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  • Only Public Tour to Rock Island Lighthouse

Rock Island Lighthouse on a Glass Bottom Boat Tour

This tour meandering among the islands showcases the region's spectacular scenery and the only public tour to Rock Island Lighthouse on Rock Island

Quick Details

Adults Ages 13 and up
Children Ages 5 to 12
Youngsters Ages 4 and under
Seniors Ages 65 and up
Active Military and Family Please bring Valid Military ID

Rock Island Lighthouse and Nature Tour in Clayton, NY

Board the Night Heron, our unique glass-bottomed boat and learn about the fish and wildlife that share the river with us.  Peer through the glass at the topography of the river bottom, one of the region’s largest underwater shoals and dock cribs left over from the Gilded Age.  Spend an hour exploring Rock Island State Park and climb to the top of its historic 1847 lighthouse for an unparalleled view of the St. Lawrence River.  Your experienced guide will explain current threats to the river, its fish, birds and landscapes, and what’s being done to protect and preserve them.  Learn how the Thousand Islands were created, the difference between an island and a shoal, and the fugitive from justice credited with saving the river from winter navigation.

This two hour and 45 minute tour meandering among the islands showcases the region’s spectacular scenery, what makes the ecology of the river unique and how to sustain it for future generations.

Rock Island Lighthouse is located in the Thousand Islands about 4.5 miles northeast of Clayton, Jefferson County, New York, off of Fisher’s Landing. Originally commissioned in 1847, it is one of six lights put up along the St. Lawrence River to guide traffic to and from Lake Ontario through the waterway.  The Rock Island station is the best preserved, as all of its structures still survive. It was refitted in 1855, rebuilt in 1882, and moved in 1903. The light was closed in 1955 after more than a century of service. Today, the lighthouse and island are maintained by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation.

2024 Schedule 

May 18 – June 19 1:30pm Thursday – Monday
May 18 – June 19 10:30am and 1:30pm Saturday and Sunday
Memorial Day Weekend May 25 and 26 10:30am and 1:30pm Daily
Summer June 20– September 2 10:30am and 1:30pm Daily
Fall September 2 -15 10:30am and 1:30pm Thursday – Monday


  • Double-Crested Cormorant Nesting Colony
  • Picton Island, a jewel of preservation
  • The water birds that remarry every year
  • Counting Loons
  • Where Native Americans Fished for Eels
  • What Americans fish for today
  • Frontenac Arch, Some of the world’s oldest exposed rock
  • Topography of the River Bottom
  • Wellesley Island Nature Center
  • The fugitive who saved the river
  • What an underwater shoal really looks like
  • The invasive Zebra Mussel
  • 19th Century shipwreck of General Hancock
  • Stopover at Rock Island State Park & Lighthouse
  • Common Tern Nesting Colony
  • Site of the “Slick of ’76″oil spill
  • Prohibition Bootlegging
  • Underwater Dock Cribs from the Gilded Age
  • St. Lawrence River’s Only Dolphin

Meeting Location

  • Boarding takes place 15 minutes prior to departure.
  • Meeting Address: 39611 Chateau Lane, Clayton, NY 13624
  • FREE parking, buses, and RVs welcome

Frequently Asked Questions