St. Albans, VT 05481 (Kill Kare ferry access point)
Park Updates & Alerts
- Due to COVID-19 there are some operational changes this season: You must make reservations for the Island Runner ferry service; The store and bistro will not be open but ice will be sold at the contact station; gear delivery will not be available; boat, bike and fishing gear will not be available to rent, there will be no interpretive programs.
- Firewood is not to be brought to parks UNLESS the wood is packaged, labeled as having been heat treated, and certified by USDA or the appropriate state department of agriculture. For more info, click here.
- Due office closures for the Battle of Bennington Holiday on Aug 17th, reservations for July 2021 will open Aug 18th at 9am.
- The Savage cabin is now pet-friendly.
- Due to limited parking at the Kill Kare ferry launch, we request a maximum of 2 cars per group
Go 3-1/2 mi. SW on Town Road, Lake Road and Point Road to Kill Kare State Park.
Burton Island is a 253-acre park off the southwestern tip of St. Albans Point in Lake Champlain’s 'Inland Sea'. The park is accessible only by boat, with the state’s passenger ferry making the 10-minute trip from Kill Kare State Park.
18th century maps refer to this as the “Isle of White.” Jesse Welden, an early St. Albans settler and agent for Ethan and Ira Allen, is attributed with clearing and farming the island. As recently as 1874, Lake Champlain navigation charts label it “Potter’s Island,” though C.C. Burton, a farmer on the mainland, was using the island for pasture by the 1840’s. Sidney Burton owned the island through the early 1900’s and leased it to tenant farmers who raised cows, pigs, sheep and chickens. Crops included beans and peas. Remnants of the island’s agricultural past such as fence lines and stone piles, rusted farm implements and the foundation of the old barn are still visible.
Sidney Burton built a hunting and fishing camp on the eastern point in 1902. Ida Lashway inherited the island and continued leasing to tenant farmers, selling it to Randall Dimon in the 1950’s. The Dimon’s summered in the cottage for many years after selling the island to the State of Vermont in 1962.
Burton Island State Park opened in 1964. Original plans to build a causeway were abandoned for the unique appeal of an island campground without cars. A marina was built to accommodate boats. Ferry service was implemented in the 1980’s. The marina is a lively stopover for people cruising the lake. The campground is popular with those who enjoy relaxing on a semi-remote island away from cars.
Early logistical problems posed by the lack of a nearby mainland access to Burton Island led to the acquisition of Kill Kare, a former boy's camp at the tip of St. Albans Point, in 1967. Kill Kare State Park provides support facilities for Burton Island, including parking lots, a boat ramp and the ferry dock and breakwater. Kill Kare is a day use park with a swimming beach, picnic area and group shelter. Renovated in 1982, the 1870’s-era railroad resort hotel on the grounds now includes staff housing and public restrooms. The first floor lobby includes historic photos of both parks.
Facilities/ Amenities/ Services
The park has:
- 3 miles of shoreline
- 14 campground tent sites
- 26 lean-to sites
- 4 remote tent sites
- 3 cabins (click here to learn more)
- 15 boat moorings
- a 100-slip marina with WIFI, dockside electricity and a marine holding-tank pumpout facility
- 3 restrooms with flush toilets, running water and coin-operated showers
- hiking trails
- a nature center and museum
- The Burton Island Bistro, a small store and cafe serving breakfast and lunch with cold salads and other to-go items. The store also sells camping goods, beer, wine and ice. Burton Island Bistro menu (PDF)
Island Runner Ferry
The Island Runner is a passenger ferry that runs between Kill Kare State Park and Burton Island State Park. It carries people and bikes (no vehicles or boats) back and forth several times a day. If you don't have your own boat, this is the only way to get to Burton Island.
The ferry operates from 7 days a week from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend and Friday 12 noon - Monday 11:30 am in the month of September and is piloted by a licensed captain and friendly crew. The ferry ride between Kill Kare and Burton Island is about ten minutes.
If you just want to spend a few hours on Burton Island, a ferry ride makes for a fun day excursion. If you are camping on Burton Island and you don't have your own boat, this is the only way to get you and your gear over to the island. Once on Burton Island, you can either use the carts provided to get your gear to your site, or you can choose to pay for gear delivery.
Unlike other parks, reservations for Burton Island campsites open up eleven months in advance on the 15th of the month or the first business day thereafter. We do this so that we can devote all our energies to serving Burton customers on these busy days.
This park has a park interpreter offering fun, hands-on activities. Interpreters are park staff solely dedicated to helping you learn more about the natural and cultural history of the park. Some popular activities include night hikes, nature crafts and games, campfire programs and amphibian explorations.
Check out the of current events to see some of the programs planned during your visit.