15 Best Boat Rentals and Charters on Lake Champlain in Vermont

Written by:
Tom Riley
Date Published:
February 4, 2024
Spirit of Ethan Allen III cruise ship on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont

"Spirit of Ethan Allen III F Burlington 05-10-2022" by Wolfgang Fricke is licensed under CC BY 3.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Lake Champlain, nestled in the heart of Vermont, beckons with its serene beauty and boundless opportunities for adventure. Whether you're a seasoned sailor, a jet ski enthusiast, or simply seeking a relaxing day on the water, Lake Champlain has something for everyone. In this guide, we've curated the 15 best boat rentals and charters on Lake Champlain, showcasing the diverse experiences awaiting you. From historic sailing schooners to luxurious cruise ships, ex-racing sailboats to high-speed jet skis, and even fishing boats and pontoons, these options promise unforgettable moments on Vermont's treasured lake.

Whistling Man Schooner Co.

The Whistling Man Schooner Co. in Vermont offers two captivating sailboats, Friend Ship and Wild Rose, featuring classic design elements like bronze hardware and intricate woodwork, making them ideal vessels for exploring Lake Champlain's historical charm. Originally designed for fishing in Maine, these traditional Friendship Sloops offer stability and comfort on the water. The knowledgeable crew shares fascinating stories and legends about the region's unique history. Whether choosing public or private charters for one to eighteen guests, daytime or sunset cruises, departing from Burlington's ECHO Center, visitors can enjoy an unforgettable voyage that combines timeless elegance with a rich cultural experience on Lake Champlain.

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Spirit of Ethan Allen

"Spirit of Ethan Allen III F Burlington 05-10-2022" by Wolfgang Fricke is licensed under CC BY 3.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

The Spirit of Ethan Allen, Lake Champlain's only cruise ship and floating restaurant, sets sail from Burlington, Vermont, offering a memorable experience with stunning views, delectable cuisine, and exceptional service. With four decades of hosting guests from near and far, every day on the lake is a beautiful one aboard this iconic vessel. 

Operating from May to October, they provide a variety of cruise options, from daily scenic narrated excursions and a sumptuous lunch buffet to the renowned Champagne on Champlain Sunday Brunch and themed dinner cruises like the Springtime Dinner Cruise and the Harvest Moon Dinner Cruise. During peak season, guests can enjoy the Sounds of Summer Dinner Cruise, Lobstah on the Lake Buffet, and Captain's Dinner Dance. The Spirit of Ethan Allen is also available for private events, making it an ideal choice for weddings, company parties, and other special occasions.

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Sail Vermont

Photo from Sail Vermont via Facebook

Sail Vermont, departing from Burlington, Vermont, offers a unique sailing experience with their two exquisite sailboats, RED and Blue, both flush deck ex-ocean racers. These boats provide ample guest space, more than double that of other local offerings, allowing visitors to spread out comfortably. RED and BLUE are Swan 43's, known for their exceptional pedigree and balanced combination of speed and grace, making them a joy to sail. Accommodating up to 6 guests, the boats offer the opportunity to swim on sunny days, and private charters start at $500 for 6 people, with options for larger groups. Multiple departures are available daily, and guests are encouraged to actively participate in sailing operations, from steering to handling lines. Even dogs are welcome to join in on the adventure, making Sail Vermont an inviting choice for a memorable Lake Champlain cruise.

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Champlain Classic Charters

Photo from Champlain Classic Charters via Facebook

Champlain Classic Charters, departing from Burlington, Vermont, offers an extraordinary boating experience distinguished by its commitment to putting you in control of your Lake Champlain adventure. Their vessel, Butter, is a 25-foot antique replica reminiscent of 1950s-style lake boats, featuring a spacious open area with comfortable seating and a cocktail table, accommodating up to six passengers alongside the captain and crew. Whether you envision an afternoon on a secluded beach accessible only by boat, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as the sun sets over the majestic Adirondacks or fine dining at shoreline restaurants, Champlain Classic Charters caters to your desires. Whether it's a corporate retreat, team-building event, birthday celebration, anniversary, or even a romantic wedding proposal, they are dedicated to creating a memorable, intimate, and secure experience that will be cherished for years. They offer both daytime adventures and sunset cruises, with the added thrill of tubing and water skiing available during the day.

