A Great Trip Along Lake Ontario To Kingston Ontario
When we travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston in Ontario, Canada we had a great three day trip. The Delta Kingston Waterfront was a lovely spot as our base in Kingston. From there we wandered and saw some of the sights of Kingston.
On this visit, we headed off for two day trips and explored the Thousand Islands. We cruised along the St Lawrence River and saw the islands from the water. And then drove along the Thousand Islands Parkway for a view from the land.
Travelling Along Lake Ontario From Toronto To Kingston
We left Toronto early so we had enough time to stop as we meandered along Lake Ontario to Kingston. The highways took us through the busy morning traffic. By the time we passed the iconic “Big Apple” on Highway 401, the going was easy.
Our morning break stop was in Port Hope. As we did as we travelled around the Great Lakes in Ontario, we headed straight for the water. We found a perfect bench for relaxing with a water view.
We realized we should have stopped for a snack to take to the bench. So we headed back into the quaint downtown area. There were several bakeries. But Queenies drew us in. We spoke with the owner Adam about the devastating drop in business that Covid-19 caused on small businesses like this.
There was a great selection of fresh baked goods. We liked to try new butter tarts as we travelled in Ontario. But this time we went straight to the peanut butter and chocolate bar.
We ate our treats on the Muskoka chairs socially distanced on the empty sidewalk. And then looked out over the Rene Racine Bridge at the fall colour views.
Port Hope was a great stop when we travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston. And don’t miss a stop at Queenies!
A Room With A View In Kingston
We continued to add to our points and status on local trips in Ontario. For this stay in Kingston, we booked two nights at the Delta Kingston Waterfront. Our awesome upgrade to the top floor corner suite gave us a 270° view over the waterfront area.
It was a delightful surprise when a note in the room told us to check the fridge! A wonderful amenity with Prosecco and snacks awaited us. Amenities were one of the things that many hotels abandoned in this age of Covid-19. So this was a really welcome treat!
From the room we saw the Town Hall and Centennial Park across the marine basin. We saw the dock where our boat for the Kingston Harbour Cruise departed. It was a short walk to all downtown sights.
The one advantage of winter coming was that sunrise times were a little later. One morning we threw open the curtains and got an amazing show as the sun rose on the horizon.
Changing rules around indoor dining impacted restaurants in Ontario. Since we booked our hotels very close to our travel dates, we usually had a good sense of what dining was available. We were happy that the restaurant at the Delta Kingston Waterfront was open. And we even got free breakfast for our Ambassador Elite status. After a long day trip, it was good to be able to eat at the hotel.
When we travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston we were delighted we spent our two nights at the Delta Kingston Waterfront. When we first planned our visit we considered changing hotels each night. But this hotel was a great refuge when we returned from our day travels. And a great spot that we used to explore Kingston.
Explore The Waterfront In Kingston
We walked along the waterfront in Kingston several times. The Kingston Visitor Centre looked a little like an old train station. This idea was reinforced by the old Spirit of Sir John Canadian Pacific engine car located on that spot. A mini replica was the perfect spot to pose with the Kingston sign.
Confederation Park was a great green space on the waterfront. The fountain was on and flowers still decorated the area. When we looked closely, we found interesting statues at play.
The large marine basin included a small lighthouse and the Shoal Tower National Historic Site (aka Victoria Tower). Shoal Tower was a Martello tower built in the 1840s. It was one of four towers that protected Kingston’s harbour and the entrance to the Rideau Canal. A Martello tower is generally a small coastal defensive tower. The round shape helped it deflect cannon fire. The other defensive spot in Kingston was Fort Frederick on the grounds of the Royal Military College which we saw on another day.
The Kingston City Hall was located in this waterfront area. It was the seat of the local government. Built in Neoclassical style, it had a large dome and clock tower on top. The impressive building was originally built when Kingston was the capital of Canada. In non-Covid-19 times, tours were available to see the inside.
There were many things to discover when we walked along the waterfront in Kingston.
Some Downtown Gems
We always loved when we wandered the old town areas when we travelled. Many of the shops along the downtown streets were historic.
