Vermont, a destination known for its jaw dropping fall leaves, maple syrup, creemees, and friendly atmosphere. If you have the chance to spend a summer in Vermont, there are some experiences you don’t want to miss! Below we have curated the top 12 family friendly things to do, starting with Vermont’s largest city, Burlington.
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Summer in Vermont to Do List
- Downtown Burlington
- Lake Champlain
- Original Ben and Jerry’s
- Cabot Farmer’s Store
- Cold Hollow Cider Mill
- Moss Glen Falls
- Oakledge Park
- Burlington Greenway
- Blanchard Beach
- Tallest Filing Cabinet in the World
- Snowflake Bentley Museum
- Maple Creamie at Palmer Lane
1. Downtown Burlington
Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, has a thriving atmosphere of museums, restaurants, outdoor adventures, art, shopping and is near 3 colleges and 1 university. Downtown is a must-see stop! Here you can experience the heart of Vermont. We first stopped at Switchback Brewing Company for a fantastic view and even better fish n’ chips and then went exploring.
Next on the list is Church Street Marketplace, one of the top destinations in downtown Burlington. This award-winning pedestrian mall has year round events, and is a great stop for families! Check out their website for event updates. Be sure to use the 2 hour free parking garage as you sight-see downtown.
A quick walk from Church Street will lead you to Burlington Waterfront Park, where you and your family can see the famous Lake Champlain!
2. Lake Champlain
Located near Downtown Burlington, Lake Champlain is a majestic freshwater lake that spreads across Vermont, New York, and Canada.
As the 13th largest lake in the U.S., its sandy beaches, and seagulls soaring above, the lake feels like you are near the ocean! The lake has around 80 islands that you can rent a boat or kayak to.
Take a cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen to explore the lake and maybe spot one of the many lighthouses! After a cruise, take a walk around the many hiking trails surrounding the lake. However, don’t forget bug spray and tick repellent if you are visiting during the summer!
3. Original Ben and Jerry’s
If you are an icecream guru, Vermont is for you! From humble beginnings in 1978, Ben & Jerry started their ice cream legacy at a gas station in Vermont. They celebrated their one year anniversary by having the first-ever, free cone day!
This tradition helped grow the shop to what it is today. Tour the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury and enjoy some amazing ice cream, a couple hours here will be well worth the trip!
The factory is open from 11am-6pm Tuesday-Saturday and closed Sunday-Monday. Be sure to check the website to schedule a tour before you go! Be sure to check the website to schedule a tour before you go, tickets have to be reserved, but visiting the scoop shop is free!
Lastly, visit the Flavor Graveyard up the hill, where you can read about the “deceased” ice cream flavors. All of the adults and kids really enjoyed reading the headstones and laughed at the clever explanations of the recently “de-pinted”.
4. Cabot Farmer’s Store
Stay in the Waterbury area and check out the Cabot Farmer’s Store. This is a favorite stop between Ben & Jerry’s and The Cider Mill where you can browse a fantastic collection of specialty foods and cheeses.
Taste the fine collections of micro brews, hard ciders and wines. And then, pop over next door for some delicious Lake Champlain Chocolates. “Vermont Proud” is a common saying among locals for their pride in small business’ and locally grown food/products.
5. Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Apple cider, maple syrup, and more artisan goods can be found at Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Their motto is “leave the cell phones in the car” and want all visitors to enjoy the green mountain landscape.
Fuel your family with homemade cheddar cheese biscuits, or sandwiches with fresh baked bread. Then, have everyone line up at the back of the store to have a free taste-test of their fresh apple cider. Delicious!
Outside they have corn hole set up, so sit back and spend some family time enjoying the fresh air.
6. Moss Glen Falls
After a day spent wandering in Waterbury, cool off in shallow swimming holes by the beautiful Moss Glen Falls in Stowe. A kid friendly boardwalk, views of a beaver dam and wildflowers along the way makes this trail a perfect combination for an outdoor family adventure. Find the trailhead here.
Hiking in the summer in Vermont means protection from bugs! Make sure to spray your kids and use tick repellents. There are socks you can buy already infused with tick repellent that are very handy. Do a quick “tick check” before getting back into the car.
The trail is a quick .25 miles on a boardwalk that keeps your shoes mud free. You can take the family up to the very top, or walk along the river to the base of the falls. The kids really enjoyed exploring the pools and finding frogs and cool rocks! Take extra precaution, the rocks are slippery and wet, remind kids to stay low and go slow if they want to climb (at ones own risk).
7. Oakledge Park
Another great place to add to your list is Oakledge Park, this is the main hub for great beaches and one of the many access points to the Burlington Greenway. Parking here costs $2.00 an hour but you can park for free if you have the Green Mountain Pass. Here they have all kinds of amenities for families like, grills, picnic tables, tennis courts, a tree house, playground, pavilions, SUP rentals, and more!
We parked here for access to the waterfront by taking a short walk down the Burlington Greenway. If you have a large group, Oakledge Shelters are available for rent and can host gatherings of up to 80 people. Hours of operation are from Sunrise to Sunset.
8. Burlington Greenway
Known as the “Crown Jewel” of the park system in Vermont, the Burlington Greenway is 8 miles of paved path for walking, running, biking, etc. The path runs from Oakledge Park to the Winooski River. Connecting many of Vermont’s top places to see is just one of the reasons to use the greenway.
Parking and restrooms are located along the path, and as well as access to the longer Island Line Trail. The seasonal bike ferry can take you to some of the many islands along Lake Champlain. Check out these bike rentals to ride along the path, a great outing for the whole family!
9. Blanchard Beach
Nestled at the south end of Burlington and Oakledge park is Blanchard Beach. A charming area to set up a picnic and paddle board in the sparkling Lake Champlain. SUP rentals are near the bathrooms in Oakledge park and are $15.00 per hour.
Remember, there are no lifeguards on duty so make sure your littles are watched carefully. Lessons for paddle boarding are also available, check out Paddle Surf Champlain for more details!
10. World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet
A quirky stop on your family’s adventure to Vermont is the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet! You can find the location here. This installation is made up of real filing cabinets welded on top of each other, at a staggering 38 feet!
The artist Bren Alvarez designed and built his piece in 2002. It is certainly something you don’t see every day and makes for a quick, fun stop!
11. Snowflake Bentley Museum
The Snowflake Bentley Museum is a great stop to learn about the one and only Wilson Alwyn Bentley. Bentley discovered that “no two snowflakes are alike” and the museum is all about his fascinating snowflake discoveries.
The museum is free to the public and open from Monday through Saturday 11am-4pm. Located at the Old Red Mill in Jericho, Vermont, visitors can explore the museum and see nature’s wonders up close.
12. Palmer Lane Maple
You and your family can NOT miss out on the famous maple products and creemees! One of the best places for this is at Palmer Lane Maple. Their mission is to serve the best maple products around. I cannot recommend the maple creemee enough, and be sure to add the maple sprinkles on top! It is absolutely mouth watering.
Summer hours are from 12:00pm-8:30pm every day. Inside the shop you can find all sorts of Vermont souvenirs, everything from maple syrup to maple candy. Enjoy your creemee and sit on one of the benches under the trees outside.
We hope that you and your family enjoy an adventurous summer in Vermont! Traveling with kids? Check out our post on the Do’s and Dont’s of Flying with an Infant! And want to learn tips about saving money to travel? Check out 9 Top Tips to Travel on a Budget