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21 Best Things to Do in Vermont & Places to Visit

21 Best Things to Do in Vermont & Places to Visit

Known as the Green Mountain State, Vermont encompasses a beautiful area in the Eastern United States. It is bordered by Quebec, Canada to the north, Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east, and New York to the west. Though it was not one of the original 13 colonies, Vermont was admitted to the newly-formed U.S. as the 14th state in 1791.

In addition to the lovely agricultural lands found in Vermont, the state is also covered with beautiful conifer and hardwood forests and peaceful bodies of water. The Green Mountains run through the middle of the state along a north-south route with Lake Champlain located on the range’s west and the Connecticut River Valley located on the east.

Vermont’s amazing scenery beckons tourists year-round to enjoy everything from the stunning fall foliage and quaint covered bridges to skiing snow-covered slopes and exploring nature-filled hiking trails. The state is also known for other popular tourist attractions such as the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, the Lincoln Family Home, the Green Mountain Railroad, and the Appalachian Trail. And, of course, no trip to Vermont would be complete without sampling some authentic Vermont maple syrup!

Sip of Burlington Brew Tour
1. Sip of Burlington Brew Tour Top Recommendation

This tour is perfect for craft beer lovers looking to get an insider's perspective on Burlington's thriving beer scene. You'll visit three different breweries, meet the owners and brewers behind each one, and taste up to 15 different local beers. Plus, you'll enjoy a delicious beer-focused meal at a local restaurant. Transportation is included, so you can relax and enjoy the experience worry-free.

Day Tour through Stowe Vermont
2. Day Tour through Stowe, Vermont

You'll get to see some of the best that Vermont has to offer, from quaint villages and striking scenery, to the famed Ben & Jerry's Factory and more. Plus, you won't have to worry about driving or logistics, as your guide will take care of everything. So come on and join in the fun!

Burlington Scavenger Hunt
3. Burlington Scavenger Hunt: Burlington Beauty

This exciting scavenger hunt will take you around to all the best landmarks and hidden gems in Burlington, answering trivia questions and solving challenges along the way. You can work with your team or compete against them, learning new facts and creating memorable experiences. This is a great activity for bachelorette parties, birthday parties, corporate team building events, or just for fun!

TLDR

Below are some of the top Vermont attractions to enjoy!

  • Most significant landmark – The Lincoln Family Home
  • Best park – Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom
  • Best free activity – Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory Tour
  • Best activity for kids – Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
  • Best activity for adults – Green Mountain Railroad Dinner Train
  • Best food – Hen of the Wood
  • Best nightlife – Prohibition Pig
  • Best all-around accommodationThe Killington Ski Resort

Fun & Best Things to Do in Vermont

1. The Green Mountain Railroad – Vermont Rail System

Address: One Railway Lane, Burlington, VT 05401

Owned and operated by the Vermont Rail System, the Green Mountain Railroad provides unique train ride experiences on historic rail cars, many of which were built in the late 1930s. The railroad offers train rides that differ depending on the season but which can include fall foliage tours, brunch rides, and the Dinner Train.

The Dinner Train is a three-hour round-trip ride from Burlington to Middlebury. It features a three-course dinner enjoyed in a luxurious dining environment while watching the beautiful Vermont scenery from the train’s windows. You can check Smartphone-Guided Walking Tour of Burlington to help prepare you for your exploration

Not only does this adventure provide a delicious gourmet dinner, but it also offers the opportunity to ride in a historic train car while experiencing some of the most beautiful countrysides in the Eastern U.S. For more information on the seasonal train rides offered by the Green Mountain Railroad and the Vermont Rail System, click here.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Stowe, Vermont

2. Hildene – The Lincoln Family Home

Lincoln Family Home

Address: 1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, VT 05254

Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, is a 412-acre estate built in 1905 by Robert and Mary Lincoln. As the son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Robert chose to build what he called his “ancestral home” in Manchester after first visiting the area as a young man.

Though at the time of Robert’s purchase, the home sat on 392 acres, additional acreage was added until 1975 when Peggy Beckwith, Abraham Lincoln’s great-granddaughter and last descendent to live at Hildene, died.

The grounds of Hildene include a beautiful mansion built in the Gregorian revival style, 14 historic buildings, an observatory, and a formal garden. The vast estate also features a Pullman car from Robert Lincoln’s days as the president of the Pullman Company, a museum, a welcome center, a cheese-making facility, a farm, and an 1832 schoolhouse.

