Planning a visit to Vermont? The small New England state packs a powerful punch when it comes to scenic splendor, and you will find many beautiful places to visit in Vermont.
While Vermont is known for its forested scenery that lights up in the fall, you’ll also want to visit for its charming little towns and cities, and its picture-postcard countryside, dotted with farms and covered bridges.
Vermont offers four-season recreational opportunities, from hiking and swimming in the warmer months to skiing and snowshoeing in the colder months.
Foodies will find excellent eateries in Vermont, and many yum foods to try, from cheeses to griddle cakes topped with Vermont maple syrup. And the state is also known for its many breweries.
Excited? Read on to the discover the best places to visit in Vermont!
Nestled at the base of Mount Mansfield in the northern part of the state, Stowe is one of the best places to visit in Vermont. The town is a year-round vacation destination.
Walk the Stowe Recreation Path, which meanders along the bank of the West Branch of the Little River and offers stunning views of the mountains.
Drive the Auto Toll Road to the top of Mount Mansfield for panoramic 360-degree views. You can also hike or climb at the top. Alternatively, ride the scenic gondola to the top!
Downtown Stowe features historic homes, shops, and galleries, along with small museums and many excellent eateries. Shop for Vermont brews and cider, or maple syrup, or unique gifts.
Snapping a photo of the famous white church is one of the most popular things to do in Stowe. The church looks especially beautiful surrounded by fall foliage.
The Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum showcases the history of the sports in Vermont, with numerous exhibits that range from skis and boots to snowmaking machinery.
While Stowe is one of the best places to visit in Vermont in the fall, it also makes for a great getaway in the summer, and a fabulous winter sports destination in the winter and spring.
2. Quechee Gorge
One of the most spectacular natural landmarks in Vermont, Quechee Gorge is the deepest gorge in Vermont. It is fondly known as “Vermont’s Grand Canyon.”
Quechee State Park offers overlooks from the top of the gorge, with splendid views of the walls of the gorge and the Ottauquechee River flowing far below.
Quechee Gorge Bridge is a great place from which to snap photos of the gorge. The oldest steel arch bridge in Vermont that survives, the bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Walk the trail down to the river to snap photos of the bridge from below. The walk back is uphill, of course, but there are benches if you want to take a breather. At the bottom, you can take a dip in the river or sunbathe on the rocks.
The Dam Overlook is a shorter and easier trail, and ends at the dam, where the river makes a small waterfall.
3. Smugglers’ Notch
Smugglers’ Notch got its name because smugglers used the path to ship goods in and out of Canada when trade with Canada was forbidden in 1807.
The path has been replaced by a road, and the drive through “The Notch” on Route 108 is one of the most scenic drives in Vermont. Situated between Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, Smugglers’ Notch offers wonderful mountain views.
Smugglers’ Notch State Park is one of the best state parks in Vermont, with campsites if you want to spend a night or two soaking in the scenery. The park offers hiking and biking trails.
Jeffersonville is home to the Smugglers’ Notch Resort, which offers activities in all four seasons. Also visit the distillery, shop for Vermont maple syrup, and browse the art galleries.
If you love covered bridges, be sure to stop to snap photos of the Grist Mill Covered Bridge in Jeffersonville. The bridge is picturesque and very easy to access from the highway.
Burlington is located on the eastern shore of beautiful Lake Champlain, in the northwest part of the state. Its charming downtown, and many quality eateries and breweries, make Burlington one of Vermont’s top travel destinations.
You’ve probably seen photos of Church Street Marketplace in your Instagram feed. The cobblestoned Church Street, with the tall church steeple as its backdrop, is a must visit in Burlington.
Not only is Church Street photogenic, it’s also lively! With lots of shops, live music, and events through the year, the pedestrian marketplace is fun to stroll. It looks stunning lit up during the holidays.
Foodies will love Burlington. From food carts to brunch places and fine dining, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to dining in Burlington. You’ll find excellent coffee too, and a number of breweries.
Burlington offers scenic lakefront parks to help you enjoy Lake Champlain. North Beach Park has a large sandy beach with lifeguards on duty in the summer. Oakledge Park offers spectacular lake views, with two public beaches and walking trails.
Want to day trip to Montreal? The Canadian city is less than a two-hour drive from Burlington, making it a great add-on to your itinerary for Burlington.
One of the most charming places to go in Vermont, Woodstock offers a rich history (it was chartered in 1761!), year-round recreation opportunities, and great food and drink.
Woodstock Village is pedestrian-friendly, and makes for a delightful stroll. Around the Village Green, you’ll find lots of boutique shops and markets, and art galleries.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park features gorgeous gardens and a pond, as well as 20 miles of hiking trails and carriage roads. You can also take guided tours of the mansion and grounds for a fee: reserve in advance.
Billings Farm & Museum is a lovely walk from Woodstock Village. Here you can view the workings of a Vermont dairy, explore the restored farmhouse, and sample cheese.
If you enjoy hiking, you’ll find scenic trails in the area. Climb to the summit of Mount Peg for beautiful views of the surrounding Vermont countryside. Or stroll Eshqua Bog, known for its spring lady’s slipper bloom.
Montpelier, the state capital, is still quintessential small town New England. Located in the Green Mountains, at the confluence of two rivers, Montpelier should definitely be on your itinerary when visiting Vermont.
