11 Interesting And Beautiful Places To Visit in Vermont
Vermont is the definition of charming. Small towns lined with 18th century homes and rolling hill farms dotted with cows that make America’s favorite ice cream, Vermont is a place that gets overlooked unless it’s leaf peeping time.
But Vermont is the perfect sized state to take the all American road trip. With manageable sized towns and enough history and interesting stops along the way, you’ll love exploring the Green Mountain State.
So, come with me and lets see that makes this New England gem interesting and beautiful.
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This tiny town doesn’t possess the usual profile that most of the capital cities in the U.S. have, but for a small state, it’s exactly what it’s people need and it represents its state well. Montpelier is a great place to start your tour and one of the best places to visit in Vermont.
The Winooski River dictates the town’s layout and you are never too far from this body of water that just adds to the town’s allure. Take a tour of the gold-domed State House and learn the town’s history. When you are finished you can take the trail behind the State House to Hubbard Park and enjoy the views below – it’s a great way to get acquainted with this sweet, little big town.
In a state known for craft beer there’s never a brewery too far away. Take advantage by enjoying a beer tasting at Bear Naked Growler or Three Penny Taproom and taste what many say are the best craft beers on the planet.
You can also stroll Main Street in downtown to get a flavor of what Montpelier is all about. Stop at the Skinny Pancake for breakfast and sample Vermont’s famous maple syrup.
Montpelier by John Holm on Unsplash
This beautiful attraction in Vermont has been the life blood of the early Americans, a source of power for making Red Sox uniforms, and an attraction for thousands to enjoy each year.
Quechee Gorge is a great stop to add to your itinerary if you are on your way to another amazing place to go in Vermont. Formed by glacial activity over 13,000 years ago, visitors can cross the Ottaquechee River and peer 168 feet down at the gorge and the beautiful waterfall that rushes to the bottom of the gorge.
If you are equipped, grab one of the 45 camping spots at the park and stay for the weekend. You can also explore the 2.7 mile trail that sinks into the gorge and gets you up close and personal.
Tucked between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the high peaks of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, Lake Champlain has some of the best vacation spots in Vermont.
But Lake Champlain hasn’t always been a lake. Encroaching ice from the last ice age carved an inlet so deep that the gorge filled with sea water allowing ocean animals such as Beluga Whales and Atlantic Cod Seals to live in the inlet. As the ice retreated, the earth rebounded, cutting off the ocean water supply. Over thousands of years, the Champlain Sea became freshwater, which then became Lake Champlain. Today, fossils of ocean animals still are found in the depths of the lake.
All of this geological activity left one great place to visit. Burlington, Vermont, is the most populous city on the lake and people flock from everywhere in the warmer months to enjoy the beautiful lake and all its activities.
You can also ride your bike across the Lake Champlain Bridge from Vermont to New York and see how gorgeous the view is from this vantage point. My family and I took our bikes across on a sunny summer June day and it was so much fun. My son definitely got a kick out of saying he road his bike from Vermont to New York!
Burlington is one of the most picturesque New England towns that there is. Situated right on Lake Champlain, it has all the activities of a great vacation destination.
Start at the Church Street Marketplace and shop the dozens of shops that make this little New England town something you’ll want to keep coming back to. Variety shops, book stores, whimsical gift shops and sweet treat eateries line the street and add a lovely ambiance to this already charming town.
Bring a bike and enjoy the Burlington Bike Path, an eight mile long bikers dream that runs parallel to Lake Champlain, so a gorgeous view is not ever far. You can also stop along the Burlington’s Farmer’s Market that has been feeding Burlington and it’s visitors since 1980.
Burlington is a quaint little lake town with all the character and charm that you are looking for in a New England destination.
Photo by Shawn on Unsplash
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
Ben and Jerry’s is a staple in the Vermont consciousness. You can’t think of Vermont without yearning for one of the famous frozen confections with the wacky names.
Stop by their Waterbury, Vermont factory and taste the iconic ice cream that put the little state of Vermont on the map. Choose from flavors such Chunky Monkey, Half Baked or the Americone Dream. But, don’t leave the factory without trying the world famous Cherry Garcia. I promise it won’t turn you into a deadhead.
Take a tour of the factory and learn about the history of how Ben and Jerry’s became America’s favorite ice cream. If you’re lucky you’ll stumble into the ice cream lab when they are offering tastings of their newest, unreleased concoctions. Of course, no factory tour is complete without buying something from the gift shop.