Once you’ve finished exploring the many historical sites, you can also enjoy taking in the beautiful surroundings on some of the 12 miles of walking trails or from the 600-foot floating boardwalk through the wetlands of Battenkill. Visitors are sure to be delighted by the Lincoln Family Home and its exhibits!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Middlebury, Vermont

3. Vermont Teddy Bear Factory

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
image source: Tripadvisor

Address: 6655 Shelburne Rd., Shelburne, VT 05482

The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory is one of the best things to do in Vermont with kids! Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, guests of all ages will enjoy taking a guided tour of the factory, watching the bear-making process, and visiting the Bear Hospital, where bear repairs are made by a loving bear “doctor.” Guests can also relax among the beautiful maple trees, have a picnic at one of the picnic tables, or lounge in the Adirondack chairs that offer a view of the colorful scenery.

Also located at the factory is the Bear Shop, a gift shop full of Vermont Teddy Bear products, Vermont-made gifts, and even a bear-making area. This lets both kids and adults enjoy the fun of making their own stuffed animal as a lovable, unique souvenir!

The factory also hosts special events throughout the year, including a Teddy Bear picnic, community celebrations, and more! This one-of-a-kind experience is something the whole family will enjoy!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Burlington, Vermont

4. Green Mountain National Forest

Green Mountain National Forest

Address: Multiple locations, VT

The Green Mountain National Forest spans roughly 821,000 acres across the state of Vermont, with parts of it crossing over into New York. This massive forest system is unique in that the federal government only owns about 62 percent of the total acreage, with the rest being privately-owned. It provides Vermont and parts of the New England area with wood harvested through responsible, modern forest management methods.

The forest also offers visitors a chance to enjoy the breathtaking scenery through activities such as mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, and skiing. Operating for all four seasons of the year, there is always something to see or do regardless of when you visit.

In addition to the miles of forest nature trails, there are also six Wildness Areas that offer backpacking and day hikes. Some of the areas also allow fishing and hunting with the proper permits. The national forest is especially popular amongst both tourists and locals during the fall when the fall foliage turns the leaves’ magnificent colors. Green Mountain National Forest is a must-visit destination!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Dorset, Vermont

5. Billings Farm and Museum

Billings Farm and Museum

Address: 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, VT 05091

The Billings Farm and Museum is one of the most unique outdoor history museums in all of the United States! It is also one of the most interesting things to do in Vermont. It combines an operating dairy farm with interactive programs and educational exhibits. It shares the traditions, practices, and values of 19th Century Vermont farm families while also striving to preserve the area’s agrarian culture and heritage.

Some of the Billings Farm Life Exhibits located on the property include a look at family possessions that were common on a 19th Century farm, as well as historic hand tools and farm equipment. The 1890 Farm Manager’s House contains an office and private residence for the farm manager, a butter production room, and an ice house. The building was carefully restored to its authentic 19th Century appearance and is an excellent example of the era’s farm life.

Visitors can also visit the barn and interact with the animals, shop at the farm gift store, eat at the Farmhouse Café, or take a ride on a wagon or sleigh. There’s so much to do at the Billings Farm and Museum that you’ll want to spend an entire day!

See Related: Vermont Road Trip You’ll Want to Follow

6. Killington Ski Resort

Killington Ski Resort

Address: 4763 Killington Rd., Killington, VT, 05751

The Killington Ski Resort is an all-season resort that offers ski trails and snow activities in the winter, and golf, mountain biking, and ATV ride in the summer. The resort also features hiking trails, gondola rides to Killington Mountain, and luxury spa services. Though many of the activities can be enjoyed on a day pass, the Killington Ski Resort also provides world-class accommodations, so guests can enjoy multiple experiences throughout their stay.

In addition to the beautiful outdoor adventures, the Killington Resort is home to the Beast Mountain Coaster, one of the area’s most famous tourist attractions. The Adventure Center at the resort also features the Skye Ropes Course, a maze, and a delicious food court.

Whether you enjoy hitting the slopes or biking along a mountain trail, the Killington Ski Resort has something for everyone all year round! For more information on the Killington Ski Resort, click here. For information on nearby hotels, visit this link.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Brattleboro, Vermont

7. Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Cold Hollow Cider Mill

Address: 3600 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury Center, VT 05677

The Cold Hollow Cider Mill offers an amazing opportunity to sample fresh apple cider and baked goods as well as the chance to see how those items are made. A self-guided tour takes visitors through the working cider mill to see the cider-making process. It also provides access to an active beehive to watch the pollinators in action and a bakery where you can view the delicious baked goods from preparation to the finished product!

