Lake Champlain is at its widest in its northern third, with wide blue vistas across its up to 12 miles in width. After the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain is the sixth-largest body of freshwater in the country. In fact, it was briefly declared to be a Great Lake for all of three months in 1997, due to a rider in a bill for lake research inserted by Vermont Senator Pat Leahy. After an uproar, the designation (along with funds for research) was rescinded, leaving Champlain a Great Lake in character if not in name.
While not nearly as large as the Great Lakes, Champlain is unnaturally deep, reaching 400 feet deep in some areas (twice as deep as Lake Erie). That fact has helped to perpetuate the myth of a giant sea monster  named Champ that inhabits the lake’s depths, and occasionally surfaces for sightings by pleasure-boaters and kayakers. The lake is a popular destination for water-borne recreation, with dozens of state parks scattered around its north end. Not that this area is wilderness by any means—with 100,000 people in its metropolitan area, the university city of Burlington  is the largest in the state.
The easiest driving route to Burlington  is I-89 across Vermont, a two-hour trip (90 mi.) from White River Junction . The more scenic route is to take winding Route 7 up from Rutland  along the foothills of the Greens (65 mi., 1.75 hr.).
Flights from many major cities land at Burlington International Airport (BTV, 1200 Airport Dr., S. Burlington, 802/863-1889, www.btv.aero ), which is served by half a dozen airlines. Reservation desks for half a dozen major rental car companies are available at the airport.
Amtrak (800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com ) runs trains to Burlington (29 Railroad Ave., Essex Jct.), and Greyhound Bus Lines (800/231-2222, www.greyhound.com ) runs buses to Burlington Bus Station (345 Pine St., 802/864-6811).
Chittenden County Transit Authority (802/864-2282, www.cctaride.org ) has bus routes throughout Burlington and the surrounding area, including buses downtown from the airport and train station. To get to and from the airport, take bus route 1, which takes approximately 25 minutes to travel between BIA and downtown’s Cherry Street station. From the train station, take bus route 2, which takes approximately 40 minutes to make the trip between Essex Junction and Cherry Street. Bus fare is $1.25. Taxi stands are also available at the airport and the train station; to call a cab from other locations, contact Burlington Taxi (905/333-3333, www.burlingtontaxi.com ).