World-Class Beauty From A Local View
The 1000 Islands Gananoque is a world-class destination with spectacular scenery, and breathtaking water views. How do you decide where to go first? Well, we asked some locals to weigh in. With their help, we created this list of 13 things to do in the 1000 Islands Gananoque.
Step back in time and be awestruck by exploring Gananoque’s museums! The 1000 Islands History Museum on the shores of the St. Lawrence River, fosters learning about the rich cultural and natural history of the region through interactive exhibits. The museum is open but currently asking patrons to refrain from touching surfaces, wear a mask and maintain distance.
Next door, the Thousand Islands Boat Museum brings tales of the river to life while paying homage to river-going vessels. This museum allows history to be experienced with a boat building shop, children’s activity centre and exhibit galleries, in addition to brand new docks where the museum showcases a collection of watercraft. Don’t miss the Boatshop Café, with live music every Friday evening!
“Go to the museums – I’m a history buff!” Kathy MacRae, Tourism Champion
Charter a fishing guide to reel in a world-famous 1000 Islands muskie, pike, or rent a boat to enjoy exploring the inlets and bays of the St. Lawrence River at your own pace. The 1000 Islands on the St. Lawrence River is famous as a playground for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers, guides, visitors and locals come to fish along the shores and shoals in the river – and enjoy telling tall tales about the one that got away. The region has recently seen celebrities like angler Ashley Rae, Canadian fishing icon Big Jim McLaughlin, and even Bob Izumi casting their lines into the waters surrounding the islands. No wonder – the world–record muskie was caught here – and tales of even bigger fish still persist.
Escape the daily grind and be rewarded with breathtaking views featuring the region’s natural forests, St. Lawrence River and wildlife from the trails in the 1000 Islands Gananoque area. The lookout atop the cliffs at the Landon Bay Centre, part of the Thousand Islands National Park on the Thousand Islands Parkway is known as one of the best elevations for viewing the St. Lawrence. Hike through meadows and forest and keep an eye for beaver and osprey here, too!
Thousand Islands National Park is also home to the Jones Creek Trail system, full of thick forests to traverse, creeks, wetland boardwalks and more. Trails vary in difficulty from an easy 20-minute walk to a moderate two-hour hike on this 12-kilometre trail network. You may even see rare species like the Black Rat snake and the Least Bittern bird. The park has re-opened many of its facilities but there are still safety precautions in place. In addition, all-island oTENTiks and non-reservable campsites remain closed for the season.
Charleston Lake Provincial Park near Lansdowne is a hiker’s dream with interpretive trails of varying difficulty and length to explore and even a vantage point from the highest peak in the county! After your hike cool off at the park’s sandy beach. Note that the park is currently limiting occupancy for day-use – and some of the facilities are temporarily closed, such as showers, kayak and canoe rentals, the amphitheatre and nature centre.
Hit the road on two wheels! The region naturally lends itself to cycling for all skill levels and numerous bike-friendly trails immerse cyclists in their natural surroundings. The path along the Thousand Islands Parkway is a great place to start – the 37-km paved multi-use pathway runs adjacent to the St. Lawrence River offering cycling enthusiasts spectacular water views along the way. It’s smooth-surfaced, separate from the high traffic roadway, and even runs alongside Landon’s Bay with a spectacular lookout!
Share an intimate guided tour of the islands by kayak to explore the magnificence up close and personal. Explore the intriguing channels of the 1000 Islands and find something to fascinate you around every bend: sunken ships, historic castles, and a landscape steeped in history. Glide through the water with a 1000 Islands Kayaking guide or rent a kayak and explore on your own, paddling at your own pace to discover the inlets, opulent cottages, and island life surrounded by nature.
Plying the waters of the St. Lawrence River brings a certain calm during challenging times. Boat through the 1000 Islands and explore the open water, or drop anchor in one of the bays to frolic in the waves and feel like you’re in the Caribbean. No boat? No problem! Many marinas rent cruising boats or even personal watercraft for family fun. Although most boat launches are open now, be sure to check ahead with municipalities to ensure launches or marinas are operating.
River rats know that time on the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque and the 1000 Islands means discovering the best island spots to camp, cliff jump, hike and swim. Public islands as part of Thousand Island National Park offer recreation to beat the summer heat and make time on the River than much more special. Note that camping on park islands is currently by reservation only and all-island oTENTiks remain closed for the season. Some additional public islands have COVID-related restrictions – read more here.
“The islands is who we are, “Don Matthews, Sleepy Hollow Bed & Breakfast
Sun-soaked days of summer and early fall are best enjoyed by the water’s edge at one of the local beaches in the 1000 Islands Gananoque area. Sandy, wade-in public beaches are accented by splash pads for younger water enthusiasts. Dip your toes or dive right in! The Rotary Beach at Joel Stone Park is currently open, but visitors are reminded to social distance and be respectful of others.
The skateboard park in Gananoque is adjacent to the recreation centre is the spot for skateboarders and inline skaters to hone their skills and hang out. The park was actually designed by youth in the community after an extensive fundraising project. Right next door is the BMX track which typically hosts races in the summer months. Remember to social distance and get your sports on!
“The Gananoque skateboard park is the best one around!” Kathy MacRae, Tourism Champion
Sightseeing And Tours
Soar like a bird in a 1000 Islands Helicopter Tour! Feel the excitement and become mesmerized by the richness and beauty of the 1000 Islands only seen from the air. Watch as the river and lush landscape fan out below – even see world-famous Boldt Castle from above! 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours has customer flight protocols in place to ensure the best visit possible.
“The perspective of all the islands at once is indescribable,” Kathy MacRae, Tourism Champion
Discover and experience the breathtaking 1000 Islands, with majestic castles and whispers of a thousand legends, as you cruise with Rockport Cruises. This stunning scenery is dotted with luxurious cottages and vast estates and is known for the best fall colours. Face masks are mandatory on all cruises.