During the late colonial period, the town was on the Great War Path connecting French and British colonies, but few battles were fought in the town. The town of Dresden was formed from the town of Fort Ann in 1806. The town was first settled in 1784. The early industries included lumbering and maple syrup preparation.

The completion of the Champlain Canal in 1823 aided the economic development of the area.  The west town line is defined by Lake George with Warren County, New York beginning at the eastern shoreline. The east town line is defined by Lake Champlain, with Vermont and the town of Whitehall on the opposite shore. Fort Ann shares the southern border near the south basin of Lake Champlain named South Bay. The northern border is shared by the town of Putnam. The town is wholly inside the Adirondack Park.

The Town of Dresden has a public boat launch and a 300-foot long wooden fishing pier
on the South Bay (Lake Champlain)  providing access to Lake Champlain and the Champlain Canal, located near the South Bay Bridge on NYS Route 22.

Washington County owns and operates two parks one of which is Huletts Landing in the Town of Dresden.  Huletts Landing is located on Lake George, the “Queen of American Lakes”, and has a canoe & small boat launch, as well as tennis courts. Huletts is on Route 6B, Sunset Bay Road in the Town of Dresden.