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Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

tuttiface
8 posts
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Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

We're a group of 4 (2 couples) and wanted to get some feedback. We're thinking of renting a houseboat and touring around the 1000 islands and the Gananoque area and had some questions:

Is it a good idea? :D

Any houseboat rental companies to recommend?

What would be an ideal length of time? We were thinking 3-4 days.

is there a lot to do? We were thinking Sandbanks, hiking around the 1000 islands, Boldt Castle?

West Grey, Ontario
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1. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

Hi tuttiface;

You don't mention when you are planning this trip for.

By water, Sandbanks Provincial Park is approx. 70 miles / 112 km from Gananoque. Houseboats don't travel very quickly, so you might want to save Sandbanks for another time.

Between Gananoque & Boldt Castle, I would suggest a stop in Rockport at the Boathouse Country Inn Tavern for a bite to eat. Great fish & chips !

www.boathousecountryinn.com/restaurant.aspx

I have no experience with this company, but they appear to be the only houseboat rental company in the Gananoque area.

http://www.houseboatholidays.ca/

Best Regards

tuttiface
8 posts
1 review
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2. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

Thanks for the quick reply!!

We were thinking sometime over the summer holidays - probably late July/early August (depending on availability of course)

Didn't realize the Sandbanks were so far !

That houseboat rental company is the only one I have also found so far - but can't find any reviews. We once rented a cottage off the Otonobee River and were very disappointed once we got there - I'm definitely wary of any "blind" rentals but do like the houseboat idea.

West Grey, Ontario
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3. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

You're Welcome !

NJ
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1,387 posts
130 reviews
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4. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

We just came back from 3 days on houseboats. We rented 5 boats at houseboatsholidays for the group of 25 people. We loved it and will do it again. 3 days were very good. Not sure if more days can be also easily done without returning to the marina because of need to empty a waste tank... Many people from our group are renting from them few years already. I'm going write a review if I find where at tripadvisor I can do it.

Edited: 1:11 pm, July 05, 2011
NJ
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5. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

I don't know when my review will be published so this is it:

1000 islands is great place to spend a long weekend. The good way to enjoy it is to rent houseboats at House Boats Holidays at Gananogue Marina. They give instructions how to operate the boat and read the map and guys from the company take you out of the marina.

Houseboat is like a mobile home. It has 2 rooms, toilet, shower, hot and cold water, drinking water. 4 adults sleep there comfortably. There is also twin bank for children (or adults). They provide blankets, sheets, pillows, cooler, all utensils, pots and pans. There is some storage for clothes and things. Houseboat weights 4 tons and it's not easy to maneuver. It does not have brakes and water traffic is very high. But it's possible and doable. It's good idea to get insurance in case of accident. You will need to get gas at some point, some gas is provided by company at the beginning. It was hard to find dock place for 5 house boats on holiday weekend but after 4-5 hours great place was found on big island with facilities, nice beach and great fishing.

If you have accident company owner will be dealing with it. When one of the boats had problems with propane/hot water and guys came all the way from marina and fixed it. Boats have solar panels and electricity. They are pretty comfortable to sleep in. Kitchen is small but 2 people somehow were able to cook in it at the same time. Toilet can stink but the provide special chemical to treat it. Shower is tiny, but there is a hot water.

Great holidays on beautiful 1000 islands.

NJ
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130 reviews
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6. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

My review was in a "pending status" for 2 days and now I don't see it at all - it looks like tripadvisor removed it!!!! And it's after so many contrubutions I made for many years... Ridiculous. If somebody have questions about houseboating, please ask.

Ottawa, Canada
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13,856 posts
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7. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

TO BABOCHKA,

Welcome to the GANANOQUE TRAVEL FORUM.

<< My review was in a "pending status" for 2 days and now I don't see it at all - it looks like tripadvisor removed it!!!! And it's after so many contrubutions I made for many years... Ridiculous. If somebody have questions about houseboating, please ask. >>

1- Well at least it is here still in the FORUM so we can refer others to it… so that is a good thing… as one of the DEs who responds to Questions about the 1000 Islands regularly... I will certainly use it for “recommended reading” for future Travellers asking about Houseboats.

2- As to your post though (Reply # 6 above)... you should be aware that TripAdvisor doesn't facilitate discussions about their individual rulings in the TRAVEL FORUMS... So more than likely that post above will be DELETED / REMOVED / CLOSED... thought you might appreciate knowing this in case it suddenly disappears.

Also, not 100% sure on what their current policy (THE GUIDELINES) are on Reviewing Houseboat Holidays... whether they accept them or not in the REVIEWS Section.

