Lake Champlain is the largest body of fresh water in the U.S. after the Great Lakes, and at 120 miles in length and an average depth of 400’ and 12 miles across, everything about it is impressive. But more impressive than its size is its unspoiled beauty. In a state already known for conservation and back-to-nature vacations, Lake Champlain is the secret destination for a growing number of New England vacationers.
Here’s my pick of five destinations and attractions in the Lake Champlain region when you visit…
ISLAND HOPING VERMONT STYLE:
The northern half of Lake Champlain contains a wonderful patchwork of Islands. The largest of the Islands are interconnected with each other and the Vermont mainland by Route 2 in the south and Route 78 in the north. Following Route 2 from south to north will take you through the picturesque towns of South Hero, Grand Isle, North Hero, and Alburg just a few miles from the Canadian border.
The Lake Champlain Islands’ terrain is flat to gentle rolling hills, which means bicycling is a popular way to get around on vacation. In most areas you’ll have unobstructed views of Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east, and New York’s Adirondacks to the west.
BURLINGTON – LAKE CHAMPLAIN’S CITY
Though Montpelier is the state capital of Vermont, its largest city is Burlington, which sits on the shore of Lake Champlain, with the stunning backdrop to the east of the Green Mountains.
Activities in Burlington include ECHO, Vermont’s world-class lake aquarium and science center on the waterfront, Lake Champlain Chocolates guided factory tour, where you can see these famous chocolates made right before your eyes, and The Ethan Allen Homestead and Museum. Complete your day with a train ride through the beautiful Champlain Valley on the Green Mountain Railroad. The train meanders through gently rolling green pastures to Shelburne and back.
CRUISES ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN
Two cruise boats operate on Lake Champlain in the summer – “The Spirit of Ethan Allen III” accommodates 500 people and the “Northern Lights” has room for 150 guests. Both these boats leave from the docks in Burlington.
While cruising you’ll listen as tour guides discuss the Lake Champlain region’s rich revolutionary past, the importance of the Native Americans of this area, and interesting facts about the Lake. But center stage on either cruise is the stunning views of the Islands and the surrounding mountains of Vermont and New York. wine lake garda