Someone suggested paddling to the Boathouse Restaurant in Rockport for lunch. Our group of kayakers from Ottawa, Ontario seemed to like the idea. Reservations were made for 10 people at noon.
We launched from the beautiful and convenient Mallorytown Landing boat launch at 10:00 a.m. and tracked southwest along the mainland towards Rockport. That’s taking a right from the boat launch if you don’t have a kayak compass, but I certainly recommend one.
Passing through the Tar Island Narrows, it was quiet and calm. We didn’t encounter any strong currents along our route. The wind was light and the islands along the route provided some protection.
Rockport is popular with tourists and locals from both land and water. You’ll see tour buses coming and going during peak summer and fall seasons. The Rockport Boat Line tours and cruises are easily filled up. The tours depart from, and arrive regularly at Rockport.
Rockport is a haven for boaters. There are waterfront restaurants, an inn for overnight stays, and a full-service marina that caters to the big boats.
You can visit Rockport by car, bike, on foot, and by kayak or boat. There are boat slips next to the restaurant patio.
In a kayak, you may need to paddle through, or wait in wind and chop before you can make your way into Rockport when there is tour boat or motor boat activity in the area. Count on it! Your kayaking skills will come in handy here!
Rockport is in an open area, exposed to wind. We rode the boat wakes, and paddled through the chop to the Boathouse Restaurant, located at 19 Front Street. We didn’t need the street address, you can see it from the water.
Our landing in the quiet little bay next to the restaurant was easy. We parked gently on the grass. The day was warm and picture-perfect. It was so nice to get out of the kayak, remove the soggy paddle shoes and put on clean sandals.
Rockport has a charming, historic feel with the backdrop of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church, built in 1891, sitting up on a granite hill overlooking the open waters of the St. Lawrence. This location provides endless photo ops. And so did our fleet of colourful kayaks parked below the church. Tourists enjoyed snapping pictures of them lined up along the shore.
The Tequila Lime Shrimp on the Boathouse Restaurant menu caught my eye. It was fantastic. With a group of ten hungry paddlers, and a varied menu of appetizers, salads, seafood, sandwiches and wraps, ribs, burgers, pasta, fish n’ chips, steaks, chicken and more, it seemed everyone was happy with the menu choices and their plates. I really enjoyed it all, the atmosphere, the good food, friendly service, the views, and the great company of our paddling group. Two thumbs up!
After lunch, we departed Rockport into open choppy water and waited for a tour boat to depart so as to not cross its path.
Our return trip to Mallorytown Landing would be a longer, bumpier, more exciting and scenic route in less protected water, about 13 kilometers, as we would complete our loop by paddling along the south side of Grenadier Island, away from the mainland.
Then, we continued on to loop around Little Grenadier Island to the southwest end of Grenadier Island and tracked northeast along Grenadier Island.
Grenadier Island is about 8 kilometers long. It is one of several beautiful islands in the 1000 Islands National Park. There are trails, camping, and mooring for boats. Central Grenadier Island has a nice beach. If you would like to spend the day, or plan a longer trip in the area you have many options at Grenadier Island.
As we passed the northeast end of Grenadier Island, we cut north through a wide and beautiful path in a marsh towards the mainland at Mallorytown Landing. It would be tricky to find this shortcut if you don’t know the area or don’t have navigation skills.
It’s the 1000 Islands! Be prepared and enjoy.
Our trip route was for experienced, self-sufficient paddlers.
- 24 km round trip, Mallorytown Landing to Rockport and return
- Open water crossings at east and west ends of Grenadier Island to mainland.
- Watch out for motor boat and tour boat activity in the area, especially during peak summer and fall seasons.
- This round trip is best planned for fair weather and light winds.
- Don’t wander out into the International Shipping Channel, or cross international borders on the St. Lawrence River.
- Be extra careful rounding rocky bends around islands. Motor boats can come at speed around blind corners in this area.
- You can avoid open water crossings and shorten the paddle route by tracking along the mainland between Mallorytown Landing and Rockport.
- Mallorytown Landing: There is a parking fee, boat launch, Visitor Center, public restrooms, historic 1904 gazebo, picnic shelter, trails, waterfront oTENTiks can be rented and reserved for overnight use. Docking for motor boats.
- Rockport: Boathouse Inn and Restaurant, 19 Front Street, Rockport, Ontario. Best to reserve a table in advance. The menu, food, service, atmosphere, and views are great.