Guide to Exploring Lake Champlain

If you read my previous blog post about our Brewcation to Burlington, VT, you’ll know that the area is known for the craft beer and awesome foodie spots. But Lake Champlain offers tons to do and see in itself! Lake Champlain is a large freshwater lake that sits on the border of Vermont and New York, but even goes as far North as the Canadian border! I couldn’t possibly touch on all of the things to do in and around this beautiful lake, but here are a couple things to get you started during your trip to Burlington, VT.

Burlington Waterfront

If nothing else, make sure you make it down to the waterfront to explore Lake Champlain a bit. There are restaurants, breweries, and ice cream shops to stop in, or just stroll down to the docks for some photo ops.

Burlington waterfront and bike path

Here you will also find the Burlington Greenway Bike Path that follows the coast of the lake. This path is paved and runs for 8 miles, so it’s a good option for cyclists of any experience level. If you don’t have a bike of your own, there are plenty of places in Burlington to rent a bicycle from.

ProTip: This spot is also dangerously close to Foam Brewery, so make sure to stop in there for a beer as well!

Colchester Causeway

Another option for exploring the lake via foot or bike, is the Colchester Causeway bike path. Colchester is located a couple towns north of Burlington but is also situated right on the coast of Lake Champlain. The causeway was originally a rail road that crossed the lake, but was converted into a scenic bike path with water on both sides.

Colchester Causeway path

It was damaged pretty bad during a storm in May of this year but recently reopened after repairs. You’ll see walkers, tourists, cyclists and entire families with dogs walking this trail at any given time. We only walked out about a mile and the views were beautiful!

ProTip: If you have access to bikes, definitely use those. We were disappointed that we didn’t have the bikes so we could go further out!

The unique thing about the causeway is the large chunks of granite and marble on either side. It creates a cool looking coastline, and something to hop around on for the adventurous souls!

Colchester Causeway, Vermont

Ride down far enough and catch the bike ferry across to the other side! The ferry connects the Vermont mainland to the Lake Champlain islands, where you’ll find even more to explore!

On the Lake

If you’d like to get out on the water, there are several beach areas up and down the coast. North Beach is the most well known one, located right near downtown Burlington. There are 4 public beaches alone in Burlington, with many more that you can get to with a little bit of a drive. Some beaches offer rentals of stand up paddle boards and kayaks, some have volleyball and tennis courts, and almost all of them have grills available to make some lunch and enjoy the day!

Boating is a bit more of a difficult venture, but not impossible. In order to rent a boat on Lake Champlain, you need to have a Vermont boating license and experience boating prior to the rental. From what I’ve read, it is not super difficult to obtain a boating license but you’ll need to plan well in advance for this.

Burlington lakefront area

If renting a boat is out of the question, but you’d still like to get out on the water, there are plenty of boat tours and cruises available! Check out the Spirit of Ethan Allen or sail the lake on the Whistling Man Schooner!

ProTip: You can’t go wrong with a sunset booze cruise! What better way to get a view from the lake!

View from Above

This last option came as a suggestion from a friend who lives up in the Burlington area and I had to share! When I travel somewhere new, I like to get a view from above at some point to get a different perspective. My friend suggested driving south from Burlington and hiking up Mt. Philo in the morning and then brewery hopping back up to Burlington.

view from the top of mt philo

You can choose to drive to the top or the 3/4 mile Mt. Philo hike is the perfect hike to feel like you’re getting a bit of a workout, but easy enough that anyone can do it. At the top you’ll find beautiful views overlooking Lake Champlain as well as a campground, a lodge you can rent, adirondack chairs to relax in and amenities for picnickers.

mt philo from the top

ProTip: Bring the SPF because it can be a bit sunny at the top depending on where you sit!

The views of the lake are well worth the trip up the mountain alone but you’ll also be conveniently nearby Fiddlehead Brewery and Folino’s pizza, which I wrote about in my previous post about the Burlington Beer Scene! It’s the perfect way to complete a mini-day trip outside of the main city.

Next time you find yourself in the Burlington, VT area, make sure to make time to appreciate the lake. Whatever way you choose to explore it, you won’t be disappointed!



Burlington, VT may be mostly known for their beer scene now but the beautiful Lake Champlain has plenty to offer as well. Whether you'd rather bike, walk, boat or hike, I've created a guide of several different ways to explore the lake during a weekend trip to Burlington, Vermont! @kristininmotion #travelguide #vermonttourism #visitVT
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Any cool places on the lake worth exploring? Comment below with your suggestions! Until next time..

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