Grand Isle County

Grand Isle County is a county in Northwest Vermont. It is the smallest county in Vermont by area and only has around 7,000 people.



Grand Isle County is made up of several islands in the middle of Lake Champlain as well as a large peninsula at the northern end of the lake. Most people refer to Grand Isle County simply as "the islands." It is not connected by land to any other part of the U.S.. Grand Isle County has a milder climate than the rest of the state because of the presence of the lake.

The West Shore Road near Rockwell Bay in South Hero

Get in

By car

Grand Isle County can be reached by car using US Route 2 using either the bridge from Rouses Point, NY or the causeway from Colchester, VT. There is also a bridge connecting Grand Isle County to Swanton, VT. Grand Isle County is about 1.5 hours from Montreal, 4 hours from Boston, and 30-45 minutes from Burlington.

By ferry

Lake Champlain Ferries runs a 24-hour service connecting Plattsburgh with Grand Isle.

Get around

Most people will need a car to get around the islands as there is no public transportation. Although the attractions are fairly spread out, the terrain is relatively flat so some people may enjoy cycling. U.S. Route 2 is the only major road, running north to south from South Hero to Alburgh where it crosses a bridge into New York State.


The islands aren't exactly packed with things you can see in the traditional sense (i.e. I came to take a picture of this specific attraction). However, the islands are one of the most beautiful parts of Vermont and gorgeous scenery is the norm. Obviously, the islands are surrounded by Lake Champlain, which is quite scenic on its own. To the east, you can see the Green Mountains rising in the distance. Look southwest and you will see the Adirondacks meeting the shoreline.

Here are some specific things to see:

Hyde Log Cabin


One reason many people come to the islands is to simply do nothing. There aren't any cities, crowds, or traffic. You may just want to relax. If you do feel like doing something, there are many outdoor activities.

State Parks


Grand Isle County certainly isn't a shopper's mecca, however you will be able to find antiques, VT made crafts & art, and specialty foods. Listings for South Hero can be found in its respective article.


The islands are not exactly a dining destination. Some of the bed & breakfasts and inns will have a restaurant in them and there are a few other standalone spots. Most of the options consist of snack bars and general stores that sell sandwiches or maybe pizza. There are some apple orchards in the islands so if you come in the fall, grab a bag of apples and maybe some donuts.

South Hero is home to most of the islands' restaurants. Here is a listing of restaurants in the rest of the county.


The islands are home to East Shore Vineyards in Grand Isle and Snowfarm Vineyard in South Hero. Both have tasting rooms, but East Shore's is actually located in Burlington


You won't find any chain hotels in the islands, just B&B's and family owned inns.

Stay safe

There is almost no crime in the islands, just don't get eaten by Champ.

Go next

The Islands are a quick drive or ferry ride from:

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, October 07, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.