Stowe is a quaint town in northern Vermont known for world-class skiing and picture-perfect scenery. It is home to some of the state’s best mountain landscapes and a ton of popular adventure resorts.
While a ski resort town, there are also plenty of things to do year-round, including trail hiking and mountain biking. The area boasts excellent golfing with amazing mountain views.
The Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum has numerous exhibits chronicling the evolution of ski gear and area artifacts. Stowe is also home to five breweries and distilleries, each with its own New England flair and flavor.
If you plan a visit, figuring out where to stay in Stowe depends on what you want to do there. Stowe Village, the epicenter of Stowe, is relatively quiet, with everything in a short radius of downtown. It is very walkable and contains shops, inns, restaurants, and cafes. Stowe Village also provides easy access to the mountains and ski slopes.
Lower Village is south of downtown and is quieter than the rest of Stowe, if less walkable. This is a great place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere a little more tranquil.
Then, there is the Mountain Road which connects Stowe to Smugglers’ Notch but also leads to Stowe Mountain Resort on Mount Mansfield. Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the biggest draws to Stowe, featuring dreamy accommodations, fine dining, and ski-based hijinks for days.
It’s also a stone’s throw from Trapp Hill Road, which is where you’ll find Stowe’s other main draw. Here you find the world-famous Trapp Family Lodge, built by the one and only von Trapp family in 1942. This Austrian-style lodge resort is a one-of-a-kind destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors or bringing the hills to life with the sound of music!
Enjoy a full-day tour of Stowe, Vermont. Travel along the picturesque shores of Lake Champlain in your air-conditioned minivan and visit the world-famous Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, as well as a glassblowing studio and a cider mill. At Smugglers’ Notch State Park, get out and enjoy hiking trails amid striking scenery that includes cliffs, waterfalls and mountain peaks. With your guide at the wheel, stop by historic Stowe Village before returning to Burlington.
Let a local mountain bike guide service in Stowe Vermont get you off the beaten path. They'll lead you to some of the best trails in Stowe and get you off the crowded trails. Feel safe and comfortable traveling in unfamiliar territory with a guide by your side.
Enjoy a visit to around five local breweries and distilleries Relax with convenient pickup and drop-off Taste delicious local brews along the way Learn Vermont's boozy history from a local guide Mingle with other members of your small group from all over the world
TL;DR Our Favorite Accommodation in Stowe, Vermont
- Best Luxury Hotel in Stowe area: Lodge at Spruce Peak
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Stowe area: Sun & Ski Inn
- Best Budget Hotel in Stowe area: Green Mountain Inn
- Best Pet-Friendly Hotel in Stowe area: Topnotch Resort
- Best Vacation Rental in Stowe area: This Classic Stowe Ski Chalet
- Best Resort in Stowe area: Trapp Family Lodge
- Best Campsite in Stowe area: Smugglers’ Notch State Park Campground
- Best Family-Friendly Hotel in the Stowe area: Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Best Areas to Stay in Stowe
- Best area for first-timers/tourists: Stowe Village
- Best area for budget travelers: Lower Village
- Best area for luxury travelers: Stowe Mountain Resort
- Best area for safety: Stowe Village
- Best area for families: Trapp Family Lodge
- Best area for food: Stowe Mountain Resort
- Best area for nightlife: Stowe Mountain Resort
Where to Stay in Stowe, Vermont
1. Stowe Village – Historic Downtown
Stowe Village is excellent for first-timers, new to mountain life, or anyone who want to be near the action but off the slopes. Central Stowe boasts numerous galleries, restaurants, and bars, and the mountains are easily accessible through transport links.
Despite the heavy emphasis on winter play, Stowe Village is a year-round town with plenty of stuff to do no matter the season. Nearby lakes allow for kayaking, and there are opportunities to enjoy mountain biking, ziplining, and numerous scenic hiking trails.
