The 1000 Islands region was home to not only significant skirmishes between the U.S. and British-controlled Canada during the War of 1812, but its history as a vacation destination traces back to the Gilded Age, when many of world’s most wealthy and famous treated the region as their private playground. That history, along with major roles in the U.S. Prohibition and maritime ingenuity, has led to visitors trekking to the 1000 Islands to experience authentic heritage sites and attractions. War of 1812 battle sites and military fortifications still line the shorelines and are open for guided and self-guided tours.
Sackets Harbor, overlooking Lake Ontario and sheltered on Black River Bay, was the main location for a military fort and boat building station during the War of 1812. Now the tree-lined streets of this heritage community welcome visitors to discover its unique history and charming architecture. Modern construction and heritage buildings blend to create a picturesque village of antique shops, boutiques and waterfront restaurants. A visit to the State Battlefield Historic Site brings history to life on the shores of Lake Ontario.
Gilded Age grandeur is no more prevalent than at the fairytale castles that stand today as visitor attractions. Learn how the rich and famous of the early 1900s enjoyed the 1000 Islands by visiting these formerly private island mansions.
The region’s maritime history is on display at several sites, including North America’s largest collection of antique and classic wooden boats in Clayton. Museums dedicated to the region’s fishing and boating history, as well as military past, keep a true sense of why this area is so unique in its connection to water and wilderness.
Visual and performing arts are abundant in the 1000 Islands with many venues and special arts events presented by local organizations. Throughout the summer, visitors enjoy a lively schedule of theater productions, gallery exhibits and special museum shows.