Vermont is one of the dreamiest states in the US, hands down. It’s filled with majestic mountains, cozy cabins, resort towns, and amazing food that will always leave you coming back for more. There are so many unique things to do in Vermont, and this article covers my top 33!
As a native New Englander, I’ve spent many memorable vacations in Vermont. It’s one of the coolest year-round destinations imaginable, offering skiing and snowboarding in the winter, hiking and swimming in the summer, and leaf peeping in the fall. Visiting VT in the spring is also a must when its snowcapped mountains transform into lush forests and spectacular cascades.
In Vermont, it’s easy to let go of all of life’s worries. Spend your days strolling its charming towns, drinking the local beer, indulging in the farm-to-table dining, and soaking in the gorgeous scenery. This round-up of the most unique and fun things to do in Vermont will take your breath away and hopefully encourage you to explore this magnificent state for yourself. Let’s get to it!
Top 33 Things to Do in Vermont
Go on a fall foliage road trip around VT
Chasing the fall colors is a must when you’re in Vermont. Peak foliage typically occurs between late-September and mid-October, but can vary considerably between different geographies and elevations across the state. This makes leaf peeping one of the top Vermont fall activities.
Some of my favorite leaf-peeping drives include Smugglers’ Notch State Park, Vermont Route 100 Scenic Byway, and the Mad River Valley. Though you really can’t go wrong wherever you, as long as you’re in Vermont!
Fun things to do in Vermont in the winter: Hit the slopes and go skiing/snowboarding
They may call Vermont the Green Mountain State, but that’s not so during the winter months. From December through March, Vermont becomes a winter wonderland decked out with top-notch ski resorts. If skiing isn’t you thing, there’s plenty of opportunities for snowboarding, sledding, and tubing, too.
It would be impossible to provide an exhaustive list of the top mountain resorts in VT, but here’s a good place to start: Jay Peak, Killington, Mount Snow, Stowe Mountain Resort, Stratton, and Sugarbush.
Stay overnight in a cozy cabin
It would be a crime to visit Vermont and not stay in a cozy log cabin. From modern A-Frames to rustic chalets, this state offers no shortage of unique accommodations with mountain views and plenty of woods to go around.
Here are my favorite cabins in VT that you should check out:
Read next: Top Cabins to Rent in VT
Taste the purest form of maple syrup
Vermont has the best maple syrup in the US, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to try it from a local farm. Learning about the maple process makes you appreciate the taste that much more.
Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier is a great place to savor the local flavor, but there are dozens of other farms around the state where you can do tastings, too. In addition to maple syrup, also try some local jams and jellies.
Go hiking through the Green Mountains
Looking for what to do in Vermont? Look no further than the mountains.
Vermont is home to nearly 20 state parks and forests, as well as 1 national forest – the Green Mountains. It’s no surprise, then, that you’ll find no shortage of places to go hiking.
Some of the coolest hikes in the Green Mountains include Camel’s Hump Trail in Northern VT and Bucklin Trail in Central Vermont. In the southern part of the state, don’t miss Mount Equinox. This mountain has a 6-mile hike that brings you to the top of a summit with views of four states!
Hit the best breweries in New England
Beer lovers will never want to leave Vermont. Enjoy a pub crawl through cities and towns like Burlington and Stowe, which offer countless microbreweries matching VT’s hipster reputation. This is definitely one of the most fun things to do in VT if you enjoy pub/brewery vibes!
My all-time favorite brewery is The Alchemist in Stowe. This family-run brewery specializes in IPAs, most notably its signature Heady Topper and Focal Banger. The beer tasting is a lot of fun, just make sure you have a designated driver, because those Heady Topper’s sure add up quick!
Enjoy lake life at Lake Willoughby
Located in the Northeast Kingdom, Lake Willoughby is my favorite lake in the state of Vermont. It’s surrounded by Willoughby State Forest, which looks especially spectacular during the peak fall foliage season.
Spend your days relaxing on the lake or doing watersports. Nature lovers should consider hiking Mount Pisgah, which offers jaw-dropping views of the lake and adjacent countryside. There’s so much to see at Lake Willoughby, that it’s no wonder this among the best things to do in Vermont.
Pay a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in VT without mentioning the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. Located in Waterbury, not far from Stowe, this factory offers tours and walk-up window service daily. You can even order ahead of time for curbside pick-up. Enjoy a free sample of their uniquely named ice cream flavors and don’t forget to take a picture in front of the iconic ice cream truck that sits outside of the factory.
If you go to Vermont without stopping at Ben & Jerry’s, did you really visit VT? I think not!
Read next: Top Accommodations in Stowe VT
Drive along Vermont Route 100
One of the most scenic drives in Vermont is Route 100, which covers the entire state from north to south. It runs over 200 miles, taking you past charming towns, beautiful forests, and magnificent mountains. Along the way, you’ll also stumble across lakes and campgrounds that will give you a proper taste of the Green Mountain State.
Whether you’re visiting Vermont in the summer or fall, you’ll definitely want to add Route 100 to your VT bucket list.
