Guide to Boat Tours and Cruises

What could be more enchanting than seeing Vermont’s vibrant fall foliage? See fall colors doubled, reflected on the surface of a body of water.

You might consider admiring Vermont’s colorful fall landscape from the water this year. The state has a variety of lakes surrounded by trees or mountains that can provide breathtaking views, enveloping the viewer with 360 degree views.

Tour operators run cruises or can ferry you around the perimeter of some of Green Mountain State’s most scenic spots through the fall, allowing you to show up and enjoy.

Take a cruise or sail on Lake Champlain in the fall

The Spirit of the Ethan Allen departs daily at 4 p.m. for a one-hour cruise on Lake Champlain during the fall season. The calendar on the website says it operates from October 1 to October 17, however, a calendar was accepting bookings until October 23 for the 2022 season.

The cruise includes open and closed spaces from which to take in the views, narration from a tour guide, and a variety of food and beverages that can be purchased from the onboard cafe.

Passengers must arrive 15 minutes in advance for boarding. Prices are $25 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 3-11, and $3 for children two and under. More information is available at or by calling 802-862-8300.

The Spirit of Ethan Allen III tour boat docked by the Burlington Community Boathouse on Lake Champlain in Burlington on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Another way to enjoy the fall colors of Lake Champlain is to set sail with Whistlingman Schooner Company. The operator can cater for individuals to small groups in a public sail, or small to large groups for a private sail. There are two ships – Wild Rose can accommodate six guests while the larger Friend Ship can accommodate up to twelve guests. A licensed captain and a sailor navigate the boat so that passengers can relax.

Customers must bring their own food and drink, if desired. Serving utensils and a chiller are provided, but finger foods are recommended, so silverware is not necessary.

Whistlingman sails until October 11, every day of the week, several times a day. Adult tickets for public cruises are $58 and children ages 5-12 are $45. There are age restrictions for children on public cruises, depending on the time of day they are sailing.

During the fall season, chartered private tours cost $330 for up to six people, $550 for up to 12 people, and $775 for groups of up to 18 people who want to use both boats for a tandem sail . Prices can reach $50 more for sunset cruises.

More information can be found at, by emailing [email protected] or by calling 802-825-7245.

Other ideas for fall adventures in Vermont:

Sloops from the Whistling Man Schooner Co. charter service docked on the Burlington waterfront on Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Guided punting tour for two on Waterbury Reservoir

You don’t have to go to Venice for you and a loved one to be transported by water. The Fly Rod Shop offers private drift boat tours to take in the fall foliage scenery from Waterbury Reservoir. The five-mile body of water resides between two mountains offering extraordinary views of the fall colors.

A guide will row from the center of the stable rowboat, which can accommodate up to two guests – one seated in the bow and one in the stern. The trip can take up to three hours. Customers are allowed to bring snacks and drinks.

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Four boats depart each day, departing at two different times: 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tours will be offered between September 15 and October 19 during the 2022 season. The cost is $380 for a boat ride (one or two people). Those interested should call (802) 253-7346 to reserve. More information at

Waterbury Reservoir

Lake Memphremagog cruise

The Northern Star offers cruises from Newport to Quebec, Canada on Lake Memphremagog.

During the fall season, there are a variety of day trips on the lake to take in the surrounding fall colors. A shoreline trip takes passengers along the eastern shore of the lake to the border with Quebec, then along the western shore on the way back.

The journeys last two hours and are commented. There are outdoor viewing areas as well as indoor air-conditioned spaces. Food and drinks are available for purchase at a harbor snack bar. For around $10 more per person, you can choose the Sunday Brunch cruise and get a full American breakfast.

Lake Memphremagog on September 20, 2011.

Cruises take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 8 or 9, depending on the circuit chosen. Daytime departure times are 11am or 2pm most days. General tickets for the Afternoon and Shore Cruises are $31.95 for adults, $16.95 for children ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under.

Reservations are required and can be booked at

If you want to exercise while you admire the changing leaves, many outfitters are offering boat, canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals this fall for temporary use to take with you or on travel plans. specific water through Vermont.

Contact the journalist April Barton at [email protected] or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.

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