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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