Pasta Cause, made with red wine. You can pour this sauce on pasta, chicken, or even vegetables.

7. Take a ferry to Wolfe Island

thousand islands - Wolfe Island

Credit: l santry

The Thousand Islands contains many different locations for travelers to visit. Before you end your trip to the area, take a short ferry ride over to Wolfe Island. Found at the entrance of the St. Lawrence near Lake Ontario, Wolfe Island is the largest in the Thousand Islands. Throughout the year, a ferry runs to and from the island taking visitors and residents along the water. The crossing time takes about twenty minutes, and you can drive your car onto it with ease.

One of the best parts about going to Wolfe Island includes the short ferry ride. As you go across the water, you’ll get an amazing view of the land and the other islands. While you’re on Wolfe Island, you can ride bikes throughout the various trails. The island also contains a huge number of windmills, providing an interesting scene for viewing and taking photos.

8. Walk across Thousand Islands Bridge

Thousand Islands Bridge

Credit: Ad Meskens

Travelers without a fear of heights should decide to walk along the Thousand Islands Bridge. The bridge connects the northern section of New York to the southern portion of Ontario. When you cross the bridge, you’ll be standing over the gorgeous St. Lawrence River, hearing the water crash below. Those who like to see the world from a different viewpoint will definitely want to stroll across this bridge.

Visitors can park at the visitor center in New York and walk up the bridge from there. You can watch the ships pass underneath the bridge and in the distance as you stand on the footpath. Make sure to take photos while up on the bridge, so you can capture memories of the beautiful scenery. The Thousand Islands Bridge remains a must-see site when you’re visiting the Thousand Islands.

9. Visit the Victorian Village on Wellesley Island

thousand islands - Wellesley Island

Credit: Wellesleyisland

Since the Thousand Islands contain a lot of history, it makes sense that there would be old places to visit. The Victorian Village on Wellesley Island remains one of the best places to visit in the Thousand Islands. Many travelers come here to explore the Victorian houses clustered together in one region of the village. When you visit the village, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back into the past.

On Wellesley Island, travelers may visit the Thousand Island Park Association neighborhood and view countless beautiful homes. At the old tabernacle, you can watch shows and lectures held by different types of speakers. Inside the village’s original hotel annex, visitors may eat delicious food and go shopping in the store upstairs. Near the center of the island, you’ll find the Guzzle, a famed restaurant that serves ice cream and no-frills dishes. Teens will love going to the upper part of the restaurant, as it contains a gaming and lounge area.

10. Voyage down the water by kayak

thousand islands - water by kayak

If you really want a chance to explore the water on your own, consider kayaking during your Thousand Islands trip. Travelers who enjoy spending as much time as possible outdoors will want to take an afternoon kayaking down the river. The St. Lawrence river remains a top choice for kayakers, as it won’t be too rough or dangerous. Various companies provide tours to help you venture down the river or other waterways throughout the islands.

Many different kayaking rental companies offer visitors great deals on kayaks and guided adventures. With 1000 Island Kayaking, travelers may kayak alongside certified kayak professionals for an entire day or more. You could also get multiple lessons throughout your stay in the Thousand Islands if you want to improve your skills. As you kayak through the water, you’ll get to paddle next to lush vegetation and encounter all kinds of wildlife.

Journey to the Thousand Islands for your next vacation.

Countless travelers wander to the Thousand Islands each year to explore the outdoors and find peace among nature. These islands remain home to a variety of environments and cool venues to visit. Those who love adventuring outside can find numerous places to traverse while here. Beyond the gorgeous landscapes, the Thousand Islands also contains many other things to do. Whether you like shopping, learning about history, or enjoying delicious foods, this location has something to offer you. We hope our article has inspired you to book a trip to the Thousand Islands this year.

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide for Exploring All of the Balearic Islands

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