Tourists are so focused on US states like New York, Florida, and Nevada that they keep forgetting there are other, far better attractions in the Land of the Free. If you want to experience the best that the US has to offer then you need to broaden your horizons to its other amazing US states. This time around, let us take you on a journey to the Blue Mountain State, Vermont.
Vermont is a state in the New England region of northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, New York to the west, and Canada’s Quebec to the north. It’s a relatively small state. In fact, it is the second smallest by population and sixth-smallest by area. Despite its small size, Vermont has a lot to offer for tourists and locals alike.
Tourism is one of the largest economic drivers in the state. As such, you shouldn’t be surprised to see an abundance of resorts, hotels, restaurants and more. All of these are made to cater to tourists. Moreover, these establishments secure a lot of jobs and opportunities for local Vermont citizens. Aside from unforgettable sights and historic locations, Vermont is also open to amazing activities such as trout fishing, lake fishing, and ice fishing.
Vermont is a popular state during the winter as its mountains are home to some of the best ski resorts that the US has ever seen. These resorts include Burke Mountain Ski Area, Bolton Valley, Smugglers’ Notch, Stratton, Sugarbush, Jay Peak, Suicide Six, Mount Snow, Magic Mountain Ski Area, and the Killington Ski Resort.
Millions of tourists flock the state during winter to experience the authentic skiing experience in Vermont. Of course, as this is the peak season for tourism in the state, expect a sea of tourists when visiting the area but more on what times to visit later. Before we dive into the best that Vermont has to offer, let’s first talk about some vital traveling tips for the trip ahead.
- 1 How to Get to Vermont
- 2 Getting Around Vermont
- 3 Best Time to Visit Vermont
- 4 Vermont Activities
- 4.1 The Billings Farm and Museum
- 4.2 Shelburne Farms
- 4.3 Shelburne Museum
- 4.4 Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
- 4.5 Killington Ski Area
- 4.6 VINS Nature Center
- 4.7 Stowe Mountain Resort
- 4.8 Montshire Museum
- 4.9 Green Mountain Railroad
- 4.10 ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
- 4.11 Mount Mansfield
- 4.12 Quechee Gorge
How to Get to Vermont
Vermont’s accommodating features for tourism is also seen with how easy it is to get to the state. The most convenient and accessible airport, however, is the Burlington International Airport which provides access to the central and northern region of the state. In fact, you can get to the key spots from the airport within a few minutes of driving.
Burlington is Vermont’s largest city and it is only a few minutes away from the airport. The airport itself offers flights to many cities including Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, New York – JFK, New York – LaGuardia, Newark, Philadelphia, Orlando, Washington D.C. – National, Washington D.C. – Dulles, and Montreal, Canada.
Vermont is easily accessible via driving as well. It is accessible via I-89 and I-91. These roads are well-maintained and are easily accessible as well. Moreover, the state has 10 designated Scenic Byways which range from 30 to 400 miles and include outdoor recreational spots such as shopping, galleries, and vibrant downtowns.
If you want a relaxing trip to Vermont while taking in some of the best views that the US has to offer, you can take the Lake Champlain Ferries. There are frequent crossings on three routes that will give you a truly remarkable view of the Adirondack and Green Mountains. While longer, these trips are well worth it.
Getting Around Vermont
As Vermont is relatively small compared to other states, renting a car is by far one of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around the state. Luckily, there are many car rental companies around the airport and in cities like Burlington so you can secure one for yourself upon getting to the Blue Mountain State.
Ride-sharing services are limited to big cities like Burlington too so don’t expect to get to the mountains via Uber. While limited, you can still make good use of Lyft and Uber if you want to get around the major spots in cities as travel is pretty quick, meaning you don’t have to spend a lot on them.
An increasingly popular way of getting around Vermont is via motorcycles and bicycles. The roads are well-kept in Vermont. It features thousands of miles of two-lane blacktop and gravel back roads. Motorcycles will give you access to the state’s beautiful and remarkable countryside with ease. If you know your way around these things, then definitely opt for motorcycles. There are many rental places near airports as well.
Aside from these options, it’s also worth noting that Vermont has the fastest growing line of rail and bus connections in the state. Whether you’re aiming to get to the mountains or into the cities in the state, you can find your way towards whichever part of Vermont with ease. Just be sure to plan for the trip ahead so you don’t get lost.
Best Time to Visit Vermont
Regardless of whether you are planning on skiing or just getting around Vermont’s cities, the best time to visit the state would be during winter. However, as this is the peak season for tourism, hotel rates are relatively high as well. If you’re visiting the mountains, ready a big budget as prices could be at least 35% higher than usual.
