Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Kelly
If you’ve ever dreamed of planning a trip to New England, you have to add the state of Vermont to your itinerary. From rustic maple farms to craft breweries, there is something for everyone in Vermont!
I used to live in Connecticut, and I enjoyed many weekend excursions to Vermont. One of my favorite memories was visiting Vermont for a half marathon! It was so cool to run through the countryside. In this post, I’m sharing my picks for the top 27 things to do in Vermont!
Best Things to Do in Vermont
1. Maple Syrup Tasting in Vermont
I’m starting this list off with one of my favorite things to do in Vermont: maple syrup tasting! There are so many beautiful farms in the state that make maple syrup, and many of them have sugarhouses (what Vermonters call a place where maple syrup is produced). We stopped at Wood’s Vermont Syrup Co. Wood’s Vermont Syrup Company is a small family business that is dedicated to stewarding the land and preserving the traditions surrounding maple production. The owner’s family has been sugaring (making maple syrup) for at least 6 generations! They have over 8,000 taps and they specialize in traditional and barrel-aged maple syrups.
We visited their shop and we were able to taste so many different types of maple syrup. We also learned a lot about the process and the different grades of maple syrup. While we are at Wood’s Vermont Syrup Co., we also walked around the property a bit. We said hi to some horses and enjoyed the views of the rolling hills. We bought their maple bourbon syrup to take home with us. I also really liked their maple syrup candies! We definitely recommend a visit to Woods Vermont Syrup Company!
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2. Explore Burlington, Vermont
As Vermont’s largest city, there’s plenty to do in Burlington! Stroll along the Burlington Bike Path and take in the views of Lake Champlain, or head to Marketplace Square and go window shopping. Make sure you walk up and down Church Street to see boutique shops and trendy restaurants. While in Burlington you can even see the world’s tallest filing cabinet if you’re looking for a quirky roadside attraction. (Although it’s debatable if it actually is the world’s tallest filing cabinet, that’s what most people call it!) You can check out this app for a self-guided scavenger hunt of the city.
3. Take a Beer Tour
Enjoy Burlington’s craft brewery scene with a beer tour! You’ll get to visit multiple breweries and you won’t have to worry about transportation. You’ll get to sample lots of beer, and you’ll even get to speak to many of the brewmasters. Be sure to check out the following breweries while you’re in Burlington: Vermont Pub and Brewery, Magic Hat Brewing Company, Fiddlehead Brewing, Queen City Brewery, Switchback Brewing Co., Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, and Three Needs Brewery and Tap Room.
4. Visit Stowe, Vermont
If you’ve read our post about New England Fall Foliage, you’ll know that Stowe is one of the best small towns to see the fall leaves. The town is known as “Fall’s Color Capital”, and numerous travel magazines have rated it highly as one of the best places to see fall leaves. We recommend that you book a day tour and let a local show you to all the best places. You can cap off your day by visiting The Alchemist brewery.
5. Tour Northern Vermont
When you book a tour, you won’t have to worry about maps or driving. You can just sit back and let your guide take you to the best places in the state. In this tour, you’ll see Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, the Trapp Family Lodge, and end in the town of Stowe.
6. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
Another highlight from our visit to Vermont was touring the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. We are major fans of ice cream, so stopping at the iconic factory was a must-see for us. When we visited the factory, we were able to see a 30-minute guided tour of their ice cream production, watch a short movie, and have an ice cream sample. The factory also has a Scoop Shop where you can purchase more ice cream, and there is also a Flavor Graveyard where they have gravestones marking all the flavors that they no longer produce. It was really fun walking through the graveyard and seeing what flavors the company tried out over the years. We were really glad we stopped by the factory, and we would highly recommend it to others that enjoy ice cream as much as we do!
7. Cold Hollow Cider Mill
If you’re looking for the best of Vermont agricultural products, you should definitely stop by Cold Hollow Cider Mill. The mill has a restaurant, gift shop, and a tasting room where you can sip on hard ciders. You can take a self-guided tour of this working cider mill and learn all about rural Vermont life. You’ll learn all about their apple and maple products. Their cider jelly is a shop favorite! Of course, you also have to try a fresh apple cider donut as well! Their gift shop also features things like maple shortbread, cider jelly thumbprint cookies, and cheddar biscuits.
