Kingston, ON — (July 13, 2021) — As Ontario prepares to enter Step 3 in its reopening plan, Kingston wants travellers to know what Canadian bucket list experiences they can expect this summer. As many Canadians continue to seek more transformative experiences, Kingston is the ideal destination for families, couples and solo travellers alike.
Nestled where the St. Lawrence River, Rideau Canal and Lake Ontario meet, Kingston’s residents and visitors enjoy the immense beauty of the territory’s natural landscape, and the city’s lakeshore location has earned it a reputation for some of the best freshwater sailing in the world. As one of the oldest cities in the country, Kingston is also home to the world-renowned Thousand Islands, UNESCO-designated Rideau Canal and Fort Henry.
With Kingston’s natural beauty, vibrant culinary scene and extensive variety of historical tours, it’s the ideal getaway for anyone looking to replace that cancelled week-long international vacation with a chance to (re)discover Canada. To help Canadians take the stress out of itinerary planning, Visit Kingston has rounded up some of the region’s most sought-after attractions looking forward to welcoming visitors this summer.
Weekend Tranquility and Open-Water Relaxation
Whether searching for a relaxing cruise or looking to learn how to kayak or SUP this summer, Kingston has some of the best physical properties and environmental conditions for freshwater sailing and watersports in the world. For anyone who prefers land over water, visitors can also sit back and enjoy the savoury flavours of the region with multiple wine tours bringing Kingston visitors to the legendary tastes of the County’s famous wineries.
- Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises offers the widest variety of cruise options in the Thousand Islands region. Discover history and heritage along Kingston's spectacular waterfront onboard the Discovery Cruise (one hour) or the Sunset Cruise (three hours). Or, take in the majesty of the Thousand Islands onboard the triple-deck paddle-wheeler during its famous Heart of the Islands Cruise (three hours). All three-hour cruises sail to the Admiralty Islands, home to the most iconic scenery in the Thousand Islands. Sightseeing cruises now open for the 2021 season; dining cruises, including lunch and sunset cruises available with Step 3.
Offers: Sightseeing cruises, dinner and lunch cruises, private charters
Tickets: Sightseeing cruises start at $37 per person
Locally owned and operated, Ahoy Rentals was founded in 1997. Ahoy started out renting a few sailboats and bicycles and has now grown to a fleet of over 50 watercraft and 30 bicycles. A chance to unplug, disconnect and spend a leisurely day on the water with kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards and sailboats, all just a short walk from downtown Kingston. Now open for the 2021 season.
Offers: Bike, kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard rentals, as well as sunset sailing charters
Tickets: Hourly rentals starting at $16; hourly charters starting at $120
County Sips Wine Adventures
Enjoy a relaxing day of touring through the beauty of Prince Edward County and savouring the flavours of fresh, minerally driven wines with a guided winery tour from County Sips. An ideal activity for a weekend getaway, family and friends’ day out or corporate team building events. Tours are hosted by a professional sommelier and encompass all the spectacular wineries Prince Edward County has to offer, departing and returning to Kingston. “Sip & Stay” hotel packages are available at participating Kingston properties: Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront, Holiday Inn Express Kingston West and Quality Inn and Suites Kingston.
Offers: “Sip & Stay” packages and individual tours
Tickets: $165 or included in hotel packages
From museums to battlegrounds, Kingston has plenty of history as Canada’s first capital city. Bring the family for an educational and interactive experience or hear the stories of real inmates and guards at Kingston Penitentiary for a more mature adventure sure to pique the interest of any history buff.
Fort Henry National Historic Site
Visit Fort Henry to experience 19th-century military and civilian life, musical performances, military demonstrations and its museum. Fort Henry is one of Ontario’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Offers: Fort Henry will be offering modified outdoor programming with self-guided tours and 60 minutes of rifle firing, music and artillery demonstrations. A senior Fort Henry Guard will be stationed throughout the Fort to offer interpretation experiences.
Kingston Penitentiary Tours
A maximum-security prison, the “Kingston Pen” housed some of Canada’s worst criminals over its 178 years. The Kingston Pen was originally constructed in 1833-1834, opening its doors on June 1, 1835. Although largely closed to the public throughout its history, it is now one of Kingston’s most popular attractions. Kingston Penitentiary’s lineup for 2021 includes new tours such as The Kingston Pen Architectural Tour and The Kingston Pen Film Tour. Outdoor tours are now open; other tours open as part of Ontario’s Step 3 reopening plan (July 16).
