Camping at Kring Point State Park in the 1000 Islands
All through my childhood, I heard about the 1000 Islands and what a beautiful place it is in my home state of New York. I never understood until I was a teenager where it was, nor could I image a place with that many islands. Was geography just joking? Are there really a 1000 islands in the middle of a river?
I am here, in the 1000 Islands, on vacation with my family. No geography isn’t lying. There are 1,864 islands, big and little ones, all crammed between 50 miles of the St. Lawrence River shoreline. An island here is defined as one square foot of land exposed for 365 days of the year, surrounded by water on all sides and has at least one tree growing on it.
Both my husband and I are from upstate New York, Buffalo and Rochester. Neither of us had vacationed in this boating mecca as kids. While in the Adirondacks, we decided to tack on three extra days to camp in Kring Point State Park, outside of Alexandria Bay, New York; finally discovering after all these years what people were saying about the splendor of the 1000 Islands.
Knowing very little about this area, I researched it on the internet to discover the perfect place to camp. I first searched for a national park, since a goal of mine is to visit as many before my kids leave for college. There is one but it is the St. Lawrence Island National Park of Canada. We have passports but I didn’t certify our dog to travel across the boarder ($125 vet visit to certify her health and shot records). Therefore, I researched state parks. There are many to choose from along the St. Lawrence River from Watertown to Messena.
Kring Point is at the end of a peninsula of land that juts out into the river creating Goose Bay on the southeastern side. The park and its 99 campsites sit on glacial rock where for thousands of years soil settled and trees grew. While finding a level and comfortable spot to place a tent is challenging, boulders and rock faces provide an amazing natural playground for kids. Most campsites are tightly arranged in the park but all campsites have a view of the water, while a majority of them are on the water. The primo sites in the park are 1, 2, 8, 10, 14, 15, 29, 82, 89 and 101. These sites either have great water access and/or more privacy. We stayed in 14, which is in a less crowded and quieter area of the park.
Kring Point has a beach, a picnic area, docks, boat ramp and a small nature trail on Morgan Island. All the park facilities are well maintained and the staff is knowledgeable about the surrounding area and its natural attractions. When walking the campground, a majority of the cars are from New York with a smattering of out-of-staters. Furthermore, most people camp in their mobile homes decked out with motorboats or kayaks and all the accouterments for water play. Boating is the best way to experience the 1000 Islands. We rented a pontoon boat from Riverbay Adventure Inn to fish, swim and travel the river amongst the islands. While the scenery and sunsets are amazing at Kring Point, be prepared for less than a wilderness experience but pure outdoor recreation in the water.