You could certainly ask that Question in either the TA SUPPORT FORUM which is found in the BEYOND DESTINATIONS FORUMS… a set of FORUMS dedicated to Travel by Theme rather than place (ie Air Travel – Bargain Travel – Golf Vacations – Honeymoons & Romance – Senior Travel – Travelling with Disabilaties, etc)… AND for FORUMS that are about the TripAdvisor Website… such as the TA SUPPORT FORUM = tripadvisor.ca/ShowForum-g1-i12105-TripAdvis…

For future reference, you can find a link to the BEYOND DESTINATIONS FORUMS in a box featured on the left hand side of the screen.

The TA Members who volunteer in the TA SUPPORT FORUM offer peer-to-peer assistance, and are quite up to date on how TripAdvisor operates and what exactly THE GUIDELINES mean to TA Members.

3- Alternatively you could just send an email to TripAdvisor… and ask them to clarify what happened to your PENDING REVIEW. Look for the link to the HELP CENTER at the bottom of every TA Page. Then follow the directions to the section that fits your needs (ie REVIEWS).

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

NJ
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1,387 posts
130 reviews
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8. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

Thanks, Wine! I'm not new to tripadvisor and never had this kind of problems before. Also I need to admit that I was so excited to share our experience that I wrote review too fast and missed some details. Anyway, if somebody will be interested, I will share what I know. Thanks!

Edited: 11:52 pm, July 07, 2011
NJ
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130 reviews
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9. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

I think my review was not published because Hoseboat Holidays were not listed at Tripadvisor yet. I filled out all the forms and suggested it to list to tripadvisor. Let's see...

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Touring 1000 Islands via Houseboat?

Hi Tuttiface,

Welcome to the GANANOQUE (1000 Islands Region) TRAVEL FORUM

Good info here from the others let me add some more…

Indeed Prince Edward County (where Sandbanks Provincial Park is) isn’t in the 1000 Islands region at all… it actually is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Ontario near the Trenton / Belleville area of the Province (aprox 80 Kms) to the WEST of Kingston… and even if you had the time, getting there from the 1000 Islands region might prove a bit problematic (a bit about that in a moment).

The St Lawrence River and the 1000 Islands Region are certainly worth exploring… and more so when done on the water !!

The entire 1000 Islands Region spans aprox 200 Kms from the Mouth of Lake Ontario thru to the Quebec Border (just east of Cornwall).

The most islands are found in the span from Kingston thru to Brockville (aprox 80 Kms)… and Gananoque is considered to be “in the heart of the Islands”.

My research turns up two (2) Houseboat Rental Companies in the Gananoque area…

Houseboat Holidays = http://www.houseboatholidays.ca/

Waterway Get-a-way = http://www.waterwaygetaway.com/

To be honest, I am truly only familiar with Houseboat Holidays… as I’ve often seen their boats on the water (lol, saw a set of “reds” looking for a spot to tie-up near Rockport on Canada Day… gotta wonder if they were BABOCHKA and friends).

Houseboating can be a lot of fun… but sailing in the St Lawrence or heading off into Lake Ontario is not something for the faint of heart… the weather (and winds) are unpredictable… this is wide-open water, with not a lot of shelter from the elements (ie treed shoreline), there is a lot of boat traffic (including the major shipping lane of the Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway)… and in many places the water is quite shallow… hitting a rock or running aground is always a possibility !! So you’ll want to make sure you (a) have good navigation charts (b) are very familiar with the boat you are navigating and (c) have insurance incase something does go wrong.

I have watched many Houseboats over the years both enjoy as well as struggle with navigation in these waters (and more so in the bigger and more predictable Lake Ontario). So much depends on the weather… but also on the waves… those that can come up suddenly… be that because of the wind, or the wake that many fellow boaters are just not considerate to others in regards to… wakes from large Cigarette Boats, Cruisers and Day-Boats (SkiBoats, JetSkis etc) can easily overwhelm a Houseboat and a boating newcomer.

Generally speaking, the bigger the rental boat, then the lesser the problem… so something to take into consideration if you do plan to rent.

Houseboat Rentals generally come with a Full Tank of Gas, Water, Propane etc. BUT as mentioned by BABOCHKA you’ll need to take into account Groceries, Ice, more Gas, a Tank Dump-Out and probably Mooring Fees (although I do believe most Houseboats do come with Parks Canada Passes that are good for overnights in Parks Canada St Lawrence Islands National Park… with most of the 21 Islands offering spots to picnic, camp or tie-up).

Wikipedia – St Lawrence Islands National Park = …wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Lawrence_Islands_Nat…

Parks Canada – St Lawrence Islands National Park = www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/on/lawren/index.aspx

As BABOCHKA has covered in their Excellent Trip Report… with some forethought and planning a Houseboat Holiday can be a HUGE Success (I have one under my belt from the Shuswap Lake in BC... and currently looking at planning another one for here in Eastern Ontario).

