Perched within the gorgeous northeast United States, Vermont is a stunning state to explore. With centuries of history, rural idyls and a heap of quaint little villages, it’s the kind of place that’s brimming with places to visit. This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best places in Vermont that you really shouldn’t miss.
In lots of ways, Vermont is an idyllic mix of fantasy and reality… well, in my eyes at least!
With bustling little towns and laidback villages peppered throughout the landscape, it’s totally lovely to explore. Not only that, if you love the great outdoors, then you’ll totally love how tranquil and unspoilt Vermont is.
Think dirt roads lined with maple trees, scenic lakes, sunbathed meadows, and hillside farms. It’s a total vibe.
Take a look, below, at the best places in Vermont to visit on your next trip! Have an epic time exploring.
1.) Lake Champlain
Nestled on the border of Vermont, New York State and Canada, Lake Champlain is a totally stunning area to visit. Stretching over 100-miles, it’s one of the best places in Vermont to explore if you love the great outdoors.
With hundreds of species calling this area home, it’s the kind of place that’s perfect to spot some of the local wildlife.
Not only that, it’s a great spot to kayak or paddleboard on the lake itself. For me, I always find it much easier to rent the gear, rather than carting your own paddleboard across the state. If you’re the same, check-in with the team at Paddle Surf Champlain (at Oakledge Park, Burlington). They have hourly or daily rentals which is great if you’re wanting a little taster session. Plus, if you’re new to paddleboarding, they have a heap of private or small group lessons to get you going.
For some easy and accessible trails, head north to Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. Here, they have a heap of different loop trails (most easy for all the family) that’ll take you around the area. You might even see the resident beaver.
Oh, and for a beach break, make sure to stop off at Alburg Dunes State Park. You can even set up camp in the nearby campground in the warmer summer months.
Finally, if you’re heading south from Burlington, be sure to take a small detour to visit Vergennes Falls Park. Here, you’ll be able to see the historic falls and even spot the osprey that nest up here.
2.) Quechee State Park
Thousands of years ago, glaciers carved the Quechee Gorge, which is still deepening because of the constant flow of water from the Ottauquechee River. Now, I’m no geologist but I totally loved stopping for a quick visit here.
Best of all, you can view the gorge from above. You see, there’s a walkway along the bridge where Route 4 passes over the gorge itself. Alternatively, head on the trails below and see the lower part of Quechee Gorge at the water level.
If wildlife interests you, you can go to the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS), which is on Route 4 as well, and take a look at how injured or sick raptors are taken care of and returned to the wild.
Also, if it’s a nice day with no wind, you can book a hot air balloon ride at Quechee Balloon Rides. They’re set up at Quechee Green Park. It’s usually best to book in advance and be prepared for cancellations if the weather changes.
When you think of Vermont, Stowe’s landscape is probably the image that first comes to mind. While Stowe is most famous for its winter ski trails and the snow-capped Mt. Mansfield, it is still a wonderful place to go to all year round, especially for the fall foliage.
Not only that, history buffs will find the Vermont Ski Museum a totally cool spot, preserving the heritage of Vermont’s ski industry that goes back years. If you’re wanting some time on the slopes, head to Stowe Mountain Resort that’s got a range of runs for all abilities.
Though, Stowe isn’t all about skiing: there are art galleries, biking trails, boutiques, restaurants, and the Gold Brook Covered Bridge to spot.
You can even follow the 5.3-mile route called Stowe Recreation Path if you want a close-up view of the woods and meadows that surround the glorious Mt. Mansfield.
Also, if you’re fancying a longer hike, head over to see Cantilever Rock. It reminds me so much of Pride Rock in the Lion King and is so cool to see. Though, prep well as the trail can be tough at times.
4.) Hildene Manor and Manchester
Around a 150-minute drive south of Burlington, Hildene has a very special spot to visit in Vermont. In fact, you’ll feel like being transported to the past when you visit Hildene.
This Georgian Revival mansion was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary. Hildene had been in the care of the Lincoln heirs until 1975 and almost feels like time has stood still inside.
Once here, you can take a nosey around and spot the dining room designed in a Queen Anne style. Oh, and be sure to check out the still-functioning thousand pipes Aeolian organ. Not only that, the gardens are stunning, especially on a sunny day.
