Staycationing suggestions

If you’re on a budget, the best vacations are the ones that don’t require you to go very far

Why break the bank to go to the ends of the earth when you can become a tourist in your own town? Staycations – vacations that involve staying close to home – are perfect for students on a budget. Here are some suggestions for great staycations in the Kingston area.

Gananoque Boat Line, Gananoque, Ontario

Just over 30 kilometres from Kingston, Gananoque is a picturesque town known for its close proximity to the 1000 Islands. The Gananoque Boat Line offers popular day cruises, including the one-hour Call of the Wild Tour ($20), which focuses on showcasing local wildlife, the one-hour 1000 Islands Icons Tour ($20) and the two and a half-hour Lost Ships Cruise ($30). Perhaps the most popular and well-loved offering is the five-hour Boldt Castle Stopover Cruise, which stops for two hours at the famous castle built by Waldorf Astoria proprietor George C. Boldt. Don’t forget your passport – the castle is located on the American side of the 1000 Islands on Heart Island, which is in the shape of – you guessed it - a heart. The cruise costs $36, but the seven-dollar entry fee to Boldt Castle is extra. Check the boat line website for information about dates, times and special events. While you’re in Gananoque, try to take in some of the town’s shops and waterfront restaurants.

Estimated driving time from Queen’s: About 35 minutes

Prince Edward County, Ontario

Prince Edward County is one of Ontario’s most beautiful areas, famous for its vineyards and arts community. You can get to it without having to leave land, but the most scenic route is by way of the Glenora Ferry. Check the county’s website for information about special events; in the past, artists and winemakers have opened up their homes or businesses for tourists to see. Prince Edward County contains several quaint towns and villages, including Picton, where you can find a nice combination of wildlife and an historical downtown. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Lake on the Mountain. Located right on the other side of the ferry, it’s a natural wonder that is just as its name suggests: a freshwater lake located on the top of a mountain, with a constant flow of water despite no obvious source. You can also visit Birdhouse City, home to over 80 birdhouses, located at Macauley Mountain Conservation on the outskirts of Picton.

Estimated driving time from Queen’s campus (to Picton, by way of the Glenora Ferry): About
80 minutes

Kingston, Ontario

As anyone who has lived in Kingston for the summer can attest, the city is full of attractions for the staycationer. You can get to know the City’s sights on the Confederation Tour Trolley ($12.50 for student), which departs from the Tourist Information Office in Confederation Park. History buffs will definitely want to check out Fort Henry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to touring the museum, you can see Garrison Parades performed every day at 3 p.m. and attend the Sunset Ceremonies, which involves music, gun salutes and fireworks. Members of the Fort Henry Guard perform the Ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. every Wednesday night in July and August. Kingston’s Martello Towers are also a must-see. Built in 1846, Murney Tower is located at the corner of King St. and Barrie St. and is now operated as a museum.

Holly Tousignant

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