My husband and I lived in Vermont for five years and our favorite road trip was Route 100 – whether on our own for a weekend drive or with family and friends visiting on vacation.
Honestly, you don’t even need a guide for the scenic Route 100 (aka Vermont’s Main Street).
And stop along the way. You won’t be disappointed as there are so many things to see in Vermont all along Route 100.
However, if you have FOMO (fear of missing out) tendencies like me, here are some insider travel tips to enjoy the best Vermont road trip.
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How to plan a road trip on Route 100 in Vermont
Route 100 Vermont runs from the Canadian border in the north to the Massachusetts border in the south – and much of it is along the Green Mountains and Vermont’s famous ski resorts.
Granted, fall is very popular in Vermont as foliage season brings in a lot of leaf peepers. Foliage season, when the leaves turn colors, is typically mid-September to mid-October in Vermont depending on elevation and weather conditions. You can find foliage reports online beginning after Labor Day each year.
No worries if your schedule doesn’t allow you to visit during the autumn months as Route 100 is beautiful in all seasons (even Vermont’s fifth season in late spring, known as Mud Season).
Insider tip: When I first moved to Vermont, I saw a lot of signs that read, “Warning: Frost Heave Ahead.” I had no idea what that meant. In simple terms, it means there’s gonna be a bump or two in the road caused by a freezing phenomenon that can wreak havoc on the pavement. And they’re usually big bumps so drive carefully especially in February and March.
So whether it’s spring, summer, winter or fall, it’s always a great season for a road trip in Vermont. As Route 100 is 216 miles long, here are only a few of my favorite stops along the scenic byway.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury, Vermont
Definitely make Ben & Jerry’s a destination on your Route 100 Vermont road trip. Aside from the best ice cream ever, they have a super cool history. They took a $5 correspondence course on how to make ice cream in a renovated gas station and become not only one of the world’s top brands but also a leader in eco-friendly, sustainable and socially responsible manufacturing.
I used to work at Vermont’s public television station and the Ben & Jerry’s team would regularly volunteer during our pledge drives. They were so much fun and you could tell they loved where they worked. I mean, they have a treehouse and a slide in their offices, can make up their own silly titles, and receive three free pints of ice cream daily.
You, too, can have fun and sample free ice cream when you take the 30-minute tour of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. Consider using one of these best tour booking sites to get started.
You can also test other flavors in the onsite scoop shop. You might be familiar with the pints of ice cream in the freezer section, but you’ll be introduced to a whole lot of flavor when you visit their factory. The basic tour includes the company’s history and a sneak peek into their manufacturing process.
If you’re an ice cream fanatic, you may want to immerse yourself into the VIP Flavor Fanatic Experience. Here’s what it includes.
- The factory tour
- A 30-minute session in the Flavor Lab, where you can help make an ice cream flavor (also includes tasting)
- A flash drive of photos capturing all your special moments
- A tie-dyed lab coat (of course)
- An ice cream cone from the Waterbury Scoop Shop, and a coupon for a free pint later.
- 25% off any gift shop purchases
If you’re on Route 100 Vermont in summer near dusk, bring blankets to enjoy Ben & Jerry’s free outdoor movie festival. Dates and movie titles posted on their website.
RV parking is available (call ahead to make reservations for groups of 10 or more) and the grounds also feature a playground and picnic area. You can also visit the Flavor Graveyard. Yes, it features headstones of what they call dearly depinted flavors (please bring back Dastardly Mash!)
Open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, expect to spend 2 to 3 hours at one of Route 100 Vermont’s favorite destinations.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill, 3600 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury, Vermont
Vermont is home to many fabulous cider mills, but Cold Hollow Cider Mill is our absolute favorite on scenic Route 100. It is THE cider mill and is less than three miles from Ben & Jerry’s.
I’m not a huge fan of ordinary apple juice, but I love Cold Hollow’s fresh apple cider. The difference is that apple cider is 100% pure juice squeezed from locally grown apples.
Try a free sample while perusing other great products in their gift shop. If you plan to take some with you, bring a cooler as it needs to be refrigerated.
You can actually watch them in action in their cider press room – making apple cider the old-fashioned way. If traveling down Route 100 Vermont in fall or early winter, you can watch any day of the week from mid-September to mid-December. They press three or four days a week the rest of the year.
And then there’s the famous Cold Hollow Cider Mill donuts. Apple cider donuts. Made fresh every single day from their secret recipe. It’s a must-do foodie experience. Gourmet magazine ranked them as the one of the best four donuts in the U.S. I absolutely agree.
And so do a lot of other people as Cold Hollow Cider Mill makes more than 800 dozen every day during foliage season (mid-September to mid-October).
Of course, their bakery also offers apple pie, but there’s a lot more than just apple products. They also offer honey (you can watch the bees do their magic up close), pure maple syrup, butters, cheeses, jellies, and more. You can sample many of these, purchase in the store or order online.
They also serve breakfast and lunch as well as hard ciders and local brews. If you have a large group or on a motorcoach tour, it’s recommended that you call in advance so they can accommodate you.
And while they don’t have an onsite orchard for you to do your own apple picking, you can find several orchards online.
