The state of Vermont is equal parts hippie paradise, nature lover's retreat, and a haven for those who love quaint, serene destinations. With ski resorts, incredible mountain peaks, lakes, countless hiking trails, and great homegrown food, you really can't go wrong with a visit to Vermont. Plus, it's the home of Ben & Jerry's. Enough said.
There are countless fun and interesting things to do in this state, but since you'll likely only have time to hit two or three spots, this list is an overview of the must-see destinations and events for a summer trip to Vermont. Whether it's a weekend getaway, a day trip, or driving a VW van through the whole state, Vermont is flexible to fit all your tastes and timelines.
It's one of the closest states to Montreal, so whether it's a weekend getaway, a day trip, or driving a VW van through the whole state, Vermont is flexible to fit all your tastes and timelines.
1. Spend a weekend in Burlington
If you've never been to Vermont, or know anything about it at all, travelling to Burlington is a great introduction to the state. It's only about two hours from Montreal, meaning it's an easy weekend getaway or even a day trip.
In terms of things to do, Burlington is home to amazing restaurants, a cool art scene, vibrant live music, and best of all, a gorgeous waterfront with beaches. This city is representative of the quaint, relaxed nature of Vermont in general, and after spending time there, you'll undoubtedly want to come back.
2. Visit Smuggler's Notch State Park
Situated in the gorgeous ski haven region of Stowe, this state park is gorgeous beyond words. Trust me, I struggled to pick a photo to share; each one was more beautiful than the last. There's a waterfall, tons of areas to swim, and hiking that opens to incredible expansive views.
If you're looking for an escape, somewhere you can cool off from the heat and be removed from the hustle of the city, this park is your top choice.
3. Go to the Frendly Gathering
No, I did not spell 'friendly' wrong, this is the actual name of this festival. Frendly is advertised as an indie music festival, but truly, it's a massive gathering of peace-loving hippies camping out on the Vermont hillside. They have morning yoga each day of the festival. They have free Ben & Jerry's every day. Their slogan is "Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet." Sound like paradise yet?
In all seriousness, I know people who go to this festival every year, and they always have the time of their lives. The whole vibe is representative of the laid-back hippie culture in Vermont, and it's just an awesome experience overall. If you're into live music, camping, and tree hugging, put this festival on your list.
4. Hike Mount Mansfield
Whether you're a nature lover or not, this hike is worth it beyond belief, and it's the highest peak in all of the state. The way up might be hard, but the view is unbelievable, so pack a lunch and hang out up there for hours.
This peak rests in Underhill state park, which also has camp sites available if you're looking to turn your Vermont trip into a camping weekend; no cars allowed, though - you're really off the grid.
5. Visit Stowe
This little resort town is normally bustling in the winter during ski season, but trust me, it's equally as beautiful and enjoyable in the summer. The main town is made up of modest shops and B&Bs that serve wholesome local food, and it's a quiet spot that's significantly less busy than Burlington.
Stowe is great for a day trip, but if you choose to stay there, it's an excellent option because of its proximity to the state parks mentioned above, as well as other lakes and mountains. Overall, it's the perfect home base for your Vermont vacation.
6. Go to the Moss Glen Falls
These falls are just outside of Stowe, so if that's where your staying, make sure to go to these falls. They're absolutely incredible, and you can swim at the base of them, which is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
The trail isn't too hard to get to, so don't be put off by an intense hike. The way there is well marked, and makes for an easy, enjoyable day.
7. Hang out at Killington Resort
If you're a ski or snowboard person at heart and the lack of snow always bums you out a little, Killington resort can restore all of your wishes. They have unreal summer activities that replace the regular winter thrills with things like mountain biking, bungee jumping, rides, and a mountainside roller coaster.
This resort also has golf courses, great dining, and a spa, so whether you're looking for extreme thrills or a relaxing time, Killington has something for everyone. It also works as a day adventure if you're just passing through.
8. Hang out at the Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock
If you're driving through Vermont, this is a great place to stop off at. It would also make a perfect day trip from somewhere else in the state, depending on where you're staying. I mean, people go on about the cabanes a sucre in and around Montreal, but this sugar bush (also a farm with livestock) certainly rivals anything you've come across.
This farm also has its own homemade products for sale, from maple syrup, to jam, to their homegrown agricultural products. It makes for a simple, relaxing day in the company of animals, and some seriously killer maple products.
9. Do the 5-mile Beer/Wine Tasting Trail in Middlebury
As if you needed an excuse to go on a 5-mile long alcohol-infused tasting adventure, the charming little town of Middlebury has the absolute perfect one. You'll sample beer, wine, and cider from popular Vermont brewers, like Woodchucks and Stonecutter Spirits, at unique local bars.
All the foodies and alcohol connoisseurs (so basically all of us) will totally appreciate this much-famed tasting trail. By the end of it, you'll be so in love with Vermont (read: drunk) that you won't ever want to leave.
10. Relax at Lake Champlain
If this name sound familiar to you, it's because this enormous lake stretches across Vermont, New York, and parts of Canada. The Vermont portion of the lake is particularly spectacular, as it remains fairly undisturbed, and the surrounding area is home to tons of different wildlife.
There's honestly nothing better in the summer than spending a day by the lake, and at Champlain you can swim, fish, rent boats, and go kayaking or canoeing. The ambiance is so calming, and you'll get the most out of Vermont's natural beauty after spending some time here.
11. Get a photo-op at the Quechee Gorge
Friends, look at all the green in that photo. We all need more of that in our lives. The Quechee Gorge, formed about 13,000 years ago by glaciers, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vermont. It's breathtaking, and you can actually go right down by the river pictured above to explore more.
Even better, the town of Quechee has an awesome waterfall, a cute covered bridge, and other amazing views of the nearby forests and mountains. So basically, this town is one big photo-op that is definitely worth a visit.
12. Visit the Ben & Jerry's Factory
Oh come on, you didn't think I'd talk about things to do in Vermont without mentioning Ben & Jerry's, did you? An ice cream aficionado like myself would never forget to mention this holy grail ice cream company, which began in this state, but has touched souls worldwide.
I know this is probably the most common, touristy thing you could do while visiting Vermont, but honestly, it's worth it. The factory offers tours, and obviously they have every flavour available in abundance for you to enjoy once it ends. Whether you care about seeing how the ice cream is made or not, it's a ton of fun just to see the heart of this amazing brand, in the state that they're from. And it's so, so damn delicious.