Boldt Castle is an icon of the Thousand Islands. Sitting on Heart Island on the St. Lawrence River, the architecture and beauty of the castle draws thousands of visitors in daily. Today you can tour Boldt Castle through a self-guided tour, visiting the castle, the grounds, and several other structures on the island. Pair up your visit to Boldt Castle with a Thousand Islands boat ride tour and see the islands, homes, and lighthouses along the St. Lawrence River.
About the Castle
The Boldt family purchased the island, previously known as Hart Island, and lived for a few years on a already standing home on the island. George decided to build a more extravagant home that resembled the castles in the Rhine River of Germany. Boldt Castle was to be constructed by George C. Boldt as a gift to his wife, Louise.
The design features many hearts in the design and George Boldt even blasted the island to make it resemble the shape of a heart, renaming the island from Hart Island to Heart Island.
Construction on the castle began in 1900 and continued for a couple years before an unexpected tragedy hit the family. Louise passed away, and George halted construction on the castle, leaving it only partially completed.
For 73 years the castle sat vacant on Heart Island. In the 1970’s the island was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority and beginning in 1977, restoration work for the castle and Yacht house began.
Heart Island is a 5 acre island that contains the Castle and other structures, a public restroom, gift shop, concession stand, and several picnic areas.
How to Get There
The castle can be reached by boat only. There are options for private boats to dock on the island, but most reach the island through a tour. Tours leave from both the New York and Canadian sides, but since the island is on US grounds visitors from Canada must provide passports for entry to the island.
Uncle Sam Boat Tours is a great option for tours of the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle and is the option that we chose for our visit.
****TIP: Always be sure to check before purchasing your tickets for a tour to make sure that there is a stop at Heart Island*****
Boldt Castle is open daily from 10:30am to 6:30pm.
The Yacht House is open daily from 10:30am to 5:30pm.
- Admission to Boldt Castle: $10 for adults, $7 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under is free
- Yacht House Admission: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free.
- Combination packages are $13 for adults, $7.50 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free.
Uncle Sam Boat Tours
- Location: Alexandria Bay, New York, USA
- Website: usboattours.com
Uncle Sam Boat Tours offers many options for viewing the Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle.
For the cheapest option and if you don’t mind missing out on seeing the St. Lawrence River and islands, take the Boldt Island Shuttle. This shuttle will take you directly to Heart Island where you will be able to tour the castle. The shuttle is $9.50 for adults and $7 for ages 5-12. Separate admission to the castle is required.
For an in-depth tour of the Thousand Islands take the American Narrows tour (previously called the Two Nations Tour). This tour will take you through the heart of the Thousand Islands, by many of the islands and summer homes, and by (and to) Heart Island. During the tour you will be provided with the history and interesting facts about the area. The tour lasts about two hours and ends at Heart Island, where you will be able to enjoy your self-guided tour. This tour is $24.50 for adults and $12.25 for ages 5-12. Admission to Boldt Castle is separate.
There are also tour options for a luncheon cruise, Millionaire’s Row One Hour Tour, and the Singer Castle Tour.
Clayton Island Tours
- Location: Clayton, New York, USA
- Website: www.claytonislandtours.com
Clayton Island Tours offers multiple tour options. The Boldt Castle tour will take you through the Thousand Islands and St. Lawrence River, passing sites such as Rock Island, Devil’s Oven, and Millionaire’s Row. There is an option to hop off and take a self guided tour at Boldt Castle. The tour is $25 for adults, $14 for ages 5 to 12, and 4 and under are free. Boldt Castle admission is separate.
The Rock Island Lighthouse Tour will give you the opportunity to take a glass bottom boat ride through the St. Lawrence River to Rock Island, where you will be able to get off and wander the island. You will pass several famous sites, such as the shipwreck of the Schooner Elk, Eel Bay, and Isle of Pines. The tour is $27 for adults, $18 for ages 5-12, and 4 and under are free. Rock Island admission is included in the price.
Tour Boldt Castle
Exploring the castle is done as a self guided tour, giving you the freedom to explore the castle, grounds, and other buildings located on the island.
The first stop on the self guided tour is the Castle itself. Enter the castle from the front and you will be greeted with views of the grand staircase. Throughout the castle you will find plenty of signs describing the history of the rooms and images of what the rooms once looked like before restoration. On the second floor you will also find a short, fifteen minute film that will give you the history of the castle.
The first and second floors of the castle have been renovated and contain rooms that you can walk through. The rooms are beautifully decorated and contain furniture from the time period. On the first floor you will find the grand staircase, reception room, dining room, ballroom, billiard room, library, and the kitchen. On the second floor you will find many bedrooms and the gift shop.
The third and forth floors are unrenovated and appear as they did in the 1970’s when the castle was purchased by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. On the forth floor you will find a balcony that you can step out onto, giving you great views of the island, the roofs of the castle, and the St. Lawrence River.
You can also visit the basement, which has a pool, storage areas, and boiler room.
Be sure to check out the Italian Gardens that you will find between the Castle and the Powerhouse. The views are stunning with colorful flowers and beautiful fountains.
Next you will come upon the Hennery. The Hennery once contained a water tank that supplied the island with fresh water. At the top sits a Dove house.
Next visit the Boldt Castle Powerhouse. The powerhouse was once home to two generators that supplied power to the entire island. The interior of the powerhouse contains a museum on the history of the powerhouse.
Next visit the Alster Tower, which is commonly called the playhouse. This tower is where guests on the island would be entertained. The tower contained a bowling alley in the basement, a billiard room, a library, cafe, grill, and kitchen.
The Arch was the official entrance of the island/castle. The arch was modeled after Roman monuments. At the top of the arch sits sculptures of deer.
If you choose, you can also take a short ferry ride to the Boldt Castle Yacht House. The Yacht House contains several antique boats for you to view. You can also visit the apartment inside the building.
TIP: Be sure to download the Boldt Castle app to help you with on your journey! The app will give you information about the history of the island and castle, images, and maps of the grounds.