Before you leave, don’t forget to visit the flavor graveyard outside in the picnic area. These are retired flavors from years past. Get a selfie and you’ll have your own piece of memorabilia from one of the coolest places to visit in Vermont.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream by Hybrid Storytellers
Arlington Covered Bridge
Vermont is known for its ice cream, its leaves in the Fall and…. its covered bridges!
In fact, there are more than 100 covered bridges in Vermont, more per square mile than any other state.
Arlington Covered Bridge is one of the more famous covered bridges in the state not only due to its beauty, but the fact that Norman Rockwell himself lived right next door. The view that he saw from his window for ten years was that of the white steepled church and the green covered bridge.
Now his house is The Inn on Covered Bridge Green, and Vermont vacationers can enjoy his former home and that quintessential view that inspires countless visitors to visit Vermont.
Arlington Covered Bridge by Jack Bulmer on Pixabay
Vermonters take their beer very seriously, so if you’re in Vermont, you must stop by one of the 60 breweries that are in this tiny state to sample some of the best handcrafted IPA’s out there.
The Alchemist is one of those breweries that not only has great beer but also put their community and the environment first. They strive to only use the water that is needed to make their products, they recycle the waste water and they use clean energy such as solar in their brewing processes.
If you’re interested in beer at all, then The Alchemist is definitely one of the top places you must visit in Vermont. They offer a fantastic brewery tour, and although the beer is a little strong, (try the Heddy Topper), I thought it was a great IPA and even bought some to go.
We enjoyed the beer garden and the jazz band that gave the place the perfect ambiance. Make sure you get a picture of their beautifully painted tanks. Beer and art, it doesn’t get much better!
If you’re already in Stowe, Vermont getting a belly full of beer at The Alchemist, why not take a stroll around and see why it’s another one of the great places to see in Vermont?
In my humble opinion, Stowe is the most charming town in Vermont. This says a lot because the entire state oozes charm. But, Stowe has that extra special something with its shop lined streets, surrounding mountains and perfect white steepled church.
Summer is an amazing time to visit Stowe, with the waterfall hikes and sunset lake cruises, but visiting in winter time truly has my heart!
Stowe Mountain Resort is the place to be for stunning snow laden winter views and some fantastic, powder downhill skiing. Add on horse drawn sleigh rides (with hot chocolate and caroling), as well as superb ice skating, and you’ll see why I think Stowe is such a perfect Vermont winter destination.
Stowe, Vermont by Jeffrey Clayton on Unsplash
Seeing Lake Willoughby for the first time will have you second-guessing whether or not you’ve transported yourself to Norway, thanks to the lake’s uncanny resemblance to a Norwegian fjord.
But, nope, you really are still in Vermont, and the beauty of that lake is no illusion! During the last ice age, glaciers carved 300 feet deep into the gorge, creating the perfect spot for a beautiful lake.
The scenery here is stunning and there is so much to do. If you can stand the freezing waters, you can swim, boat and even rock dive off of the steep cliffs at Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor. Or (if you’re game), you can even indulge yourself at the nude beach at Southwest Cove and really get in touch with nature!
Fall is the best time to visit this picturesque setting. The colors are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and the reflection on the lake makes for some incredible photography opportunities.
But even if you can’t make it for Fall, anytime of year is beautiful at Lake Willoughby, and it’s truly one of the best lake vacations you can take in Vermont.
Lake Willoughby by Julian Nortoft on Unsplash
The summerhouse of Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son is the treasure of Vermont and has been for the last 120 years. Widely considered as one of Vermont’s best places to visit, you will undoubtedly enjoy walking the grounds and touring this important estate of American history.
Some of the highlights we enjoyed at Hildene were not what you would expect. Although the home was gorgeous and deserves all the accolades in its own right, the grounds were what excited and interested us.
The Dene Farm was a fantastic experience and my little one was so excited to hold a baby Nubian Goat as we learned about the processes it takes to produce the cheese made at the farm.
The gardens at the estate are also beyond beautiful. You definitely need a couple of hours to enjoy walking around, looking at the roses and peonies that have been so lovingly cultivated over the centuries. If you’re lucky, you may even see a wedding proceeding in the garden.
After you tour the home and see the original Lincoln family furnishings and their grand style, get outside and hike! Yes, there is hiking at Hildene. In fact, there are twelve miles of hiking trails around the estate through lush green forest and beautiful mountain scenery.
No doubt, Hildene is one of those places you just have to see when in the beautiful state of Vermont.
The Shelburne Museum is a popular attraction and one of the most unique places to visit in Vermont. This museum is located on a sprawling 45 acre campus and includes 39 buildings and 22 gardens.
