This 482-acre state park includes more than two miles of land on Lake Carmi — and Vermont's third largest peat bog. Take a walk through this designated natural area, or get out on the water. Bring your fishing pole and land some walleye or Northern Pike. This is also the state's largest campground, so there are plenty of spots to spend the night.
There’s no rest for the wannabe Olympian here. Once the snow melts, the cross-country skis are replaced with skulls. Boaters come from all over to ply the waters of Big and Little Hosmer lakes at the first-ever rowing camp in North America. They work with world-class coaches, eat good food and take classes in related disciplines such as yoga. Runners, too, flock to Craftsbury to improve their technique and hang with other hoofers. The vast network of trails, groomed for marathon cross-country skiing, are just as inspiring in the summer.
This small island offers remote camping only — that means no potable water. Reservations are competitive and you have to be prepared to schlep your stuff — in and out. The “Island Runner” ferry leaves from Kill Kare State Park at the southern tip of St. Albans. Can't get in? Try the Burton or Woods Island State Parks.
This state park is home to the Island Center for Arts and Recreation, a community-based nonprofit that promotes cultural events in the region. Until recently, the Royal Lippizan Stallions used this as their summer home. It's a great place to watch the boats go by on Lake Champlain.
This park is popular with people who want to camp near — but not in — Burlington. There's a boat launch for canoes and kayaks and plenty of lakeshore for swimming and fishing.
Where there’s a wind, there’s a way, and it’s almost always blowing in Champlain Islands. That, combined with lots of beach access, makes the area ideal for windsurfing. At Sandbar State Park, you can catch a southeast breeze, or a northwest one, and go the distance. White’s Beach on South Hero is also a favorite launch spot. Serious surfers head out between Stave and Providence islands to the broad lake, where they can ride the big waves all the way to New York. Depending on the wind direction, the Grand Isle Lake House can be a sweet spot, too.
With 653 acres, Green River Reservoir is the largest “quiet” lake in Vermont. No gas-powered boats are allowed on the water, which makes it perfect for paddling. And you need a boat — and some muscle — to get to every one of the 28 remote campsites tucked in along the 19 miles of undeveloped shoreline; Some spots are as far as two miles from the launch. Parking is limited, and the park is considered “full” when the lot is.
The 830-acre Waterbury Reservoir was dry for seven years while the dam was being repaired, but has since been restored to its former boating-fishing-swimming glory. The only “development” on its pristine shores is Little River State Park, central Vermont’s largest and most popular campground, with 101 sites. Look for cellar holes, an old sawmill and other evidence of an abandoned 300-year-old farming “campground” that preceded it.
Button Bay is one of the best beaches on Lake Champlain: The water’s clean, and you can rent canoes and kayaks right there. If neither swimming nor boating appeals, there’s always the area’s unique geology: flat round “button-like” rocks along the shoreline are great for skipping. Seventy-three campsites and 13 lean-tos beckon if you feel like staying over. Samuel de Champlain, Ethan Allen, Benedict Arnold and Ben Franklin all did. PHOTO: CAROL DINGLEY
People have been fighting over Lake Champlain as long as there have been personal flotation devices. The waterway’s strategic value is evidenced by the dozens of shipwrecks on the bottom. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has been discovering, researching and protecting those rusty relics, and the result is the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve, a gallery of sunken ships accessible to divers. But there’s plenty to look at on land, too. The dry museum chronicles the maritime history of the area through exhibits, boat-building demonstrations, lectures and festivals.
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