- a unique blend of striking scenic beauty, endless outdoor recreational opportunities and celebrated heritage.
Lake Champlain Region Fall Itinerary:
The Lake Champlain Region is known for its dramatic landscape—lush green fields extend to the horizon and disappear into the foothills of the magnificent Adirondack Mountains. In the fall, vegetation turns to vibrant shades of red and orange, the crisp air rolls in, and the Lake Champlain region comes alive with a plethora of opportunities for enjoying the outdoors.
Visit a Farm.
Whether you pick apples or pumpkins, the fertile farmlands of the Lake Champlain Region yield bountiful harvests every autumn. Plan a trip to a local orchard or farm stand and enjoy the fruits of the land! Have a glass of hot apple cider, enjoy homemade donuts and pumpkin pies—just take advantage of the fresh, homegrown foods. The many Lake Champlain farms offer a variety of fruits and vegetables and specialties such as organic local honey, maple products and handmade preserves.
In October, many of the orchards offer Halloween festivities including haunted houses and sleigh rides. Some have big pumpkin patches and mazes to explore, horse drawn carriage and sleigh rides, pony rides, petting zoos and more. Others have living history demonstrations such as blacksmithing, corn shelling, rope making and candle dipping.
Head out under the autumn sun and test your skills on one of the region's beautiful mountain layouts, featuring challenge, variety and exceptional scenery! The Lake Champlain golf courses feature lush green fairways and unrivaled views of the Adirondack High Peaks and Green Mountains of Vermont. The region boasts six courses, including two championship layouts. But keep in mind, no matter where you play, the colorful fall backdrop won't disappoint.
Take a Historic Walking Tour:
The historic towns of Essex, Keeseville, Port Henry and Westport offer self-guided walking tours. View the well-preserved 19th century brick and stone homes, churches, inns and shops replete with carefully manicured lawns and gardens. The village of Essex has one of the finest and most intact collections of Federal and Greek Revival architecture in New York State.
In Keesville, you'll see the first dam at Anderson Falls on the AuSable River—built in 1808 to power a sawmill, see fine homes and churches and walk through the 145-structure historic district and the three Historic American Engineer Bridges. In Port Henry's historic downtown, you'll learn about Moriah's industrial legacy and in Westport, you'll see architecture from the 1700s and early 1800s.
Get a Glimpse of History:
Discovered in 1609 by French explorer Samuel de Champlain, the Lake Champlain region offers 400 years of significant history—and is now home to numerous museums and historic sites. For visitors, each site offers a glimpse of the way life used to be.
Check out the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabeth town for a large collection of artifacts from over 200 years of Essex County history and culture. The exhibits cover early farming and frontier life, wilderness exploration and recreation, logging, mining, and transportation. Or visit the Hancock House-Ticonderoga Historical Museum and Walking Tour. The museum features furniture and objects from the 18th and 19th century including Duncan Phyfe and Chippendale pieces, colonial-era furniture, old toys, local history displays, and a unique collection of memorabilia from the Defiance Hose Company, a local volunteer fire department circa 1880.
If you're in Crown Point, visit the Penfield Homestead Museum. It's considered the birthplace of the Electric Age and includes the 1826 homestead, carriage barn, church, threshing barn and cow barn. Take a historic walking tour along the edge of Putnam's Creek or go fishing on Penfield Pond by permit.
Lake Champlain Winter Itinerary:
Outdoor activities abound in the Lake Champlain Region during the winter season—from fishing, skiing and skating on Lake Champlain, to fun events and other outdoor adventures. Explore the region's rolling hills, climb one of the Adirondack Mountains or snowshoe through open fields. After a day of snowy thrills, head into one of the region's charming towns for a hot chocolate, a hot toddy, or simply a hot shower.
Visit Ausable Chasm.
Explore the oldest natural attraction in the USA, featuring uniquely-carved, vertical-walled canyons made of 500 million year old rock. During the winter, visitors can traverse miles of maintained paths and walk the entire rim of the chasm. Take in the incredible views of the towering icy cliffs and snowy natural landscape from scenic overlooks, bridges, walkways, and lookouts.
Opt for the 30-minute waterfall walk to view the nearly frozen Rainbow Falls and the famous Elephant's Head or choose a one or two hour guided adventure that will explore remote sections of the chasm, and take you to marvel at 150 foot icicles and unique rock formations blanketed in snow.