With unique features such as the Ticonderoga, a 220 foot steamboat, a gigantic Shaker design round barn, and a carousel, there is so much to do that you will need every hour of your two day museum pass.
In the summer, you can stay late and enjoy Ben and Jerry’s Concert on the Green, featuring acts from pop and jazz to R&B. After all, this museum is not just about artifacts and art, but about music as well.
So, if you are in Vermont, the Shelburne Museum is a worthwhile destination to add to your itinerary.
Did we miss any of your favorite places in Vermont?
Let us know in the comments if there are anymore places in Vermont you’d like to see on our list!
10 Best Places to Visit in Vermont
Vermont is a state that begs to be photographed. The entire state is like a gigantic picture postcard that is filled with scenic beauty at every turn, historic buildings and towns that are considered some of the prettiest in the United States.
Fall is a delight as the leaves turn their gorgeous colors. Winter is great for skiing and snow activities. Spring and summer offer a plethora of festivals and outdoor activities, such as camping and hiking. Yep, Vermont’s got it all. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Vermont:
10. Woodstock [SEE MAP]
When you hear Woodstock, your first thought is probably of the famous music festival. You’d be wrong: wrong state. Vermont’s Woodstock is far, far from a rock festival. It’s a sleepy village that has been described as quaint meets charming.
This picture postcard village is considered one of the prettiest small towns in America, and has the plaque to prove it. It’s a place to drive over a picturesque red covered bridge, visit a sugar maple farm, breathe in the crisp air as you hike in the surrounding mountains and shop at unique boutiques and galleries.
9. Quechee Gorge [SEE MAP]
Sage Ross / Flickr
Quechee Gorge is Vermont’s answer to the Grand Canyon. Not as big as its cousin in the distant West, it still provides some pretty views. At 165 feet deep, it is the deepest gorge in the Green Mountain state. The gorge was formed by glacial action 13,000 years ago.
The Ottauquechee River provides exciting whitewater rafting at the bottom. Less adventurous travelers can walk to Mill Pond Falls that cascade down 30 feet. The historic Quechee Gorge Bridge connects the banks. Built in 1911; it is Vermont’s oldest surviving steel arch bridge.
8. Manchester [SEE MAP]
Manchester has many things going for it. It’s an historic town that makes a good base from which to explore the Green Mountains. It’s got lots of shopping, including outlet malls that attract people from New York and Connecticut.
Named after an English duke of Manchester, the town first made history between 1812 and 1819 for being the home of America’s first wrongful murder conviction case, a case that’s studied even today. Most historic towns in Vermont only have one historic district, but Manchester has three: Depot district, and Bonnet and Main streets.
7. Montpelier [SEE MAP]
Montpelier has the dubious distinction of being the least populated state capital in the United States. At least it is at night; the daytime population triples as people come to work for the state government. The city is named for a city in France in honor of that country’s contributions during the American Revolution.
Visiting the State House is the No. 1 thing to do in Montpelier, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll want to visit a maple sugar/syrup factory. Stop by the statue of Ethan Allen, a Revolutionary War hero and a founder of Vermont.
6. Shelburne [SEE MAP]
Mark Hintsa / Flickr
Shelburne is a quiet town seven miles south of Burlington, the Vermont’s largest city. Founded in 1763, it was named for William Petty, earl of Shelburne and British prime minister. It has deep roots in farming, and several farms, including vineyards, are open to the public.
Its most visited attraction, however, just may be one devoted to making your kids happy. Open for tours, the Vermont Teddy Bear Co. has been making cute, cuddly teddy bears since 1981, and is one of Vermont’s more popular attractions. If you like water better, Shelburne is located on Lake Champlain.
5. Killington Resort [SEE MAP]
Richard Schatzberger / Flickr
If you’re an adventuresome skier, you may want to hit the slopes at Killington Resort on Vermont’s second highest mountain. It’s known as the “beast of the East” because it’s the largest vertical drop in New England. Killington, which opened in 1958, is the largest ski area in the eastern United States.
While Killington Peak is the primary ski area, the resort also offers skiing across six mountains. There are 155 trails that handle skiers from beginners to experts and 21 lifts to carry them up the mountains. A few of the trails have ramps and jumps.
4. Grafton [SEE MAP]
Samturgeon / Wikipedia
Grafton, considered one of New England’s prettiest towns, got its name in a unique way. Originally known as Thomlinson, the right to rename it garnered $5 and some rum in an action; the winning bidder named it after his home town of Grafton, Massachusetts.
