How to: See the Thousand Islands on a Budget

by  Charu Suri | Sep 12, 2014
Thousand Islands, NY
Thousand Islands, NY / jenifoto/istock

The Thousand Islands, located on the U.S.-Canada border, is actually a misnomer. There are, in fact, 1,864 islands floating like dots on the Saint Lawrence River. (To qualify, as an island, all must be above sea level, have a certain size, and must have at least two trees). People visit the Thousand Islands for many reasons: to see the many castles, marvel at the bird species, go boating, and to appreciate Ontario’s spectacular nature scene while swirling a glass of wine or two at sunset.

Here are some ways to visit the area on a budget:

Go Fishing
Rich in bass, King Salmon, and trout, the Thousand Islands has centuries-long traditions of fishing. Eel Bay is best known for its pike fishing. Get a professional fishing guide if you can, unless you’re expert enough to venture solo. They'll take you to popular spots to help you rope in some good fish and also teach you how to serve the day’s catch. Book at 1000 Islands Fishing Charters ($60 per person).

Castle Hop
Thousand Islands is onne of the few places in the United States where castles are as plentiful as bed and breakfasts. Boldt Castle is on Hearst Island, and Singer Castle, formerly called “The Towers,” is on Dark Island. Tickets to Boldt are $11 per adult; Singer Castle will set you back $35.

Summer Home Watching
Ogling someone else's summer home may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if it is yours, head for Thousand Islands for the vacation homes built by wealthy vacationers from New York City and Chicago during the latter half of the 19th century. Rent a kayak and let your mind’s eye camera start rolling.

Characteristic inns give the place its flavor, from the Honeyville Manor located near Watertown ($120 based on double occupancy) to the Bonnie Castle Resort and Marina right on the St. Lawrence River in Alexandria Bay (weekday rates from $68).

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