top of page

How to Visit the 1000 Islands National Park in Ontario, Canada

Canada is a fascinating country full of natural landscapes. It is one of the favorite countries and any nature lover will love to know its national parks, go hiking to find lakes or discover wonders like the thousand islands of Ontario.

Visiting Lake Ontario and its bucolic islands is the perfect activity to complement the trip and enjoy this natural environment.

In this post I tell you about where you will find Lake Ontario, how to get there, I talk about the 1000 Islands National Park and tips to enjoy it to the fullest.

Parque Nacional de las 1000 Islas de Ontario, Canadá


When to visit the National Park of the 1000 islands of Canada?

I have been twice. The first was in June, when everything was completely green, and the water in the water was frozen due to the thaw. I barely had time to spend half a day getting to know the area and I loved this place so much that two years later I went back in the fall to get to know a little more about the lesser-known places in Ontario and, of course, go back to the 1000 Islands National Park where this time , I have navigated through it, I have kayaked, I have bathed and I have especially enjoyed the incredible landscape that paints the park in autumn colors.

So, any time is good to visit the Lake, you just have to take into account that the summer months, it is a local summer area and there are many tourists and the prices of the accommodations go up. In winter, despite the fact that it must be beautiful icy and snowy, activities are reduced and many even close.

Where is Lake Ontario located?

Lake Ontario is one of the 5 Great Lakes (along with Huron, Michigan, Superior and Erie) that border Canada and the United States. These 5 lakes account for a fifth of all the fresh water in the world. They bathe the states of Ontario in Canada and Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York in the United States.

Throughout the territory they occupy there are countless islands of all sizes, fauna and vegetation.

How to get to Lake Ontario from Toronto

The most common option is that you are staying in Toronto, however, the cities of Mississauga and Hamilton are also attached to the lake.

The lake is literally next to Toronto, so you won't have to travel to get to know it. You can get closer to the shore, kayak... from the same city.

From the same river port of the city you can take a boat for a cruise. There are half day or full day excursions. These tours include a tour of the lake, where you will see several islands, in some of them you will even get off to explore it and have free time.

If your intention is to enter the surroundings of the lake in a more natural environment, I advise you to rent a car and go from Toronto to Cobourg along the coast. All this route presents incredible natural landscapes.

Parque Nacional de las 1000 Islas de Ontario, Canadá

1000 Islands National Park in Ontario, Canada

The National Park of the 1000 Islands of Ontario is an archipelago specifically of 1864 islands located in the upper course of the Saint Lawrence River. Being located on the border between the United States and Canada, they have an eternal dispute over the ownership of some islands between the two countries.

In fact, in the past it has been the refuge of smugglers who took the opportunity to escape from one country to another. Many of its islands or islets are private, acquired at very high prices.

Some celebrities like Madonna and Tom Hanks, among others, have a private island in Lake Ontario. Others are public and there are recreational areas, parks…

The 1000 Islands or San Lorenzo National Park was created in 1904 and occupies an area of ​​9 km². Some of the islands are immense and others are barely an islet where a house with a garden can fit.

The government established some minimum standards to consider whether it is an island or not:

  • It must remain above the water level all year.

  • Have an area of ​​at least 93 square meters.

  • You must have at least one living tree, which is somewhat difficult due to the natural environment in which they are found.

Some of its islands are populated by lush forests that are home to endangered species of great ecological value such as the bald eagle, short-eared owls and the stinkpot turtle.

There are several trails that you can do on foot or by bicycle. Some areas offer the possibility of doing water activities such as kayaking, paddle surfing, fishing or boating.

Where and how to hire the 1000 islands cruise

1. From Toronto, a comfortable option for a light cruise around the thousand islands of Ontario

One option is to book one of the cruises that depart from the Port of Toronto, they are usually short cruises that visit a few islands. Being so close to cities, marinas... the natural charm is not the same, but it is a good alternative if you have little time in the city or do not have a rental car.

2. From Kingston

From the city of Kingston you have the option of hiring a cruise with the company 1000 Islands Cruise. You have cruises of 90 minutes and others of 3 hours.

3. From Rockport

Located in the town of Rockport is the Rockport Cruise company that offers cruises through the best-known islands and with the best mansions. It also offers the possibility to visit the Bold Castle. *

ATTENTION: If you decide on a cruise that stops to visit Bolt Castle, as it is in United States territory, you must previously apply for ESTA. It is advisable to do it before the trip, since the confirmation of the ESTA can take up to 3 days. How to apply for ESTA to access the United States

Parque Nacional de las 1000 Islas de Ontario, Canadá



I hope you enjoy your trip to Canada a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog so you don't miss out on upcoming destinations, curiosities, travel tips and inspiration for your trips.

A hug and see you soon!


bottom of page