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Don't know where to stay

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Don't know where to stay

Hi, I'll be on a road trip , and can't decide if I should stay in Kingston, or Gananaoque. Can I get a tour boat out of either town for the thousand islands? I know the hotel offerings are better in Kingston.. We will be driving into town from Niagara on the Lake... I also read about the apple trail, and thought we would do the drive that way... Is it doable with stops along the way, in one day?Thank you so much... Right now I am in the info gathering stage and planning...

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Don't know where to stay

Hi Mittmott,

Welcome to the KINGSTON TRAVEL FORUM

Suggest that you begin to familiarize yourself with the area by using an On-Line Mapping Program… I like GOOGLE MAPS because of all the cool features it offers for Trip Planning... Times & Distance Calculations for Driving - Cycling - Walking - Public Transit... as well as the Satellite & Street Views that allow me to "see" a Destination long before I ever arrive.

It is true there is certainly more accommodations to choose from in Kingston (a small city vs a small town)...

The 1000 Islands Region spans aprox 200 Kms from Kingston a the Mouth of Lake Ontario thru to aprox Cornwall on the Quebec-Ontario Border… Gananoque sits right at the “heart” of the 1000 Islands Region… and as such the town as known as “the Gateway to the 1000 Islands Region”… so when it comes to seeing the Islands themselves it is one of the major spots to get the best Cruise Itineraries (Gananoque – Ivy LeaRockport)… while Kingston and Brockville sit at either end of the region and therefore feature the Western and Eastern ends… where the Islands are much bigger (and most farmland) and quite frankly the islands themselves (and what is on them) aren’t as interesting… and the islands certainly aren’t as close together (there are over 1800 Islands… with most of them between Gan and Brockville).

Of all the cruises available, my personal faves are either with Gananoque Boat Lines (out of Gan or Ivy Lea) or Rockport Boat Lines out of Rockport… Gananoque Boat Lines 2-1/2 Hour Cruises are excellent… and their 5 Hour Cruise complete with a stop at historic & tragic Boldt Castle (on Heart Island on the US Side) is a MUST DO in the summertime if you can spare the time. Rockport Cruises are excellent for their Theme Cruises… Mother’s Day – Sunset Cruises – Music Themes – 2 Castle Tour – and especially so for their 4th of July Fireworks Cruise !!

Gananoque Boat Line = www.ganboatline.com

Rockport Boat Line = www.rockportcruises.com

Where to stay… Kingston or Gan is pretty much a personal choice… Kingston being a small city has much more to see and do… Gan is much different depending on the time of year you visit… in the summertime they do have excellent Theatre (1000 Islands Playhouse) and year-round there is the 1000 Islands Casino.

The “longer” and more scenic route thru Eastern Ontario is to get off of the Expressway ~ Hwy 401. This can easily be done starting in Port Hope and sticking with the “old road” Hwy 2 towards Quinte Isle / Prince Edward County… where you’ll pick up Hwy 33 ~ The United Empire Loyalist Parkway thru “the county”… this is Ontario’s “other” wine region… and an up-and-coming foodie destination as well.

On thru Picton… and continue along the Parkway to the Glenora Ferry (just before there though be sure and take the quick trek uphill to see Lake On The Mountain Provincial Park… quite fascinating… and the look off affords pretty views of Lake Ontario and the Glenora Ferry below.

The hop the Glenora Ferry to the mainland and continue along Hwy 33 (Bath Road / United Empire Loyalist Parkway) onto Kingston.

The Drive from NOTL to Port Hope via ALL Expressways is aprox 234 Kms and just under 3 Hours Driving Time*

From Port Hope to Kingston via Hwy 401 comes in at aprox 157 Kms and about 1-3/4 Hours Driving Time*

Change it up and do the more scenic drive from Port Hope to Kingston and it’ll be aprox 173 Kms and about 3-1/2 Hours of Driving Time*

*NOTE – Driving time is just that… time spent driving. It doesn’t account for Stops, Breaks or Sightseeing… nor for Delays caused by things like Border Crossings, Ferry Waits, Traffic Congestion, Road Construction or Weather Conditions. It is calculated using GOOGLE MAPS for the shortest most direct route (unless otherwise noted) and driving under “ideal conditions” at the posted speed limits.

