Summer may be slipping away like sand between our fingers, but there are still many great days of boating ahead.
When my bride and I relocated full time to the Adirondacks from Manhattan in 2006 we promised each other a minimum of six months boating on Lake Champlain each year. We start windsurfing as early as March when Lake Champlain is still flirting with the freezing point. And as most Lake Champlain sailors know, autumn often provides the best sailing conditions of the year. I’m hoping to get my 16′ Hobie Cat ready for launch in the next week after two years on land. And we usually waterski, wakeboard and wakesurf from the first of May through the end of October.
Essex Boat Launch
Whether you brave Lake Champlain’s bracing water temperatures during the boating shoulder season or not, all Essex boaters need access to a boat launch ramp at some point. Unlike Westport and Willsboro, our neighbors to the south and north, Essex does not provide public boat launch access to Lake Champlain. There is a small private ramp located at the Essex Shipyard and small boats (kayaks, canoes, etc.) can be launched from Beggs Park and the beach at Whallons Bay, but there is no New York State boat launch in Essex. Fortunately it is an easy jaunt to Willsboro and Westport where large, well maintained boat launch sites are available for free, and where nearby marinas can help you provision for a boating journey to Essex.
Westport Boat Launch
The Westport boat launch is located on NYS Route 22 just south of the intersection with Lakeshore Road. Although Main Street becomes Lakeshore Road which you can take south directly to the Westport boat launch, it will be more convenient to tow a boat via NYS Route 22 directly from Essex to Westport. (Access the Google driving directions from downtown Essex to the Westport boat launch site.)
Willsboro Boat Launch
The Willsboro boat launch is located three miles north of the Village of Willsboro. Driving north from Essex take a right off NYS Route 22 onto Farrell Road (also called County Route 62); bear left onto Point Road (also called County Route 27); and then turn left onto Boat Launch Lane. (Access the Google driving directions from downtown Essex to the Willsboro boat launch site.)
NYS Lake Champlain Boat Launch Sites
A full list of Lake Champlain boat launch sites located along the New York shore is maintained by NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation for Essex, Clinton and Washington Counties, and the New York State DEC website also lists all of the public boat launch sites by county.