If you’re looking for an epic road trip this fall, consider exploring Upstate New York! Specifically, you’ll want to add the Thousand Islands to your itinerary. Only a 5 hour drive from Fairfield County, CT, this area is a must-visit for those who crave an outdoorsy adventure at their own pace! Keep reading to find out about my 48 hours exploring Thousand Islands, New York!
In full disclosure, this blog post is in partnership with the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel located in Clayton, NY. I had an amazing stay there and can’t recommend it enough! As always, I will only agree to go on trips that I would choose to take & pay for myself.
Thousand Islands, New York gets its name from the over 1,800 islands in the St. Lawrence River, which runs between the US and Canadian borders. From quaint islands with single private residences on them, to islands with multiple castles, you really see it all!
My 48 hours in Thousand Islands was part 2 of my Empire State Road Trip with Kristy and Mindy! I’m so glad I got to experience Upstate New York with these ladies! Pro Tip: the recipe for any successful road trip is great scenery and even better company!
If you’re looking to explore, surround yourself with stunning views, and enjoy some relaxing time on the water, then look no further than the 1000 Islands! Even in just my 2 days here, I was really able to get a feel for how special this charming river town is.
If you’re looking for a road trip destination a little closer to home, check out my Watkins Glen, NY Travel Guide!
As I mentioned above, I had the opportunity to stay at the 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel located in Clayton, NY right on the St. Lawrence River. I 100% recommend getting a river view room if you can. Waking up to the St. Lawrence River each morning was such a treat! My room was spacious with a comfy king-size bed, a work area, and a sitting area.
Most importantly, I felt safe & comfortable my entire time at the Harbor Hotel Collection. The hotel and its staff complied with all health & safety regulations during my stay.
One of the many highlights of the trip was getting to enjoy my breakfasts and dinners outside right on the river! While it did get a little chilly at night, I just bundled up and brought a blanket with me to stay nice and warm! The hotel also had several fire pits outside, which gave off a lot of heat and were fun to sit around while sipping our fall-inspired cocktails!
We kicked off our first full day in 1000 Islands by enjoying a relaxing morning around the hotel. After a delicious breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, the Seaway Grille, we took to the river front (only a few steps away), to soak up the scenery!
Each morning I loved watching all the action on the St. Lawrence River! From huge cargo ships chugging by to gorgeous antique boats cruising around, there was always excitement.
That afternoon, we ventured out to Boldt Castle on Heart Island! This fairy tale-esque castle was only a 20 minute drive from our hotel. (Boldt Castle closes for the Fall 2020 season on October 4th.) After our visit, I can confidently say Boldt Castle alone is enough of a reason to make the trip to this area of New York. Seriously, it was that incredible!
I won’t share the entire story here, but Boldt Castle has a tragic history and was only recently restored to its former glory. To get to Boldt Castle we took a quick 2 minute ferry ride from the Boldt Yacht House on the mainland. Once on Heart Island you have the opportunity to peruse the grounds, explore the inside of the castle, and the other structures on the island (which to me looked like more not-so-mini castles).
Pro Tip: Pack a picnic and make a day out of your time at Boldt Castle! It’s the kind of place you don’t want to leave, so packing snacks ensures you can spend as much of the day there as possible.
Our second day in 1000 Islands started off a lot like our first day, and I LOVED every second of it! A relaxing morning soaking up the river views… a nice breakfast outside… all followed by a river-front stroll, what more can a girl ask for?!
After packing our oodles of luggage into the car (this is a judgement-free zone for over-packers, ha!), we made our way over to the Antique Boat Museum in town. Pro Tip: Give yourself plenty of time at the Antique Boat Museum because it has SO much to offer! From indoor exhibits to outdoor workshops to a huge house boat, there is so much to see!
The Antique Boat Museum took us on an hour river tour on a replica antique boat. It was certainly one of the highlights of the trip! On our boat ride we got to see a handful of the islands that give this region its name, along with gorgeous victorian homes, lighthouses, and we even got to wave hello to the Canadian shore! A huge thank you to the Antique Boat Museum for their hospitality and giving us an unforgettable experience on the St. Lawrence River!
Just like that, our 48 hours exploring Thousand Islands, New York was up and it was time for us to head home. Kristy, Mindy, and I agreed we were actually quite excited for the road trip back home. As much as we were sad to leave, we were looking forward to the scenic drive back with hints of fall foliage all along the way!
Until next time!
keywords: 48 Hours Exploring Thousand Islands // Upstate New York // 1000 Islands // St. Lawrence River // Harbor Hotel Collection // Empire State Road Trip // Fall Foliage // Fall Road Trip