Straddling the US/Canada border, the Thousand Islands region sits on the Saint Lawrence River. This archipelago boasts over 1,800 islands, varying in size from barely-enough-room-to-stand to over 40 square miles. Whether you’re exploring on the water or spending time in the towns dotting both shores, there’s plenty to do and see in the Thousand Islands.

Did Thousand Island dressing come from the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence?
With multiple sources laying claim to the recipe, the consensus is that the Thousand Islands is where this dressing made its first appearance. However, conflicting stories and lack of indisputable proof about who created the recipe means that the particulars remain a mystery.

Clayton, New York

Our family visited the Thousand Islands in the summer of 2012, opting to stay on the United States side of the St. Lawrence River. We stayed in a cabin at a modest waterfront resort just outside quiet Clayton, New York, instead of the slightly busier and more heavily touristed Alexandria Bay.

Views from the 1000 Islands Tower

The 1000 Islands Tower is on the Canadian side, so if you’re an American, make sure you have your passport. At the top of the tower, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views filled with lush and interesting sights.

Alexandria Bay, New York

This riverside village features a smallish tourist area and is just slightly less sleepy than its neighbor, Clayton. While far from bustling, there are enough attractions, accommodations, souvenir shops to support the summer rush. If you’re looking to visit Boldt Island or take a narrated cruise around the Islands, Alexandria Bay is where you want to go.

Think this is impressive? This isn't even the castle on Heart Island— it's just the "Power House and Clock Tower" that's connected to the main island.

Ice Wine

Wine lovers with a sweet tooth will absolutely love the Thousand Islands’ ice wines! Ice wines get their characteristic sweetness as a result of the grapes freezing while still on the vine. This process creates a sweeter, more concentrated juice— perfect for dessert wines.

wine slushie!

Misc. Fun

There is a lot to do here! From kayaking to hiking, to lazing on the riverfront beaches to riding go-karts, there’s plenty to keep an active family occupied.

Oh, Canada!

One afternoon, we took a ferry from Cape Vincent over the Canadian border to Wolfe Island. This picturesque isle is largely farmland with wind turbines standing sentinel across open fields. We drove up through Wolfe Island and took another ferry to the city of Kingston in Ontario, Canada. The waterfront is quite pretty, and we happened upon a farmers market featuring the summer’s best produce.

Side note: the Canadian side of the Thousand Islands has a ton more hotels, resorts, and campgrounds than the New York side. Because of the more diverse selection available, a stay on the Canadian side of the river is well-worth considering, even if you’re driving up from the US.


The Thousand Islands is a magical place. And it’s worth a spot on your New York (or Ontario) bucket list.

Heads up!

This is a syndicated post that I originally published to my travel blog, Aspire to Wander - Revisting Memories: Photos From Our Visit To The Thousand Islands

To view more photos from this trip, head on over to the original post.

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