The cider mill offers hard cider and hard cider tasting for adult guests, while visitors of all ages are sure to enjoy their fresh, homemade cider donuts! A restaurant at the mill offers lots of yummy options that can be savored from a beautiful deck with a view of the lovely Worcester Mountain Range and idyllic Vermont scenery. A gift shop on location invites visitors to purchase a variety of fresh-baked goods and local Vermont crafts to make this amazing experience complete!

See Related: Best Lake Minnetonka Restaurants: Top Places to Eat

8. Waterbury Village Historic District

Waterbury Village District

Address: Waterbury, VT

The Waterbury Village Historic District is home to a variety of must-see attractions for those who plan to visit Vermont. The Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, and famous restaurant Prohibition Pig, are all located here. The area also has many shops, breweries, art studios, and dining experiences to enjoy, as well as both biking and hiking trails.

Located where the Green Mountain Byway, Mad River Byway, and the eastern edge of the Green Mountains meet, the Waterbury Village Historic District sits in some of Vermont’s most beautiful scenery and is one of the most popular Vermont attractions. Also found in Waterbury is the Prohibition Pig Restaurant and Brewery. The unique atmosphere, delicious food, and excellent beer and drinks make this a popular Waterbury destination.

With so much to see and do, Waterbury is the perfect place to stay for a few days while you visit all the tourist attractions and Classic Beer Tour with Tastings & Lunch. The area provides amazing lodging, from hotel rooms to VRBO accommodations. Fairfield by Marriott Waterbury Stowe is an excellent place to ease out after your exploration

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Montpelier, Vermont

9. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory

Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory

Address: 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Route 100, Waterbury Village Historic District, VT 05676

While you’re in the area of the Waterbury Village Historic District, you have to stop by the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory for an unforgettably flavorful experience! This famous ice cream factory provides guided tours that include a look at the company’s beginnings and historical displays, the chance to watch the factory in action, and, of course, the opportunity to sample one of the delicious Ben & Jerry’s flavors.

The Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory also allows visitors to enjoy a scoop of their favorite ice cream right on the grounds, shop at the factory’s retail store, and even pay their respects at the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream flavor graveyard!

This unusual cemetery allows guests from around the world to mourn the loss of their favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor by visiting a real granite headstone with the flavor’s name engraved. The company believes that as many as 250,000 people visit this unique flavor graveyard each year. Don’t miss out on this sweet Vermont experience!

Just down the street from the ice cream factory is a cozy, highly-rated restaurant known as the Hen of the Wood. It features ingredients sourced from Vermont-based farms, ranches, and vendors and always provides a rewarding dining experience. It’s a great place to end your day (especially if you don’t mind having your Ben & Jerry’s dessert before dinner)!

See Related: Ways To Avoid the Fast Food Trap! 

10. Montshire Museum of Science

Address: 1 Montshire Road, Norwich, VT 05055

The Montshire Museum of Science is a museum that families will love! It offers more than 150 hands-on exhibits with both indoor and outdoor places to explore. The museum sits on 100 acres of beautiful land along the Connecticut River. The outdoor activities offered at the museum include several walking trails, including the Ridge trail and the River Loop, an outdoor play area, and a water-based science exhibit kids will love to explore during the warmer months.

The Montshire Museum of Science features permanent exhibits as well as rotating exhibits to provide hours of interactive engagement and learning. It also hosts special and seasonal events and offers a museum store full of educational books, activities, and novelties. For more information on the Montshire Museum of Science, be sure to visit its website!

11. The Vermont State House

Vermont State House

Address: 115 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633

Located in the state capital of Vermont, the Vermont State House in Montpelier is a beautiful structure featuring the Greek Revival style of architecture. Originally built in the late 1850s, restoration efforts have kept the building and grounds in top condition. It continues to be the seat of the Vermont General Assembly.

The Vermont State House offers visitors a chance to enjoy self-guided tours at any time throughout the year. Guests can choose to take an audio tour of the building or pick up a brochure in the lobby to help them find their way around. Guided tours are also offered at the state house, though only at certain times of the year. Country Farmhouse is a nice accommodation you can consider for lodging

See Related: Best Boston Tours | Food, Walking, and Sightseeing

12. Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom

Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

Address: Northeastern VT, USA

Taking up more than 2000 square miles of land, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is a stunning combination of outdoor recreation, culture and arts, and amazing local food. Since the Northeast Kingdom encompasses such a large area, it has been split into three different sections, each with its own unique character and attractions.