Homes and buildings have been restored to their historic grandeur, so Grafton looks pretty much like It might have a century or two ago. Be sure to check out the Grafton Inn, which has been operating as a hotel since 1801. Standing guard over the village is the iconic White Church that was built in 1858.
3. Champlain Islands [SEE MAP]
Richard Due / Flickr
When the outdoors beckons, the Champlain Islands are one of the best places to visit in Vermont. The islands are an archipelago, perhaps a total of 30 miles long, located in Lake Champlain that separates Vermont and New York.
Reachable by ferry, they provide some of the most scenic drives in Vermont, a state that is known for scenic drives. In the summer, you can camp, visit the state’s first vineyard or cycle the scenic Island Line Trail. You can go ice-fishing in the winter. And, best of all, you won’t have to worry about running into a lot of other people since the largest town in the chain counts only 2,000 residents.
2. Stowe [SEE MAP]
Stowe keeps visitors busy all year ‘round. There’s skiing and snow sports in the winter, and festivals, including one featuring balloons, and art shows in the summer. One of the biggest is September’s British Invasion, when fields are filled with all makes and models of British automobiles.
Stowe is a must-visit if you’re a Sound of Music fan. It’s where the von Trapp family settled and operated a ski lodge after they fled Austria during World War II. The lodge’s meadow was a venue for the Vermont Mozart Festival. You can also hike and mountain-bike on nearby trails.
1. Burlington [SEE MAP]
heipei / Flickr
OK. Admit it. You love ice cream, especially if it’s made by Ben and Jerry. Burlington may be known for many things, but it’s likely most famous as the home of this sinfully delicious ice cream. The town is located on the shores of Lake Champlain, so there are plenty of water activities to burn off those calories.
The four-block pedestrian mall known as Church Street Marketplace hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. They range from art to celebrating beer and giant pumpkins. It also hosts one of the largest year ‘round farmers markets in Vermont.
20 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Vermont
Vermont is equal parts myth and reality, home to a mystique that other states can only envy. A mere mention of its name, and images appear: sunlit meadows of black-and-white cows, dazzling white ski trails, tidy hillside farms, blazing red maple trees along a stone wall, covered bridges, buckets collecting sap for maple syrup.
Certainly these idyllic scenes still exist, although less picturesque plastic tubing has replaced most of the buckets, and many of the farms may now be chic B&Bs.
Another Vermont exists alongside this idealized one, represented by bustling Burlington, the outlet malls of Manchester, Killington’s frenetic après-ski scene, and Brattleboro’s unlikely blend of gritty blue-collar and ’70s hippies grown up. Even the state’s mainstay of agriculture has a new look, as dozens of artisanal cheese makers transform Vermont’s dairy industry, and tourists eagerly follow the Vermont Cheese Trail to sample them.
Other trails lead to traditional tourist attractions: maple farms boiling sap and welcoming visitors each March, and covered bridges – seven of them in the far northern town of Montgomery alone. You’ll enjoy both Vermonts.
Discover the best things to do in this captivating state with our list of the top attractions and places to visit in Vermont.
With a covered bridge, white-spired church, weathered barns, and ski trails down the mountainside, Stowe is everybody’s image of Vermont. At the foot of Mt. Mansfield and in the heart of the state’s snow belt, it’s also the town that most personifies the glory days of Vermont’s early ski industry, a heritage that’s explored here in the Vermont Ski Museum.
Although avid skiers had climbed the mountain long before that, and a rope tow was installed in 1937, things really took off in 1940, when the first chairlift was opened.
It’s not all about skiing; you’ll find shops and boutiques, art galleries, dining, and lodging of all sorts. Exhibits of works by Vermont-based artists are shown in the Helen Day Art Center. You can rent bicycles to ride, or you can walk or skate along the 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path, a paved multi-use route through meadows and woods alongside the river, with beautiful views of Mt. Mansfield.
Stowe Mountain Resort is still one of New England’s premier ski destinations, and the gondola that carries skiers in the winter takes sightseers to the summit for more views in the summer and fall. You can find things to do here all year.
2. Church Street Marketplace
Church Street Marketplace in the evening, Burlington
In the heart of downtown Burlington, Church Street is only four blocks long, but it forms a wide, traffic-free space for public events and a lively street life even in Vermont’s cold winters. Along with the festivals scheduled throughout the year, it’s a place for sidewalk cafes, benches, and public artworks, and the buildings alongside it are filled with shops, restaurants, and boutiques. In the summer, when everyone is outdoors, it has the feel of an Italian piazza.
