Discover Thousand Islands National Park

Situated within the picturesque waters between Canada and the United States, this enchanting park offers a mosaic of lush landscapes, crystalline waters, and captivating history waiting to be explored.

Spanning 21 granite islands and numerous smaller islets, Thousand Islands National Park boasts a rich tapestry of biodiversity, ranging from diverse flora to iconic wildlife like the majestic bald eagle. Visitors can embark on scenic hikes through verdant forests, paddle along tranquil waterways, or dive into the depths to discover submerged wonders. Delve into the park’s fascinating past, from Indigenous peoples’ ancient connections to colonial-era heritage sites.

Whether seeking outdoor adventures or serene retreats, Thousand Islands National Park promises unforgettable experiences for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventurers alike.


Top 3 Facts About Thousand Islands National Park


Granite Islands

Thousand Islands National Park comprises more than 20 granite islands, each with its unique character and ecosystem. From the sprawling expanses of Wellesley Island to the secluded tranquility of Camelot Island, visitors can explore various landscapes within the park’s boundaries.


World-Class Scuba Diving

Beneath the park’s crystalline waters lies a hidden world awaiting exploration. With over 100 shipwrecks scattered across the underwater terrain, Thousand Islands National Park offers world-class scuba diving opportunities for enthusiasts of all skill levels.


Cross-Border Collaboration

Spanning the border between Canada and the United States, Thousand Islands National Park is a shining example of international cooperation in conservation efforts. Managed jointly by Parks Canada and the U.S. National Park Service, the park showcases the power of collaboration in preserving natural wonders for future generations.

Camping and transportation in Thousand Islands National Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Thousand Islands National Park

Getting to Thousand Islands National Park is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options available:

  • By Car: The most common way to reach Thousand Islands National Park is by car. The park is accessible via Highway 401 from the Canadian side and various state routes from the American side. Once you reach the park’s vicinity, follow signs to the specific islands or mainland areas you wish to visit.
  • By Boat: Given the park’s location within an archipelago, traveling by boat is a popular option. Numerous marinas and boat launches are scattered throughout the region, allowing visitors to access the islands and explore the park’s pristine waterways. Whether you have your own boat or prefer to rent one, boating offers a unique and immersive way to experience Thousand Islands National Park.
  • By Ferry: Some of the larger islands within Thousand Islands National Park, such as Wolfe Island and Howe Island, are accessible by ferry. Ferry services operate from both the Canadian and American sides of the St. Lawrence River, providing convenient access for visitors without their own boats.
  • By Plane: For those traveling farther afield, the nearest airports to Thousand Islands National Park are Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport (in Canada) and Watertown International Airport (in the United States). From there, you can rent a car or arrange transportation to reach the park.
  • Guided Tours: Various tour operators offer guided excursions to Thousand Islands National Park, providing transportation and knowledgeable guides, and often including visits to notable landmarks and attractions. These tours can be convenient for visitors looking for a hassle-free way to explore the area.

Places to Stay Near Thousand Islands National Park

There are several options for accommodations and camping near Thousand Islands National Park, catering to various preferences and budgets:

  • Campgrounds within the Park: Thousand Islands National Park offers several campgrounds on its islands and mainland areas. These campgrounds provide a rustic camping experience amidst the park’s natural beauty. Some popular campgrounds include McDonald Island Campground, Mallorytown Landing Campground, and Camelot Island Campground.
  • Private Campgrounds: There are also private campgrounds located near Thousand Islands National Park, offering amenities such as showers, electricity hookups, and recreational facilities. These campgrounds provide additional options for those seeking a more comfortable camping experience. Some nearby private campgrounds include Ivy Lea Campground and Association Island RV Resort & Marina.
  • Hotels and Motels: For visitors who prefer indoor accommodations, there are numerous hotels, motels, and bed-and-breakfasts in the surrounding towns and villages. Options range from budget-friendly motels to upscale resorts, providing something for every traveler’s preference. Popular towns to look for accommodations include Gananoque and Brockville in Canada and Alexandria Bay and Clayton in the United States.
  • Rental Cottages and Vacation Homes: Many cottages, cabins, and vacation homes are available for rent near Thousand Islands National Park, offering a home-away-from-home experience for families and groups. These properties often have kitchens and other amenities, providing a comfortable and private lodging option for longer stays.
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Best Time to Go to Thousand Islands National Park



Summer is the peak season for Thousand Islands National Park, and for good reason. Visitors can explore the park’s numerous islands, beaches, and hiking trails, or enjoy a leisurely boat cruise along the St. Lawrence River. Summer also offers excellent swimming, fishing, and picnicking opportunities, making it ideal for families and outdoor enthusiasts. However, it’s important to note that summer is the busiest time in the park, so be prepared for larger crowds and consider making reservations for accommodations and activities in advance.