The Eastern Trek covers several different towns and cities and provides miles of outdoor activities, including hiking at Dog Mountain or the Kingdom Trails. It is also home to some of the most beautiful covered bridges, a planetarium and plays host to the World Maple Festival each spring.

The Field and Farm region include four different towns and features state parks, ponds, lakes, and many food options. A farmer’s market, hiking trails, and several historic buildings can also be found in this section of the Northeast Kingdom.

The Mountain and Lake area includes three cities along the US/Canada border and is therefore located in the northernmost region of Vermont’s the Northeast Kingdom. Here, guests can enjoy ATV riding, the Jay Peak Resort, and even a street that is halfway in the US and halfway in Canada! This is one location you won’t want to miss!

13. Vermont Institute of Natural Science

Vermont Institute of Natural Science
image by Tripadvisor

Address: 149 Natures Way, Quechee, VT 05059

The Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) is an avian wildlife rehabilitation center, a natural science nature center, and an educational hub for conservation and environmental research. It features hiking and walking trails, an adventure playscape, scientific exhibits, and live raptor programs. There are also art exhibits as well as paint and sip experiences to enjoy.

One of the most unique attractions at VINS is the beautiful Forest Canopy Walk. This ADA-accessible feature soars 50 feet above the ground at its highest point and includes the Tree House, a structure that raises visitors above the treetops to provide a 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside.

The walk offers four other branches as well, to allow guests to experience different parts of the forest environment. The Vermont Institute of Natural Science is perhaps one of the most unique places to visit on your Vermont vacation and maybe even in all of New England.

See Related: Most Beautiful Places in the World: Natural & Scenic Spots

14. Visit a Vermont National Historic Landmark

Vermont National Historic Landmark

Address: VT, USA

Vermont is home to 18 different National Historic Landmarks scattered throughout the cities and countryside. They encompass much of the state’s history from early Native American settlements to modern-day sites. Many of these locations are open to visitors as historic sites and museums and offer a glimpse into the state’s unique past.

The first historic site to be recognized by the state of Vermont was the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead in Strafford. Officially added to the register in 1960, the homestead belonged to Justin Morrill, a Vermont native who served in both the Senate and in the U.S.

House of Representatives during the mid-1800’s. The most recent historic site to be added to the state’s register is the Brown Covered Bridge in Shrewsbury. It officially became a historic landmark in 2014 and is a delightfully picturesque location to explore.

15. Old Round Church

Address: 29 Round Church Road, Richmond, VT 05477

Though this historic location is famously called the Old Round Church, the structure is actually a 16-sided polygon. Built between the years of 1812 and 1814, the church is a striking example of a New England meeting house from that time period. It features box pews with the original doors and hinges, a hand-painted pulpit carefully designed to look like natural wood grain, and hand-hewn floorboards, all by the original artisans and craftsmen.

The Old Round Church is cared for and preserved by the Richmond Historical Society and now functions as a special events venue. Band concerts, choirs, potluck suppers, and more are held inside and on the grounds of this historic meeting house, meaning it continues to serve its original purpose more than 200 years later.

See Related: Upside-Down Houses Around the World

16. Grand Isle

Address: Grand Isle, VT

Located in Grand Isle County, the picturesque town of Grand Isle is literally almost an island. It is surrounded on three sides by water: the Inland Sea on the east, Lake Champlain on the west, and the channel that separates North and South Hero on the north. A year-round Lake Champlain ferry connects the small town to Plattsburgh, New York. By car, Montreal, Canada is only a day trip away.

Not far from the quaint town is the Grand Isle State Park. Surrounded by the waters of Lake Champlain, the park is 226 acres with more than 4,000 feet of lake shoreline. It provides visitors with the opportunity to camp, fish, swim, kayak, or enjoy the lake by boat.

The campground in the park also offers bike rentals, volleyball nets, horseshoes, and a children’s play area. With so many outdoor adventures to experience, Grand Isle State Park is one of the most visited locations in the state park system.

17. Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain Resort

Address: 5781 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT 05672

Once an old lumber camp, Stowe Mountain Resort is now a world-class ski resort complete with luxury accommodations and year-round activities. Located at the foot of Mount Mansfield, the resort and its small-town neighbor, Spruce Peak, offer four seasons of outdoor excursions and indoor activities that will keep visitors busy both day and night.