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Apple Island Marina

Apple Island Marina, nestled along the picturesque shores of Lake Champlain in South Hero, Vermont, offers fantastic boat rental options for those looking to explore this beloved lake. With both half-day and full-day rentals available, visitors can enjoy a few leisurely hours or a whole day of adventure on Lake Champlain. The pontoon boats provided by the marina are well-equipped, featuring Bimini tops for shade, swim ladders, convenient drink holders, tables, life jackets, anchors, and lake charts, ensuring a comfortable and safe experience. Their 22-foot pontoon boats comfortably accommodate 8 to 10 passengers, while the 20-foot pontoon holds 6 to 8. Notably, the marina is dog-friendly, making it an ideal choice for pet owners. Whether you're interested in sightseeing, fishing, or swimming, Apple Island Marina's boats are in excellent condition and their friendly, knowledgeable staff is ready to help make your Lake Champlain excursion unforgettable.

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Let’s Go Sailing

Let's Go Sailing in Burlington, Vermont, offers the city's premier charter sailing experience under Captain Gideon's attentive hospitality. With stunning views of Burlington, Vermont's Green Mountains, and New York's Adirondacks, this two-hour sailing adventure on Lake Champlain is perfect for corporate outings, family gatherings, or special occasions. Guests can actively participate in sailing or simply relax, with no prior experience required. The Hunter 29.5 foot sailboat is captained by Captain Gideon. The boat accommodates up to six guests and provides a comfortable setting for day sails, sunset cruises, picnics, and private events. Friendly dogs are welcome aboard, making it a family-friendly option to escape the summer crowds and enjoy the scenic beauty of Lake Champlain.

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Ladd’s Landing Marina

Photo from Ladds Landing Marina LLC via Facebook

Ladd's Landing Marina, a cherished fixture in Grand Isle, Vermont, has been a cornerstone of the Champlain Islands boating community for over three decades. In addition to serving as a popular marina, they provide an array of rental boats for a memorable Lake Champlain experience. Their rental fleet includes two 17-foot Boston Whaler Center Consoles and comfortable pontoon boats, with options available for single-day or multi-day rentals. Safety is a top priority, as all rentals come with essential equipment such as life jackets, lake charts, emergency bags, flotation cushions, and other necessary safety gear. Furthermore, all rental boats are equipped with Lowrance Chartplotter/GPS units, ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey on the lake. Rentals range from $350 to $450 a day with some discounts for multiple-day rentals.

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Northside Rides

Northside Rides in Vermont offers thrilling jet ski rentals, featuring the Sea-Doo Spark Trixx 3-up and Seadoo GTX 3-up models. The Spark Trixx, renowned for its trick-friendly design and built-in speaker for cruising to your favorite tunes, is a customer favorite for its quality and affordability. The Seadoo GTX 3-up combines comfort, performance, and style for an unforgettable ride. Northside Rides prides itself on featuring the newest jet ski models, ensuring top-notch condition and modern amenities. Located at Calm Cove Marina in Colchester, Vermont, they provide access to the stunning Lake Champlain. With prices ranging from $60 for 30 minutes to $720 for a full day, Northside Rides offers an exciting jet ski adventure for riders of all levels, open daily from May through September. Come and test one out today, and experience the thrill for yourself!

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Cruise Lake Champlain

Cruise Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, provides both public and private boat cruises on Lake Champlain. Their motor vessel, Loon, offers spacious decks with comfortable seating and a well-appointed main cabin, ensuring a premium Lake Champlain experience. They offer 90-minute cruises three times a day during warmer months and two-hour sunset charters. With a capacity of up to six guests, dog-friendly policies, and the option to bring your own food and drinks, Cruise Lake Champlain promises a relaxing and memorable journey on the lake.

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Sail Wild Air

Photo from Sail Wild Air via Facebook

Sail Wild Air in Burlington, Vermont, provides an affordable and captivating sailing experience on Lake Champlain through private 2 to 3-hour chartered tours. With the option to relax or actively participate in sailing, guests can enjoy the stunning scenery of Vermont's western border and the Adirondack Mountains. Departing from Malletts Bay on their 32-foot Beneteau First sailboat, the experience offers both comfort and agility. With friendly captains, it caters to both seasoned sailors and newcomers, ensuring a cherished and private sailing experience, free from sharing space with strangers.