One of the most popular trails is nearby Putnam Park, Moss Glen Falls. Considered a relatively easy hike, it is a five-mile out-and-back scenic hike that leads to a spectacular waterfall. There is one stretch that is a bit steep, however, the falls at the end are worth the trip. It is a dog and family-friendly hike, so little legs (furry or not) should be fine. The trailhead is only about a five-minute drive from Stowe’s historic center.
Not surprisingly, there is a range of accommodations to fit almost any budget without sacrificing location. There are plenty of lodges and vacation rentals like this Classic Stowe Ski Chalet.
The Stowe Motel & Snowdrift is a great spot for the budget-conscious traveler. Or, for a few more amenities, many first-time visitors find the Green Mountain Inn an affordable, cozy location right next to the Vermont Ski Museum. If amenities are central to your visit to Stowe, the Field Guide Hotel is a few miles from downtown.
Things to do in Stowe Village
- Stowe is home to roughly half a dozen craft breweries and distilleries. And the best way to taste and learn about local craft beverages and their production styles and influences is through a half-day Brewery Tour.
- The Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum houses hundreds of items that detail the history of skiing and snowboarding while celebrating these through interactive exhibits of these sports. The museum honors and inducts individuals each year into the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. It also has information regarding the U.S. Army’s famous 10th Mountain Division.
- Laughing Moon Chocolates offers a variety of hand-dipped chocolates prepared in small batches using local ingredients for a distinctive flavor. This hidden treasure creates the silkiest dark chocolate and buttery caramels. Laughing Moon Chocolates also serves Vermont Artisan Coffee, espresso, and, of course, hot chocolate.
- Two Vermont natives, sisters Danielle and Katie Nichols run the Cork Restaurant and Natural Wine shop in downtown Stowe. Passionate about pét-nat wines, and all that clean, naturally sparkling wine-making can offer, their creative entrees are made from locally sourced ingredients.
- The Stowe Historical Society is a small museum housed in two one-room schoolhouses in Historic Stowe. The volunteer-run museum chronicles the history and culture of Stowe and the surrounding area. Many unique exhibits include a collection depicting the Stowe’s connection with the United States Military.
- Once Upon a Time Toys should do the trick if the kids are getting restless! This old-fashioned toy store has a little bit of everything packed into a refurbished house. It is a great place for browsing or finding something to pass the day.
Places to stay in Stowe Village
- Best Budget Hotel in Stowe Village: Green Mountain Inn
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in Stowe Village: Field Guide Hotel
- Best Luxury Hotel in Stowe area: Topnotch Resort
- Best Rental in Stowe Village: This Classic Stowe Ski Chalet
2. Lower Stowe Village
So why do visitors opt for this part of Stowe? It’s a quiet part of town, great for couples, young families, folks looking to wander the wilderness, taking it all in, and those looking for a break from the big city. There are also a handful of great eateries in this neck of the woods.
While you are in the area, there are some beautiful hiking and photo opportunities to investigate. The Gold Brook Covered Bridge, southeast of the area, is worth a visit and a few snaps.
If you are looking for something to do that is completely different from your average vacation excursions, try the Little River Hot Glass Studio, which has amazing hand-blown glasswork on display. There are also hot glass demonstrations from the resident artists.
Lower Village is also great for larger groups, with plenty of lodges equipped to fit groups of all different sizes. The Little River Inn, which takes its name from the river running through the region, fits that bill. This Stowe hotel is a favorite with visitors on a budget or with kids.
If finding a boutique hotel near the local attractions is the name of the game, the Lower Village, south of downtown Stowe has a more rural feel and is known for its simple lodges, such as the Commodores Inn, with basic amenities and a ski shuttle to the mountains. If you are interested in staying in one of the numerous rustic Vermont cabins in the area, Goldilocks Cabin in the Lower Village is a reasonable option with all the comforts of a fine hotel.
Things to do in the Lower Village
- The Lost Gold Brook Sugar Shack is a local historical landmark south of Stowe that is open and free to the public. This dilapidated ruin of a maple syrup shack is a great hike during the summer months.
