Thousand Islands National Park

Paddling paradise island(s)

Water

Beginner-friendly

Full day

Kayak the Thousand Islands for some of the best views and historical briefings of the St. Lawrence River. Just a few hours from Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, this centrepoint of geological anomalies, ecological rarities and historic spots is suited to half-day trips, full-day trips and extended excursions. Canoe, kayak or SUP – the Thousand Islands is an awesome playground.

Thousand Islands National Park

44.3490347,-76.0943097

Get Directions

Driving time from Ottawa

1.5 hours

Driving time from Montreal

2.5 hours

Number of islands

1864

Planning your route

Some key points of interest in the Navy Islands section

It’s all about that base camp

From Misty Isles Lodge, Mulcaster Island is about 4km east. If you’re looking to camp on one of the Thousand Islands, this one offers a shorter and more sheltered paddle. Mulcaster is a great option for those who prefer to set up a base camp rather than tour from site to site, as it’s perfectly positioned for day-trip explorations of the nearby islands.

If you want a day’s break from paddling, Mulcaster has a great trail network that showcases tall hardwoods, cool wetlands and hemlock ravines. Keep your eyes peeled for secluded bays and the rare pitch pine tree.

Gordon Island

Located 1km off Sturdivant’s Point and 1.5km north of Sugar Island, the paddle to Gordon Island is roughly 5km from Halstead’s Bay Park. With extensive sandstone bluffs along its southern and western shores and spring wildflowers – not to mention the stellar sunsets – it’s no wonder that the island has been a well-loved destination for 9000 years.

Safety tip: large waves can dominate the open water crossing between Stave and Gordon Islands, so remember to give your float plan to an on-land friend before embarking, then engage those bracing strokes and stay close to your paddling companions.

Take a break

Give your arms a rest and your legs some work with a hike on any one of the five trails found at Landon Bay. Granite-lined cliff-tops in this bay give incredible views of the Thousand Islands. Watch for osprey, beaver, and loon – three likely sightings in the area.

Guidance isn’t just for the green

Routes in the Thousands Islands have various difficulty levels, 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.

 

No matter your paddling level, hiring a guide is a great way to expand on your existing skill-set and knowledge of the Thousand Islands. From a deeper understanding of the flora and fauna, to learning about hidden gems, guides are a valuable tool for creating a better (and safer) trip. Most regional outfitting companies offer guidance on routes, as well as basic or advanced instruction on paddling the area. Check out the Thousand Islands National Park website for a listing of local outfitters.

Essential gear

Paddling in paradise is easy, especially with the right stuff.

Adventures to fit your vibe
See All Activities