In addition to winter sports and skiing, the resort and The Village at Spruce Peak provide guests with a chance to safely enjoy rock climbing at the Stowe Rocks Climbing Center, experience a Gondola SkyRide, take in the views along the historic Toll Road, or go for a hike along one of the beautiful trails.

The many dining options, special events, and stunning scenery make this one of the top things to do in Vermont! Mountain Bike Guide Service in Stowe Vermont Your guide will lead you to some of the best trails in Stowe and get you off the beaten path

See Related: Best Ski Resorts in the US to Visit

18. Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

Address: 1168 County Road, Montpelier, VT 05602

For 200 years, the Morse family and Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks have been providing Vermont maple syrup and maple-based products to eager customers. During sugaring season (sometime between February and April), the sugarhouse is open to the public. Visitors can walk the “Maple Trail” through the sugarbush to enjoy the scenery as well as the rustic art pieces and antique farm equipment displayed along the way.

During the rest of the year, guests are welcome to visit the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks to enjoy its farm animals, walking trails, beautiful New England scenery, and its famous Morse Farm maple creemees. The property also has a farm store where guests can treat themselves to some of the additional maple syrup and maple products for which the farm is known.

19. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park

Address: 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, VT 05091

Located in east-central Vermont, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park is one of the most lovely Vermont attractions. It honors three different generations and three different families who contributed to the conservation and preservation of this picturesque locale.

First owned by George Perkins Marsh, the home and grounds passed to new owner, Frederick Billings. Eventually, the Rockefellers, the park’s most recent owners, gifted the grounds and everything on them to the American people.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park is now home to the Stewardship Institute, the Billings Farm and Museum, the lovely Victorian Mansion house, and the idyllic gardens and grounds. Guided tours of these areas can be scheduled in advance and can be accessed via the parking lot at the Billings Farm and Museum. This working farm is a must-see during a visit to the Green Mountain State!

See Related: Best Geysers & Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

20. Church Street Marketplace

Church Street Marketplace

Address: 131 Church Street, Burlington, VT 05401

Located in downtown Burlington, the Church Street Marketplace is a four-block pedestrian mall that offers more than 100 shops and restaurants for visitors to enjoy at their leisure. Street entertainers, artists, and cart vendors line the beautiful outdoor space, while seasonal events, festivals, and concerts make the Church Street Marketplace a truly unique experience.

The marketplace’s downtown location means visitors are within close proximity to some of Burlington’s other attractions, including the Burlington Bike Path, the Waterfront, the South End Arts and Business District, and the Old North End. The amazing scenery, countless shops, unique dining experiences, and local art scene make the Church Street Marketplace a must-do during your Vermont vacation.

See Related: Best Vacation Planners & Templates for Your Next Trip

21. Mountain Top Resort

Mountain Top Resort
image by Tripadvisor

Address: 195 Mountain Top Rd., Chittenden, VT 05737

Located in Central Vermont, the Mountain Top Resort is a 700-acre scenic hideaway that features dozens of year-round activities. Miles of trails tempt visitors to explore the surrounding forests, meadows, and grasslands, while a 740-acre late invites guests to partake in boating, fishing, and swimming.

The resort also features winter adventures which include skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Horseback riding and clay bird lessons are offered during the summer and fall months. The Mountain Top Resort is a full-service lodge with luxurious overnight accommodations and delicious dining experiences.

Overnight guests of the resort can partake in all of the activities located on the grounds, many of them already included in the price of the stay. Though many of the experiences at the resort are also available to the public, there is an associated fee and some activities are restricted.

FAQ

What are the top Vermont tourist attractions?

Every trip to Vermont needs a visit to a maple syrup farm such as the Sugarbush Farm or the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks. A walk through the Church Street Marketplace, a visit to a lovely covered bridge, a swim in Lake Champlain, or a trip to the Vermont Antique Mall are other favorite tourist attractions.

What are the must-see places to visit in Vermont?

Lake Champlain, the Lincoln Family Home, the Green Mountain National Forest, and the Appalachian Trail are all must-see stops while in Vermont. The Montshire Museum of Science, Green Mountain Railroad with its scenic train ride, and the Cold Hollow Cider Mill are other fun things to do during your visit.

What are the best things to do in Vermont with kids?

Kids and adults will both love seeing the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, the Montshire Museum of Science, and the working farm at Billings Farm and Museum! Other fun things for kids to enjoy include the Pump House Indoor Waterpark at Jay Peak and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory.

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