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Thousand Islands
Travel Guide – New York

Thousand Islands Travel Guide

Thousand Islands is a name for 1,864 small islands located in the Saint Lawrence River, along the border between Canada and New York. The islands stretch across some 50 miles of river and vary greatly in size, the larger ones supporting whole castles and the smaller ones supporting only a tree or two. The islands are a popular tourist destination, both for their natural beauty and a number of interesting historical landmarks.


From ancient times, the Thousand Islands have been hunted on and fished off of by Iroquois Indians who visited them for this purpose. During the War of 1812, the islands became a battle ground between the U.S. and Great Britain. In the 19th and early 20th Centuries, Thousand Islands gained popularity as a resort vacation area, and it was at this time also that Thousand Island salad dressing was invented in and named after the region. Nowadays, the islands are more popular with nature lovers and tourists.

Things to see and do in the Thousand Islands

Thousand Island, New York

A tour boat with tourists passing between islands at Thousand Islands National Park, St Lawrence River, located between Ontario (Canada) and New York State (US).

Day-tour, camp, and enjoy the scenery at some 30 New York state parks, a national park, and a Canadian national park all within the Thousand Islands region. On Grindstone Island, you will find a beach to relax on; off Wellesley Island, you can fish for northern pike in Eel Bay and camp in Wellesley Island State Park; and there are boat tours that will stop at many islands along the way.

Visit Heart Island, where you will find Boldt Castle, Alster Tower, the Power House, and the Triumphal Arch. The castle takes up the style Medieval Germany and has many interesting rooms to explore. Also consider stopping by Dark Island to see Singer Castle, which if famous for its Gothic-style windows and secret passages.

Go diving or scuba diving to see the numerous shipwrecks that were caused, over the years, by the shallow rocks and shoals found in this part of the Saint Lawrence River. The Thousand Islands are said to have some of the best freshwater wreck-diving opportunities in the world.

Visit the town of Clayton, New York, to see the largest collection of antique boats on the continent at the Antique Boat Museum. It is open from the middle of May to the middle of October. There is a boat show in early August, and there are speed boat rides and educational programs as well.

Visit Wolfe Island, which was taken from Canada during the War of 1812, and see to remains of Fort Haldimand and learn of the history that took place there.

Climate conditions

Winters are harsh and snowy in the Saint Lawrence Lowlands, but summers can be fairly warm, so summer is the easy choice for many tourists as to when to visit the Thousand Islands. Summers are also humid, however, and precipitation is common year-round.