8. Trapp Family Lodge
If you’re a big fan of The Sound of Music, then you’ll be delighted to learn that the Trapp family which inspired the movie opened their own lodge in Vermont. After they fled Austria, they made their home in the United States. Their European-styled lodge is now a hotel where you can stay and enjoy the countryside.
9. Shelburne Museum
The Shelburne Museum is just a few minutes south of Burlington. It’s the largest art and history museum in northern New England, and it contains 39 buildings and 22 gardens on 45 acres of property. You could easily spend a day at the museum! Be sure to check out their round barn, the carousel, and the steamboat.
10. Moss Glen Falls
If you’re looking to spend a day enjoying nature, a visit to Moss Glen Falls is a local favorite. The falls are located just a few minutes away from the town of Stowe. The hike itself to the falls is fairly short (typically takes about 20 minutes), but you can also continue hiking if you’d like more of a challenge.
11. Pump House Indoor Waterpark
Vermont can be quite cold in the winter, so it’s nice that there is an indoor water park for all seasons. (Although during the summer, the retractable roof can open up to let the sun in!) The Pump House Indoor Waterpark contains tube slides, a kids play area, and lots of pools.
12. Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory has just about every type of plush animal you could ever imagine. The building is easy to spot… it’s the one with the rainbow-colored silo! When you visit the factory, you can see their Bear Shop and even create your own teddy bear. You can take a tour of the factory, and you can even see their Bear Hospital.
13. Take a Snowmobiling Tour
If you’re visiting Vermont during the winter time, take advantage of the snow by exploring the state on a snowmobile tour! The two-hour tour will take you along the scenic Rail Trail.
14. Wilson Castle
You can visit Vermont’s only castle when you stop by the Wilson Castle. The castle was built in the mid 1800s and it contains a turret, parapet, and balcony. The castle contains 84 stained-glass windows, 32 rooms, and 13 fireplaces.
15. Hildene (Lincoln’s Family Home)
Hildene is the Lincoln Family Home and it’s located in Manchester, Vermont. Abraham Lincoln’s family owned the property, and today Hildene is dedicated to preserving Abraham Lincoln’s legacy. The property contains a welcome center, numerous trails, and of course the family home. The home was built by Robert and Mary Lincoln. (Robert was the only surviving child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. The estate sits on 412 acres and contains an impressive Georgian revival mansion. There’s also 14 other historic buildings, a formal garden, and an observatory.
16. Mount Mansfield
Mount Mansfield is Vermont’s highest peak. The Mount Mansfield Visitor Center is a good starting place for visitors to plan hikes and excursions. The Auto Toll Road takes visitors up to the top. It’s a windy, unpaved road, so plan accordingly. You can also take the Gondola Skyride to the top for a unique experience. Once at the top, enjoy lunch at the Cliff House (open seasonally). During the winter, Mount Mansfield is a popular ski destination.
17. Killington Ski Resort
The Killington Ski Resort is the largest ski area in the eastern United States. During the winter, you can enjoy everything Vermont’s snow has to offer. During the summer, you can enjoy the bike park, adventure center, gondola rides, and golfing.
18. Ludlow, Vermont
Ludlow is another popular ski destination in Vermont. The town is located near Okemo Mountain. Depending on the season, you can also visit Buttermilk Falls via a short trail. Be sure to visit the Green Mountain Sugar House for all things maple!
19. Montpelier, Vermont
Montpelier is Vermont’s capital and contains the Vermont State House. (The State House is open Monday through Friday for self-guided tours.) The Vermont State House was built in 1859 and is over 160 years old. It is the oldest legislative hall int eh United States to have its original interiors.
While in Montpelier, you can also visit the Vermont History Museum for an overview of Vermont throughout multiple time periods. The Bragg Farm Sugar House & Gift Shop has maple treats, and Hubbard Park has a stone observation tower.
20. Old Round Church
The Old Round Church is a unique church located in Richmond, Vermont. It was built in the early 1800s and contains 16 sides.