Afterwards, pop over to the nearby Ye Olde Tavern that’s been going for centuries. They make the most heart-warming brisket pot roast.
Woodstock is a stunner of a town to visit and totally worth the drive to explore. With centuries of history, it’s the kind of place that typically Vermont; quaint, peaceful and historic.
Once here, be sure to see the Middle Covered Bridge, Billings Farm and Museum and stroll the sleepy town centre. It’s lovely.
Oh, and don’t forget to see Taftsville Covered Bridge that’s just outside of Woodstock, too.
Afterwards, take a drive around the countryside near Jenne Farm; one of the most photographed farms in all of Vermont.
You can visit Jenne Farm at any time of the year, but the best time to go here is in the fall with those gorgeous colour changes. With a backdrop of sugar maples all around, it’s one of the best places in Vermont for a quintessential view of rural Vermont.
6.) Lake Willoughby
If you’re exploring the best places in Vermont within the north of the state, then be sure to check out Lake Willoughby.
Typically quieter than the popular spots around Lake Champlain, it’s the kind of place that’s totally tranquil and so stunning.
Whilst here, you can see Mount Hor and Mount Pisgah harbouring the lake, and the villages that surround it are easy to fall in love with.
If it’s hiking you’re after, join the Mount Pisgah Trail that has the most incredible views over the lake. Taking around 1-2 hours to reach the top, it’s lovely to do on a half-day trip.
Brattleboro is a bustling border town in the south of Vermont that’s really easy to visit when driving from Keene in New Hampshire.
After arriving be sure to check out the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market, too. If you go around lunchtime, you’ll find all varieties of food and pastry – from Thai noodles and Mali stews to farm cheeses and freshly-baked pastries.
There are even shops where you can buy handmade soap, maple syrup, Breton crepe, scarves, and pottery.
Afterwards, take a stroll through the Brattleboro Downtown Historic District and stop off at Brattleboro Museum.
Right on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is one of the bigger places that you’ll stop off at whilst visiting Vermont.
Of course, you’re going to spend some time on the lakeside but don’t forget to head further into the city itself. Here, you’ll be able to visit the last remaining residence of Ethan Allen and the Homestead Museum and the Fleming Museum of Art. Both are stunning and well worth taking a gander.
Also, don’t forget to explore the historic area around Church Street, too. Located right within downtown Burlington, Church Street (and the Marketplace) is well worth visiting for the cafes, shopping and little restaurants that line the area.
Getting hungry? Hop over to the unpretentious and totally delicious Penny Cluse Cafe. It’s good to start your day with a hefty breakfast here Their tofu scramble with salsa and the corned beef hash is so good.
Finally, for a little trip out of the city, head on over to nearby Richmond. Here, you can see the iconic Old Round Church that stands proudly by the Winooski River.
East of Burlington, Montpelier is the capital of Vermont, even though it’s one of the smallest capital cities in all the US.
It’s the perfect half-day trip (or overnight stay) whilst driving across Vermont and well worth a gander whilst in the area.
Be sure to see the iconic gold-domed State House, visit Hubbard Park for all its history and head inside the Vermont Historical Society Museum. The latter might be small but it’s packed-full with exhibits.
Right in the southern corner of Vermont, close to New York State, Bennington is well worth visiting whilst driving between states. Yes, you might not spend a whole day here but a few hours exploring is totally lovely and a must-do.
Of course, you have to see the towering obelisk, which’s a monument to Bennington Battle during the American Revolutionary War (way back in 1777).
To explore more of the town, head over to learn more at the Bennington Museum and see the Old First Church that dates back centuries. It’s incredible and so quaint.
Plus, if you’re driving north to Burlington (after this), then make sure to make a detour to see the historic Arlington Covered Bridge.
It’ll only take around 10-minutes from Highway 7 and is totally easy to see.
Although tiny, Ludlow is one of the best places in Vermont to stay in if you love skiing. You see, just shy of the town is Okemo Mountain Resort (near Okemo State Forest).
A perfect place for all abilities, what I love most about Okemo is that it’s quite a bit quieter than some of the more popular skiing spots in Vermont. This means its usually pretty peaceful.
Afterwards, take a stroll through the Ludlow Village Historic District or drive north to Plymouth to visit the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site. For those not in the know, it’s where the 30th President of the United States grew up!