As a nature and wildlife lover, kayaking around the 1000 Islands region was a truly remarkable experience. It’s a more personal way of traveling through the archipelago, with the opportunity to slowly soak up the surroundings. Kayaking provides a means of traveling close to the islands and in some situations, gaining access to otherwise inaccessible places. And it helps that the 1000 Islands are breathtakingly beautiful.
The 1000 Islands are actually 1,864 islands on the St. Lawrence River between Canada and the USA. They comprise part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, one of sixteen UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in Canada. The Frontenac Arch is a mostly submerged ancient granite mountain range that connects the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains. The tops of the mountains peeking above the surface of the water comprise the 1000 Islands.
Justin and I traveled from Toronto to escape the city for a peaceful getaway. Gananoque is a charming small town and a gateway to the 1000 Islands. From here, we embarked on a full-day kayaking excursion with 1000 Islands Kayaking. Kelly, our guide for the day, was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. Don’t worry if you’ve never kayaked before! Even though we had kayaked in the past, we benefited from Kelly’s “Kayaking 101” lesson where she showed us some basic paddling techniques.
Kayaking is truly the best way to get up close and personal with many of the thousands of islands in the region. We navigated past steep rocky cliffs, over antiquated shipwrecks, and through grassy reeds. One of my favourite stops was Half Moon Bay, a secluded inlet on the southeast side of Bostwick Island. We paddled into the isolated cove, completely surrounded by smooth, carved rocks, shaped by the retreating glaciers. It is also known as the church with the world’s tallest cathedral ceiling. Local residents have travelled to the small bay for a church service since 1887.
The Frontenac Arch Biosphere contains five forest regions with an immense variety of plants, animals, and insect species. In fact, it’s the most biodiverse area in all of Canada. We saw many species of birds, including the Great Blue Heron and an assortment of ducks and geese. There were Map Turtles and Painted Turtles piled into logs protruding from the surface of the water. Kelly made sure to point out any wildlife discoveries along the way.
Halfway through the journey, we stopped at Beau Rivage Island for a gourmet lunch. Kelly prepared our meal with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients from area farms. And it’s no problem for the meal to be catered to any dietary preferences, restrictions, or food allergies. We are both vegan and Kelly created a delicious plant-based meal for us. We ate fresh vegetable wraps with lettuce and tomatoes picked right from her garden. There were plates of refreshing fruits, and I’m still dreaming about the delectable homemade zucchini hummus!
After spending a day kayaking around the 1000 Islands, I was left wanting more. I marveled at the swaying trees atop rocky shores, the crystal clear waters, and a wilderness reached primarily by small boat. This jaunt was a history lesson, a workout, and a wilderness expedition all combined together for one outstanding day.
Interested in having your own adventure in the 1000 Islands? Plan your trip today!