Thousand Islands National Park

Island camping for a weekend

Camp

Beginner-friendly

Overnight

With over 1800 islands, visiting Thousand Islands National Park can feel overwhelming. Feeling a bit stuck on where to start? Check out the ideas below for where to camp whether you’re after serious paddling or serious R&R, along with swimming or biking from a sweet campsite that matches your needs.

Thousand Islands National Park

Ivy Lea Campground, Lansdowne, ON, Canada

Get Directions

Driving time from Ottawa

1.5 hours

Number of islands

1864

Campsites at Ivy Lea Campground

146

Planning your trip

Get camping in Thousand Islands National Park

Where to book

If you’ve never been to Thousand Islands, the Ivy Lea Campground is a good place to start. Located in the heart of the islands, this campground is big for scuba divers, boaters of all types and anyone who wants to fill their day with activities. Nearby historic Fort Henry and Upper Canada Village make this a great option for families. Run by the St. Lawrence Parks, the campground has 146 campsites, four camper cabins and a few prime waterfront spots. Make sure to reserve your site early – this is a popular spot.

Go paddling

Ivy Lea Campground is the ideal launch site for a day trip on the water exploring the Navy Islands. With quiet bays, loads of islets, small back channels and islands not too far off the mainland shore, this section of the St. Lawrence has something for every paddler.

While the waters of the launch site at Smuggler’s Cove are protected, this area includes routes of varying difficulty so check out maps for trip planning before you go. And have a peek at this free resource (pdf) for special points of interest along the way. Heads up: these maps are a nice preview, but they’re not replacements for accurate nautical charts, which you can find at the Mallorytown Landing Visitor Centre or from dealers listed online.

Paddling not your thing? Try cycling on the Waterfront Trail.

Looking for peace and quiet?

Head to Mulcaster Island for a quieter camping experience, deep water swimming and fantastic hiking trails. It’s a favourite destination for paddlers, so be sure to claim a site early. Located about 2km upstream (west) from Ivy Lea Park, this is a great base camp from which to explore more islands in the vicinity. Visit the Thousand Islands National Park page for more information on booking a campsite. Fires are not permitted on any of the islands, so be sure to bring a gas stove for cooking.

The best of both worlds

If comfort and solitude are high on your priority list then check out the oTENTik option on Gordon Island. This cross between a tent and a cabin is a different way to experience camping. Each oTENTik can sleep up to six people, with a table and seating accommodating the same number. The best part? Electricity. These tents are solar powered, so you can light up not just the bulbs at night but also cell phone charging stations. But these tents aren’t all luxury: there is no plumbing or running water, so be sure to have a water treatment plan.

Essential gear

For sleeping under the stars and dining al fresco.

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