We stopped in one local art shop. Martello on Brock that had some wonderful unique art pieces. Re-purposed old windows displayed ‘Group of Seven’ like stained glass art in them. When we spoke with the shop owner David, he noted that the interesting sign on the exterior of the building showed that it once was a plumbing shop.
Ever since we visited Bologna and did an Italian food tour, we always visited shops that specialized in olive oils and balsamic vinegar. The Kingston Olive Oil Company had an impressive variety of oils and vinegars on display. We went home with several bottles!
We moved between the streets in Kingston using the fun alleys we found. There was fanciful street art on display. We were told to check out Martello Alley for local art works. We were not disappointed. Martello Alley and the attached Delightfully Different Tea Room patio had wonderful fun art pieces everywhere.
Everywhere we looked around Kingston we saw domes and church steeples. We knew there was much more to see in the area. But on this trip along Lake Ontario to Kingston, we just ran out of time.
Staying For The Springer Market On Saturday
The one thing we did not want to miss on our visit was the Springer Market in the large square behind the City Hall. During the week we found a few booths open. But when we returned on Saturday, the market was a lively spot. The vendors showed off fall crafts and fall produce. Bright colourful flowers were still available.
We stopped at the Wolfe Island Bakery and checked out the butter tarts. We had not finished our butter tart research! From our room, we saw the Wolfe Island ferry on its regular transit route. This ferry was considered an extension of the road system in Ontario. So there was no charge to take the ferry. One day we will return and see maybe stop at the bakery again.
Maple syrup is a Canadian treat. Several of the shops had maple syrup available. But when we stopped to talk with the owner Todd of Vader’s Maple Syrup we knew we found our supply. After much deliberation we took home several bottles of the Whiskey Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. And when we finally tried it at home, we were so glad we took two bottles!
We always loved when we visited local markets as we travelled. It was worth a late departure from Kingston to visit the market on Saturday when the vendors were all there.
Historic Fort Henry In Kingston
On our day trips in and out of Kingston we went right past historic Fort Henry. One day we stopped and got a closer view.
The original Fort Henry was built during the War of 1812. This was conflict between Canada and the United States of America. Kingston sat at the mouth of the St Lawrence River and was the gateway to the Great Lakes and the rest of the country. So this was a vital strategic defence point. The original fort was left to deteriorate until it was restored as a living museum.
Fort tours were suspended during Covid-19. But we saw the fort high on the hill from outside. When we did our cruise in the Kingston Harbour, we got a good view of this from the water.
At the entrance to Fort Henry, was the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada. Fort Frederick was there and was part of the strategic defence towers in Kingston. RMC is the Canadian military’s university (where David’s degree is from). Another major military presence is Canadian Forces Base Kingston. The base housed over 30 different units including the armies 1st Canadian Division Headquarters.
A visit to Fort Henry and the Royal Military College was a reminder of the history we found when we travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston.
Booking A Cruise In The Kingston Harbour
We always loved to see a city from different perspectives. The night lights we saw on a river cruise in Budapest made a lasting impression on us. The architecture river cruise in Chicago was a fascinating tour. So we were excited when we booked our sunset cruise of the Kingston Harbour.
In season and in normal years, there were many cruises from Kingston. We had two choices with Kingston 1000 Island Cruises. The Island Queen boat still ran on a regular schedule and the sunset cruise was the last of the day. The other interesting choice was a dinner onboard the Island Star in the harbour.
Before we boarded the Island Queen, we completed a Covid-19 questionnaire and our temperatures were taken. On our other boat cruise of the Thousand Islands, the boat was pretty empty and there was lots of outdoor deck space. The Island Queen had mostly enclosed spaces with one open deck. While the boat sailed with reduced passengers due to Covid-19, there were a lot more people on this harbour cruise.
There were bars on two levels and a piano player for music. We kept our masks on at all times. But the open bars in all closed areas encouraged people to take off their masks for the entire 90 minute cruise. This certainly made the trip a little less enjoyable since it was quite cold on the open deck after dark!
We got a nice view of sunset as we cruised. It was a great way to see Fort Henry and the Royal Military College grounds. We saw a bit of the fall colours and the city from the water as we cruised in a circle around the harbour. But once the sun set, there really was little to see on shore.