Coolest things to do in Vermont in the spring: Chase waterfalls at Vermont’s state parks
Though Vermont is no Iceland, you’ll still find plenty of waterfalls worth chasing. The best time to see the waterfalls is in the late spring as the snow melts.
Some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in VT include Bingham Falls near Mount Mansfield, Lye Brook Falls in Manchester, and Moss Glen Falls in Granville.
Read next: Most Epic Hikes in New England
Ride the gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield
Elevate your Vermont game by taking a gondola to the top of Mount Mansfield. At 4,395 ft. above sea level, Mt. Mansfield is the tallest mountain in VT, definitely deserving a spot on your bucket list.
In the winter, the Gondola SkyRide will take you up to the ski slopes. During the summer, you can simply enjoy the precious scenery below. Is this one of the top things do in Vermont? It sure is!
Read next: Coolest Bucket List Ideas for Travelers
Best Things to do in Vermont in the fall: Go apple picking at a local orchard
Next to skiing, apple picking is Vermont’s most popular pastime. So, it should come as no surprise that it’s one of the coolest things to do in VT for visitors, too!
Look out for a local VT apple orchard with many varieties of apples and of course, cider donuts! In addition to being one of the most fun things to do in Vermont, it’s also among the best fall activities!
Read next: Top Apple Orchards in VT
Check out the country’s largest granite quarry
Looking to partake in one of the coolest Vermont attractions? At nearly 600 ft. deep, the Rock of Ages is the largest granite in the nation and perhaps, in the world. Also known as Smith Quarry, this geological masterpiece will make you feel small in the best way possible.
Take a tour of the quarry, which runs Monday-Friday rain or shine, and check out the visitor center and gift shop for a souvenir. Note: Due to COVID, the narrated tour is postponed until further notice. Refer to the Rock of Ages official website for more information.
Eat your way through a local farmer’s market
Visit Vermont and you’ll be in for a treat. Literally! Eat your way through the local farmers markets and your taste palette will thank you for it. One of the most famous is the Burlington Farmers Market, held every Saturday from May through October.
It seems that every town across Vermont has their own farmer’s market. However, if you can’t make it to one, stop at any roadside market for a similar taste of the local flavor!
Work at a local farm
WWOOFING is a popular thing these days, and there’s truly no better place to work on a farm than in Vermont.
Even if farm chores and tending to crops and animals isn’t your cup of tea, I recommend staying at a farm while you’re in Vermont. Here are a few of the coolest farm stays in the state:
Read next: Coolest Travel Jobs Across the Globe
See a gorgeous gorge up close
The best Vermont activities are often tucked in nature, and there’s nothing more unique and iconic than Quechee Gorge. This natural treasure is located in Quechee State Park near the VT-NH border.
Hike down to the gorge if you wish, but the best views are from the bridge, just a two-minute walk from the parking lot.
Take a cruise on Lake Champlain
The best things to do in Vermont in the summer are on the lake, and there’s no cooler lake in VT than Lake Champlain. This is easily one of the best places in Vermont, especially during the warmer months.
Rent a boat or kayak on a warm summer day, or hop aboard a ferry to see this magnificent lake from a different perspective. Spirit of Ethan Allen is a popular cruise operator, offering narrated cruises, brunch cruises, sunset cruises, and everything in between!
Drive through Vermont’s classic covered bridges
Vermont is home to over 100 covered bridges, having more per square mile than any other US state. Plan to see at least a few of them on your Vermont road trip.
My favorite covered bridges in the state are in Montgomery and Woodstock. There’s also one at Quechee Gorge that you can’t miss. These historic bridges are incredibly charming any time of year, but especially stunning in the autumn when the leaves begin to fall!
Top things to do in Vermont in the summer: Swim in a refreshing lake
In the summer, Vermont is a prime place for swimming. The pool at your hotel is a great option, but I also recommend finding a lake nearby to go for a dip. Melting snow from the surrounding mountains feeds these lakes with cool and refreshing water, perfect for a warm summer’s day on the lake.
My favorite lakes for swimming in VT are Lake Willoughby and Lake St. Catherine. Though in my experience, you really can’t go wrong anywhere in Vermont! Go for a hike in the woods and you’re bound to see one and feel tempted to jump in!
Hike through Smugglers’ Notch
Located in Stowe, Smugglers’ Notch State Park is one of the top places for hiking, and it’s easy to see why. This narrow notch through the Green Mountains is dotted with 1,000 ft. cliffs, caves, waterfalls, and so much more.
Some of the coolest hikes in Smugglers’ Notch include the Bingham Falls Trail, Hellbrook Trail, and Sterling Pond Trail. As one of the top VT attractions, hiking is a fun activity to do during the warm weather.
Shop ‘til you drop on Church Street in Burlington
A great spot for people-watching, the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington is the place to be. It’s modeled after Strøget, the car-free pedestrian street in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Go shopping at one of the boutique shops and high-end stores. Eat and drink at one of the lively restaurants overlooking the pedestrian walkway. You can easily spend half a day on Church Street, so take it slow and be sure to snap a photo or two of the iconic church at the top of the hill!
