A Lake Champlain boat trip has so many possibilities since its waters stretch between two states and two countries—and because so much of the shoreline is undeveloped. You can charter a boat, bring your own or combine your boating trip with exploration of the parks and beaches. Whatever you decide, this lake has enough to do for an extended vacation.

Lake Champlain is the thirteenth largest lake in the US, at 125 miles long (north to south) and 14 miles wide. This freshwater paradise reaches 400 feet in depth (but usually closer to 100 feet deep) and will ice up entirely some winters.

Located between Vermont and New York, this huge body of water has tendrils that extend into the Canadian city of Montreal. When planning a Lake Champlain boat trip, it’s prudent to decide on which portion of the lake to explore, since its scope and geography are significant. We break it down into three major areas for boating: New York, Vermont, and Canada.

How to Plan the Ultimate Boat Trip Around Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain’s shores includes cliffs, rocky outcroppings, mountains, meadows and beaches. It truly has an astounding array of scenery in every direction. You can even sail via the Hudson River in New York, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean!

New York State

bridge over Lake Champlain in New York State

From New York, a Lake Champlain boat trip offers the best range of choices.

Unless you decide on a remote launch with your own watercraft, a Lake Champlain boat trip can launch from one of several marinas on the New York shoreline. There are more than we can cover in this brief article, but visitors often choose a charter boat site based on where they will stay along the lake. Once you’ve pinpointed lodging, your local marina can double as charter launch site or a place to rent your own.

The village of Westport in New York, for example, offers kayak and powerboat rentals or a place to launch your own. Here, you’ll find a marina with most of the needed amenities and lodging nearby. The town of Westport is large enough to offer dining and lodging, and the lakeshore itself has several nearby parks, including campgrounds.

On the New York shore, south of Willsboro, you’ll find lovely Noblewood Pond. Launching here will take you into the lake from a quiet area with primitive tent camping and some seasonal boat rentals.

At Bulwagga Bay, also on the New York shoreline, you’ll find a variety of boat rentals from kayaks to paddle boats. Billed as a “resort and campground” this area is extensive enough to set up for a few nights of lodging and several days of paddling and swimming.

For another way to see the area, consider a rafting adventure. Adirondac Rafting Company books trips throughout the summer in the area of nearby Indian Lake.


sailboat on Lake Champlain

A great way to see the lake from the Vermont side is to stay in the larger city of Burlington (pop. 43,000) for base lodging. From here, you can rent all types of boats, from small power boats to schooners. Sailing along Lake Champlain from the Vermont side is a quiet, peaceful way to experience the lake like no other.

For an amazing experience on the lake, consider skippered yacht charter. It’s not as pricey as you might imagine, and a relaxing way to take in the sights with a guided tour.You can rent a charter with Champlain Classic Charters, which leaves out of Burlington, VT.

The Vermont shores are less developed, so check out Vermont’s State Parks for some exquisite and remote camping options.


sunset over Lake Champlain

To access the lake from the Canadian side, you’ll need a passport and a plan for lodging. Boat rentals here are fewer and far between since the shoreline is less developed and much less of the lake lies north of the US border. For rentals, the best option is to explore lodging and marinas across the border individually to find the perfect launch or rental location.