This sunset cruise was really designed to be a party cruise. And in these days of Covid-19 it was hard to relax and party. Probably not the right choice for us!
Fun In Kingston After Dark
When we got back from our cruise of the Kingston Harbour, we saw the colourful lights on Island Star boat and the City Hall.
When we walked back to the Delta Kingston Waterfront, we were delighted when we found the new outdoor Aqua Terra patio and fire pits lit up. We enjoyed the food from the main restaurant at the hotel. So we were eager to try a different venue.
We got the last spot and drooled over the patio menu. It was not a hard choice to pick adult hot chocolate and a s’mores plate for our evening treat.
Colourful lights and outdoor treats were a fun way to finish our day when we travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston.
Ways To Explore The Thousand Islands From Kingston
We used Kingston as a base as we explored the Thousand Islands. On our first day, we cruised amongst the Thousand Islands and got a great water view. The fall colours were a perfect offset to the views of islands, houses and Boldt Castle.
On our second day, we headed to Brockville and then travelled along the Thousand Islands Parkway and saw this waterway from the land.
When the weather fell apart at the end of our stay in Kingston, we decided not to head back to see the Thousand Islands from above. A visit to the Thousand Islands Tower and a helicopter ride were saved for another trip.
A Great Trip Back To Toronto Along The Loyalist Parkway
After we visited the Springer Market, we packed and left the hotel. We decided to return to Toronto along the water and followed the Loyalist Parkway. There were great water views and fall colours on display.
We loved when we found iconic fall activities on our travels in Ontario. When we visited Muskoka, we spent the day at a cranberry farm and even took a plunge in the cranberry bog. Apple picking was another iconic fall activity in Ontario. We pulled over when we saw the large sign for the Spring Meadow Orchards. Many people picked apples in the large field. But the market sold fall produce. And of course, lots of apples!
The Loyalist Parkway even offered us a short water trip on the Glenora Ferry. Like the Wolfe Island Ferry, this was another ferry considered part of the Ontario roadway system and there was no fee.
We continued along the Loyalist Parkway on the other side and entered Prince Edward County. This was a part of Ontario we had not explored before. As we saw the wine route and winery signs, we knew we needed to plan a return trip to Prince Edward County.
We made one detour and visited Sandbanks Provincial Park. The road went through the park and we were able to drive through without a day pass. We stopped the first time when we saw a bunch of wind surfers on the water. David got a close up view of a new Naish wing foil. A quick stop at the Dunes beach showed us the distinctive sand features this park was named for.
When we headed along Lake Ontario to Kingston we followed the faster route. On the way back it was fun when we travelled slow and enjoyed the sights along the Loyalist Parkway.
Head Along Lake Ontario To Kingston Ontario For Lots To See And Do
We travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston and used it as our base as we explored the Thousand Islands. Our great panoramic suite at the Delta Kingston Waterfront offered the perfect spot to start our day with sunrises. And finish with s’mores by the fire.
We also enjoyed a little of downtown Kingston. It was great to get our first view of this historic city.
We carefully assessed the risk of all local travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. This short visit to Kingston and the Thousand Islands was a great wonderful break from our condo in Toronto. Even though Kingston was not in a hot spot in the province, we were impressed at the precautions in place. And with how many people even wore masks outdoors at all times.
Businesses had good processes in place and were diligent at enforcing the rules. Only once did we feel uncomfortable. And even then, we had some options to move ourselves to a safer spot. This attention to detail has helped as we continued to travel locally in Ontario.
We arrived home and stayed only one night before we headed out again. Our next trip returned us to the Muskoka area north of Toronto where we followed the Cranberry Route. Yet one more taste local adventure.
Have you travelled along Lake Ontario to Kingston in Ontario? What should we plan to do for a return visit?
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Those benches with a view are adorable aren’t they?! I always stop by one of such places for my lunch or snack when I’m on my biking trips. Those sweet treats at Queenies look delectable. Too bad Covid has been horrible to small business owners more than anyone else. Rooms in such high floors with panoramic views are indeed incredible! Getting to wake up a bit late but still getting such a gorgeous sunrise view from your room? That’s perfection! Those unique shops and gems of downtown are so adorable.
