Tourism 1000 Islands hosted me to vacation with my kids in the
1000 Islands during our Stage 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our opinions are always our own and as always we aren’t coerced into having a good time.
I was incredibly fortunate to have grown up in Belleville, Ontario. Looking back now, the close distance proximity to the Thousand Islands was something my parents took great advantage of. And I’m all richer for it. We had a motorboat, a Regal. Not a large one, but we used to tow it behind our Oldsmobile named Gertrude and subsequently behind a station wagon I think my dad named Bessie and we took “Bypass” the boat to the Thousand Islands and dropped her in at the Ivy Lea boat launch summer after summer while we camped in the area. These are some of my favourite childhood memories.
The Canadian Gateway to the Thousand Islands is Gananoque in Southeastern Ontario. Fortune was mine when I had the opportunity to take my own children to Gananoque for an end of summer adventure. I get to have the chance to show my kids around and reminisce about the camping, hiking and boat tour spots of my youth AND take them to a couple of new places I had yet to be.
How To Vacation With Kids in the 1000 Islands
Where To Stay In Gananoque, Ontario
During our stay, we are at the Colonial Resort and Spa, in the west end of Gananoque. Price point wise, this is a very affordable place for families to base themselves from.
Here is what I liked about the Colonial Resort and Spa and especially during the COVID-19 travel time frame:
- Motel-style parking outside your door. We did not have to go into any internal hallways or pass by other guests inside
- Outdoor pool for the kids to play in
- Ample outdoor space for the kids to stretch their legs and play
- The gift shop at the check-in desk area – could purchase bottles of water and sweaters for late summer air chills so you didn’t have to travel elsewhere
- Free wifi throughout the grounds. Great in the room, seemed a little slow by the pool.
- Fairly contactless interactions and a clean room when we arrived.
Here is what surprised me about the Colonial Inn and Spa:
- There were more Quebec license plates than Ontario plates parked in front of the rooms. I normally would not have been bothered by this but since it’s not encouraged to travel province to province right now, I was taken aback. There’s no law or rule saying it cannot be done, so game on I guess.
- On the first day we had arrived, there was a large group gathering taking up all that common area space. This was a huge family group. I suspect it may have been more than one family and they did not pay attention to the signs stating the maximum amount of people permitted at the pool area. No one from the hotel seemed to be monitoring the situation. There were timed entry sign up sheets that were basically blank.
This is what I disliked about the Colonial Resort and Spa:
- Construction crews working on adjacent rooms
- The worn inside state of the room. It’s not fancy or new by any stretch. Trust me when I say the kids don’t mind.
1000 Islands Helicopter Tours
Have you ever thought about taking your kids for a helicopter ride? You can in Gananoque and soar over the 1,864 islands in the St. Lawrence River and quite honestly, the view you are going to have is unrivalled. 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours and Kouri’s Kopters is the best way to see the islands, both Canadian and American from the air and give you the absolute best views.
Up to 3 people can join the pilot, so I and my two kids work out perfectly. You must wear your facemasks for safety purposes.
Little Man, who is now 6 years old declared this helicopter ride as the best time he has ever had. EVER! He will be talking about this and the “poop lake” to all his friends for weeks to come.
Truthfully, this was my first time in a helicopter and it was pretty damn exciting. Like a trip of a lifetime exciting. Like having a private chauffeur in the air! He knew the region, gave a personal narration and was very professional.
There is something extremely mesmerizing of seeing the 1000 Islands from the air. Seeing the islands, the colour of the water, the boats, the cottages and houses. Believe it or not, the water is fairly clear!
1000 Islands Helicopters offer a dozen tours of historic landmarks and regional activities. Their 20-minute Boldt Castle tour is a Destination Ontario Signature
Experience and their 30-minute Two Castle tour is a Destination Canada Canadian Signature Experience. What I wouldn’t give to see Boldt Castle from the air too! Next time for sure.
1000 Islands Kayaking With Kids
Our guide, Danni was super helpful and friendly and took the time to make sure the kids were cool. She knew the waterways expertly. I would absolutely recommend spending time on the water with them. The rent you the gear as part of the package so you don’t have to worry about having to strap your own to the roof of your car. The boats, life jackets and paddles are all cleans and disinfected between usage. Kayaking is a very safe, socially distant activity, just stay in your own boat.
levels. Personally, I cannot wait until I get back out into the water there. I feel like I’m Moana and it’s calling me.
Go For a Hike With The Kids In 1000 Islands
1000 Islands Boat Cruise on Rockport Boat Line
Those Coveted Thousand Islands Sunsets
Until I saw it myself, I had no idea. These photos were taken at Joel Stone Park in Gananoque. What’s awesome about this area is that the kids can play at the park and catch the majesty of the sky.