- Vermont is no stranger to the odd famous bridge, and the extremely photogenic Gold Brook Covered Bridge is one such example.
- Ever wanted to go snowmobiling? Of course you have! Check out Snowmobile Vermont – Stowe and book a rip-roaring Snowmobiling adventure.
- Grab a café au lait or a take-out freshly baked panini sandwich from Green Goddess Cafe (or the local Dunkin’ if you’re the town mouse), and head up to Sunset Rock; a beautiful wooded green space with hiking trails and mountain views above the town.
- Need to stock up on some chocolate and cheese? That and more of the best dairy products for miles around can be found at Mansfield Dairy’s shop – not to mention a few souvenirs.
Places to stay in Lower Village
- Best Budget Hotel in the Lower Village: Commodores Inn
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in the Lower Village: The Little River Inn
- Best Cabin in the Lower Village: Goldilocks Cabin
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Middlebury, Vermont
3. Stowe Mountain Resort
Some of the best things to do in Stowe are on Mount Mansfield, accessible via Mountain Road. As Vermont’s highest mountain, and part of the Green Mountain chain, the magnificent Mount Mansfield has three prominent peaks and is the heart and soul of the Stowe ski resort area.
Unsurprisingly, it is something of a Mecca for skiers and snowboarders, with multiple black diamond runs, affording impressive speeds and steep turns. The mountain also boasts diverse cross-country terrain and ATV trails.
Stowe Mountain Resort is also a haven for summer adventurers, where these mountain-top resorts turn to canopy ziplining, as well as hiking, and mountain biking excursions. The high-elevation lakes provide a refreshing swim and excellent camping opportunities.
If extreme or winter sports aren’t your jam (but somehow you have no problem with heights), one of the top things to do here is easily the Gondola SkyRide at Stowe Mountain Resort. As well as being one of the best places in Stowe to enjoy life-changing views, it’s also a great way to access several hiking trails and the Cliff House restaurant!
Many of the mountain lodges and resorts are found on Spruce Peak at the Stowe Mountain Resort. The Lodge at Spruce Peak by Hyatt offers luxurious accommodations, a full-service spa, a Tesla charging station, and door-step skiing.
There is also an indoor heated pool and game room. Also at the top of Spruce Peak are several restaurants for different tastes and the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, which is used for concerts and summer theater productions.
Things to do around Stowe Mountain Resort
- Scenic Auto Road is a 4.5- mile toll road that climbs Mt. Mansfield. There are views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains as you reach 3,850 feet. Driving to the top is an easy shortcut to reach the mountain’s summit ridge for panoramic views.
- At the top of the mountain, Mt. Mansfield Peak Visitor’s Center is an information center and meeting point for hikers and nature enthusiasts. To get to the center, drive the 5-mile drive or take the awe-inspiring Gondola Ride to the top. This popular attraction is the perfect way to see the entire Stowe Valley.
- Hungry? Cliff House restaurant sits at the halfway point on the Gondola SkyRide. Another local diner is the WhistlePig Pavilion in the Stowe Mountain Resort. If you’re after a cozy breakfast venue, try the Skinny Pancake.
- Mill Trail, which sits east of Mountain Road and near the Stowe Mountain Resort’s cross-country ski center, offers a moderately easy trek with a beautiful waterfall as a reward for your efforts.
- There are numerous ski schools to keep the kids busy on the mountain, but one of the quirkier options is the Enchanted Forest Playground. This outdoor space offers traditional interactive play with equipment built from wood, rope, and chain.
- Mount Mansfield State Forest is ripe for a wander any time of year outside of winter. I mean, you can still try to navigate it during winter, but the magic may be lost on you as you struggle through the deep snow. It’s beyond stunning in the fall – trust me.
