When you think about the Lake Champlain Region, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably the lake itself, right? Lake Champlain is a dominant feature of this area. At 120 miles long and 12 miles wide at its widest point, and with an average depth of 64 feet, this is no small lake! Understandably then, there’s a lot of room to explore. For boating, fishing, paddling, and scenic cruising, there is no better place than Lake Champlain.
But not everyone has a boat, or a friend with a boat. And that’s alright, because there are still plenty of ways to get on the water and enjoy the lake!
Come sail away
Captain Barry Brogan welcomes you aboard for a new adventure on the lake that will surely be memorable! Join Sail Adirondacks for the region’s only crewed sailing experience on a classic sailboat to sail in some of the finest waters in the Adirondacks. There are a number of guided charters and a “learn to sail” option, so varying schedules and budgets can be accommodated.
Take a tour, go for a ride
It’s well known that the Lake Champlain Region is rich in history that can be explored from the land, but did you know you can also experience it from the water? A tour aboard Fort Ticonderoga’s Carillon boat not only provides visitors with breathtaking lake views of surrounding mountains and Fort Ticonderoga, it also crosses some of the most interesting waters in all of North America. A 75-minute narrated tour offers passengers a unique look into the area’s past shipwrecks and country-defining history. At the very least, you’ll get a scenic boat ride. At the very best, you’ll learn something fascinating about American history.
Another boat you can ride is the Ticonderoga Cable Ferry, which runs from Ticonderoga, NY to Shoreham, VT, for a simply stunning seven-minute crossing. Legend has it this is the oldest ferry crossing in North America, claimed to have been established by Lord Jeffrey Amherst in the year 1759!
For a multi-state scenic cruise, Lake Champlain Ferries have been transporting people (and cars and bikes) across the lake from New York to Vermont since 1826. In the Lake Champlain Region, ferries depart from Essex and Port Kent and run to Charlotte and Burlington, VT, respectively. Schedules vary, so checking online is the best way to ensure a ferry is running and to note departure / arrival times.
Boat rentals and more
Looking for a more private experience? The Westport Marina offers boat and kayak rentals that can be tailored to your needs. Single or double kayaks can be used for quiet trips or fishing adventures. Smaller motorized fishing boats and larger cruisers are also available. Be sure to call ahead to make your reservation!
Views on views on views!
Okay, so, now you’re on the water and ready to take in the views. We compiled a list of some of the most scenic locations on the lake. Just remember, the lake is big and some places may not be near where you launched. Don’t forget to have a map handy!
Be sure to check out these spots:
- Noblewood Park - This is where the Bouquet River meets Lake Champlain. It’s a wonderful place to paddle and there are equally impressive views. There’s also a sandbar if you want to get out and take a swim! (For the birders among your group, this is also an excellent spot.)
- Split Rock Wildway - While this area may be more frequently explored on hiking trails, it’s the largest protected shoreline on the lake, offering absolutely magnificent views! Many visitors enjoy viewing the Champlain Palisades of Split Rock Mountain. The towering cliffs really are jaw-dropping. The nearest hard-ramp boat launch is in Westport.
- Bulwagga Bay - Bulwagga Bay is legendary for many reasons. Aside from great views of Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Bulwagga Bay is also the home of Champ, Lake Champlain’s lake monster. While you’re taking in the landscape views, don’t forget to watch the waves; Champ might surface to say “hello!”
- In the calm waters surrounding Ticonderoga, take in the sights of Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Defiance, and Mount Independence (Vermont). All are visible from the lake. From the water, it’s not hard to imagine just how intimidating the sight of a full Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga would have been to the British in 1776. Indeed, geography did play a large role in the Revolutionary War!
- Lake Champlain Bridge Heritage Area - View the bridge and lighthouse from the lake, and, if you’d like, hop out for a little land exploration at Chimney Point, Crown Point State Historic Site, and the Lake Champlain Bridge, which has a pedestrian crossing. Short term docking is available.
Between sailing, historic cruises, and self-guided outings, you’ll definitely need more than one day to get the full on-the-water experience on Lake Champlain. Stay for awhile. Great restaurants, unique shops, and endless outdoor summer fun definitely make the Lake Champlain Region a bucket list destination.