A mural, Everyone Loves a Parade! by Canadian muralist Pierre Hardy decorates a wall, and other artworks include a life-sized statue of a local jazz artist and a fish fountain crafted of metal. It’s no wonder this has been named one of the Great Public Spaces in America; it’s also listed as a National Register Historic District.
You can stay close to the action, only a block away at the Hotel Vermont . This hip, modern inn has a local community ethic and lovely views of Lake Champlain from its upper-floor guest rooms.
Address: Church Street, Burlington, Vermont
Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the president, visited Manchester with his mother shortly before his father’s assassination. After he had become president of Pullman Company, in the early 20th century, he returned to build the Georgian Revival Hildene as his country estate.
Hildene represents a fine example of homes built as retreats for the families of wealthy magnates and is furnished with a number of pieces from Mrs. Lincoln’s family. Personal belongings of President Lincoln include his famous stovepipe hat.
Other highlights are the thousand-pipe 1908 Aeolian organ, in working condition, and the elegant dining room furnished in Queen Anne style. The home remained in the Lincoln family until 1975, thus preserving the original furnishings and memorabilia. The formal gardens on the terrace overlooking the broad valley have been restored from records of original plantings.
You can stay in another of these elegant mansions built in Manchester by wealthy industrialists. The Inn at Ormsby Hill , near Hildene, is now an elegant bed-and-breakfast.
Address: 1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, Vermont
4. Mount Mansfield and Smugglers Notch
Winding road through Smugglers Notch
Mountain Road climbs out of Stowe and up the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, past Stowe Mountain Resort, where a gondola carries skiers and sightseers to the summit. Beyond the resort, the road narrows to snake through Smugglers’ Notch, one of Vermont’s most engaging natural attractions.
The road through this pass between Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak is so tight and narrow as it winds upward that at some curves only a single car can pass through the openings between the giant boulders.
Snowplows can’t get through it in the winter, when the road closes just past the ski area. The rest of the year, you can park the car and walk the paths among this massive jumble of glacial rock and discover the caves where 19th-century smugglers once hid.
The caves and gigantic boulders were formed when the glacier stalled here during the last ice age, smashing the mountain ledges and dropping them into the notch, where they were carved and tumbled by more glacial action.
Snow-covered Mount Mansfield
Mansfield is Vermont’s highest mountain, and at its top are sweeping views and more than two miles of ridge-top hiking above tree line. This is one of only two places in Vermont where rare arctic-alpine tundra exists. A number of routes reach its summit. The Long Trail crosses Route 108 at the foot of Smugglers’ Notch, climbing steadily for 2.3 miles to the ridgeline.
Close to the point where the Long Trail crosses Route 108 at the base of Smugglers’ Notch, Topnotch Resort is a luxurious base for exploring the area, with mountain views, three pools, a full-service spa, and a fine-dining restaurant.
5. Burlington Bike Path and Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park in Burlington
A paved bicycle path borders eight miles of Burlington’s Lake Champlain shoreline, extending from Oakledge Park north to the Winooski River. Alongside is a graded path for walkers and runners, with benches at points with the best views across the lake.
The path connects several parks that mark the shoreline, and a boardwalk forms a promenade along the central section. Here, you’ll find the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center and Vermont’s only All-America Display Garden, where flowering ornamental plants bloom through summer and fall.
Waterfront Park is the site of several festivals in the summer, and picnic tables along the route invite a lakeside lunch. In the spring, the path is lined by brilliant blooming azaleas and at any time of year, this is Vermont’s best spot for watching the spectacular sunsets over Lake Champlain.
6. Vermont’s Year-Round Ski Resorts
Sugarbush Resort, Vermont
From the slopes of Mount Snow in the south to Jay Peak in the north, skiing extends the entire length of Vermont. Some of the top ski resorts in the east are here, and the state’s nearly two dozen ski mountains offer downhill ski experiences for everyone, from young children and beginners to experts training for the Olympics. State of the art snowmaking and grooming keeps slopes and trails in top condition from December through March.
Winter isn’t the only time you can enjoy Vermont’s ski resorts, however. The larger ones have on-mountain activities all year, offering mountain slides, rope courses, mountain biking, and scenic rides on the lifts that carry skiers to the summits in the winter. Resorts at the base have spas, swimming pools, Segway rides, golf, and activities for all ages.
Okemo Mountain Resort has the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster; a spa; a mountain bike park; scenic chairlift rides; disc and miniature golf; and the Haulback Challenge Course, an aerial journey from tree to tree. Killington Ski Resort has the Beast Mountain Coaster, a ropes course, and an Adventure Center.