Most folks drive straight thru… and thereby arrive in Kingston in time to take in the city’s sites in the Afternoon and Evening… moving onto Gananoque for the Cruise the next morning (or vice versa as I said it depends on what your interests for After Dark).

The Scenic Route will add considerably to your timeframe… is it worth it? Yes if you have the time to spend… Quinte Isle / PE County is particularly pretty.

Kingston to Gananoque is aprox 27 Kms… and 30 Minutes Driving Time*…

While in the 1000 Islands area… you’ll want to be sure to add in a drive along the 1000 Islands Parkway (one of the prettiest drives in Canada)… this route spans aprox 40 Kms from Gan to Brockville… and takes about 45 Minutes of Driving Time*

(But you’ll for sure want to plan for longer… as you’ll want to no doubt stop along the way to take photos etc… maybe even visit the Skydeck on Hill Island)

--- --- ---

If you tell us more about your holiday… how many days you have etc… and what month you’ll be visiting etc… then we’ll be better equipped to give you suggestions / recommendations... and work within that timeframe... so YES although one could easily drive NOTL to Kingston... if one has the time, then perhaps one might want to visit more places inbetween, or stay longer.

As a MINIMUM we usually tell Travellers to plan at least an OVERNIGHT for the 1000 Islands.

The 1000 Islands Region are stunning in their beauty year-round… but they truly are more of a friendly spot to visit in our best weather seasons (ie cruising stops October 30th this year)

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 11 October 2011, 03:25
West Grey, Ontario
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for Toronto
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2. Re: Don't know where to stay

Hi mittmott;

If you decide to stay in Gananoque overnight, I strongly recommend the Islandview Inn Bed & Breakfast, which is located only 1 block from where the tour boats dock, and the St Lawrence River.

tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g182143-d619664-…

www.islandviewinnbb.com/

The Holiday Inn Express would be my second choice, but is located at the opposite end of town.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g182143-d578912…

hiexpress.com/hotels/us/en/yonca/hoteldetail…

Best Regards

Newtonville...
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3. Re: Don't know where to stay

Hi mittmott

We do this road trip at least once per year and to Kingston more than that. We live closer to Port Hope so we don't get off the 401 till Brighton to do the scenic route. It is well worth it. We usually stop for the night at Kingston and use it as a base and the next morning head to Gananoque for the day ( not sure how long your trip will be). The boat tours are more extensive the further east you go. Also, do go further east along the Seaway for the beautiful drive . In Kingston we always stay at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront. Yes, it is a little more expensive but the balcony views of the marina and lake are worth it to us, You must specify when booking.

If I was staying the night in Gananoque we would probably pick the "Express" as it is really only minutes from where the boat tours start. There is lots of parking down at the docks.

Hope you have a great trip. When are you planning to do this?

Dan

Scotland, United...
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4. Re: Don't know where to stay

The previous posters have covered most of the issues in great detail.

For what it's worth, we stayed at the Best Western Fireside Inn in Kingston.

It's not at the waterfront, so you'd need you vehicle to get around, but it was an excellent hotel and we stayed there on a few different occasions.

NY
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5. Re: Don't know where to stay

Thank you all for the info..... I can spend either one or 2 nights.... We do road trips, so there is no rush...We are starting off in Long Island, NY, we are spending one night in Turning Stone Casino, 2 nights in the fingerlakes area, one night in Niagara on the lake, and then I thought, one or two nights in Kingston or Gan... Now I have to decide where to head after this stop.... We usually allot 9 or 10 nights, and I have to add getting home into that. (lol)

Ottawa, Canada
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6. Re: Don't know where to stay

Hi Mittmott,

You are very welcome… glad to help.

Your plans look like they are shaping up nicely.

Mr Wine & I are dedicated road-trippers… so this sounds like an excellent circuit you have planned.

Two nights somewhere along Lake Ontario sounds good… favourite spots of ours include PE County (Picton area) – Kingston – Gananoque – or Brockville.

A lot will depend I suppose on WHEN you are planning to visit… as things can differ greatly from spot to spot depending on time of year.

PE County is nice Spring, Summer & Fall. Maple Syrup Season in April, Summer and you have the beaches at Sandbanks Provincial Park (Dunes here are amazing… cool to see Summer & Fall), Wine Country… and generally just a nice peninsula to see and explore.