Go Ice Fishing.
Every winter, anglers from near and far descend on frozen Lake Champlain for a day of fishing and festivities. Fish for lake trout and northern pike or when the deeper water freezes, try smelt fishing in Port Henry, Westport and Willsboro Bay.
Hire a licensed guide to teach you the technique and where the secret stashes are; or rent a shanty of your own in Port Henry and Westport. In Port Henry there is also a taxi that ushers fishermen on and off the ice or from one ice shanty town to another.
Ski or Snowshoe
Strap on snowshoes or cross country skis and spend a few hours outside. The Lake Champlain Region boasts an extensive network of trails—perfect for skiing or a peaceful snowshoe through the woods. Head to one of the region's state parks for open terrain, ski or snowshoe on frozen Lake Champlain, or for groomed cross country trails, check out Roger's Rock in Ticonderoga. Whether you want to go uphill or down, you'll enjoy scenic views of Lake Champlain and the snow-covered Adirondack and Green Mountains.
Attend an Event.
The Lake Champlain Region hosts a variety of events throughout the year—whether it's a performance at the Depot Theater, Christmas in the Village of Essex, or an exhibit at a local art gallery, the region's artistic offerings celebrate the winter season and the area's significant history. Following a performance or event, head into town and have a hot chocolate, stay at a charming Lake Champlain bed and breakfast, and enjoy a snowy evening in front of roaring fire.
Lake Champlain Summer Itinerary
If you're lucky enough to visit the Adirondack Coast during the summer season, there is no shortage of things to do, inside and out. Home to Lake Champlain—a 121-mile fresh water lake that boasts over 600 miles of shoreline and 70 islands—the region provides endless opportunities for water recreation. If you prefer to stay on dry land, the area offers 400 years of significant history, charming waterfront towns, fun attractions and easy access to outdoor adventure.
Explore the landscape.
Travel by boat, car, on foot or bicycle. The Lake Champlain Region features rolling hills and fertile farmlands, all resplendently green and full of life. Quiet, rural roads with views of the Adirondacks to the west, Green Mountains to the east and Lake Champlain offer picturesque views and moderate inclines— perfect for road biking, running or leisurely walks.
The region also boasts six golf courses and miles of hiking trails. For a scenic excursion, climb Coon Mountain or Belfry, featuring an old fire tower and stunning views from the top. For a picturesque drive, head up Mount Defiance and enjoy a panoramic view of Lake Champlain, Fort Ticonderoga, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. You can drive almost to the summit on a historic road made by the army of British General Burgoyne in 1777, and then walk to the observation deck.
For water activities, bring your kayak, canoe or launch a boat from the many public launches or rent one from a local marina. Swim, water ski, fish and soak up the sun.
Explore the arts.
With its beautiful and scenic natural setting, the Lake Champlain Region has long inspired artists and writers of all genres. Visit the famed Meadowmount School of Music, where legendary musicians like Itzhak Perlman trained or the Depot Theatre, where world-class artists bring new favorites and well-known classics to life. Catch an outdoor performance at a waterfront pavilion or attend any one of the many festivals and celebrations held throughout the summer.
Learn the history:
Explore the forts at Crown Point and Ticonderoga and learn how America changed the course of world history forever. Built by the French and British militaries in the 18th century, these strongholds were critical posts during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.
During the American Revolution in particular, Crown Point was the northernmost point of American control and Fort Ticonderoga was the scene of America's first major victory in its struggle for independence. The sites represented the United States' northern stronghold protecting New York and New England from British invasion from Canada. Today, the forts serve as historic sites and offer museum collections, artillery demos, reenactments and daily tours.
Visit a museum:
With its remarkable history, it's no surprise that the Lake Champlain region is home to a variety of museums and historic sites that preserve and display the artifacts of bygone eras. Explore the Hancock House-Ticonderoga Historical Museum, Penfield Homestead Museum, The Iron Center Museum, Ticonderoga Heritage Museum, the 1812 Homestead Museum or the Adirondack History Center Museum, among others. Or consider a scenic walking tour through the historic hamlets of Essex, Keeseville, Westport, Fort Ticonderoga or Port Henry.