Stowe Mountain Resort whisks visitors to the top on the state’s only gondola lift, or drivers can ascend to the summit of Mt. Mansfield on the Toll Road. Stratton Mountain has a mountain bike park and a 27-hole championship golf course.
7. Quechee Gorge
Vermont’s deepest gorge was formed by glaciers about 13,000 years ago, and has continued to deepen by the constant action of the Ottauquechee River, which you will see flowing 165 feet below. The best place to view the gorge is from the walkway along the arched iron bridge that carries Route 4 across the top.
A trail leads through the woods beside the rim to the bottom of the gorge, where you can see the lower part of it from water level. Close to the gorge, also on Route 4, is the excellent Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS), a nature center where injured raptors are rehabilitated and returned to the wild.
Address: Route 4, Quechee, Vermont
8. Bennington Battle Monument and Museum
Bennington Battle Monument
The 306-foot-high obelisk, visible for miles around, commemorates the 1777 battle fought about five miles west of Bennington, which turned the tide against the British by splitting British General John Burgoyne’s forces in half, making the final American victory possible. You can bypass the monument’s 412 steps by taking an elevator to the top for views.
The nearby Bennington Museum is best known for its extensive collection of works by primitive folk artist Grandma Moses, along with her schoolhouse painting studio.
The museum is also especially strong in its collections of Bennington pottery, furniture, toys, American glassware, and Victorian quilts. You’ll also find fine art and artifacts from the colonial and Civil War periods.
Address: Route 9, Bennington, Vermont
9. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park
Mansion in the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park | Photo Copyright: Stillman Rogers
The only national park to concentrate on land stewardship in America incorporates both a working farm and a Victorian mansion on the hill above, set in formal gardens designed by several of America’s foremost landscape architects.
The Queen-Anne-style mansion is decorated with the finest of Victorian artistry, including embossed wallpaper and stained-glass windows by Tiffany & Co. Also displayed in the house is the Rockefellers’ collection of works by artists of the Hudson River School.
Both rail magnate Frederick Billings, and later, the Rockefellers were dedicated to land conservation and used this property to put it into practice. You can walk the trails on Mt. Tom, where park rangers can explain forestry practices and help identify trailside plants and trees.
Tours of the art-filled Rockefeller home and grounds include themes of gardening, forestry, and their relationship to conservation.
Moderately priced and family-friendly, Woosdtock’s 506 On The River Inn has modern rooms and verandahs overlooking its six-acre grounds.
Address: River Road, Woodstock, Vermont
10. Lake Champlain
Grand Isle State Park on Lake Champlain
Extending for 120 miles between Vermont and New York, with its northern tip in Canada, Lake Champlain lies mostly in Vermont, and draws visitors for its recreation, wildlife, and historical attractions. Its watershed covers more than 8,000 square miles.
Much of its 587 miles of shoreline are undeveloped; a haven for wildlife; and one of the best places to visit in Vermont for canoeists, kayakers, and sailors. On the Vermont side, 318 species of birds depend on Lake Champlain, and 81 species of fish swim in its waters.
According to Samuel de Champlain, for whom the lake is named, a 20-foot serpent-like creature also swims in the lake. His was the first, but certainly not the last reported sighting of what is now known as “Champy.” You might catch sight of it from one of the several lake cruises, or even from one of the three ferries that cross to the New York side from Charlotte, Burlington, and Grand Isle.
Several wildlife reserves protect its shore and neighboring wetlands, including the Dead Creek WMA, where thousands of migrating snow geese stop to rest in late October. You can learn more about the ecology at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, at the waterfront in Burlington.
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, overlooking Basin Harbor in Vergennes, explores the lake’s role in the Revolution and War of 1812. You can also visit Mount Independence, an important sister fort to Fort Ticonderoga across the lake in New York, and attacked in July 1777. Learn more at the visitor center and explore the 400-acre site with the help of trail maps with historical notes and descriptions.
- Read More: Top Tourist Attractions in Burlington, Vermont & Easy Day Trips
11. Billings Farm & Museum
Billings Farm & Museum
Spreading across the wide, flat landscape of the Ottauquechee River valley, the Billings Farm & Museum carries on the education mission of Frederick Billings, former owner of the farm and of the forests above that are now part of the national park. Billings created the farm to demonstrate the value of sound environmental practices in raising livestock.
The working farm continues to educate, as well as show what Vermont farming and rural life was like in the days before modern equipment did much of the work. You can tour the farm manager’s house and dairy, visit livestock barns, watch cattle milking, make your own butter, and learn other old-fashioned rural skills in hands-on programs.
The museum building is filled with state-of-the-art exhibits on ice-harvesting, maple sugaring, and other farm activities.
