For over a century, people have flocked to the Basin Harbor Club along the shores of Lake Champlainto explore, recharge and reconnect with friends and family. Here you will find timeless traditions, beautiful landscapes and authentic Vermont hospitality. The motto at Basin Harbor Club is that guests experience “active tranquility.” You can be as active or as relaxed as you choose. On our recent visit (and since I’m the Fitness TravelingMom), we decided to check out many of the great activities to help keep our bodies moving.
You’ll find the Basin Harbor Club a few miles from the quaint town of Vergennes, Vermont. We could not believe all of the wonderful activities at the resort. It was hard to choose which ones to fit into our long-weekend visit. The resort claims that there are more than 130 things to see and do each day. Here are the activities we chose to do and a list of what we can’t wait to try on our next visit.
Our Favorite Activities
The entire resort provides an atmosphere that encourages kids and families to play together. Our kids made friends swimming, on the playground, and playing lawn games. I get the feeling that this is the type of place where some families come year after year to reconnect with others they meet. We loved that!
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Basin Harbor offers a few ways to cool off. They have a heated pool that uses eco-friendly solar panels to keep the water at a comfortable temperature. We decided to take on the cooler waters of Lake Champlain. My kids (ages 10 and 13) especially enjoyed the water trampolines. My daughter got a bit chilly so the two of us sunned ourself for a while on the wooden float. My son played with some other kids for hours.
Stand-up paddle boarding is a perfect blend of exercise and relaxation. Paddleboarding is a great core workout and can be incorporated into your daily routines while on vacation. Bring your own board, or rent one at the waterfront. Since we are new to paddle boarding, we used the smaller complimentary boards at the waterfront. We also opted to sit down most of the time. Standing or sitting, it’s a blast!
Lawn Games, Gaga, and Shuffleboard
There is a wide variety of lawn games like frisbee golf, croquet, badminton, corn hole, ladder golf, and a giant chess board. There are also two Shuffleboard courts and a Gaga pit. We took part in nearly all of these activities at least once. Shuffleboard and Frisbee golf were are favorites.
Another popular activity was the grass Volleyball court behind The Red Mill restaurant where we had dinner each night. Volleyball is a great way to have some competitive fun and get some exercise! Somehow, our kids always won. Maybe I had one too many lobster rolls.
Basketball and Soccer
Soccer is a great way to work off a meal. Also conveniently located near the Red Mill Restaurant is a large grass soccer field with free soccer balls and goal nets provided. We frequented this field quite a few times during our visit.
Located just outside the Wellness Center, you can also shoot hoops on the outdoor court. Basketballs are provided. My husband went out for a jog one day and stopped to shoot a few 3-pointers too.
A truly unique experience, Knockerball will get the entire family literally rolling with laughter. Jump inside inflatable balls to bump, bounce and giggle. This is a special treat typically offered on weekends. Check with the concierge to see if it’s available when you visit. This was my daughter’s absolute favorite activity. She loved being able to knock over her big brother and father. Our entire family could not stop laughing. It was so much fun!
Paddle Boats and Small Boats
There are several complimentary vessels that can be used in the harbor area to enjoy the water! Paddleboats, kids boats and any boats on the sandy beach are available for you to use, free of charge. Lifejackets are also available free of charge. My kids often had me give them a ride in a paddle boat out to the water trampolines to avoid the chilly swim. It was tons of fun and good exercise too! I felt the burn in my legs for sure.
The resort recently added a fully equipped fitness center. It used to be an old homestead down the road. It’s now a lovely combination of old and new featuring state-of-the-art equipment and a fitness studio. Fitness classes are offered during the
summer season. We were so busy the first day that I found this gem the second day. It was the perfect place to get in a morning workout. My daughter was excited to try out a few things like the elliptical trainer and rowing machine.
Water Skiing, Tubing & Boat Rentals
Visitors can take out a power boat and have a blast zooming around the lake. We opted to watch the brave folks taking on this activity during the chillier spring weather. During the busy summer months, water-skiing and tubing can fill it quiet fast, so the resort recommends signing up before you arrive. The water was a bit too cold for these activities, but we did take out a motor boat for with the harbor captain for a tour of the area. My kids loved it when he went Captain Marty went really fast. My husband and I enjoyed taking in the scenery on a beautiful day.
Guests can sign up for weekly excursions lead by a guide or get recommendations from the concierge regarding the best hikes in the area. The guided excursions take folks across the lake to Adirondack State Park. There is also lovely nature trail along the lake on the Basin Harbor Club property. We took this walk on our last morning before heading home. It was a wonderful last look at the property and Lake Champlain. We can’t wait to return!
Activities for Our Next Visit
Single and double kayaking is another wonderful way to enjoy the lake. You can explore on your own, or sign up for one of the resort’s weekly kayak tours. The tours bring guests around Lake Champlain to learn about local flora and fauna.
This section of Lake Champlain is ideal for canoeing. It is great exercise and a wonderful way to have some fun on a hot day. If you are in good shape, you may opt to canoe across the lake for a picnic or a swim in the cove!
Unfortunately, the day we planned to bike there was a big thunderstorm so we played games in our cottage. The grounds of Basin Harbor Club offer 700 acres of safe, paved biking trails. There is very little traffic within the resort as most people walk or use golf carts to get around. Available rental bikes range from road bikes to mountain bikes. If you want to go off property, you can take an afternoon to bike to the Champlain Bridge, or a shorter 7 mile bike into downtown Vergennes to enjoy shopping or a pastry at a local bakery. If exploring the woods is more your style, you can pick up a trail map from the concierge.
Basin Harbor Club offers one of Vermont’s finest golf courses and the only lakeside course in the Green Mountains. Rates are quite reasonable and you can take lessons with the great folks at the pro shop. Rental clubs are also available so you don’t need to worry about having your own set. While we did not have time to golf this time around, we can’t wait to give it a try on our next visit.
Basin Harbor features two Har-Tru tennis courts and three all-weather courts, which are available all season long. From mid June to Labor Day, the tennis staff offers lessons and clinics for all levels and ages. The courts seemed quite nice, but we did not get a chance to play. You can bring your own racquets or rent some from the pro shop.
Relaxation & Tranquility
Of course there was plenty of time to relax and take in the beautiful views throughout the resort. Sunsets were gorgeous right off the back deck of our cottage. Adirondack chairs throughout the resort (from mini to HUGE!) offer many opportunities to sit and take in the views of the area. My son enjoyed a relaxing game on the giant chess board too!
For more information about Basin Harbor Club accommodations, dining, etc, check out this great review by the Gringa TravelingMom.