The lake was named after the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who encountered it in 1609. While the ports of Burlington, Vermont; Port Henry, New York; and Plattsburgh, New York are little used nowadays except by small craft, ferries and lake cruise ships, they had substantial commercial and military importance in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Champlain Valley is the northernmost unit of a landform system known as the Great Appalachian Valley, which system stretches from Quebec to Alabama. The Champlain Valley itself is a physiographic section of the larger Saint Lawrence Valley, which in turn is part of the larger Appalachian physiographic division.
Lake Champlain Ferry – Burlington, VT to Port Kent, NY