While winters in Thousand Islands National Park can be cold and snowy, they offer a unique opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to experience the park in a different light. Visitors can enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing, immersing themselves in the serene beauty of the winter landscape. Wildlife sightings are also possible during the quieter winter months, as animals adapt to the seasonal changes. While some facilities may be closed or operating on reduced hours, winter in Thousand Islands National Park offers a serene escape for those seeking solitude and natural beauty.



From late April to June, the park comes alive with blossoming wildflowers, budding trees, and migratory bird activity. The weather is generally mild, ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and boating. Spring also offers the opportunity to witness the park’s waterfalls at their peak flow, fueled by melting snow and spring rains. With fewer crowds compared to the summer months, spring allows visitors to enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty of Thousand Islands National Park in relative peace.

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Fall brings a spectacular display of colors to Thousand Islands National Park as the foliage transforms into a brilliant tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows. Hiking trails offer stunning views of the changing leaves, while boat cruises provide a unique perspective of the fall foliage along the riverbanks. Fall is also an excellent time for wildlife viewing, as many species prepare for winter migration or go through their mating rituals. With cooler temperatures and fewer visitors than summer, fall is a tranquil and scenic season to experience Thousand Islands National Park at its most enchanting.

Must-See Attractions

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Boldt Castle

Boldt Castle is a true gem of the Thousand Islands, a stunning testament to the Gilded Age. Built by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt in the early 20th century, this majestic castle boasts grand architecture, beautiful gardens, and a tragic love story. Visitors can tour the opulent interiors, stroll through the manicured grounds, and learn about the castle’s fascinating history.

Thousand Islands Tower

Offering breathtaking panoramic views of the St. Lawrence River and its surrounding islands, the Thousand Islands Tower is a must-visit attraction in the park. Located on Hill Island, the tower features observation decks at various heights, providing visitors with unparalleled vistas of the picturesque archipelago.

Thousand Islands Bridge

Spanning the St. Lawrence River and connecting Canada and the United States, the Thousand Islands Bridge is an iconic landmark of the region. Visitors can drive or walk across the bridge, admiring the stunning river views and islands below. Be sure to stop at the designated viewpoints for memorable photo opportunities.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Thousand Islands National Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Before your trip, research the park’s attractions, activities, and facilities to plan your itinerary. Consider factors such as weather, seasonal closures, and peak visitor times to ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Pack appropriate clothing, footwear, and gear depending on the season and activities you plan to pursue. Essentials may include sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses, comfortable walking shoes, and a reusable water bottle.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Thousand Islands National Park is home to diverse wildlife and ecosystems. Practice Leave No Trace principles by respecting wildlife from a distance, staying on designated trails, and disposing of trash properly. Avoid feeding wildlife and follow park regulations regarding pets to help preserve the park’s natural beauty.

Stay Informed

Check Border Crossing Requirements

If you’re traveling between Canada and the United States to visit the park, check border crossing requirements, including passport and visa requirements, customs regulations, and travel restrictions or advisories.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Thousand Islands National Park

You’ll find the area brimming with activities from enjoying the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve to exploring historical castles. Don’t miss out on kayaking, fishing, and diving opportunities to immerse yourself in the islands’ natural beauty.

Opt for a guided boat tour to weave through the islands and hear the rich stories behind them. Aerial tours also offer a unique vantage point of this sprawling archipelago.

Vacation rentals are abundant, ranging from cozy cottages to luxurious waterfront houses. You can find a range of rentals on that suit your style and budget.

A day trip can be a whirlwind, but you can certainly catch highlights like a quick cruise, a visit to Boldt Castle, or a stroll in one of the charming riverside towns. A longer stay is recommended to fully savor the experience.

Yes, you do. The islands straddle the US-Canada border, so ensure your passport is up to date if your adventure includes hopping between countries.

Various companies offer cruises, typically including tours around the islands, historical narration, and sometimes meals. They are a perfect way to relax and take in the scenery.

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