We suggest visiting early November or late February. At these times of the year, winter and snow are already present but tourists have yet to arrive or have finally left depending on which time you visit. What’s important to keep in mind is that you need to book for your accommodation months ahead of the trip so you can really save up on money.
Arizona may be one of the top places that come into your mind when talking about the best state to be for when you want to see the most scenic views that nature has to offer. But Arizona isn’t the only state that should be on your list if you’re planning for a trip to get closer to nature as Vermont is also worth talking about. In case you’re wondering what kind of activities waiting for you in this state, here are some of the most recommended things to do in Vermont to see its natural beauty that we’re sure you will love as well.
1The Billings Farm and Museum
Visiting the Billings Farm and Museum is one of the top things to do in Vermont that we can recommend as this place offers the most picturesque views of nature. Dotted with trees, you will surely enjoy this place as you can also get a chance to encounter draft horses, sheep, and even Jersey dairy cows that the farmhouses. Aside from these, it also functions as a museum, hence the name. That said, you will not just get to enjoy a glimpse of the farm life and fill your eyes with the most picturesque views in the area but you can also get to see comprehensive displays of photographs, artifacts, and oral histories that illustrate the seasonal activities that once forged the history and culture of pastoral Vermonters. It’s a place that everyone in the family will surely enjoy even if you’re traveling with kids as it is also a place for learning.
Another place that you shouldn’t miss visiting is Shelburne Farms. This 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark lets you enjoy walking trails all year round. This place also offers guided tours and a historical farm barn where you will not just get to enjoy the views that it has to offer but you can also get to learn more about creating a sustainable society, the place’s history, and more. And don’t worry if you’re traveling with kids to this place as Shelburne Farms also has some activities for kids plus a children’s farmyard. You can also learn about how to make cheese and make some on your own. Like the Billings Farm and Museum, this place isn’t just fun to visit but it is also a place to learn more so don’t forget to add this to your travel itinerary if ever you’re planning to go to Vermont.
Shelburne also has a museum and visiting it is also one of the things to do in Vermont that you shouldn’t pass on. Like the Shelburne Farms, this place also has a number of things to offer. For starters, aside from the scenic views that the place offers, this landscape campus has various historic buildings too such as the Webb Gallery, the Round Barn, Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, as well as Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building. And each of these buildings has different exhibits particularly on history, art, and the nature of Vermont. From impressionist paintings and folk art to even circus collections and a steamboat on site, this place sure has a lot of things to be explored. On top of that, it also has outdoor attractions such as circus displays and gardens. And to make your visit all the more worth it, it also has its own museum café where you can fuel yourself up with some good food including flatbread pizzas. Plus, it has artisanal and museum stores.
4Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
If you want to see more scenic views, don’t miss out on the Marsh-Billing-Rockefeller National Historical Park too. Covering 550 acres of land, this place boasts of stunning forests that will surely fill your eyes with some of the best views in town. Aside from sightseeing, you can also get to tour the area with a ranger who will guide you around the park, as well as in the mansion that stands in the area. The place also has hands-on woodlands workshops and special programs that you can participate on. On top of that, depending on the season, you can also ski, hike, and/or snowshoe through the area and even pass under sugar maples, along the slopes of Mount Tom, beside a mystifying pond, or down woodland carriage roads. If you’re looking for some nice outdoor activities, the Marsh-Billing-Rockefeller National Historical Park is the best place to be. However, some activities are seasonal so if you want to try out a certain activity like snowshoeing or skiing, make sure to time your visit.
5Killington Ski Area
Speaking of skiing, it is also one of the best things to do in Vermont, especially if you will head to Killington Ski Area. Here, you have more than 1,500 acres of skiable terrain plus over 70 miles of trails. The best part of it is that there’s no need to worry if you’re not a pro at skiing yet as Killington Ski Area’s ski trails range from easy to most difficult. Hence, you have several options so you can enjoy skiing even if you’re still a beginner. Snowboarding, quad riding, and snowmobiling are also being offered in the area. And as you do such activities, of course, the Killington Ski Area will treat you with the some of the scenic views in the place too. In addition to that, you can also hop on their gondola to get the best view of the place from above. And don’t worry if you happen to go here during summer as this place also offer other activities such as paragliding where you can get to see the most unbeatable views in the area 100 feet above the ground.