Kingston is a small city, and sitting at the mouth of Lake Ontario and at the west end of the 1000 Islands (and south end of the Historic Rideau Canal) it is a busy spot on the water during the summertime… and has lots of great festivals etc… and home to very significant Canadian Historic Sites (it was once a Capital City when we were Upper & Lower Canada).

The 1000 Islands are spectacular… Spring thru Fall… Summer though is certainly best here. Staying in Gan is a matter of preference… something Mr Wine & I enjoy because we love the live theatre productions at the 1000 Islands Playhouse (the Casino here is ok… but as all Casinos in Canada are essentially Gov’t run… they are NOTHING like the private ones you’ll find in the USA)

Where to go next ??

Well as NEWTONVILLE DAN said you could certainly explore more of the St Lawrence River and the Seaway Valley… that spans to the Quebec-Ontario Border. This is the transition between Upper & Lower Canada*… so a fairly historic area as well… Battle of the Windmill (1837) – Gallop Canal – Iroquois Locks* – Upper Canada Village – Battle of Crysler Farm (War of 1812) – Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary – Long Sault Parkway - “The Lost Villages” of the St Lawrence

*NOTES

1- All along the St Lawrence River & Lake Ontario is a ton of important North American History... US War of Independence - War of 1812 - Terminuses on the Underground Railroad (Freedom Trail) - Canada's Confederation - Upper & Lower Canadas... along with Transportation... the Great Lakes-St Lawerence Seaway being the longest inland waterway in the world... then you add in the mix that is the 1000 Islands... and how this area was (is) the Summer's Playground of the Rich, Famous & Infamous from both countries... and it is all very interesting... way beyond the incredible natural beauty that is found along these waterways.

2- Iroquois Locks aren’t terribly impressive… certainly NOTHING like those found on the Welland Canal just outside of St Catharines… be sure and make time for them when you are in the Niagara Region. BUT the history of the Great Lake-St Lawrence Seaway here is fascinating… do plan to drive the area and see a bit of the history… explore how this part of the St Lawrence changed forever back in 1959… when they flooded the area… check out the stories of “the Lost Villages”… and wander to places where the roads disappear into the water (Philpott Island on the Long Sault Parkway is a favourite spot for Mr Wine & I)

If you choose to stay in Kingston 2 nights as your base camp the Seaway Valley is a bit farther afield (although still do-able)… if you stay in Brockville for Night # 2 (assume after the 1000 Islands Cruise) not difficult at all.

--- --- ---

OR you could head NORTH… and explore the Rideau Canal Waterway (more important history) that spans just over 200 Kms from Kingston thru to Ottawa (although easily accessible also from Gan or Brockville)… a far more interesting way to cover the landscape between the shores of the magnificent St Lawrence and the mighty Ottawa Rivers… route can easily be done as a day trip / interesting drive.

Ottawa ~ Canada’s Capital City Region… is certainly a worthwhile Destination… especially so if you’ve never visited before… lots to see and do in the National Capital… generally advise Travellers to plan for a MINIMUM of 2 Days. It would make a nice "capper" to the other areas, as you'd be able to get a natural progression of why Ottawa was chosen to be the Capital etc.

After Ottawa…

Lol… well there is always Montreal… about 2 Hours away… but one really needs a couple of days for that.

If you skipped the St Lawrence Seaway after Kingston… you could certainly wander thru that area enroute to somewhere like The Adirondacks… From the St Lawrence River to Saranac Lake or Lake Placid isn’t very far (1-1/2 to 2 Hours). And either place makes for a good overnight... from Upstate NY to Long Island a fairly manageable 5-1/2 Hour Drive via I-87 “the Northway”

Hope this is helpful,

If you want more info about the areas that I affectionately call “My BIG Backyard” (anywhere Mr Wine & I can road-trip to from our house in about 6 to 8 Hours)… I’d be happy to help… as I know all of them on your circuit (Finger Lakes thru to The Adirondacks quite well). You can always send me a TA PM (Personal Message) if you find you are getting OFF TOPIC for this the KINGSTON TRAVEL FORUM

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 11 October 2011, 16:01
NY
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7. Re: Don't know where to stay

Thank you so much for all this info.... We did go to Quebec and Montreal last summer... I'm already in the planning for this summer.....I rushed reading your post, as I have an appointment... I'll be coming back to it later, and checking out everything you told me... again a million thanks

8. Re: Don't know where to stay

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