Bhushavali, We were surprised at how much we loved every part of our visit to Kingston. Definitely lots of reasons to go back. Linda
The view from your room at the Delta Kingston Waterfront is GORGEOUS! Coupled with the yummy snacks must have made for a fantastic stay. The thing that particularly caught my eye is the Martello Alley and Delightfully Different Tea Room & patio. It looks like such an eclectic and artistic area, and a perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon tea. I would also have to stop at the Springer market. Something about a local outdoor market makes you feel every part of the warmth & hospitality in a new place!
Chloe, We really were surprised at the number of places we found to explore when we visited Kingston. A lovely smaller city we will go back to. Linda
Delta Kingston Waterfront intrigued me most. It is an amazing stay that I will prefer during my visit there. The lighthouse looks cute. Plus, also the cute shops in the downtown. Travelling along Lake Ontario makes a great trip, indeed.
Shreya, We were so glad we planned a trip to Kingston for a few days. We will definitely return to stay at the Delta Kingston Waterfront. Linda
Ontario sounds and look amazing and your pictures are spectacular. The food looks tasty (makes me hungry) :-). The water with backdrop of colourful autumn leaves is incredibly beautiful. I’m sure you had a great time.
Mimmie, We had a great time in Kingston. Fall was a great time of year to visit with markets and fall colours. Linda
Great post on an area I know nothing about! Those peanut butter chocolate bars looked amazing and the Springer market is my kind of place to go when I travel!
Kristina, I am glad to show you a new place. Lots of tasty options when you travel around Ontario. Linda
Looks like a great trip! I have already bookmarked your blog post. The yummy tarts, the 20 degree view from the top suite of the hotel, and the complimentary prosecco – are so inviting! I can see I will love this place at the waterfront with the lighthouse and the clock tower. Beautiful pictures as usual! 🙂
Thanks Jan! We were surprised at how much we liked this short visit to Kingston. Definitely a good spot on our travels around Ontario. Linda
Wow. Such a thorough report on this beautiful town. I have not been there but it definitely goes on my list. I’d love to take a cruise on the St Laurence. We also did the architecture tour in Chicago and ever since have tried to add similar cruises when we can. Pinning for future reference!
Laureen, We did love the variety of things we found to do on our visit to Kingston. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda
What an exciting experience you seem to have had. The view from your hotel was fantastic, the food looks delicious and the boat ride as well. The pictures from the beach are also really beautiful, thank you for sharing your experience.
Ann, We definitely had a great spot to use as our base to explore the Kingston area. I am glad you enjoyed following our trip. Linda
What a fun looking place. I had never heard of Kingston, Ontario before but we are definitely adding this to our Ontario Bucket List! The Delta Kingston looks like an amazing place to stay with the 270° view over the waterfront area. Plus you had us with the adult hot chocolate and smores! Plus the town looks like there is tons of fun things to do and see. Darcee would love all outdoor markets and that whiskey barrelled syrup sounds yummy for sure!
Eric, We were glad we added Kingston to our Ontario travels this year. I am sure you guys would love it! Linda
So many things to do in Kingston! I am very curious of maple syrup. We only get a standard version here in Australia but I’m sure there are different types and qualities in Canada. I occasionally make pancakes for breakfast and it’s a wonderful flavour to add…
Delphine, I am not a big maple syrup fan but this one won me over! Linda
I never knew there was a “Big Apple” in Canada. Your last few post really have me wanting to try a butter tart! And I got some reinforcement to take a Chicago Architecture Cruise.
We did enjoy all of the things we saw on our trip along Lake Ontario to Kingston. Linda
This looks like a lot of fun! I have visited Lake Ontario on the US side, but would love to explore the drive along the lake in Canada. The Delta Kingston Waterfront with the firepits and smores looks like a lovely way to spend the evening. A stop at the Springer Market would be a must stop for us to!
Melissa, I hope you get to explore more of the Canadian side of Lake Ontario when the border re-opens. We have discovered so many great new spots. Linda
I fell in love with your staying option at Delta Kingston Waterfront. The view out from your room is breathtaking. I can stay inside whole day and enjoy the nature changing colors. From your posts and photos I have realized, travelling to Canada during the falls is the best option. I also enjoyed the weekend market, it looked pretty lively.
