My Experiece with 1000 Islands Helicopter Tour – A hidden gem

Boldt Castle Tour

Could you imagine flying above 1,864 islands in just a 50-mile radius along one of the clearest rivers in the country that you can see 90 feet below the surface?!

I can and I did during one of the most magical times of year… FALL… with the BEST, Fly 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours!


Helicopter view fall canada

Helicopter view fall canada

Where is the 1000 Islands located?! It straddles between Canada and the US Border in the Saint Lawrence River northeast corner of Lake Ontario. That means some of these islands are in the province of Ontario and some are in the state of New York. Contrary to the name it consists of 1,864 islands in a 50-mile radius. It’s one of the US largest archipelagos.

An Archipelago is a landform that is a group of many islands. Some of the most famous archipelagos of the world are many of the islands around Japan, Hawaii and the British Islands.


1000 island bridge

Ron and I planned a last-minute chasing fall color road trip. During my research (trip planning) I came across a place I never knew existed. It wasn’t even a destination on my mind, we just so happen to pass through while we were on the way to the Adirondack Mountains for some hiking.

Which is why I am sharing this post with you! This is a not so talked about destination that should be on everyone’s top lists to see! I once thought the only way to see castles was to travel across the planet away from the US but that is not the case anymore and I am here to share all the details with you!

A helicopter tour is the #1 thing you MUST experience! It’s the best way to view this one of a kind destination! It truly felt like a fairy tale!


1000 island in fall helicopter

To count as one of the Thousand Islands. It must have at least one square foot of land above water level year-round, and support at least two living trees.

MY HELICOPTER TOUR EXPERIENCE with 1000 island helicopter tours

1000 islands helicopter

I called 1000 Island Helicopter Tours that morning! I explained we were driving through and would LOVE to take a tour. They were so kind and accommodated us last minute! We showed up and was greeted by Bill one of their well experienced knowledgeable pilots. He was a retired Air Force Marine. Helicopter rides can make me a little uneasy but knowing that, I knew we were in great hands!

He explained everything in great detail from buckling us in, the buttons he was pushing and how take-off was going to feel.

Throughout the flight, he told us all about the history of 1000 islands! Here are several breathtaking photos from above!

I, of course, had to ask if that’s where the Thousand Island Dressing got its name. Sure, enough it was! There are several versions of the dressings’ origin. One common story describes how a fishing guide’s wife made a condiment as part of her husband’s shore dinner. He requested it often, gave it to another Thousand Islands summer resident, George Boldt, who built Boldt Castle and instructed the hotel to put the dressing on the menu in 1894.


boldt castle helicopter tours

Boldt Castle is a major landmark and tourist attraction in the Thousand Islands region of the U.S. state of New York. Open to guests seasonally between mid-May and mid-October, it is located on Heart Island in the Saint Lawrence River. Which area would you live in? I LOVE the castle to the right!

The castle was designed in the 1900s by millionaire George C. Boldt to be a summer dream home. His wife passed away suddenly just months before the castle was completed! Boldt immediately stopped all construction and never finished! Talk about a broken heart, right?! You can visit it by land and helicopter! We did BOTH!


bolton castle helicopter

Though there are several tours we opted for the 20-minute helicopter tour. It was the perfect amount of time to see the most sought after sites! We got to see the 1000 Islands 1,000 some feet in the air at peak fall color!

These were the site highlights of our flight below:

  • American Span and Ivy Lea Bridges – a beautiful view from above that connects New York and Ontario together allowing people to drive across.
  • Millionaire’s Row – Flying 1,000 feet over several lavish mansions that are built on these granite islands. Makes you wonder what exactly does each of these people do for a living, right!?
  • Boldt Castle – One of the MAJOR attractions in all of 1,000 Islands. We flew around Boldt Castle a couple times. This is the #1 thing you definitely need to see from above! It was my first ever castle experience, I was in awe!
  • The Manhattan Group of Islands – near Alexandria Bay N.Y. in the 1000 Islands and Boldt Castle on Heart Island, a popular tourism attraction.
  • 1000 Islands Parkway – Is on the Ontario side. There are many activities for the boating enthusiasts and other services but from above it’s just a beautiful site alongside the Alexandria Bay. You get to view the international bridge from above as well.

Though we chose the 20-minute tour during peak fall color, Fly 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours offers MANY more tours LAND and AIR all year round! I would LOVE to see during the lush green summer months and the snowy wintery wonderland from above! Which season would you love to see from 1,000 feet above?!

I would love to share the 1,000 photos I took of the 1000 Islands,  here are just a few more of my other favorites!

Boldt castle helicopter tour

1000 islands fall


Beautiful clusters of fall bloom!

Fall Helicopter

You can see how clear the water is from above.

1000 island in fall


Could you imagine being flown by helicopter to Wine/brewery tours, kayaking, experiencing the sweet side of Canada with Maple Syrup tours, and ice fishing excursions? The dream, right!? Well, Fly 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours offers just that and MORE, see here for everything they offer!

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COMPANY 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours

LOCATION 88 County Road 32
Leeds & Thousand Islands (Gananoque), Ontario Canada
K7G 2V3

SUMMER HOURS May to October; 7 days a week; 10 am – 5 pm daily

WINTER HOURS November to April; Monday – Friday; 10 am – 4 pm Sat/Sun flights available upon request

OUR EXPERIENCE 20 minute Boldt Castle Tour

TYPES OF FLIGHTS 10, 20, 30, 60-minute helicopter tours

WHAT ELSE THEY OFFER Packages & expeditions – Could you imagine being flown by helicopter to Wine/brewery tours, kayaking, experiencing the sweet side of Canada with Maple Syrup tours, and ice fishing excursions. The dream, right!? Well, Fly 1000 Islands Helicopter Tours offers just that and MORE, see here for everything they offer!

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Boldt Castle Tour

*Though 1000 Islands Helicopter tours complimented us a flight, all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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