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Lakeshore Vermont

Lakeshore Vermont, a charming inn located on Malletts Bay with breathtaking views of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains, offers an exciting opportunity for guests and the public to explore the lake. Their rental pontoon boat is the perfect vessel for a day of adventure, whether it's swimming, sightseeing, fishing, or simply soaking up the sun. Available for full or half-day rentals, it comes equipped with essential amenities like a Bimini top, swim ladder, drink holders, life jackets, anchor, and a lake chart. The Lakeshore Pontoon, measuring 21ft., can comfortably accommodate 6-8 people. Prices start at $295 for a weekday half day, providing an affordable way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Vermont's Green Mountains and Lake Champlain.

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Basin Harbor 

Basin Harbor, the enchanting resort and boat club nestled along the shores of Lake Champlain, offers a fantastic array of rental boats for both guests and the general public to enjoy. With the stunning backdrop of Lake Champlain and its unparalleled views, renting a motorboat or pontoon boat from Basin Harbor is an excellent way to experience the beauty of Vermont. The resort boasts a diverse fleet of motorboats and pontoon boats available for rental, with options ranging from two-hour to full-day rentals. Whether you prefer a 21′ Open Bow 150hp Key West, a spacious pontoon boat, or the convenience of smaller Resorter motor boats, Basin Harbor provides the perfect vessels to load up a cooler and share an adventure on the lake with friends and loved ones.

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Saint Albans Bay Marina

Saint Albans Bay Marina, situated on Lake Champlain in Vermont, now offers an enticing selection of boat rentals, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and activities the lake has to offer. From exploring the scenic Camp Kill Kare, Woods Island, or Knight Island, to dining at local restaurants, witnessing stunning sunsets, or simply casting a line and unwinding, there's something for everyone. Guests can opt to rent their own boat or have it captained for added convenience and relaxation. The marina offers a range of boats, including 22-foot and 23-foot pontoon boats, as well as a 24-foot trophy boat, ideal for sightseeing, fishing, and swimming on the lake. Additionally, they provide captivating sunset cruises for those looking to enjoy Lake Champlain's charm during the twilight hours.

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North Hero Marina

Photo from North Hero Marina via Facebook

North Hero Marina, located on the scenic island of North Hero along the northern shores of Lake Champlain, is a charming full-service marina nestled in the sheltered corner of Carry Bay. Their offerings include a 21-foot Premier Pontoon equipped with a powerful 60 horsepower outboard engine, providing an excellent vessel for exploring the lake and taking in the breathtaking views. With rental rates of $275 for a half day and $395 for a full day, the pontoon is an affordable option for visitors to enjoy the beauty of Lake Champlain. From North Hero Marina, guests can easily venture to nearby attractions such as Isle La Motte, Point Au Roche State Park, and Fort Montgomery, making it an ideal starting point for an unforgettable lake adventure.

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Henry’s Sportsman’s Cottages

Photo from Henry's Sportsman's Cottages via Facebook

Henry’s Sportsman’s Cottages in Alburgh, Vermont, on the shores of Lake Champlain, offers a range of rental boats exclusively for their guests. To rent a boat, guests must be over 25 years of age, and it's essential to note that Vermont requires boaters born after 1974 to complete a boater safety course, which can typically be done online in just 2-3 hours. Henry’s Sportsman’s Cottages provide a variety of boats geared towards fishing enthusiasts, including a 17’ 90HP Polar Kraft, a 17’ 60HP G3 Angler, and 16’ 25HP Bass Boats. These boats present a fantastic opportunity for anglers staying at the cottages to explore the lake and make the most of their fishing experience on Lake Champlain.

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Lake Champlain's allure lies not only in its pristine waters but also in the wealth of experiences it offers. With the 15 best boat rentals and charters presented in this guide, you can explore the lake's beauty and charm from various perspectives. Whether you choose to sail the historic Friendship Sloops with Whistling Man Schooner Co., dine in luxury aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen, or rev up your adrenaline on jet skis from Northside Rides, Lake Champlain invites you to create lasting memories. With options like Lakeshore Vermont's pontoon rentals and Henry’s Sportsman’s Cottages' fishing boats, you can tailor your adventure to suit your preferences. So, seize the opportunity to embark on an unforgettable journey on Lake Champlain and discover the magic of Vermont's beloved gem.

Written By

Tom Riley

Tom was born and raised in New England and loves exploring all around the Northeast. From the mountains of New Hampshire to the waterfalls of Vermont, rugged coast of Maine, and white sand beaches of Cape Cod - Tom loves seeing what each state around him has to offer. Tom's favorite quote is by Seneca and it reads, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it." He believes everyday should be spent living life to the fullest!

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