Ramya, We certainly have enjoyed being at home this year during the fall. Changing leaves and fall markets have been a real treat. I hope you get to visit one day. Linda
What a grand adventure! So many cool things to see and experience. The view from your Kingston hotel was amazing. I love wandering farmer’s markets and local shops too. I’m always bringing home food treats from our travels. And your “adult” hot chocolate and smores next to the fire sounds like a perfect fall treat. Thanks for all the helpful information.
Nancy, We did find a lot to see and do on our visit to Kingston. Glad you enjoy our post. Linda
I’ve always wanted to visit Lake Ontario, so this was a great article to read for some ideas of what to see. Port Hope looks so quaint and the view from the hotel in Kingston is stunning. In general I love the look and feel of Kingston through your eyes and experiences, especially things like Marcello Alley and the Sunday Market! Apple picking is something I took for granted growing up in the northeast of the US and absolutely loved that you were able to enjoy it on your trip, I miss it!
Jamie, I hope you do get to travel along Lake Ontario one day. We loved the travel detours and our time in Kingston. And fall was the perfect time for great views. Linda
Lake Ontario is high up there in my priority list for some time and this journey looks so beautiful. Just the perfect holiday. What a fun looking place.The Delta Kingston looks like an amazing place to stay with the great view of the waterfront.Would love to do the ferry trips. Springer Market would be in my plans too.
Roy, We were so glad we planned our visit to Kingston. And the Delta Kingston Waterfront was the perfect base. Hope you do get to visit one day. Linda
This looks like such a lovely trip, especially this time of year. I always love travelling alongside lakes or coastal regions. There is always such a wonderful vibe. Love all those old and historic buildings too.
Nic, We have indeed loved travelling along the lakes in Ontario this year during the fall. Great scenery and fun small spots like Kingston. Linda
That’s sweet of them to provide a surprise welcome treat. It looks really good. I agree with you that amenities have been abandoned this pandemic. Their food presentation definitely catched my attention. We would definitely consider staying in Delta Kingston Waterfront in the future. Hopefully, we get to enjoy a room with a view too.
Clarice, We were delighted with our reception at the Delta Kingston Waterfront. It was a great start to fun 3 days in Kingston. A great base for visiting the city or the local area. Linda
Ok, so what’s the verdict on the butter tarts? I have done the butter tart trail before in Ontario and I’m serious about my butter tarts!
Sounds like a fun filled few days in Kingston. It’s such a great city, and central to explore other places as you’ve done.
Renee, So far our favourite butter tarts are probably still at The Bakery in Gravenhurst! We did love our days in Kingston to see the city and use it as a base. Definitely a spot we will re-visit. Linda
I have become fond of Port Hope through your ports. That bench and that angle looks so inviting for the view of Lake Ontario. The quaint pockets of the town look great. Springer Market would be my place to go too. Delta Kingston Waterfront looks lovely and I would love to stay there. The colorful lights did cheer me up. Spending a day at cranberry farm would be on my list. I love cranberries.
Manujulika, We were surprised at how much we found to see and do on our stay in Kingston. So much to recommend! Linda
I never knew there was a Kingston in Ontario, so that was the first surprise! I would have liked to join you in the butter tarts research lol; they look so delicious! I also love markets, and know I would have come away with two packed bags full of things!
Lisa, We certainly did eat well on our visit to Kingston. And the local market was a great spot for new treats. Food and drink is always a great way to explore a new city. Linda
Hey Linda! I’ve been following you for a while now and I really love that you are always out there – you are super adventurous! My mom is trying to build a successful blog like yours and I showed your blog to her. I told her it isn’t impossible to maintain such an informative blog (that people will actually read and learn from). She just needs a lot of technical support. LOL. Thank you for all your content – I really really love your writing!
