The Getaway
Your Thousand Islands Getaway

Nestled between the United States and Canada, the Thousand Islands region is a tapestry of lush landscapes, historic landmarks, and vibrant communities, each island with its own story. This area isn't just a destination; it's an invitation to explore the myriad of adventures that lie in the heart of the St. Lawrence River. Whether you're paddling through serene waters, sampling the local cuisine, or stepping back in time at a castle, the Thousand Islands offer an escape that caters to every interest. From the thrill-seeker and the nature lover to the history enthusiast and the foodie, there's something here for everyone. The region's unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and welcoming atmosphere makes it the perfect getaway for those looking to explore beyond the ordinary. As you plan your visit, let the islands' charm enchant you, the landscapes inspire you, and the local flavors delight you. Welcome to your Thousand Islands getaway, where adventure and relaxation await at every turn.

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01 Gateway to natural beauty

Gananoque, Ontario, Canada - 08.20.2022: Colorful buildings in Gananoque JossK / Shutterstock.com

Gananoque, known affectionately as the gateway to the Thousand Islands, is where your adventure begins. This quaint town isn't just a starting point; it's a destination in its own right. With its picturesque downtown, waterfront parks, and friendly locals, Gananoque offers a warm welcome to visitors. Here, you're invited to stroll through the streets, browse the shops, and soak in the views that make this area so special. The town's vibrant community and scenic beauty set the perfect stage for your Thousand Islands adventure, ensuring your journey starts on a high note.

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02 Paddle through paradise

Two kayakers near one of the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River in the summer

There's no better way to experience the Thousand Islands than from the water. Paddling through the calm, clear waters, you're at eye level with nature's wonders. Whether you're gliding in a kayak or steering a canoe, the peacefulness of the river, coupled with the stunning scenery, makes for an unforgettable experience. Guided tours offer insights into the area's ecology and history, ensuring your adventure isn't just scenic but also enlightening. This intimate connection with the waterways not only brings you closer to the heart of the Thousand Islands but also offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

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03 A bird's-eye view

Historic Boldt Castle on Heart Island. Tree, leaves, river, blue sky.Autumn in the Thousand Islands at the St. Lawrence River. New York State, 2016.

For a truly unique perspective, take to the skies on a helicopter tour. As you soar above the islands, the river's grandeur unfolds beneath you. From this vantage point, landmarks like Boldt Castle and the Thousand Islands Bridge aren't just sights; they're part of a breathtaking panorama that stretches as far as the eye can see. It's an experience that not only offers unparalleled views but also a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the Thousand Islands. Flying high above the landscape, you'll witness the intricate mosaic of islands and waterways that define this unique region, offering memories that will last a lifetime.

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04 Cruise the St. Lawrence

Boat cruises are a staple of the Thousand Islands experience, offering a leisurely way to see the sights. These tours navigate past dozens of islands, each with its own story, and provide up-close views of fairy-tale castles and historic lighthouses. With options ranging from short excursions to dinner cruises, there's a journey for every taste and schedule, making it a must-do for any visitor. As the boat glides through the waters, you'll be treated to tales of the islands' histories and mysteries, enriching your understanding of this enchanting region.

05 Step back in time

Boldt Castle on Heart Island, Thousand Islands, Alexandria Bay, New York State

The Thousand Islands aren't just about natural beauty; they're also home to a rich history. Boldt Castle, on Heart Island, is a testament to love and loss, its grandeur belying the tragic story behind its construction. Exploring its rooms and gardens, you're transported to a bygone era, offering a glimpse into the lives of those who walked its halls over a century ago. This journey through time not only reveals the personal stories behind the castle's walls but also highlights the architectural and cultural heritage of the Thousand Islands, making history come alive with every step.

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06 Savor local flavors

Bowl of Thousand Island dressing on wooden table

The culinary scene in the Thousand Islands is as diverse as the landscape. Here, you can taste the region's signature Thousand Island dressing in its birthplace, sample craft beverages made from locally grown grapes and grains, and enjoy fresh, farm-to-table meals. The area's restaurants and cafes aren't just places to eat; they're experiences that connect you to the local culture and cuisine. Each meal is an opportunity to savor the flavors that define the Thousand Islands, from the freshness of the ingredients to the creativity of the chefs who bring them to life.

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07 Stay in style

Accommodations in the Thousand Islands range from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxurious resorts, ensuring comfort after a day of exploration. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly retreat, there's a place that feels like home. Many offer stunning views of the river, adding a picturesque backdrop to your stay. These accommodations not only provide a restful night's sleep but also immerse you in the tranquility and beauty of the Thousand Islands, making every moment of your stay an integral part of the getaway experience.