If you are heading to the 1000 Islands, remember that they span both USA & Canada, so you’ll need to have proper paperwork such as Passports etc and have to check in with both countries Border Patrols, Customs & Immigration etc, if you do choose to scoot back and forth across the river from spot to spot. Unfortunately, your TA LOCATOR hasn’t been filled out here on TripAdvisor*… so I can’t provide more customized info for you on this (things can differ considerably depending on … (a) Whether you are a Canadian Citizen (b) You are an American Citizen (c) You are neither a Canadian or American (d) You own the Boat you are using, or do not own the Boat (d) How long you spend in each Country etc… so you’ll need to consult both the US and Canada Customs Websites for more specific info.

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*NOTE – Unfortunately your TA LOCATOR just says Tuttiface after your User Name… rather than your location… so I can’t give you exact info here (not knowing if you are a Canadian or American Citizen… or visiting from abroad). You might want to UPDATE that info on your TA PROFILE as it goes a long way in providing customized answers when you post on the TA FORUMS as then DEs and Local Advisors have a better idea of what you are familiar with… Miles, Kms, Temps in C of F, or in this case info on the Border / Customs & Immigration… the Locator can be your Hometown, Nearby Big City, State / Province / Region… easy enough to change from your TA PROFILE Page whenever you are logged into TA

From the TA HELP Pages - *Why your TA LOCATOR / Home Location is important* = tripadvisor.ca/help/why_your_home_location_i…

--- --- ---

Managing a houseboat can be a bit tricky (intimidating even) if one is out in OPEN Water… the bigger the body of water… the trickier it can be… particularly so for a novice who doesn’t have a lot of boating experience.

Lake Ontario would in my mind be a BAD CHOICE (so forget going to Sandbanks) you will have more than enough to handle on the St Lawrence here where parts of the River can be up to 1 to 3 Kms across.

For a more relaxed houseboat holiday, with a lot less open water, you might want to also take a look at the Historic Rideau Canal & Waterways Region (it lies between Kingston and Ottawa = 202 Kms)… and travels thru Ottawa’s primary “cottage country” dotted with picturesque Ontario towns (Ottawa – Dow’s Lake - Manotick – Kemptiville – Burritts Rapids – Merrickville – Smiths Fall – Perth – Rideau Ferry – PortlandWestport – Jones Falls - Seeleys Bay – Kingston Mills – and Kingston… to name just a few great spots along the way)… several Rivers and multitude of pretty lakes thru over 40 historic and interesting canals

Time on the Rideau is highly relaxing… and the scenery is gorgeous. A combo of Rivers, Lakes, the Canals & Locks, Canadian Shield Geography (rockcuts, forests, etc) and of ya, some pretty magnificent houses & cottages to look at as well (particularly so on Big Rideau Lake).

The boating is easy (less open water… with lakes surrounded by trees)… and one has opportunities for either retreating from the world, or interacting with the other boaters who come here from afar each summer… the Rideau Canal is a major spot on “the Great Loop”… the inland waterways that connect together thru North America… up from Florida via the Intracoastal Waterway… Canada’s Major Rivers, Canals, and Great Lakes… before going thru middle America and the Mississippi River back to the Gulf of Mexico and once again to Florida. July & August are primetime to find “Loopers” in the Rideau Canal Waterway… and they are extremely interesting folks to chat with and learn about their amazing North American Adventure !!

Boats with sleeping capabilities on the Rideau come in several varieties… Houseboats, Canal Cruisers and even some Cuddys & Cruisers are also available for rent.

Two of the most popular locations that I know of (there may be others… for Cuddys or Cruiser Rentals) are…

Big Rideau Lake Boat Rentals = Traditional Houseboats. They are found at 15 Water Street, Portland, Ontario K0G 1V0 – PHONE (613) 812-7653 or (613) 272-2580 or EMAIL Heather Heins at heatherheins@mac.com

Aylings Boatyard at Merrickville = Canal Cruisers. They are found at 220 Forced Road, Merrickville K0G 1N0 – PHONE (613) 269-4969 WESITE = http://www.aylingsboatyard.com/

Over the years, I have seen boats from both companies… and recently toured a houseboat from Big Rideau Lake Boat Rentals… from what I saw it was quite comfortable and well equipped… If the Contract and price was right, I`d have no qualms renting it myself.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS… If you are in the region and looking for things to do in addition to the Houseboating, you can find out much info on TA`s GANANOQUE (1000 Islands) – KINGSTON – BROCKVILLE – CORNWALL (Seaway Valley) – and OTTAWA (Rideau Canal) TRAVEL PAGES (the links to the right of the screens) and respective TRAVEL FORUMS. This triangle formed within the St Lawrence River – Ottawa River – and the Rideau Canal Waterway… offers much to explore.

Need more info or have more Questions on what to see or do… just ask.