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Best Vermont State Parks for Water Sports

by Barbara Rogers

Aug 30, 2022

© Chris Hill | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

If kayaking, canoeing, fishing from a rowboat or balancing on a stand-up paddleboard are part of your family’s travel plans, Vermont is the place to go. More than 800 lakes dot the map, and many of the larger ones have state parks on their shores.

 

Along with the swim beaches, picnic areas and campgrounds, these lakeside parks often include rentals of various popular watercraft. Several state parks lie along the shores of Lake Champlain, Vermont’s largest body of water. Although some rent kayaks, Lake Champlain is not a good place for beginners or children; wind and waves can spring up quickly on the lake, and there is more likelihood of wakes due to motorboat traffic.

 

A better choice near Burlington is Waterbury State Park, where one section of Waterbury Reservoir bans power boats, so you can paddle in peace and watch for ospreys and other wildlife. In addition to canoe and kayak rentals, there are also lessons available.

 

Farther north, amid a landscape that is largely wilderness, Maidstone State Park is the perfect choice for families who love being surrounded by nature. Loons are a common sight on the lake, and you might even see a moose along the shore. The park includes two campgrounds, three beaches for swimming and rental kayaks, canoes and rowboats.

 

West of Rutland, in central Vermont, you can rent canoes, kayaks, row boats and pedal boats at the swimming beach in Lake Bomoseen State Park. The lake is long and narrow, which means lots of shoreline to investigate from a canoe or kayak; fishing is especially good here, too. The campground is popular with families because of the playground and large beach area.

 

Nearby, Lake St. Catherine State Park also has a large campground on the lake shore, with a swimming beach where you can rent kayaks, canoes and row boats. Kids will also want to explore Big Pines Nature Trail in the park.

 

Silver Lake State Park in Barnard, just north of Woodstock, rents stand-up paddleboards, along with canoes, kayaks, pedal boats and row boats. Although motorboats are allowed on the lake, they are rare, so the waters are often peaceful for paddlers. A park interpreter offers hands-on activities for kids and there are sometimes evening guided kayak tours.

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