Offers: Accessible tours, tours for people with hearing loss, French tours
Tickets: Outdoor - $25; standard, architectural and film tours - $40; extended tours - $80
*Please Note - tours contain subject matter designed for a mature audience and are not recommended for children.
Kingston Trolley Tours
Enjoy a guided Trolley Tour through downtown covering all of Kingston’s historic old town and downtown shopping district. An experienced tour guide provides an informative, engaging overview of Kingston’s more than 300 years of history. Explore Canada’s first capital, passing historic landmarks and iconic visitor attractions from the comfort of a red trolley.
Offers: One-hour guided tours
Tickets: Adults $28; Children $21
The PumpHouse Museum
Now a community museum, Kingston’s first waterworks in operation from 1851 to 1952, is now offering walking tours of Ontario Street. This 60-minute guided walking tour delves into the amazing history of Ontario Street, a space that helped define and form Kingston as a city. During this small-group tour, guests will hear exciting stories about intriguing and impressive people, fires, explosions, industry, transportation, archaeology, everyday vices and much more.
Offers: Brewers, Bakers & Boilermakers: Walking Tour of Ontario Street South
Kingston Walking Tours
Arthur Milnes Walking Tour – Embark on a walking tour with local legend, Arthur Milnes, and begin your journey into a world of Canadian Prime Ministers, US Presidents, Indigenous leaders, governors general, mediums, spirits and the Queen, herself. While you walk through Kingston’s historic downtown, you’ll also hear about literary legends such as Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemmingway who play supporting roles in Kingston’s story.
Offers: One-hour guided walking tour
Ghostly Legends and Mind-Bending Thrills
Kingston comes with many disturbing tales in its years of history for those who prefer a little more mystery and intrigue. Visitors can learn about Kingston’s haunted past both by foot or trolley, on tours that will be open through fall 2021. Alternatively, anyone looking for interactive thrills can take part in one of the region’s most sought-after immersive escape experiences both online and in-person.
Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour
Take a tour through Kingston’s mysterious past on the Ghost and Mystery Trolley. This evening tour takes visitors off the beaten path to national historic sites and notorious neighbourhoods that played a ghostly role in Kingston’s early history, including downtown Kingston, The Rockwood Asylum and Kingston Penitentiary. Now open.
Offers: 90-minute long ghostly tour of historic Kingston aboard a trolley.
Tickets: $36 per person
The Haunted Walk of Kingston
Have an “out-of-house” experience on this premium small-group “Bubble Tour” version of the Original Haunted Walk of Kingston. These tours are a safe and fun way to enjoy some fresh air and hear some great Kingston ghost stories.
Original Haunted Walk: Haunting locals and newcomers alike, this ghost tour takes visitors on a spooky stroll through Kingston’s old Sydenham Ward. It features haunted hotels, hidden burial grounds, grave robbings, hangings at the old courthouse and Kingston’s famous haunted courtyard.
Ghost of Fort Henry: Explore Fort Henry, Kingston’s spooky 19th-century fortress and its many dark twists and turns, as a guide recounts its tragic history, including the hanging of Nils Von Schoultz, the secret of Deadman’s Bay, and many supernatural encounters. Not recommended for young children or easily frightened adults.
Tickets: Adults $24.99; youth $19.99
Opened in 2015, Improbable Escapes is an award-winning escape room company with online escape rooms, immersive theatre and a board game cafe. Largely grown internationally over the last six years, the company now has games all over the world at various escape room facilities. Virtual and outdoor escapes are now available for 2021.
Offers: Virtual escape rooms, in-person escapes rooms, board games lounge, outdoor programs
Tickets: $28.25 per person for virtual group game (4 or more players), $29.95 per person for outdoor and indoor in-person games (4 or more players)
Kingston’s tourism operators, attractions and culinary experiences adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols; it’s recommended to call ahead and book in advance for all experiences to avoid disappointment and ensure a smooth trip. For more information on operators’ specific reopening schedules, please call or visit individual websites or explore Kingston’s top attractions at https://www.visitkingston.ca/see-do/top-attractions/.