Alburg Dunes State Park

Alburg Dunes State Park

Quick Facts

Alburg Dunes State Park

Vermont

(802) 796-4170

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

This 625-acre property became a state park in 1996. It is named for the sand dunes near the center and western end of the south-facing natural sand beach. This beach is amongst the longest beaches on Lake Champlain.

The beach and dunes together make up what is known as a barrier island, geologically similar to coastal formations more common along ocean shorelines. At Alburg Dunes, the sand is the soil that was left atop the low bluffs southeast of the beach when the last glacier melted. The bluffs have eroded over thousands of years, and the soil has been carried off by lake currents. Sand from that soil settles out in the pocket between the rocky "Point of Tongue" to the east and "Coon Point" to the west, forming the beach. Prevailing southerly winds, in the late summer and fall when lake levels are the lowest, blow the sand back from shore, forming dunes. It is a barrier between the lake shore and the wetland behind, and an island because the beach and dunes slowly continue to migrate into and over the wetland. Deposits of exposed peat are visible on the low end of the beach or in the shallow water just offshore. This peat was formed in the wetland; as the beach and dunes have moved back, the peat has been overlaid by sand. Erosion from the waves continues to uncover the peat.

Map of Alburg Dunes (VT)

Latitude, Longitude: 44.877160, -73.293460

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Activities

  • Boating

    There are canoe and kayak rentals at the park, or you can bring your own car-top boat to launch. There is no trailer launch. Many boaters on Lake Champlain moor offshore and spend the day swimming and picnicking at the park.

  • Bird Watching

    Alburg Dunes is part of the Lake Champlain Birding Trail, a group of birding hotspots for breeding and migrating birds. Spectacular numbers of waterfowl gather here in spring and fall. Watch for common goldeneyes, ring-necked ducks, hooded mergansers, snow and Canada geese and northern pintails.

    Many of the bird species found along the lake are part-time residents. They head south in autumn when their food sources become scarce and then return in spring to nest and raise young.

    It is hard to believe that for some birds that summer in the far north, the Champlain Valley provides a balmy winter home. Wintertime is your chance to see bohemian waxwings, snow buntings, common redpolls, snowy owls, rough-legged hawks and bald eagles.

    Some birds at your winter feeder make the Champlain Valley their year-round home. Several waterfowl species also stay all year, including Canada geese, black ducks, mallards and common mergansers. Great horned owls and red-tailed hawks brave winters here as well.

  • Bicycling

    The Lake Champlain Islands, where Alburg Dunes is located, is a hub for bike riders in the summer season. Level terrain, quiet roads, and expansive views of Lake Champlain make for world class road biking. Bikers also ride by farms, fields, orchards, beaches, and state parks all with the Green Mountains and Adirondacks as a backdrop. There are some great recommended rides in the Lake Champlain Bikeways network that can be explored in the area. Many bikers use nearby Grand Isle State Park as a base camp while exploring the islands.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Alburg Dunes State Park is located along the Lake Champlain Byway, a tour of secondary roads leading drivers past farms and fields, towns and orchards, beaches and state parks around the lake.

    Explore covered bridges and museums, attend a fair, concert, or seasonal event, and soak in the fantastic scenery of Lake Champlain and the Green and Adirondack mountains.

  • Fishing

    The cold, clear water of Vermont's lakes and streams provide excellent fishing opportunities throughout the state in a magnificent natural setting. Lake Champlain is known for brook, rainbow and brown trout, landlocked salmon, rainbow smelt, yellow perch, walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel, large and small-mouth bass, bullhead, panfish, and crappie. Visitors over the age of 15 must have a fishing license.

  • Hiking

    Take a leisurely stroll along the water's edge. Alburg Dunes provides a few foot trails that allow for visitors to explore the area and see the wildlife that live in the marsh.

  • Historic Sites

    The Lake Champlain Islands have much to offer visitors. Take some time to visit the Isle La Motte Reef, Hyde Log Cabin in Grand Isle, St. Anne's Shrine in Isle La Motte, or one of the many farms, such as Hackett's Orchard in South Hero.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic tables and grills are available throughout the park.

  • Water Sports

    Swimming, wading, and relaxing on an inner tube are all great activities to do in the water at Alburg Dunes State Park.

  • Wildlife Watching

    At Alburg Dunes State Park, 625 acres are wetlands. The variety is impressive: a red maple swamp gives way to a cattail marsh, and a northern white cedar swamp leads to a dense black spruce-tamarack bog. Each of these environments hosts vibrant plant and animal communities. With the help of fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms, nutrients are released from dead material and made available for new plant growth.

    Living here are woodchucks, opossum, fox, mink, raccoon, snakes, frogs, turtles, moles, bats, rabbits, bear, moose, muskrats and many birds. This place is especially important for white-tailed deer. The wetlands of Alburg Dunes State Park contain the largest winter deer yard in Grand Isle county. In autumn, cold weather and hunting pressure drive deer further into the dense swamp areas. Deer and other animals depend on healthy wetlands for their survival.

  • Winter Sports

    Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are fun ways to see the park in winter. There are no facilities or staff available, but visitors are encouraged to explore the park during the off season and enjoy the quieter time of the year. When frozen, Lake Champlain is a great winter playground, offering ice fishing, ice skating, kite-skiing, and dog sledding opportunities. Enjoy!

Seasonality/Weather

Open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend for day use from 10:00 AM - sunset.

Directions

Driving

From US Rt. 2 in South Alburgh, take Rt. 129 W one mi. Take left on Rt 129 Ext and left on Coon Point Rd and go about 1 1/2 mi to park entrance.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(802) 796-4170

Links