Frontenac County South
With Lake Ontario, Wolfe Island, the Rideau Canal and countless more lakes and rivers throughout, the sourthern portion of Frontenac County is a great place to enjoy life on the water. Learn about the history at one of the area’s museums, eat some delicious poutine and then gear up for a kayak, canoe or swim in one of Frontenac’s picturesque waterways.
To learn more about all there is to see and do in Frontenac County South, scroll down or visit the area’s tourism website.
Where is Frontenac County South?
Between the city of Kingston and the historic town of Gananoque, Frontenac County South blooms from the shorelines of Lake Ontario and north into the countryside. Just minutes from Kingston and only a few hours’ drive from both Toronto and Ottawa, the county is easily accessible via Highway 401, Highway 2 and Highway 7, as well as by the VIA Rail passenger train line. The southern end of Frontenac County also includes notable stops within the 1000 Islands — Howe Island and Wolfe Island — both nestled between the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. The islands are accessible by ferries from the mainland.
Things to Do in Frontenac County South
Frontenac County is known for its incredible trails, especially the rail trails that link it to neighbouring counties and communities. The K&P Trail travels the length of Frontenac County, with its southern start in the City of Kingston and its northern terminus in the Town of Renfrew. The K&P intersects with the Cataraqui trail in Harrowsmith, running east and west of the village—both of these iconic trails form part of the Trans Canada Trail. The Cataraqui Trail connects the K&P to the villages of Sydenham, Perth Road and Chaffey’s Locks. Both trails showcase the incredible landscape of the UNESCO certified Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve. Cyclists and hikers flock to these trails every year to experience this unique part of the Canadian Shield.
Frontenac County offers a variety of culinary options, attractions and accommodations ranging from luxurious to rustic. In the county’s southern region, which kisses the city of Kingston to the west and the shorelines of Lake Ontario to the south, you’ll find plenty of activities from playful to historical.
When it comes to Frontenac County, water is the focal point. You can spend the day searching the county for Rideau Canal lock stations dotted from Ottawa to Kingston. The St. Lawrence River also beckons adventurers to kayak, canoe or take a ferry to one of the area’s lovely islands.
Wolfe Island is the largest of the 1000 Islands and offers both nature escapes and all the amenities you could want on a visit. The ferry service will drop you off in Maryville, a charming and historic settlement. Learn about the island’s history at the Old House Museum before popping over to the Wolfe Island Bakery for a classic Ontario butter tart.
Take a hike along the island's wetlands and beaches. At Big Sandy Bay, large sand dunes, unusual for the calm, fresh waters of Lake Ontario, will have you thinking you’re in an entirely different locale. At Howe Island, also between the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, a three-kilometre walking trail will take you across the island via its centre.
At the inland reserve of Frontenac Provincial Park, visitors will find a slew of lakes to discover. While some lakes in the park allow motorboating, it’s also nice to take a slower day on the water in a canoe or kayak. Go fishing in one of the park’s 22 lakes and enjoy a picnic lunch in the park.
For visitors wanting to learn more about Frontenac County’s fascinating history, take a trip to the South Frontenac Museum in Hartington, near Sydenham. The museum proudly presents an exhibition of artifacts, photos and accounts from the 146th Overseas Battalion, which was composed of recruits from Frontenac and the neighbouring county of Lennox & Addington. The unit served in World War I on behalf of Canada, with many humbling sacrifices made along the way. Another exhibit highlights the history of the Indigenous settlement in Frontenac County long before it donned that name and the Loyalist communities that are inherent in the history of southeastern Ontario.
In nearby Sydenham, take a walk from town to the Sydenham Point Beach where visitors can kayak, swim and splash in Sydenham Lake. If you’ve got a tent or a camper, or wish to rent one of their cabins, you can stay the night at the lakeside Glen-Lor Lodge just outside of town. And for a cozy nature escape, reserve a tiny cabin from Cabinscape.
For a bite, go into the bustling city of Kingston, where you’ll have many options. If you prefer to stay in the countryside, check out the Point Restaurant in Sydenham where you’ll find delicious Canadian fare and a comfortable, cozy vibe. Just down the street at Jim’s Gourmet Fries, dig into what locals call the best poutine in the area.
The Towns of Frontenac County South
Frontenac County South is home to several towns and communities that make it a gem in the crown of counties along Lake Ontario’s north shore. Here are just a few of the many towns that make this area special.
This South Frontenac town is located on Sydenham Lake, where visitors can swim and kayak at Sydenham Point Beach or camp at the nearby Glen-Lor Lodge.
As part of the 1000 Islands, Frontenac boasts three of the most beautiful places to camp, hike, swim and relax — Howe Island, Wolfe Island and Simcoe Island.
Situated right by Frontenac Provincial Park, where visitors can enjoy a slew of hiking trails, hit the water and immerse themselves in nature.
This friendly small town at the southern edge of the Canadian Shield offers visitors a picturesque mix of rocky-shored lakes, forests and farmland.
Hop off Highway 401 mid-way between Belleville and Napanee for scenic drive along Old Highway 2 and stop in quaint Marysville.
Things to Know About Visiting Frontenac County South
Whether you’re still in the planning stages or you’re already on your trip to Frontenac, you'll appreciate what the locals recommend around the county.
Where to take an Instagram photo
Where to go for a hike
The southern 75 km stretch of the 180 km K&P Trail runs right through the county, from downtown Kingston north to Sharbot Lake, along a stone dust rail-trail with stops in quaint communities along the way.
Where to get a great meal
Head to Lavallee’s Cookery in Inverary and bring your appetite. Mouthwatering burgers, sandwiches and pizza fill the menu board. Be sure to save room for the best dessert selection around. And then shop the grab-and-go fridge to stock up on more homemade goodness.
Last updated: November 1, 2021