08 Shop and explore

Shopping in the Thousand Islands isn't just about souvenirs; it's about discovering the unique products and crafts that reflect the region's character. From artisan boutiques to local markets, the shopping experience here is as varied as the islands themselves. It's an opportunity to take a piece of your journey home with you, whether it's a handcrafted item or a taste of local flavors. Each purchase supports the local economy and artisans, making your shopping experience not only enjoyable but also meaningful.

09 Outdoor adventures await

A man fishing outside at dusk on a lake in the summer on a wooden dock and a chair in Ontario Canada travel

The Thousand Islands region is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails wind through scenic landscapes, offering views that stretch across the river. Fishing is a popular pastime, with the waters teeming with bass, pike, and muskie. And for cyclists, the waterfront paths provide a leisurely way to take in the sights. Whatever your preference, the great outdoors is waiting to be explored. These activities not only allow you to engage with the natural beauty of the Thousand Islands but also offer a sense of adventure and exploration that enriches your visit.

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10 A taste of the arts

The arts play a vibrant role in the Thousand Islands community. Galleries showcase the work of local artists, theaters stage productions that entertain and inspire, and music venues host performances that range from classical to contemporary. These cultural experiences offer a glimpse into the creative spirit that thrives in the region. Engaging with the arts here isn't just about entertainment; it's about connecting with the community and experiencing the diverse talents that flourish in the Thousand Islands.

11 Family fun

The Thousand Islands are a family-friendly destination with attractions and activities that appeal to all ages. From exploring castles to boarding pirate ships, the adventures here aren't just fun; they're opportunities to create lasting memories. And with parks and beaches that invite relaxation, there's also plenty of time for simply enjoying each other's company. These family-oriented experiences not only bring joy and excitement but also strengthen bonds, making your Thousand Islands getaway a cherished family memory.

12 Unwind by the water

For those seeking tranquility, the Thousand Islands offer countless spots to unwind. Serene beaches, secluded coves, and waterfront parks provide the perfect setting for a peaceful retreat. Here, you can listen to the gentle waves, watch the sunset over the river, and let the stresses of everyday life melt away. These moments of relaxation aren't just a break from the routine; they're an essential part of the Thousand Islands experience, offering a chance to recharge and reconnect with nature.

13 Discover hidden gems

Singer Castle located on Dark Island in the St. Lawrence Seaway, New York, USA. Felix Lipov / Shutterstock.com

While the Thousand Islands are known for their iconic landmarks and natural beauty, they also harbor lesser-known treasures waiting to be discovered. One such gem is the secluded Singer Castle on Dark Island, offering guided tours that reveal secret passageways and a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the early 20th century. Another hidden spot is the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton, where the rich tapestry of local art and craftsmanship is on full display through workshops and exhibits. For a taste of tranquility, visit the serene Zenda Farms Preserve, a conservation area that offers peaceful walking trails amidst lush meadows and wetlands, providing a perfect escape into nature. These hidden gems offer unique experiences that go beyond the typical tourist itinerary, inviting you to explore the depth and diversity of the Thousand Islands.

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14 Seasonal celebrations

The Thousand Islands come alive with events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating everything from the area's maritime heritage to its agricultural bounty. These gatherings aren't just fun; they're a way to experience the community's warmth and hospitality. Whether it's a summer music festival or a fall harvest celebration, there's always something happening. Participating in these events not only enriches your visit but also offers a deeper understanding of the culture and traditions that shape the Thousand Islands.

15 Plan your visit

Visiting the Thousand Islands is an adventure that requires a bit of planning. From choosing the best time to visit to figuring out how to get around, a little preparation goes a long way. But don't let the details overwhelm you; the effort is worth it. After all, the Thousand Islands aren't just a place to visit; they're a destination to experience. This planning phase is an integral part of the journey, ensuring that your Thousand Islands getaway is as smooth and enjoyable as possible, allowing you to focus on the beauty and adventure that await.

As you embark on your Thousand Islands getaway, remember that the true beauty of the region lies not just in its landscapes and landmarks but in the moments you'll capture and the memories you'll create. Whether you're exploring the great outdoors, delving into history, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the river, the Thousand Islands offer a getaway that's as diverse and captivating as the islands themselves. Welcome to a place where adventure and relaxation aren't just possibilities; they're a promise.

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