Trisha, I am glad that you are enjoying our travel blog and shared it with your mom. The blog is a great way for us to re-live our travels. We have been happy that we could travel safely to some local spots during the pandemic. It takes planning and constant vigilance. But we want to share those travels so people can get out a bit. Hope you mom is successful with her blog efforts. Linda
Wow! what a detailed report about Kingston. I have never been to Canada but Ontario is so high on my list. Looks like you had a great trip! Love the 20 degree view from the top suite of the hotel, and the complimentary prosecco! Give me that any day and i’ll be happy 🙂
Archana, We loved our visit to Kingston and our stay at the Delta. A great spot to use as a base if you visit this part of Ontario in Canada. Linda
That sounds like a place that my family would love. Food and games!
Anna, We were so glad we made it to Kingston this year. Good fun for the whole family. Linda
Wow, you were so lucky having found accommodation in this wonderful place. Because the maritime surroundings are truly mesmerizing. I particularly love the light house – the epitome of waterfront. I can image that after some outdoor activities, this yummy food was more than necessary. I find the avocado-egg-sandwich particularly appetizing. Was that your breakfast?
Renata, We loved the Delta Kingston for our stay. That avocado treat was indeed our breakfast! There was so much to see when we wandered along. Linda
Wow – Whiskey Barrel aged maple syrup, I want to try this! It seems you had a fantastic trip with lots of good food. Lake Ontario seems a great destination for a leisurely drive along the shore. Once this pandemic is over I have to visit Canada. Actually I have relatives in Quebec and it would be nice to see them again.
Natascha, I hope you do get to visit Canada one day. There are so many great spots along the waterways to discover in Ontario and Quebec. Linda
I had never heard of Kingston, but it looks like such a charming town. And I’m not sure what a butter tart is, but would love to try one sometime. It looks like your road trip has take place in the fall and that means such beautiful foliage–really love all of your photos!
Wendy, We sure did love our trip along Lake Ontario to Kingston in the fall. Lots of great stops. A butter tart is made with mostly butter and sugar, the runnier the better. A good Canadian treat if you get to visit. Linda
You always found the best food and the best food also found you during your travel. That’s a generous welcome snack you had in your room! I think I will like this city, not just because of the food, but the historic buildings all over town, too. And I really want to try the Maple Syrup, because what I’ve tried is not the real one in my opinion.
Umiko, You definitely need to find real maple syrup. And the whiskey aged one was delicious. We do love to find good food and drink on our travels. Linda
Kingston looks lovely & I particularly appreciated your photos of the food – all had my mouth watering! The view from your hotel room looks amazing too – the joys of loyalty points! I’m the same when I travel & love to find small local producers & buy a little something to bring home – food or soaps or weird alcohols that I never end up drinking. It always brings back some lovely memories for months to come.
Sue, We did love our stay at the Delta Waterfront on this visit. The upgraded room made this a great base. Almost wanted to never leave. But we were glad we did since there was so much to discover in Kingston. Linda
You are right! So many fun things to do in Kingston… especially the monuments and the market!!!
Carol, We were glad we visited Kingston! Linda
I loved your trip from Lake Ontario to Kingston Ontario as it has full of natural beauties and you spotted fall colors in between. It would be great to stop at Queenie’s bakery in a laidback town for quick bites. Also the street art at Kingston is very beautiful and some alleys really look funny. I would also check Martello Alley for local art works. Apple picking is also another activity which I want to do here.
Yukti, We have loved exploring local spots this year. And the fall was the perfect time for fall colours and seasonal markets. Linda
Martello Alley looks quaint, and Springer Market would be right up my alley too. That steam boat looks fun just the same. I only rode on one once, in Nola, and really enjoyed the vibe. Great post.
Stefan, We were truly surprised when we visited Kingston. It is a short trip from Toronto and we wished we had visited earlier. Linda
You found a great thing to do at the height of the pandemic! And the Delta Kingston Waterfront served you well. A thousand islands sounds so romantic in fall!.
Our visit to Kingston was indeed a great break when we were in the middle of the pandemic.
An exciting trip. I would love to see Kingston and Ontario Lake. You had a great view from the hotel. I also like the Victoria Tower, mainly because it has such an exciting story and dates from the 1840s. Martello on Brock offers such fantastic art pieces. And for sure is worth visiting Kingston Olive Oil Company.
We love enjoying all that the city of Kingston has to offer. Great to say right on the water and have everything within walking distance.