A couple of weeks ago we took the whole week as a family to explore some of Lake Champlain’s best kept secrets, Burton Island, Knight Island and Woods Island. These are three islands in the “inland sea” of Lake Champlain that are also Vermont State Parks. Each is quite different in its size and character, and facilities. All of them are only accessible by boat. Here is the run down.
Burton Island is the biggest. “There are 17 tent sites and 26 lean-to sites plus 15 boat moorings and a 100-slip marina with Wi-Fi (wireless internet) connection, dockside electricity, fuel service, and a marine holding-tank pumpout facility, with ferry service to the island (no vehicles) from Kamp Kill Kare.” (http://www.vtstateparks.com) As you can see it has quite alot of facilities. The slips are mostly only accessible by power boat. If you have anything that drafts more than 4-5′, you will need to grab one of the first come-first served mooring balls. Pro Tip: The mooring field can be unprotected from a north wind and it can be a real struggle getting the ball. Try heading downwind with a little reverse to drift onto the ball. Of all the parks, Burton Island probably has the maximum “kid distraction factor”. We’ll drag their bikes on the boat and do the “come back when its dark” deal.
Knight Island is the next largest, and the only of the three that offers anchoring possibilities. “If you have your own boat, be advised, there are no docks, so you’ll need to either beach it (it’s fairly rocky) or anchor off. Knight Island is a “remote area” campground. Remote area campsites, while beautiful, are not for everybody. Sanitary facilities are minimal, and there is no potable water supply. The island’s seven campsites, six of them with rustic log lean-tos, are situated approximately equidistant around the 2 ½- mile shoreline” (http://www.vtstateparks.com). Knight Island is a great place to spend a night at. The kids can explore and fish during the day and the sunsets across the lake over the New York mountains are spectacular. Past one night though, the kids might start getting bored. The north side is probably best for anchoring.
Woods Island is the smallest of the three, and ideal for a day trip. Woods Island is another Remote Area Campsite with no water or amenities. There are not even lean-tos. It has some interesting things to explore, “a private developer saw the beginnings of an airstrip constructed down the center of the island” (http://www.vtstateparks.com).
The best aspect of these three State Park Islands is that they are all so close. We spent 5 days exploring them all. We used Burton Island as our home base and mixed our days with beach combing on Burton to quick sailing trips to Knights and Woods to explore more.
Short sailing time and long land time are a perfect combination for sailing with kids.
Ironically, you get exactly the same in the BVI and USVI. The islands of this vacation spot follow the same vein – close together with lots to see when you get on land!