Stay at the famous Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT
For fans of The Sound of Music, it doesn’t get any dreamier than the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT. Even if you haven’t watched this movie 10+ times like me, you will still appreciate the incredible ambiance and mountain resort vibes.
This rustic hotel looks like it belongs in the Alps, hence its slogan “A Little of Austria…a lot of Vermont.” The Trapp Family Lodge boasts stunning views of the Vermont countryside, as well as an amazing restaurant and beer hall that resemble those of Central Europe. My wife is Austrian, and she agrees that this is the closest taste of home she’s gotten in the US!
Enjoy a sleigh ride during the winter
When it comes to what to see in Vermont, experience Vermont’s winter wonderland from the comfort of a sleigh ride gliding through the snow. Listen to sleigh bells and take in the crisp fresh air. It won’t be long until you see why this is one of the top things to in VT in the winter!
Visit the Quechee Balloon Festival
It’s hard to imagine anything more thrilling than taking a hot air balloon ride in Vermont. And one of the best ways to experience hot air balloons amid a backdrop of the Green Mountains is by attending the Quechee Balloon Festival. This is definitely one of the most unique Vermont tourist attractions, as it’s very popular amongst locals.
This annual festival is slated to occur in the first week of September 2021 and feature twenty hot air balloons. For kids, there’s also obstacle courses, bounce houses, arts and crafts, and more. This is one of the coolest festivals in New England, so make it a point to be there and take your VT bucket list to new heights!
Art lovers will enjoy the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
As you’re putting together your itinerary on what to do in Vermont, make sure you plan for a rainy day. If the weather isn’t too great one day, consider touring the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Located in downtown Brattleboro, this art center offers an eclectic collection of contemporary art. It was formerly a train station before being converted into the curated art museum it is today.
The museum is fairly small, so you can easily cover it in two hours before continuing down this list of top Vermont things to do.
Experience Vermont’s farm-to-table dining scene
While farm-to-table dining grown in popularity around the country in recent years, this has always been the case in Vermont. Here, farms are aplenty, so fresh produce and ingredients have always been a priority. Add to that the recent influx in artists and hipsters, and it’s no wonder Vermont is the farm-to-table dining mecca that it is today.
Practically every family-run restaurant in Vermont advertises its locally sourced ingredients. You won’t have to do any digging to find a place that makes your taste buds explode. But if you’re looking for inspiration, here are a few favorites:
Fun things to do in VT: Experience Vermont’s après-ski scene
Arguably the best part about skiing in Vermont is enjoying the après ski that comes afterwards. For those who aren’t familiar with this term, it translates to “after ski” in French and means the social activities/entertainment after a day of skiing.
Customs and traditions tend to vary from destination to destination— and even from resort to resort— but generally you can expect lots of booze, foods, and laughter. It’s sort of like a beach club for skiers! Continue the fun at your ski resort or a local bar and restaurant that caters to the skier crowd. Here are some favorites in VT:
Bike ride along the Stowe Recreation Path
Wondering what to do in Vermont? You can’t go wrong with a bike ride!
Located in Stowe, the Stowe Recreation Path is another must see in Vermont. This scenic greenway spans over 5 miles alongside a stream with plenty of spots to take breaks and relax.
For another amazing bike path that’s even longer, head west to Burlington to the Burlington Bike Path.
Read next: Top Weekend Getaway Spots in New England
Spend a few nights at the Stowe Mountain Resort
The Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the top stays in Vermont, hands down. Every detail of this mountain resort embodies the best of Vermont, from the unique lodge decorations to spectacular scenery around the property.
Come here in the winter and you’ll be treated to world-class skiing. In the summer, you’ll have plenty of hiking trails at your doorstep. It’s no wonder this is among the best hotels in VT!
Read next: Coolest Places to Stay in VT
Go tubing in Southern Vermont
Looking for the top Vermont tourism attractions for families? Bring the whole family along to go tubing in Southern VT. Of course, you can do this at many mountain resorts sprawled around the state. However, Mount Snow is one of the most popular places for families.
From there, you’ll be right across the border from the Berkshires in MA, another amazing year-round destination in New England.
Read next: Reasons to Visit the Berkshires in the Fall
Tour the Lincoln Family Home
Located in Manchester, the Lincoln Family Home is a fun place to see in Vermont for history lovers. It belonged to President Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln.
Do a self-guided tour of the grounds, which includes the historic home, lush gardens, and working farm. The best part of visiting here is that it’s surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. This home is set in the romantic town of Manchester, a must-see for those looking to experience the best things to see and do in Vermont.
Don’t forget to stop by Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington!
Last but certainly not least on this list of the coolest activities in Vermont is a visit to Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington. This shop is known for its gourmet chocolate truffles, bars, hot chocolate and so much more. During my last visit, I also found out they serve ice cream! The chocolate ice cream was one of the best I’ve ever had, which says a lot for a self-described chocolate connoisseur 😊
Unique Vermont Travel Guide for All Ages
I hope you enjoyed this round-up of what to do in Vermont! This Vermont travel guide covered the A-Z on top things to do for all types of travelers. Are there any other unique Vermont activities you’d like to share? Please send me a message on Instagram or comment below. Happy Travels! -Jon