6VINS Nature Center
Vermont Institute of Natural Science Nature Center or VINS Nature Center is also one of the places that offer the best experience for when you want to get closer to nature. Needless to say, visiting it is one of the best things to do in Vermont as aside from the scenic views that it offers, VINS Nature Center also lets you enjoy four spaces of exhibits where you can get a close encounter with different classes of birds, turtles, snake, and amphibian. They also have exhibits like Ice Age Mammals on the Meadow. And if you’re traveling with kids, they will surely enjoy VINS Nature Center’s Nature’s Playground. Of course, visiting VINS Nature Center also lets you learn more about nature, as well as the animals they have on exhibit, making it all the more worth visiting so if you’re already planning your trip, don’t forget to add this to your list of things to do in Vermont too.
7Stowe Mountain Resort
Visiting Stowe Mountain Resort is also one of the things to do in Vermont that we highly recommend. This is because aside from the scenic views, this place also has a lot to offer no matter what time of the year it is. During winter, Stowe Mountain resort offers skiing in snowboarding in more than 100 trails that it has that stretches across nearly 500 acres. On regular days, you can also dine at their Fireside tavern and Hourglass Bar and Lounge. And if you’re lucky enough during your visit, you can also get to witness special events such as rail jam competitions, as well as seasonal live music events. And if you just want to relax, Stowe Mountain Resort also has a spa. No matter what kind of activity you’re looking for, this place nearly has everything that you can ask for no matter what season it is.
People may have known Montshire Museum as a place filled with displays about physical, natural sciences, and technology. However, this museum is not like any other as It also has a treetop viewing platform to see get a full view of the museum from above as well as the picturesque views in the area. Also, it has a half-mile trail that you will enjoy if you’re looking for some outdoor activity too. What’s even better is that like most of the things to do in Vermont that we’ve mentioned, this place isn’t just about bringing you fun and entertainment but it can also help educate its visitors too. Here, you have plenty of interactive experiences to try to wherein you will learn and get a better understanding of the native plants in the state, the environment in general and even astronomy. On top of that, it has plenty of traveling exhibits too so be sure to plan your visit ahead if you’re visiting this place.
9Green Mountain Railroad
Another one of the best things to do in Vermont if you want to be one with nature is to see the Green Mountain Railroad. But to see the picturesque views that the place has to offer, you would have to ride a train, though, that lasts between 35 minutes and 1 hour. Still, it’s worth the ride, especially during fall and winter as you can get to enjoy themed rides and even dinner train rides. On regular days, you may bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks on board. However, the only thing that we didn’t like that much about this experience is that the Green Mountain Railroad have unpredictable schedules. But don’t worry, you can check their website to see what the schedule is during your visit. In spite of that, it is definitely worth the try so don’t pass on this activity too.
10ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
Also another one of the attractions where you can get to enjoy scenic views and gain more knowledge about the environment at the same time is the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. Here, no matter what age group you’re in, you can get to enjoy more than 20 events and numerous programs and exhibits where you will learn more about history, culture, and ecology. ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain even has its own theater wherein you can get to watch National Geographic Experience films. Aside from that, they have a state-of-the-art LEED-certified center, Rubenstein Lab research Lounge, and Lake Champlain Naval Memorial. And what makes visiting this place one of the best things to do in Vermont if you are seeking the most scenic view is that ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain also has a café where you can enjoy a beautiful lakeside view while you dine.
Known as Vermont’s highest mountain, Mount Mansfield will definitely fill you your eyes with the most picturesque views of nature once you reach its summit. From here, you can get to see nearly everything. But what makes visiting Mount Mansfield all the more worthy to be listed as one of the best things to do in Vermont is the trails that lead to its summit. Mount Mansfield actually has a number of routes to reach its summit and each of them can offer you gorgeous views too. In addition to that, Mount Mansfield is one of the only two places in Vermont where you can find rare arctic-alpine tundra. But don’t worry if you can’t reach the top of Mount Mansfield as its base alone is already worth talking about. At its base, you can enjoy a luxurious resort where you can still enjoy nature and take in the breathtaking mountain views. On top of that, you have three pools, a fine dining restaurant, and a full-service spa to enjoy that is perfect for when you just want to relax.
Also worth visiting is the Quechee Gorge, the state’s deepest gorge. But its amazing depth is not the only thing that makes this place worth talking about. It also offers some scenic views that you can only get to see in this area. That said, it is not to be missed too. It’s also close to Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences so if you’re visiting VINS, don’t miss out of Quechee Gorge too.