Places to stay around Stowe Mountain Resort
- Best Mid-Range Hotel near Mount Mansfield: Innsbrook Inn at Stowe
- Best Luxury Hotel at Stowe Mountain Resort: Lodge at Spruce Peak
- Best Rental at Stowe Mountain Resort: This gorgeous condo at the Lodge
- Best Campsite near Stowe Mountain Resort: Smugglers’ Notch State Park Campground
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Dorset, Vermont
4. Trapp Family Lodge
Now, these places I’ve already mentioned are all very well and good (indeed, very good). But would you be interested in staying somewhere with a bit of history? A Hollywood connection perhaps?
One of the most historically famous hotels in the area is the mountainside resort, the Trapp Family Lodge. The legendary Austrian Von Trapp family built this beautiful Stowe hotel after escaping the Nazi annexation of Austria in 1938. The von Trapp family still owns and operates this unique resort to this day, and it’s one of the most popular attractions in the Stowe area.
This place is huge, honestly, it’s almost its own village within a village. Opened in 1942, the Trapp Family Lodge sits on 2500 acres and has 96 beautifully appointed rooms and guest houses. The resort has complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center, outdoor and indoor pools, and an indoor hot tub.
Thirsty? An impressive wine cellar and an onsite brewery (courtesy of the von Trapp Brewing and Bierhaus) complement the world-class dining available at the Trapp Family Lodge.
Breakfast is always served in the breakfast room, the Mansfield Room. Oh, and most of the ingredients used in all of their dishes are sourced right here, from the resort’s own working farm! Peek out of the window and you might see some of their Scottish Highland cattle wandering the hills.
If that weren’t enough there is a wide variety of resort activities including tennis, hiking, biking, cross-country ski trails, sleigh rides, wagon rides, and even disc golf.
The Lodge is also located pretty conveniently close to other resorts, bars restaurants, and eateries in Stowe, as well as a few other notable accommodations.
Things to do near Trapp Family Lodge
- Gentle Giants Carriage and Sleigh Rides provide a different perspective of the Mountains. Tour the area in a horse-drawn carriage, or a horse-drawn sleigh, depending on the weather! A Gentle Giants Carriage and Sleigh Ride is an amazing experience for everyone in the family.
- The 10th Mountain Division Soldier Statue sits on Mountain Road as a tribute to these U.S. Army mountain warriors. It’s a great photo op and a place to pay respects.
- Piecasso is a favorite restaurant of both locals and visitors. This hip artisanal punny pizza house offers quirky decor, Italian entrees, craft beer, and handcrafted cocktails. A one-of-a-kind eatery, Piecasso’s, is located near the Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa.
- Cady Hill Forest is a beautiful hiking and mountain biking area with diverse terrain and easy access from Stowe Village and along the Stowe Recreation Path that runs parallel to the Mountain Road. Experienced tour guides provide an easy-to-follow guided ride detailing the area and the varying difficulty of the trails. Whether you are a new or experienced rider, the Cady Hill Forest Trail will provide an enjoyable adventure. But some forks of the trail are more difficult than others.
- Wandering the bridges of Vermont is on many bucket lists, and the beautiful, covered Brookdale Bridge offers a restored look at the history of the state’s smaller towns and roadways.
- Even if you’re not staying there, you have to at least pay the Trapp Family Lodge a visit. This luxury, Austrian-style mountainside resort, built by the famous Von Trapp family is steeped in history and is absolutely stunning to boot, with gorgeous grounds to explore. If they have time, the owners will even take you on a tour!
Places to stay around Trapp Family Lodge
- Best Budget Hotel near Trapp Family Lodge: Stowe Motel & Snowdrift
- Best Mid-Range Hotel near Trapp Family Lodge: Sun & Ski Inn
- Best Luxury Hotel and Lodges: Trapp Family Lodge
See Related: Things to Do in Burlington, Vermont
5. Smugglers’ Notch Resort
The neighboring Smugglers’ Notch Resort has a long and storied history and sits north of Spruce Peak on Mountain Road. The area is known for the intricate cave systems that Canadian and American smugglers used to transport and store alcohol during prohibition. The ‘Notch’ refers to a mountain pass that separates Mount Mansfield (the highest mountain in the Green Mountains), from Spruce Peak.