Address: 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vermont
12. Visit a Maple Farm
Maple syrup farm in Vermont
The maple trees that bring a blaze of color to Vermont’s autumn landscape also make Vermont the nation’s top producer of maple syrup. The time to be here for the complete maple experience is late February through early April, when sugar houses are at full boil and you can sample the golden syrup as it’s made.
That’s the time for “sugaring off” parties and the chewy candy made by pouring syrup onto snow. Many farms take visitors into the grove – called a sugar bush – by horse-drawn sled or wagon, and some serve hot cider and fresh cider doughnuts.
Two of these farms you can visit at any time of year to learn about the process and sample syrup and other maple products. Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier is an 8th generation family-owned maple syrup farm, where you can sample maple products and see displays on tapping trees and making syrup. The gift shop has a selection of maple goodies and other Vermont-made products. As a bonus, there is an outdoor Vermont farm life museum, too.
At Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, you can sample two classic Vermont products: maple syrup and cheese. Both are produced at the 3 rd -generation farm, and if there’s cheesemaking in process in the dairy, you can watch. The shop also offers samples of jams, mustards, smoked meats, and other locally made delicacies. The hilltop setting has beautiful views.
13. Brattleboro Farmers’ Market
Brattleboro Farmers’ Market | Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis / photo modified
In a region known for its small farms and agriculture, Brattleboro’s is the poster child of farmers markets. More than a place to buy fresh-picked vegetables and fruit from small independent local farmers, it is a social event, a meeting place, a Saturday lunch stop, and part of the weekend routine for southern Vermonters.
You’ll find old favorite vegetables and all the trendy new varieties, along with flowers, artisanal breads, farm cheeses, handmade soap, local honey, maple syrup, pottery, jewelry, smart scarves, and French pastries. Plan to be there around lunchtime, when there will nearly always be live music and maybe Morris dancers on the shaded lawn.
Some vendors sell prepared foods to eat at picnic tables under the trees. You may find savory stews from Mali, Thai noodles, Lebanese dolmas, even Breton crepes. In the winter, the market moves indoors to a Main Street location.
Brattleboro itself is a cultural and social phenomenon, one of Vermont’s few towns with an industrial past, but also one where back-to-the-landers settled in the 1960s and ’70s and never left. The arts flourish here, and on any night of the week, you’ll find a choice of gallery openings, performances, classes, community action meetings, concerts, public forums, and other activities.
Address: Route 9, West Brattleboro, Vermont
14. Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s factory | videak / Shutterstock.com
Unquestionably Vermont’s most popular tourist attraction for children, Ben & Jerry’s factory tour is a favorite experience for adults, too. On the 30-minute guided tour of the factory, you’ll watch workers as they make and package ice-cream, while a guide explains the process.
On days when the factory is not operating, you’ll still see inside it, but a movie will show it in action. Of course a sample of the day’s flavor is included, and you can sample more flavors before choosing your favorite at their scoop shop.
The gift shop sells B&J goods, and you can take ice-cream with you in insulated carriers. Be sure to visit the Flavor Graveyard to mourn the loss of their “dearly de-pinted” flavors and to smile at the past tongue-in-cheek names.
Address: Route 100, Waterbury, Vermont
15. Shelburne Museum
Historic barn at the Shelburne Museum
Restored historic buildings and the collections they house at this open-air museum reflect Vermont’s rich history and America’s folk and fine art traditions. You can explore a round barn; the lake steamer SS Ticonderoga (now on dry land); a lake lighthouse; a barn filled with vintage carriages and wagons; a print shop; and collections of carved decoys, American quilts, handmade hatboxes, hooked rugs, and trains, in a bucolic village setting among manicured gardens.
In contrast to the simple farms represented at the museum, you can glimpse an entirely different kind of farming in New England at nearby Shelburne Farms. The grand turreted barns and farmyard of this 1400-acre working “gentleman farm” are still in operation, and you can sample their cheese, visit the gardens, and even have tea, depending on the tour you choose.
Address: 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne
16. Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium
Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium | redjar / photo modified
Exuding all the charm and fascination of an old-time Victorian museum, without the mustiness, the museum endowed by the owner of Fairbanks Scales covers subjects from Vermont wildflowers to the mysteries of the universe.
The 1891 building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, exhibits many of the usual things you’d expect – mounted birds and animals, Native American stone tools, Civil War memorabilia – as well as many delightful surprises. Take, for example, the bizarre collection of Victorian portraits of Washington, Lincoln, and others formed entirely of bugs and beetles.