Open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., they are only closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center and Cafe, 1 Rotarian Place, Waterbury, Vermont
If you need an energy boost on your Route 100 road trip, stop by the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center, also located in Waterbury.
Green Mountain Coffee has humble beginnings starting as a small specialty coffee roaster (that’s how I remember it); it’s now part of the publicly traded Keurig Dr. Pepper corporation. You’ll get a taste of that history (as well as free coffee samples) when you stop in at the Green Mountain Coffee Visitor Center and Café.
Residing in a restored train station from 1875, the visitor center includes interactive displays and videos as well as a café of coffees, specialty drinks, locally baked goods and light entrees. And the gift shop features Keurig products.
Open daily except Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Cabot Farmer’ Store, 2657 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury Center, Vermont
My favorite cheese in the world is Vermont’s Cabot Cheese Sharp Cheddar, and one of the many things I missed about Vermont when I moved to the Midwest. I was ecstatic when they started distributing in Minnesota (and across the U.S.).
Not familiar with Cabot? Then stop by the Cabot Farmer’s Store during your Route 100 road trip. It’s located about halfway between Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory and the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Here you can sample and purchase their award-winning cheeses.
They also offer local and international microbrews, hard ciders and wines. The Cabot Visitor Center is located in Cabot, Vermont.
Open daily except Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Trapp Family Lodge, 700 Trapp Hill Road, Stowe, Vermont
Have you seen the musical, The Sound of Music, based on the von Trapp family?
Well, the real von Trapps moved to Vermont because it reminded them of Austria. The lodge and restaurant are still owned by the von Trapp family – where you can stay, eat or just stop in for a drink.
The lodge includes a restaurant as well as a brewery, beer hall and wine cellar (with weekly wine tastings). Or just take in the beautiful views of the mountains on its 2,500 acres. They also offer several tours:
- History tour of the property
- One-mile maple sugar tour
- von Trapp gardens
- von Trapp brewery
- Horse-drawn sleigh rides (winter) and carriage rides (year-round)
Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, 1 South Main Street, Stowe, Vermont
While I haven’t had the opportunity to visit, the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum is located nearby at the intersection of Route 100 and Route 108. It features several exhibits and a hall of fame celebrating the history of skiing and snowboarding in Vermont.
Here you can find 8,000 items, including 275 pairs of boots, 400 pairs of skis, 100 pairs of poles, and much more.
Housed in the Town Meeting House, which was built in 1818, the museum is open daily except Mondays and Tuesdays.
Stowe Mountain Resort, 7416 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont
If you’re looking for a little adventure, check out Stowe Mountain Resort for its TreeTop Adventure, where you’ll ride zip lines, and conquer suspended bridges, nets, swinging logs, rope ladders, and more.
And for the even more adventurous, there’s the world’s fastest ZipTour where you’ll zipline down Vermont’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield – reaching speeds as fast as 60 mph.
See Related: 18 Gifts for Couples Who Travel
Check out roadside chainsaw carvings
When I asked my husband what he remembered most about Route 100, his immediate response was chainsaw carvings and the Cold Hollow Apple Cider Mill.
While there are several chainsaw carving places in Vermont, you’ll find two of the most popular in Stowe near Route 100: Mouse Trap and Spinning Wheel.
In fact, we still have a bear sitting on our front porch and a racoon in our basement – both chainsaw carvings from Route 100.
See Related: 21 Best Family Travel Hacks
Moss Glen Falls, Stowe, Vermont
Make sure to stop at Moss Glen Falls in Stowe, Vermont. The 68-foot waterfall is right off Route 100 (north of Stowe about 3 miles).
Killington Ski Resort, 4763 Killington Road, Killington, Vermont
While Killington is well-known as a ski resort (the largest in New England), it is a year-round destination near Route 100 – and offers something for everyone. In addition to skiing, snowboarding, lodging, golfing and hiking trails, it offers several activities and attractions.
The gondola ride runs all year-round where you climb 1.25 miles to the top of the 4,241-ft. Killington Peak. You can get out at the top and enjoy lunch and take beautiful photos.
Mountain biking is also pretty popular. The largest bike park in New England, Killington provides three lifts and more than 30 miles of trails at all levels of difficulty.
The Killington Adventure Center is called a playground for the whole family and includes a Woodward WreckTangles obstacle course, a ropes course and (my favorite) alpine coaster. This venue also hosts a summer music concert series.
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More than 100 covered bridges
With more than 100 bridges in Vermont, it’s likely you’ll stumble across one or two. Here are a few located near Route 100.
- Gold Brook Covered Bridge, Stowe, Vermont
- Power House Covered Bridge, Johnson, Vermont
- Red Covered Bridge, Morristown, Vermont
- River Road Covered Bridge, North Troy, Vermont
- Scribner Covered Bridge, Hyde Park, Vermont
- Warren Covered Bridge, Warren, Vermont
- Waitsfield Covered Bridge, Waitsfield, Vermont
And so much more to explore on Route 100 Vermont
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of all the quintessential things to do on your road trip through Vermont. But it’s a great place to start and learn why Route 100 Vermont is consistently voted as one of the most scenic road trips in New England and the U.S.