8 Things to Do in Lake Champlain in the Summer



Looking for a fun summer vacation spot? I can’t recommend Lake Champlain enough! We visited at the end of the summer, and the weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot, but it was still warm enough to enjoy hanging out in the water. If you’re looking for things to do in Lake Champlain in the summer, these are my top 8 recommendations!

8 things to do in Lake Champlain

8 Things to Do in Lake Champlain in the Summer

About Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain is the sixth largest freshwater lake in the U.S. It falls between New York and Vermont (and borders Canada), so you can access it on either side. We stayed in Plattsburgh, NY, and it’s easy to take a ferry across the lake to the Vermont side!

The lake is famous for the location of Fort Ticonderoga, and Plattsburgh and Burlington, VT are the two largest cities on the lake.

Grey boathouse on Lake Champlain

Watch the sunrise and sunset over the lake

You can get incredible views of the sunrise and sunset on Lake Champlain! They were so colorful, and I couldn’t get enough of them.

Sunrise over Lake Champlain

Purple sunset over Lake Champlain

Have fun in the water

This one might seem obvious, but have fun in the lake! You can rent a boat, go swimming, go kayaking, or just dip your toes in, whatever you want to do.

Our Airbnb in Plattsburgh had kayaks included, and our Siberian Husky Annika surprisingly loved kayaking! If you prefer swimming or just hanging out by the water, there are some beaches along the lake.

Man with husky in an orange kayak on Lake Champlain

Husky in a teal life vest in a lake

Visit Plattsburgh, NY

We stayed in Plattsburgh and loved it! There are lots of restaurants, shops, historic sites, parks, and beautiful houses, and I wrote about all the things you can do in Plattsburgh. It has a cute downtown so you still get a city feel while you’re vacationing on a lake.

Chapter One coffee house in teal building in Plattsburgh, NY

Colorful medallion mural in Plattsburgh, NY

Blue Victorian house with sunflower garden and tree in Plattsburgh, NY

Visit Grand Isle State Park in Vermont

Grand Isle State Park is actually an island in Lake Champlain on the Vermont side. You can take the ferry from Plattsburgh, or you can drive across a bridge from Vermont. It’s pretty small so you don’t need a full day to visit, but there are some cool things to see.

You can go shopping at Grand Isle Art Works, visit the Hyde Log Cabin & Schoolhouse (one of the oldest log cabins in the U.S.), and take a stroll on the Ironwood Nature Trail!

Hyde Log Cabin at Grand Isle State Park, Vermont

Artisan store with large yard at Grand Isle State Park, Vermont

Hiking trail in forest at Grand Isle State Park, Vermont

Visit Burlington, VT

There’s a lot you can see in Burlington, VT (it is the largest city on the lake), so I recommend spending at least a day!

You can visit historic sites like the Ethan Allen homestead, get lots of great food from farms, see the world’s tallest filing cabinet (yes, really), walk around and shop downtown, and eat delicious ice cream. I have a whole post on things to see in Burlington if you’re planning to visit!

Church Street with stores and people walking in Burlington, VT

Colorful mural of women hiking in Burlington, VT

River with green trees on the riverbank

Boats moored at a dock on Lake Champlain in Burlington, VT

Experience history at Fort Ticonderoga

Visiting Fort Ticonderoga was one of my favorite things to do in Lake Champlain! Fort Ticonderoga is an 18th-century star fort built by the French right on Lake Champlain. It’s a cool fort to see with lots of interesting history, and you can get some incredible views of the lake from the fort.

Bonus: the grounds are dog-friendly, so Annika got to join!

View of Lake Champlain from Fort Ticonderoga

Interior of Fort Ticonderoga with stone wall and cannons

Garden with pink and red flowers and wooden shed at Fort Ticonderoga

View of Fort Ticonderoga and Lake Champlain surrounded by trees

Visit wineries and breweries

There are quite a few wineries and breweries around Lake Champlain! We spent an afternoon drinking wine and cider at Elf’s Farm Winery in Plattsburgh, and we got beer and food at Zero Gravity in Burlington.

All of the places I looked at had great reviews, so I don’t think you can go wrong. And for a bonus, we got to take in the beautiful scenery of the grape vines and apple orchard at Elf’s Farm, so you can get some great views with your beer and wine.

Apples growing on a tree in Plattsburgh, NY

Cider flight at Elf's Farm Winery in Plattsburgh, NY

Eat a lot of amazing food

We had everything from Mediterranean to Himalayan food on our Lake Champlain vacation! And it’s close to the Canadian border, so we also had delicious cheese curds and crepes.

In Burlington, be sure to get chocolate (and/or ice cream) from Lake Champlain Chocolates, and you can find maple syrup at a lot of farms and shops.

Bowl of poutine at Elf's Farm Winery in Plattsburgh, NY

Lake Champlain Chocolates store

Those are 8 things to do in Lake Champlain in the summer, but you should also visit in the fall and winter, too! It’s a beautiful area with so much to explore 🙂

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Blog, New York & New Jersey, North America, Travel, USA, Vermont

  1. Farrah says:

    I came here once in the fall but would love to go back in the summer to visit! So many fun things to do! :] Annika is adorable!

  2. Aireona says:

    The lake experience here in the Southwest is so different than there. I’d really love to go and experience everything that Lake Champlain has to offer. It looks so picturesque and relaxing. Thank for convincing me to go!

  3. Lynda says:

    That looks like a lot of fun! I think the fort, winery, and visiting Burlington would be on the top of my list.

  4. Krista says:

    I would definitely love to catch a sunrise here, the view looks amazing! It’s great that there are so many outdoorsy things to do here – makes it a great place for a summer getaway!

  5. Shafinah says:

    wow those sunsets looks so beautiful 😍😍 and everything in Grand Isle State Park looks so spectacularly quaint too!

  6. Amy M Dent says:

    Looks like a great spot!

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