by Amanda Geronikos
Basin Harbor Club isn’t a hotel — it’s a vacation destination. Located on Lake Champlain in Vermont, the hotel affords beautiful vistas of the Adirondack Mountains in New York. In fact, they’re so close that guided hikes from the resort are offered!
Other ways to enjoy the lake and natural surroundings include lakeside dinners al fresco, lake swimming (complete with a water trampoline!), a beach, water sports rentals, and paved pathways throughout the resort. The fun continues with a kids’ camp, teen program, and a weekly schedule of events packed with even more fun, from move nights to fairs with carnival food and rides.
Convenient for families, meal plans are also offered, allowing guests to package accommodations with meals for a nearly all-inclusive experience.
Of course, you may want to explore other areas of Lake Champlain and the Lake Champlain Byway while you’re here, but you don’t have to — you can easily enjoy a vacation without leaving this special, family-owned and operated property in Vermont.
Our Editor Loves
- Cozy cabins
- Lake swimming
- Kids' programs
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Basin Harbor Club offers a total of 45 guestrooms, spread across four buildings on the property. Mini-fridges are included in all guestrooms, as are flat-screen TVs.
Perhaps the best feature at Basin Harbor Club is its cottages, many of them situated right on Lake Champlain. And while there are 74 of them, no two of them are alike, offering a truly unique stay. All cottages sleep up to eight guests -- perfect for families -- with kitchenettes that include mini-fridges, and coffeemakers. Some cottages don't have TVs, allowing families to disconnect.
We just left Basin Harbor a day early, losing $500 because staying here another night was just not worth it. The location is serene and beautiful but almost everything else was dirty and in need of repair. Our cabin was well taken care of by the cleaning lady but nothing she could do could change stained carpets and old shabby furniture. The website boasts waterfront activities that are included in your stay. Our kids were so excited for the water trampolines but got to use them once while dodging gobs of seagull poop because they were so filthy and covered in poop all day long. Basically everything else you are charged for, from kayaks to bikes to exorbitant rates for boats. We called the front desk 3 times one day to request someone clean the trampolines and nothing was done, though promised. The place was under-staffed and poorly run, clearly owners are maximizing profit at expense of guests.
The pool was heated nicely and had a fun diving board. However the pool was peeling, stained and rusty looking. It was hard to enjoy with the fact that your feet were touching unknown filth.
The bottom line is that if we were paying $200 a night this would be fine. But to pay $600 for a tiny, shabby cabin is ridiculous. We could rent a lake house for that price. We also mistakenly assumed that the activities so openly discussed on the website would be included. Really almost everything came at a price.
Save your money. Know that the positive reviews are largely from people holding desperately onto some nostalgic attachment to a resort rather than a realistic understanding of what the average expectation is for that steep of a price.
by John V
My wife and I spent a long weekend at Basin Harbor recently and had a wonderful time. It’s a great getaway, well off the beaten path, with a whole slew of amenities. The entire facility is beautiful, well-maintained, and a joy to walk around.
Lodging ranges from small cottages, like the one we had, to larger units with more space, multiple bedrooms and such. As we were there for a “destination wedding,” we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the cottage, so the relatively small size was not an issue.
Situated as it is on Lake Champlain, the big draw in summertime is water sports. Boating, swimming, paddleboarding … the list goes on. There are fees required for some of these.
While there are three separate restaurants on the grounds, we stuck with Ardelia’s attached to the main building. The food was excellent across the board, although service was a bit off. Twice at diner, our servers had trouble dividing up the check among several couples, and we all ended up putting it on a single card and settling up later. It was in fact these service glitches that kept the rating here at a “4” rather than a “5.”
Did I mention that Basin Harbor is dog-friendly? We brought our pup and she was welcomed all across the resort (except in the restaurants, of course). This was a major plus for us.
Beach and Lake
The highlight of a visit to Basin Harbor Club is the beach and lake swimming -- there's even a diving board on the lake and a water trampoline! In the summer, a lifeguard mans the waters.
The resort has a giant pool, located next to the Ranger Room. Pool games are often hosted in the summer months.
Offered in the summer months, Kid's Camp is divided into three age groups: 3 to 5 (Champs Camp), 6 to 8 (Harbormates) and 9 to 12 (Explorers). While the morning sessions are most popular, afternoon and evening activities are also offered and include everything from scavenger hunts to guided hikes.
Access to Kid's Camp, which includes a designated clubhouse and playground, is included in rates.
It's fun to be a teen at Basin Harbor Club, which offers Teen Escape, a program that includes organized games, lake cruises, dance parties, mocktail hours and even offsite excursions!
The resort has a few tennis courts, with both adult and kids' clinics offered throughout the week. Tennis equipment can also be rented at the resort.
In the summer, the resort offers a full weekly schedule of events that include guided hikes (across the lake in the Adirondack Mountains), parties on the beach, movie nights, bingo, garden tours, kitchen tours, and cruises on the lake. On Tuesdays evenings, the resort also hosts Harbor Fair, with rides and carnival food.
Meal plans are available for families who would like to package their rates and create an all-inclusive-like experience.
Main Dining Room
Breakfast is served in the Main Dining Room, which features lovely views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. In the summer, guests head to the dining room for formal dinners and themed events that are ideal for both family and date nights.
Red Mill Restaurant
The Red Mill Restaurant serves hearty pub fare and libations in a cozy setting. Bonus: There's a playground behind the restaurant where kids can blow off some steam while you wait for your food! For more information, click here.
The Ranger Room is where you'll find lunch (an extensive buffet complete with a sundae bar) in the summer months. Overlooking the pool, it's a nice place to grab a bite to eat while the kids swim or before everyone heads to the pool together.
Dinners by the Lake
Make a reservation for dinner by the lake! Basin Harbor Club serves delicious dinners al fresco in the summertime, with classic barbecue favorites and fish on the menu. Kids' options are available, as well.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The resort provides complimentary Wi-Fi, but service may be spotty in some of the cabins. It works well in most common areas, including the restaurants.
Open 24 hours, the resort's fitness room is more like a mini-gym, with cardio machines, plenty of free weights and most major strength training equipment.
Pets are welcome to stay in select accommodations for $15 per pet, per night.
Located by the fitness room, a coin-operated laundry facility is available to guests.
The Art of Smart Timing
Basin Harbor Club is a seasonal resort, open mid-May through mid-October. It is, of course, busiest when school is out of session.
Basin Harbor Club is seemingly off the grid in Vergennes, Vermont, with Burlington (about an hour away) the closest "city." And while Burlington has a small, regional airport, you'll find more flight options through Montreal-Pierre Elliott International Airport in Canada (about two hours away in Quebec) or Albany International Airport in New York.
The resort, while large, seems much bigger than it actually is. You can easily walk everywhere, with paved trails throughout the property. Staff with golf carts can also assist guests in getting around during their stay and at check-in and check-out.
For Mom and Dad
The resort's weekly schedule of events includes activities that are perfect for couples, including cocktail cruises and paint-and-sip parties. Send the kids to Kid's Camp for a few hours and enjoy some alone time! It's also nice to simply settle into some Adirondack chairs and enjoy a bottle of wine at sunset.