advertisement

Boat Tours -- Lots of tour boats run the island circuit all summer, offering close-up views of the islands and occasionally interesting narration peppered with the standard bad jokes. You can stop at Singer Castle, as well as Boldt Castle (with an unlimited stop to jump off and check out the grounds), Millionaire's Row (with amazing mansions, called "cottages"), and interesting points like Tom Thumb Island -- the region's smallest at 3 square feet. You'll cross over into Canadian waters, pass under the international bridges, and see that some islands are just big enough for a shack, while others are a whopping 45 square miles in area. Go with Uncle Sam Boat Tours, 47 James St., Alexandria Bay (tel. 800/253-9229), and those 12 and under will get to drive the boat for a few seconds and get a captain's license. The two-nation, 2-hour tour is $17; a 1-hour tour is $12.50. Uncle Sam also offers lunch and dinner cruises ($29.50-$35.95).

Fishing -- To say that the St. Lawrence is a haven for fishermen would be an understatement. The creatures that ply these waters are the main reason many people venture up this way during the season (which generally runs Apr-Nov) -- it's truly a world-class area for fishing. Why? Because of areas like Henderson Trench, a glacier-cut area west of Henderson Harbor between Stony Island and Stony Point, which averages 120 feet in depth. In late summer, the waters attract mature king salmon; as they wait for their ancient call to head up the Black River to spawn and die, they gorge themselves and grow to some 30 pounds or more. In eastern Lake Ontario, you'll hook lake trout, steelhead, and walleye. On the St. Lawrence, there's also walleye, pike, perch, muskellunge (get your muscles ready -- these grow up to 35 lb.), and bass. In the inland waters, expect trout, walleye, muskellunge, and pike. Some of the less expensive fishing charters are out of Clayton: Ferguson Fishing Charters (tel. 315/686-3100), St. Lawrence Charters (tel. 315/686-1216), and 1000 Islands Fishing Charters (tel. 877/544-4241).

Golf -- The flat, lush riverside terrain makes for some nice golf courses. Play in the middle of the river out on Wellesley Island at the Thousand Islands Country Club, 21496 Clubhouse Dr. (tel. 800/928-TICC; www.ticountryclub.com), which boasts two 18-hole courses. Greens fees are $19 to $33 weekdays, $25 to $43 weekends. Or try the par-71 C-Way Golf Club, Route 12, Clayton (tel. 315/686-4562; www.cwayresort.com), where greens fee are $18 to $20.

Kayaking -- Get an up-close-and-personal tour of the islands as you skim along the surface in a kayak. With all the water traffic out here, especially the enormous tankers, it's good to go with a guide. Besides, it's easy to get lost among all the islands! Kayak past Grass Point Marsh and keep an eye out for wildlife as you work your way toward historic Rock Island, with some of the area's most beautiful cottages. Paddle through the French Creek Wildlife Preserve and look for birds. Or take on something seriously adventuresome and spend the day circumnavigating the region's third-largest land plot, Grindstone Island. Go with T.I. Adventures, 1011 State St., Clayton (tel. 315/686-2000; www.tiadventures.com).

Rafting -- The Thousand Islands are home to some of the nation's most renowned white water, namely the Black River Canyon. From May to October, the Black gushes with pounding white water -- with May and June having the most powerful whitewater -- and scores of paddlers fly down it on rafts. It's Class III and IV, which means there's some serious rollicking going on (and you must be at least 14 years old to go). As you cruise through Rocket Ride and Cruncher, you'll see fabulous waterfalls cascade from the canyon walls. Go with Whitewater Challengers (tel. 800/443-RAFT or 315/639-6100); it's $59 to $72 for a day trip. ARO Adventures (tel. 800/525-RAFT) is another good choice; a day trip will set you back $69.

Diving

The clear waters of the St. Lawrence River offer some excellent opportunities for world-class wreck diving. Not only is there evidence of three centuries of canoe, boat, and shipwrecks, but many of these sunken vessels are very well preserved. Some of the best dive sites include the Keystorm, a steamer that sunk in 1912; the Vickery, a schooner that struck a rock and dropped to its grave in 1889; and the Wolfe Islander, a car ferry that was intentionally sunk in 1985. Go with 1000 Islands Diving Adventures, 335 Riverside Dr., Clayton (tel. 315/686-3030). On the Canadian side, Arctic Kingdom Expeditions (tel. 888/737-6818; www.arctickingdom.com) is now offering arctic dives. Heated airboats transport ice divers, who are given an unparalleled opportunity to explore the wrecks underneath ice, when visibility is near crystal-clear.

Among the Wreckage -- The clear waters of the St. Lawrence River offer some excellent opportunities for world-class wreck diving. Not only is there evidence of three centuries of canoe, boat, and shipwrecks, but many of these sunken vessels are very well preserved. Some of the best dive sites include the Keystorm, a steamer that sunk in 1912; the Vickery, a schooner that struck a rock and dropped to its grave in 1889; and the Wolfe Islander, a car ferry that was intentionally sunk in 1985. Go with 1000 Islands Diving Adventures, 335 Riverside Dr., Clayton (tel. 315/686-3030). On the Canadian side, Arctic Kingdom Expeditions (tel. 888/737-6818; www.arctickingdom.com) is now offering arctic dives. Heated airboats transport ice divers, who are given an unparalleled opportunity to explore the wrecks underneath ice, when visibility is near crystal-clear.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.