The scenic quality of the Thousand Islands region is outstanding, with unsurpassed vistas of the St. Lawrence River and its rocky islands. State Parks line the river, and there are abundant waterbased recreational opportunities.
“The River” is the overwhelming attraction here, and it’s easy to understand why it’s so important to local residents, sometimes known as “River Rats,” and such a draw for visitors.
You’ll also understand why the Thousand Islands is called the “Recreational Boating Capital of the World” and, even from shore, you’ll be amazed at how close you are to the large ocean-going ships and “lakers” that travel the St. Lawrence Seaway.
In Cape Vincent, Tibbetts Point Lighthouse greets visitors as Lake Ontario transitions into the big river. The waterfront villages of Clayton and Alexandria Bay provide beautiful views of the islands and offer ideal settings for strolling through town and embracing “River life.”
To truly appreciate the beauty and sheer number of islands (there are approximately 1,800), hop on a tour boat for a guided voyage or head out on your own boat and slip through the narrow island passageways in this “Venice of America.”
As you continue north-east along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, the number of islands begins to diminish, but the beauty of the river remains. This area of the byway is relatively undeveloped, yet includes several State Parks and pull-off opportunities to take in the river view.
Ogdensburg is the only commercial port on the American side of the St. Lawrence River. The city also features an attractive waterfront area ideal for strolling, watching the boats, or painting as artist Frederic Remington did here on an island retreat.
The Great Lakes Seaway Trail continues through the charming village of Waddington and to its northeastern end near Massena. For another up-close view of the “big ships,” you’ll want to visit the Eisenhower Lock which raises or lowers ships over 40 feet.