Burlington, Vermont, is arguably one of the prettiest small cities in the United States. Perched on the shore of Lake Champlain and backed by the beautiful Green Mountains, this city of approximately 42,000 people has so much to offer.
Its proximity to the mountains and its lakeside setting make it a brilliant place to stay (and live) for outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, Burlington is a university city and has a vibrant nightlife. There are several excellent microbreweries, craft stores and boutiques. Church Street, the city’s commercial pedestrian artery, is a magnificent place to hang out in summer.
Hiking is definitely a massively popular thing to do around Burlington, but Lake Champlain has much to offer as well. The Burlington Waterfront is where you can go relax, grab a bite to eat at a floating restaurant, ride a bicycle and visit one of the many festivals that take place in Battery Park.
Lake Champlain cruises are amazing as well—I did one last Sunday and was blown away by the scenic beauty of this wonderful lake. Forming the border between Vermont and New York State, Lake Champlain, incidentally, is the fifth-largest freshwater lake in the United States, after the five Great Lakes.
Lake Champlain Cruise in Burlington, Vermont
There are a few companies that offer scenic boat cruises on Lake Champlain—and there is a ferry that commutes between Burlington and Port Kent, New York, as well. There are private charters, sailboat tours and cruises on larger vessels. Cruises range from wedding reception cruises to afternoon cruises to sunset and dinner cruises. As is the case everywhere in the United States, options are plentiful.
I booked a ticket with the Northern Lights; a ticket that didn’t cost more than $16 for a 1.5-hour afternoon cruise. It was a scorching hot afternoon and a Lake Champlain cruise was exactly what I was after.
The Northern Lights boat is made up of two decks and is a modern replica of one of the lake steamboats that would travel around the lake in the 19th and early-20th century.
The trip was essentially a large loop along the lakeshore and across the middle of the lake. 1.5 hours isn’t nearly enough to see most of Lake Champlain, though—after all, the lake is 125 miles (200 kilometers) long and 14 miles (23 kilometers) wide at its widest point.
The views were brilliant and took in the western shore of the lake; the Burlington skyline, which is dominated by the buildings of the University of Vermont that are located on a hill; and the ridge of the Green Mountains behind it. Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump, for instance, were clearly visible.
If you’re ever staying in Burlington, Vermont, and it’s a sunny day, make sure to hop on a boat and go on a Lake Champlain cruise!