Located in a beautiful northeastern United States, Vermont is a stunning state to explore. With centuries of history, rural idylls and a bunch of unusual small villages, it is a place that abounds in places to visit. That’s why I wanted to share some of the best places in Vermont that you really shouldn’t miss.
In many ways, Vermont is an idyllic mix of fantasy and reality … well, at least in my eyes!
With lively small towns and relaxed villages permeated throughout the landscape, it’s totally nice to explore. And not only that, if you love great outdoor spaces, then you’ll totally love how quiet and pristine Vermont is.
Think of dirt roads surrounded by maple trees, picturesque lakes, sunny meadows and farms on the slopes. It is a total vibration.
Check out the best places in Vermont to visit on your next trip below! Have an epic time to explore.
1.) Lake Champlain
Located on the border of Vermont, New York State and Canada, Lake Champlain is a completely stunning area to visit. It stretches for more than 100 kilometers, is one of the best places in Vermont that you can explore if you like great openness.
With hundreds of species calling this area home, such a place is perfect for spotting some of the local wildlife.
And not only that, it is a great place for kayaking or rowing on the lake itself. It’s always a lot easier for me to rent equipment instead of paddling my car around the country. If you are the same, sign up with the team at Paddle Surf Champlain (in Oakledge Park, Burlington). They have an hourly or daily rental, which is great if you want a small tasting. Plus, if you’re new to rowing, they’ll have a bunch of private or small group lessons to get you started.
Take some easy and accessible trails north to the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge. Here they have a bunch of different loop trails (easiest for the whole family) that will guide you around. You can even see a beaver staying in it.
Oh, and for a beach holiday, be sure to stop at Alburg Dunes State Park. In the warmer summer months, you can even set up camp at a nearby campground.
Finally, if heading south from Burlington, take a small detour to visit Vergennes Falls Park. Here you will be able to see the historic waterfalls and even spot the cluster that nests here.
2.) Quechee State Park
Thousands of years ago, glaciers carved the Quechee Gorge, which continues to deepen due to the constant flow of water from the Ottauquechee River. I’m not a geologist, but I loved stopping by for a quick visit here.
Best of all, you can see the gorge from above. You see, there is a bridge next to the bridge where road 4 passes over the gorge itself. Alternatively, take the paths below and look at the lower part of the Quechee gorge at water level.
If you are interested in wildlife, you can go to the Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS), which is also on Route 4, and see how injured or sick predators are cared for and returned to the wild.
Also, if it’s a nice windless day, you can book a balloon ride at Quechee balloon ride. They are set in Quechee Green Park. It is usually best to book in advance and be prepared to cancel if the weather changes.
When you think of Vermont, Stowe’s landscape is probably the image that first comes to mind. While Stowe is best known for its winter ski slopes and snowy Mt. Mansfield, it is still a wonderful place to go all year round, especially for autumn leaves.
Not only that, history buffs will find the Vermot Ski Museum a completely cool place, preserving the heritage of the Vermont ski industry that goes back. If you want some time on the slopes, head to the Stowe mountain resort which offers a range of trails for all abilities.
Although Stowe isn’t all about skiing: there are art galleries, bike trails, boutiques, restaurants and the covered Gold Brook Bridge.
You can even follow a 5.3 mile route called the Stowe Recreation Path if you want a close-up view of the forests and meadows surrounding the famous Mt. Mansfield.
Also, if you want a longer hike, head towards the cantilever rock. It reminds me so much of Pride Rock in The Lion King and it’s so nice to see. Although the preparation, as well as the trail, can sometimes be difficult.
4.) Hildene Manor and Manchester
About a 150 minute drive south of Burlington, Hildene has a special place to visit in Vermont. In fact, you’ll feel like you’re transported into the past when you visit Hildene.
This Georgian Revival villa was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary. Hildene was in care of Lincoln’s heirs until 1975 and almost feels like time has stopped inside.
When you get here, you can walk around and spot a dining room designed in the style of Queen Anne. Oh, and be sure to check out the still functional thousands of aeolian organ pipes. And not only that, the gardens are stunning, especially on a sunny day.
