Wolfe Island – Kingston’s Best Kept Secret


As the largest island on the Thousand Island, Wolfe Island is one of the best places in Ontario for the nature-loving traveler and historical buff. On Wolfe Island, tourists can discover many lesser-known natural gems in a relatively quiet ambiance and visit places that reveal hundreds of years of history.

If you plan to visit Wolfe Island, here is the guide to help you plan your visit.

Overview of Wolfe Island

Wolfe Island is cross the water from Kingston, Canada’s previous capital city. It covers 120 square kilometers and it has 1,400 residents.  Wolfe Island was named after British army officer James Wolfe who ended the French control of Quebec and Canada. Most of Wolfe Island consists of farm areas, windmills, and residential neighborhood, and the largest community there is Marysville.

Where to stay

You can choose to stay in Kingston and make a day trip to the Wolfe Island. When I visited Kingston, I stayed at the Hotel Belvedere, and it did not take me long to walk to the Wolfe Island ferry dock from there. It was a fantastic hotel in terms of the service and the close proximity to the waterfront.

Related posts: Hotel Belvedere – A Classic Hotel Near Kingston’s Waterfront

There are also plenty of other hotels in downtown Kingston closing to the ferry dock. Click here to take a look at them and read the reviews before booking.

How to get to Wolfe Island

From Kingston, you can take the free ferry Wolfe Island III to get there. The ferry runs nearly every hour and docks at Marysville in the summer. For ferry schedules, please visit here.

It is best to have a bicycle if you plan to explore the entire island in a few hours because Wolfe Island does not have public transport. You can load your car on the ferry as well, but if there are too many cars and not enough space, you have to wait for the next available ferry, which is not ideal. If you do not have a bike, you can also visit the island on foot, as most restaurants and points of interests are a few hundred meters from the dock.

Kingston to Wolfe Island ferry

This is the free ferry transporting passeners between Kingston and Wolfe Island

Kingston to Wolfe Island ferry

Part of the ferry

View on the ferry

The ferry ride is a treat itself.  The weather was gorgeous. I sat on the top deck and was quickly immersed in the gorgeous vista of Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, and the Kingston skyline. I saw a few yachts and the Thousand Island cruise in close proximity as if they were racing among each other.

Kingston to Wolfe Island ferry

Kingston Skyline from the Wolfe Island ferry

Kingston to Wolfe Island ferry

Kingston to Wolfe Island ferry

approaching Wolfe Island

Things to do on the Wolfe Island

Although Wolfe Island is small, there are a handful of interesting things to do. This area is particularly popular with sightseeing, and culture and history immersion. It is also a perfect place to relax and experience the local culture and life.

Visiting the Old House Museum

A short walk from the ferry on Main Street is the Old House Museum showcasing the artifacts and history of this island; cooking, spinning, sewing, sports, and education. Many of the exhibits reveal how the islanders lived through the old times before the invention of technology. It is interesting to know that some islanders got paid $25 per month in the middle of the 1900s, when a car cost only $1.

Wolfe Island old house museum

The Old House Museum is running on donation basis.

Inside the Old House Museum, this part of the museum used to be a summer kitchen

Trying Ice cream at Café Tenango

If you want to enjoy ice cream on a scorching summer day, I recommend that you visit Café Tenango, which offers over a dozen unconventional flavors such as keylime blast, coffee toffee, and roasted banana caramel pecan pie. It also gives you a choice of having ice cream in a cone, waffle cone, or a bowl.

Apart from ice cream, visitors have options to try tropical Wolfe Island delight smoothie, rich expresso, and ice drinks. There is an outdoor seating area where you can enjoy having ice cream and drinks while chatting away with friends.

Wolfe Island travel guide Ontario

Café Tenango

Exploring Big Sandy Bay

If your visit includes a weekend and holidays, you can catch a free bus from the dock to the Big Sandy Bay Conservation Area to swim, walk, and hang out on the beach. The beach is also a great spot for bird watching and you may come across Canada fox sparrows, geese, chickadees, and robins.

However, there are times the water level in Lake Ontario is high and that causes erosion of the sand dunes and trees. When it occurs, the beach area becomes impassable, so plan your trip accordingly.

Enjoy the serenity of Wolfe Island

On Wolfe Island, time slows down or passes quickly. It is a place where you can forget everything and soak in the moment with a can of beer at the waterfront.

It does not matter if you stay there for days or just take a short trip from Kingston. People here are friendly with each other and take time to share the island culture and their way of life with you. I feel that locals there carry a sense of joy and responsibility, and they strive to maintain the cultural heritage of the island, which make this place more special.

Wolfe Island waterfront

Other things to do on Wolfe Island

Culture: mushroom tour at Kelly’s Gourmet Mushrooms to learn about the mushroom making process and their facilities.

Nature and education: visiting Wolfe Island Wind Farm, which is on the west part of the island. It consists of 86 wind turbines.

Where to eat and drink: Wolfe Island Pub and Pizzeria and the Wolfe Island Grill

Wolfe Island Pub and Pizzeria

Wolfe Island Pub and Pizzeria

Have you visited Wolfe Island before? Share your experience below! 

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Wolfe Island-Lesser-visited place in Ontario, Canada

Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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