21. Quechee State Park
One popular place to enjoy Vermont’s natural beauty is Quechee State Park. The highlight of the park is the Quechee Gorge, which is Vermont’s deepest gorge.
22. Robert Frost Interpretive Trail
The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail is a 1.2 mile loop trail that features the work of poet Robert Frost. It’s a fantastic opportunity to reflect on how nature inspired his poetry. The trailhead is just east of the town of Ripton, Vermont. Robert Frost had a summer home near the trail, and he would often walk through the woods.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost
23. Billings Farm and Museum
The Billings Farm and Museum is a popular attraction where visitors learn all about daily colonial life. The museum teaches all about Vermont’s rural life during the 19th century. The farm has numerous exhibits which include a rural farmhouse, barns, and a dairy farm.
24. Ethan Allen Homestead Museum
Ethan Allen was a patriot during the Revolutionary War, and he is revered among Vermonters as he helped to establish the state. (Vermont celebrates Ethan Allen Day every June 23rd!) To learn more about the life of Ethan Allen, you can visit his property at the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum. The house is over 235 years old! In addition to the home, you can view the gardens and the reconstructed Abenaki village.
25. Montshire Museum of Science
The Montshire Museum of Science contains over 150 different hands-on science exhibits. There are exhibits on making music, learning about the works of Leonardo da Vinci, and exploring the scientific principles of motion. In addition to the indoor exhibits, there are a number of outdoor exhibits and trails.
26. Bennington Battle Monument and Museum
The Bennington Battle Monument and Museum marks the 1777 revolutionary battle that helped solidify victory over the English. The monument contains a 306-foot-tall obelisk
27. Visit a Covered Bridge
Vermont is famous for its historic wooden bridges. There are tons of them throughout the state! This website contains a map of all the covered bridges in the state. We took a road trip through Vermont and passed through many along the way.
About the State of Vermont
Vermont is home to over 600,000 residents (2020 census). Vermont is known as the “Green Mountain State” due to its densely forested mountains. Those green mountains turn into spectacular shades of reds, oranges, and purples during the fall season.
Vermont became a state in 1791, making it the 14th state. Its capital city is Montpelier, and its largest city is Burlington.
Best Hotels in Vermont
- Trapp Family Lodge: The Trapp Family Lodge is inspired by European architecture. The famous von Trapp family opened this lodge when they moved to the United States from Austria. If you are a fan of The Sound of Music, you have to stay here!
- Castle Hill Resort & Spa: Located in the Green Mountains, you’ll have the best foliage at your fingertips.
- Smugglers Notch Resort: This 5-star ski resort in the Green Mountains has 8 different pools, 4 waterslides, and 7 on-site dining options. The resort has fully-furnished condos, which means you can have an extremely comfortable stay after you hit the slopes! The resort, however, is an excellent destinations all year-round.
- The Village Inn of Woodstock: This quaint bed and breakfast is located near the Billings Farm and Museum. The rooms are furnished with antiques, and it’s a quiet place to stay because it’s an adults-only inn.
What to Pack for a Trip to Vermont
Here are a few things that we recommend that you pack with you for your trip:
- Selfie stick and tripod: You’ll be able to take fall photos of yourself and/or your whole family with the most stunning backdrops.
- Power bank: While you’re out on the trails, make sure that your phone doesn’t run out of battery. We always travel with one or even two power banks fully-charged just-in-case!
- New England guide book: As you drive through the numerous historic villages and towns, it can be fun to read about all the local attractions.
- Camera: If you don’t have one already, pack a nice camera to really take advantage of the fall foliage.
- Waterproof hiking boots: You’ll want to explore the forest trails, and with a pair of waterproof hiking boots you won’t have to worry about mud. I’ve been using the Columbia brand for years and have loved my pair. My boots have taken me all over the USA!
Summary: Our Adventure in Vermont
I first visited Vermont after signing up for a half marathon in the state. While we were there for the race, we of course had to do some exploring! I loved all the outdoor activities that Vermont offered. There were tons of trails!
We visited Vermont a second time as we took a road trip through the upper New England states to Quebec. I would highly recommend a visit to Vermont, especially during the fall. I hope this post inspired you to plan your own trip to Vermont!
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