Then jump to the nearby one Tavern Ye Olde it lasts for centuries. They make the most interesting roast in a pot with a breast.
Woodstock is a stunning city to visit and is worth exploring. With centuries of history, it is a place that is typically Vermont; unusual, peaceful and historic.
Once here, be sure to check out the Middle Covered Bridge, Billings Farm and Museum and take a stroll through the sleepy city center. It’s wonderful.
Oh, and don’t forget to see the covered Taftsville Bridge located outside of Woodstock as well.
Afterwards, take a ride around Jenna’s farm; one of the most painted 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 these beautiful color changes. With a background of sugar maples all around, it is one of the best places in Vermont for a superb view of rural Vermont.
6.) Lake Willoughby
If you’re exploring the best places in Vermont in the north of the state, be sure to check out Lake Willoughby.
Quietly quiet from the popular places around Lake Champlain, it is a place that is completely peaceful and so stunning.
While you’re here, you can see Mount Hor and Mount Pisga hiding the lake, and the villages surrounding it are easy to fall in love with.
If you are interested in hiking, join the Mount Pisgah trail which has the most amazing view of the lake. It takes you about 1-2 hours to reach the top, it’s nice to do it on a half day trip.
Brattleboro is a bustling border town in southern Vermont that is really easy to visit as you drive from Keene to New Hampshire.
Be sure to visit Brattleboro Farmers’ Market upon arrival. If you visit lunch time, you’ll find all kinds of food and pastries – from Thai noodles and stews from Mali to farm cheeses and freshly baked pastries.
There are even shops where you can buy handmade soap, maple syrup, Breton crepe, scarves and ceramics.
Afterwards, stroll through the historic district of Brattleboro Downtown and stop at the Brattleboro Museum.
On the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is one of the larger places to stop during a visit to Vermont.
Sure, you’ll spend some time on the lake, but don’t forget to move on to the town itself. Here you will be able to visit Ethan Allen’s last remaining residence and the Homestead Museum and Fleming Art Museum. They are both stunning and worth a look.
Also, don’t forget to explore the historic area around Church Street. Located in the heart of Burlington, Church Street (and the market) is worth a visit because of the cafes, shops and small restaurants that surround the area.
Are you getting hungry? Jump to the unpretentious and completely delicious Penny Cluse cafe. It’s good to start your day with a hearty breakfast here. Their tofu cream with salsa and beef juice is so good.
Finally, for a small trip out of town, head to nearby Richmond. You can see the iconicity here Old round church which stands proudly along the Winooski River.
East of Burlington, Montpelier is the capital of Vermont, although it is one of the smallest capitals cities throughout the United States.
It’s a perfect half-day trip (or overnight stay) while driving through Vermont and it’s worth the fun while you’re in the area.
Be sure to check out the iconic state house with its gold dome, visit Hubbard Park for all its history and head to the Vermont Historical Society Museum. The latter may be small, but it is full of exhibits.
Right in the south corner of Vermont, near New York State, Bennington is worth a visit while driving between states. Yes, you may not spend the whole day here, but a few hours of research is absolutely nice and must be done.
Of course, you must see the high obelisk, which is a monument to the Battle of Bennington during the American Revolutionary War (back in 1777).
To explore most of the city, head out to find out more at the Bennington Museum and see the Old First Church dating back centuries. It’s amazing and so unusual.
In addition, if you’re driving north to Burlington (after this), take a tour to see the historic Covered bridge in Arlington.
From Highway 7 it will take you about 10 minutes and it is completely easy to see.
Although small, Ludlow is one of the best places in Vermont to stay if you love to ski. You see, the only shy city is the Okemo mountain resort (near the Okemo state forest).
The perfect place for all abilities, I like Okema the most because it is quite quieter than some of the more popular ski resorts in Vermont. That means it’s usually pretty quiet.
Afterwards, stroll through the historic Ludlow Village or drive north to Plymouth to visit the historic site of Calvin Coolidge. For those unfamiliar, the 30th President of the United States grew up there!