1000 Islands Guide, Vacation Ideas & Resources

1000 islands guide

Have you ever been to the 1000 Islands? If not you have to go!

There are 3 types of people in this world

  • Those who have no idea what or where the 1000 Islands are
  • Those who know of the place but haven’t been
  • Those who have been and can’t wait to go back!

As someone that is from Toronto, I fell into the category of knowing of the 1000 Islands but never having been, at least that is up until a few years ago. If you happen to drive past the area on Highway 401, you probably don’t get a chance to see it’s beauty. You don’t really get a chance to see anything as the scenery is shielded off from the highway. The only way you can understand the true beauty of the area is by simply visiting and getting out on the water.

This article is simply meant to give you an idea of what the area is like and most importantly give you all the resources of the whole area on the Canadian and American side. I’ll aim to keep the online article up to date and add more resources as they become available to me.

Geography

The 1000 Islands are an archipelago situated on the far east end of Lake Ontario where the lake transits into the St. Lawrence River. There are 1864 islands and they share a border in Ontario on the Canadians side and New York state on the American side. The area covers 50 miles or 80 kilometres from Kingston downstream.

Notable Towns

• Kingston, Ontario
• Gananoque, Ontario
• Brockville, Ontario
• Clayton, New York
• Alexandria Bay, New York
• Cape Vincent, New York

Did you know? To classify as an island here, the land must be within the river channel and have at least one square foot of land above water all year-round and support at least 2 living trees!

History

The last Ice Age, 12,000 years ago, helped formed the area and also much of the great lakes. Before the Europeans came to colonize the continent, the region was inhabited by Aboriginals around 7000 years ago and the area was a popular spot for the Iroquois. The area has been known as Les Milles Îles in French, or The 1000 Islands and before it was called Manitouana meaning “Garden of the Great Spirit”. To learn more about the 1000 Islands check out the Wikipedia page.

Passports – Do you need to bring them?

Whether you are starting out on the Canadian or the American side, you should bring a valid passport if you intend to travel to the opposite side. If you do, you are required to check-in to customs immediately.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Alexandria Bay
Tel: 315-482-2261
https://www.cbp.gov/travel

Canada Border Services Agency
Port of Lansdowne
Tel: 613-659-2301
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html

Fishing License

fishing 1000 Islands

You’ll need a fishing license to fish in Ontario and one for New York state. On both sides there are enough places to pick up licenses such as marinas and fishing stores on the U.S. side and a few outlets on the Canadian side including Canadian Tire.

Tourism Information

There are a few publications and websites that have plenty of information for the 1000 Islands and some focused either on the Canadian side or the American.

1000 Island Life Magazine
islandlifemag.ca

island life magazine

1000 Islands Life
thousandislandslife.com/events/Events.aspx

Visit 1000 Islands
visit1000islands.com

1000 Islands Tourism
1000islandstourism.com

National Parks

Parks Canada has information about all the parks including important notices and similar information on the American side by New York State Parks.

Parks Canada
pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/on/1000

New York State Parks
parks.ny.gov/regions/thousand-islands/default.aspx

Tours

1000 Islands Helicopter Tours
fly1000islands.ca

Uncle Sam’s Boat Tours
usboattours.com/1000islands

1000 Islands Cruises
1000islandscruises.ca

Gananoque Boat Line
ganboatline.com

Fishing Charters

Classic Island Cruises
classicislandcruises.com

Fishing 1000 Islands
fishing1000islands.com

1000 Islands Fishing Charters
1000islandscottages.com

Houseboat Rentals

Houseboat Holidays is the main company that serves the 1000 Islands area and they have over 20 houseboats for rent and are based in Gananoque. The other company serving the area is Gilbert Marine which has a few houseboats for rent and they are located in Brockville. The location near Gananoque is very close to many of the popular islands.

Kayak Rentals

1000 Islands Kayaking
1000islandskayaking.com

Boomerang Bike & Kayak Rental
boomerangbikeandkayakrental.com

Camping

Parks Canada camping
pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/on/1000/activ/camping

New York State campsites
parks.ny.gov/camping/campsites/default.aspx

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