I left New York state today after ten days of traveling the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, crossed into Vermont and immediately started the next quest to Lake Champlain Islands in Vermont.
As I ventured closer to the Champlain Islands, just below Quebec, Canada that is French-speaking, I all of a sudden started to pick up French radio stations. There was a mix of talk show and music radio stations which was an interesting change that I quite enjoyed.
I took 4 years of French in high school, but I can’t say I can speak it anymore, but I can pick out a few words here and there.
I’ll get some time though in the next month to brush up on my French when I visit Old Quebec City after my trip to Maine.
The landscape of water and islands is such a beautiful sight and just really feeds my soul. I could sit by the water all day and just read, relax, and soak in the sun.
Have you ever seen those questionnaires where you're asked if you would enjoy yourself more next to water or mountains?
I can't pick.
I love both, but I do know that I come alive when I'm around water. If you give me both water and mountains – I'm living the dream!
Champlain Islands Road Trip
You’ll find that I wasn’t able to do a lot of stopping through the 33 miles on the Lake Champlain Islands, because so much of it is farm lands with corn fields and pastures, then residential areas surrounded by water.
It’s a beautiful drive though and it doesn’t disappoint with its views of the Burke and Adirondack mountains.
There are three islands that make up Champlain Islands – North Hero, Grand Isle, and South Hero, named after two of Vermont’s revolutionary leaders, Ethan and Ira Allen.
This was a quick trip at 33 miles, but such a beautiful place to drive through, stop and explore, and enjoy the water and watch the sail boats sail by in Lake Champlain.
I noticed the numerous bicyclists also enjoying the easy ride, since it's relatively flat, through the Champlain Islands and across the bridges that connect the islands.
There weren't many pull-offs to stop and gawk and the nature around, but I managed a few times to find some spots to capture its beauty.
Immediately I also noticed that some of the roads signs were in both French and English and my radio station started picking up a plethora of French music. Being that I was just south of Quebec, which the national language is French, you could see the French influence all around.
Lake Champlain Facts
Lake Champlain, or “the Islands” as the locals call it, is home to apple orchards, plentiful water recreation during the warmer seasons, and ice fishing in the winter. It's also a weekend haven for locals with its numerous entrances via bridges and ferries.
How big is Lake Champlain?
- 435 square miles of surface water
How deep is Lake Champlain?
- On average it’s 64 feet, but at it’s deepest point it’s 400 feet
How long is Lake Champlain?
- 120 miles
How wide is Lake Champlain?
- At it’s widest point, it’s 12 miles wide
Where is Lake Champlain located?
- It’s primarily in Vermont, but is also part of New York and Quebec, Canada in the Montreal area.
Camping in Lake Champlain Islands
I had considered staying at a local RV resort while on Champlain Islands, but with it being high season the rates were well into the $60-$80 range for one night.
Considering I was going to be up early to start the Vermont 22A scenic route and always trying to conserve funds for when I absolutely need to stay in an RV resort, I decided to keep going and found a local Walmart, in Burlington, Vermont, to dry camp at once again.
I’m so glad these Walmarts are everywhere, but this one was quite the challenge.
Imagine a very slopped parking lot on a hill.
Home Depot is at the top of the hill and Walmart is at the bottom with a parking lot in between both stores. There was an incredible slope to the parking lot. At any given point I was at a 8% to 12% grade slope which is just nuts and not at all good for the refrigerator.
The refrigerator can only be at a max 3% slope in order function properly since it uses the absorption method of cooling.
Then to make matters worse, I couldn’t even figure out where the overnight parking was because the layout instructions in the parking lots were confusing.
They had aisle A, B, C and so forth and signs saying no overnight parking in a specific aisle, but then it wouldn’t designate no overnight on another aisle, but no overnighting in first 10 spots due to employee parking. Then if you looked down one aisle it wouldn’t have any indicator of no overnight parking, but then if you face the other direction it would say no overnight parking.
So you might be thinking, “There’s no overnight parking Amber”; however my AllStays app indicated there was overnight parking and had I called ahead to double-check that Walmart allowed overnight parking. When I called they said it was ok.
I called Walmart again and asked about the confusing parking lot and to find out exactly where I should park so I didn’t get a knock at my door in the middle of the night. Walmart told me to call Home Depot, because it was their lot. So I called Home Depot and they said to call Walmart, because it was their lot.
My head is reeling by now and all I want to do is get settled.
Finally I found somebody who could help me and there was this ONE stretch of parking spaces along a grove of trees that RVs could park.
It was flat for the most part!!
So off I go to park and get settled. Geeze!! Finally I can get parked after an hour of messing around with that parking lot.
By night fall there must have been another 15 RVs and even a couple of tents (amongst the tree area) in the parking lot.
This is why I give myself a couple of options each day for parking and to travel to my overnight spots several hours before night fall, at the very least, in case I encounter challenges like this.
Overall, it was a great relaxing day traveling through the Lake Champlain Islands in Vermont. It’s might first time in Vermont and she didn’t disappoint!
What are your favorite places in Vermont to see, hike, and explore?
Overnights & Places Visited
- Walmart in Burlington, Vermont / $0
- Lake Champlain Islands, Vermont / No toll over bridges $0
RV Accessibility: Any length
Cell Phone Signal Strength: 1-2 bars and at times nothing at all which is why I didn't overnight on Champlain Islands
Park Pass: N/A
Panasonic Lumix G85 Camera – For most still images and vlogging
Sony Action Cam FDRX3000 – For dash cam and walking/talking video
Joby Gorillapod – Used for holding the cameras as a tripod or mounting to just about anything to capture a shot.
AllStays app – Use on phone or desktop for finding gas stations, RV parks, campgrounds, propane, and more on your travel route.
Verizon Data Plan – Best nationwide coverage as of this post while traveling.