Vermonters love visiting the live broadcast studio for their favorite weather report, Eye on the Sky. Downstairs is a hands-on nature center with wasp hives, frogs, iguanas, and creepy things kids love. Planetarium programs examine the sky above St. Johnsbury and beyond.
Across the street is the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, whose Art Gallery was added in 1873, making it the oldest art gallery in the United States still in its original form. The collection features American and European artists from the late 18th- to mid-19th century.
These and other outstanding examples of Victorian architecture on Main St. are described in a walking tour map of the street, available at the museum.
Address: 1302 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, Vermont
17. Montshire Museum of Science
Montshire Museum of Science | Heather Katsoulis / photo modified
“Do touch,” seems to be the motto of the Montshire, where each of its 125 exhibits begs for hands-on interaction. Kids can make soap bubbles grow bigger than they are, understand how movies are made by creating their own, experiment with light beams, navigate a labyrinth powered by air, watch a live boa constrictor, or see leafcutter ants at work demolishing foliage.
Even the building is designed for curious kids, with color-coded ventilation ducts and exposed construction supports. Nature trails explore the 110 acres of grounds alongside the Connecticut River.
Address: 1 Montshire Road, Norwich, Vermont
18. Rock of Ages Quarry and Hope Cemetery
Rock of Ages Quarry
Granite quarries were founded at Barre after the War of 1812 and are still operating today. You can visit the Rock of Ages quarry, a staggering hole in the earth, and at 550 feet wide, a quarter mile long, and 450 feet deep, the world’s largest quarry.
Barre granite’s exceptionally fine grain makes it the preferred stone for finely detailed, durable outdoor sculpture, such as monuments and architectural detail. While there, along with touring the quarry and workshops, you can sand-blast your own granite souvenir, and go bowling on what is believed to be the world’s only outdoor granite lane.
Barre drew expert stone workers and carvers, many from Italy, and as you might expect, you can find their work in public sculptures and in Hope Cemetery. This is filled with elaborate carvings by early-20th-century stonecutters, highlighted by some remarkably lifelike sculptures and by symbols of employment or favorite pastimes: a soccer-ball, an oil truck, or an outdoor scene with a fishing rod.
Address: 558 Graniteville Road, Graniteville, Vermont
19. Park-McCullough Historic Governor’s Mansion
Park-McCullough Historic Governor’s Mansion | J.A. Johnson / Shutterstock.com
One of New England’s finest examples of Victorian architecture and decoration, the Park-McCullough Historic Governor’s Mansion is also one of the best preserved. The 35-room mansion represents the height of the Second Empire style popular in the 1860s, with finely detailed construction and artistic features.
The mansion remained in the same family for generations, so it is furnished with original pieces and decorative arts that show the opulence and tastes of the mid-Victorian era. Surrounded by manicured grounds and gardens, the mansion is open from spring through fall and hosts cultural events, including a classical music series, theater performances, and a summer croquet league.
Address: 1 Park Street, North Bennington, Vermont
20. Green Mountain National Forest
Green Mountain National Forest
Vermont’s vast National Forest lies in two sections along the mountain chain that forms the state’s spine–and makes east-west travel a challenge. Nearly every route across these mountains leads over a gap, a mountain pass that may be good for viewing the scenery, but not so good for winter travel. In fact, some of these roads close entirely during the winter.
Follow these the rest of the year to discover waterfalls, National Forest campgrounds, scenic places to picnic, trails to hike, and a world of nature. The Appalachian Trail crosses through the southern section of National Forest, and the Long Trail follows the chain the entire length of the state from the Canadian to the Massachusetts borders.
Route 100, often called “The Skiers’ Highway,” weaves back and forth among the mountains as it makes its way north, connecting many of Vermont’s ski areas, from Mount Snow to Stowe and Jay Peak. Route 9 crosses the Green Mountains in the south; Route 73 traverses Brandon Gap; Route 125 climbs over Middlebury Gap (passing Texas Falls); and Route 17 climbs Appalachian Gap, the highest that is open in the winter, at 2,356 feet.
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What to Do in Vermont: In addition to those described here, there are more attractions to see in Burlington, and you can explore outside the city on Vermont’s outstanding hiking trails. Or you can enjoy winter sports at any of Vermont’s top ski resorts.
Where to Go Next: Just a ferry ride across Lake Champlain are the Adirondack Mountains, one of the top attractions of New York state. This is a popular area for hiking, camping, and other outdoor pursuits. And across the Connecticut River to the east is New Hampshire, where you’ll find mountains, lake and ocean beaches, and top-rated resorts.