If you are planning a visit to Stowe, but are hoping to avoid the ski crowds, then Smuggler’s Notch is one of the best places to stay in the region. This outer area has spectacular mountains with 78 skiable trails that range from beginner to expert and professional.
During the summer, the area is popular for hiking and mountain climbing, and in the fall, there is breathtaking fall foliage waiting to be photographed. There are seven trails near Smuggler’s Notch State Park. They range from moderately easy to about as hard as they get, so plan accordingly.
If you require a roof overhead but are also hoping for easy trail access that is easy on the budget, Trailside Highlands in Smuggler’s Notch is a favorite. For more traditional accommodations, the Wyndham Smuggler’s Notch offers door-step skiing, easy access to local attractions, an onsite restaurant, and a bar.
And if you are looking for a five-star resort with modern facilities and door-step skiing, the Smugglers’ Notch Resort provides full modern amenities so that everyone can have their own queen bed, and the resort is both pet and kid-friendly.
Things to do in the Smugglers’ Notch area
- During prohibition, Rum Runner’s Hideaway, located in Smugglers’ Notch Base Lodge, was used to hide alcohol transported through Smugglers’ Notch Pass into central and southern New England. The area boasts caves, hiking trails, and a beautiful alpine lake – Silver Lake. Nature lovers, look no further!
- Seven trails crisscross Smugglers’ Notch State Park and connect to the Stowe Mountain Resort area. They range from a great two-hour exercise to a full day of hard hiking. Cantilever Rock is a paltry .2-mile hike from Sunset Rock along the Sunset Ridge Trail. A fascinating geologic marvel, the balanced (or cantilevered) rock seemingly defies gravity and is an amazing photo opportunity.
- If you’re looking to wet your whistle after that hike, Brewster River Pub and Brewery is a local favorite. This relaxed gathering place boasts billiards, televisions, craft beers, and creative pub grub. The brewpub is located on Mountain Road, near the Wyndham Smuggler’s Notch.
- Disc golfers rejoice! The Smugglers’ Notch Disc Golf Center can get you set up with all the gear you might need to enjoy America’s fastest-growing sport.
- Again, if you are planning to visit Stowe in the warmer months, one of the best things to do is the ArborTrek Canopy Adventure near Smuggler’s Notch. Navigating tree-top rope courses and zip lines through the canopies will be an adventure to remember!
Places to stay in the Smugglers’ Notch area
- Best Vacation Rental in the Smugglers’ Notch area: The vacation homes on offer from Trailside Highlands
- Best Mid-Range Hotel in the Smugglers’ Notch area: Wyndham Smugglers’ Notch
- Best Luxury Hotel in the Smugglers’ Notch area: Smugglers’ Notch Resort
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Brattleboro, Vermont
What is Stowe known for?
Undoubtedly, Stowe, Vermont, is known for its challenging slopes and fast runs, making it the “Ski Capital of the East”. But it is not just the varied terrain that has earned it this moniker. Stowe cut its first ski trails in 1933, making it the birthplace of alpine skiing in the Green Mountain State.
Perhaps the most famous attraction/accommodation in Stowe is the Trapp Family Lodge, built by the Von Trapp family, of The Sound of Music fame.
What is the best area to stay in Stowe?
If you want to ski, the Stowe Mountain Resort area is perfect, with easy access to trails, lifts, restaurants, and full-service spas. But everyone needs to come off the mountain occasionally, and the area has numerous things to keep the family entertained. Staying on Mountain Road is an easy compromise with numerous lodges, trendy restaurants, and easy access to Stowe proper and the mountain trails.
Where is a good place to stay in Stowe near Smugglers’ Notch?
The best place to stay in Stowe, near Smuggler’s Notch, is on upper Mountain Road around Spruce Peak.
It affords access to Smuggler’s Notch Resort and the State Park, Stowe Mountain Resorts, and the village of Stowe itself.