Downtown Montpelier is vibrant and charming. Recognized as one of best small arts towns in the USA, Montpelier is home to The Savoy Theater, which features art-house cinema, as well as live music and theater.
The Vermont State House is one of the oldest state capitols in the country, and one of the best preserved. It is open to the public, and touring it should be at the top of your Montpelier itinerary.
If you enjoy museums, be sure to visit the Vermont History Museum, which showcases the state’s history, from its first people to colonization and beyond.
Also in downtown Montpelier, you’ll find a thriving business district, with boutiques, arts and crafts stores, and galleries. You’ll also find quality eateries here, including bakeries and cafes.
At Hubbard Park, climb the tower for great views over the city, and the mountains beyond. North Branch Nature Center is a 28-acre preserve by the Winooski River. Walk, swim, or look for birds and wildlife!
Located in the Green Mountains in southern Vermont, Manchester makes for a great getaway in any season, whether you are looking for history and culture, outdoor pursuits, or just a relaxing stay in a cozy inn.
Hildene is a gorgeous historic home, former residence of Robert Lincoln, President Lincoln’s only child that survived to adulthood. Take a self-guided tour of the house, enjoy the beautiful gardens, and walk the trails.
Lye Brook Falls is a 125-foot waterfall, one of the tallest in Vermont. The trail to reach it is not easy though, and you’ll need waterproof hiking shoes with good grip.
Drive to the summit of Mount Equinox, the tallest peak in the Taconic Range. The Skyline Drive is generally open between Memorial Day weekend and the end of October. You can also hike in the Equinox Preserve.
Prospect Rock is a challenging but rewarding hike in the Manchester area. You will be constantly hiking uphill to the top, but the scenery along the route is beautiful, and the views from the top are epic.
A shoppers’ paradise, Manchester offers high-end stores like Armani at the Manchester Designer Outlets to antique shops, and fine art galleries to Christmas stores.
Definitely one of the best towns to visit in Vermont, Bennington offers a little bit of everything, from history to covered bridges, shopping, and a beautiful downtown.
The Bennington Battle Monument is the tallest man-made structure in the state. Built to commemorate the Battle of Bennington, which the Americans won, the stone monument has an observation level that offers expansive views.
The Bennington Museum has exhibits on the history and culture of southern Vermont, eastern New York, northwestern Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire, from the 18th century to the present.
Art lovers won’t want to miss the collection of paintings by Grandma Moses. The museum also features a wildflower trail, and on the grounds you will find the school attended by Grandma Moses, moved here from Eagle Bridge, New York.
At nearby Shaftsbury, the Robert Frost Stone House Museum is a must-visit for visitors that love his works. The museum showcases Frost’s poetry and his life in Shaftsbury. Here is where he wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”!
For folks that love photographing covered bridges, Bennington is home to three beautiful bridges: the Silk Road Covered Bridge, the Henry Covered Bridge, and the Paper Mill Village Bridge.
Nestled amidst rolling hills in the Connecticut River Valley in the southern part of Vermont, Brattleboro is one of the best small art towns in America. It offers year-round recreation and makes for a great Vermont vacation spot.
Downtown Brattleboro offers locally-owned shops, where you can browse apparel, gifts, jewelry, books, and more. Here you will also find excellent places to eat and a number of breweries to tour.
Visit the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, housed in the town’s historic train station. The museum focuses on contemporary art by living artists, with several rotating exhibitions each year.
On the first Friday of each month, you can attend Gallery Walk, an event where many area entities display art pieces or hold performances. Brattleboro also has a music center, theaters, and other performing arts organizations.
Fort Dummer State Park is a forested park in the southern foothills of the Green Mountains. Here you can hike, swim, picnic, and camp. Look for birds and wildlife, from ruffed grouse to wild turkeys.
The Creamery Covered Bridge is a popular photo spot in Brattleboro. The historic bridge was built in 1879, and today it is closed to traffic.
Located at the southern end of the Green Mountains, the tiny town of Wilmington is one of the most charming places to visit in Vermont.
The village center is walkable, and you’ll find lots of independent shops to browse for unique gifts and souvenirs, including artisanal foods, antiques, quilts, books, home decor, and art.
Also in the village, there are many excellent restaurants and cafes, whether you’re looking for fine dining or casual fare. The Village Pub and Maple Leaf Brewery offer libations.
Hogback Mountain, just a couple of miles away, features exceptional views: you can see Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire and Wachusett Mountain in Massachusetts. Drive up Route 9 to the Hogback Country Store, where you can park and explore for a bit if you choose.
The Southern Vermont Natural History Museum in Marlboro has one of the largest collections of birds and mammals from the US Northeast. The collections are from the early 1900s.
A few miles away, Harriman Reservoir, also known as Lake Whitingham, is the largest body of water in Vermont, as well as one of Vermont’s prettiest natural spots. Boat, swim, paddle, or fish!
Located near the New Hampshire border, the town of Topsham is made up of four villages: East Topsham, Topsham Four Corners, Waits River, and West Topsham.
Topsham’s setting is stunning, and you’ll find year-round recreation opportunities here, but visit in the fall for spectacular fall foliage scenes, generally without crowds.
Cross the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge, a pedestrian suspension bridge built in 1892. The views from the bridge are beautiful, and the bridge itself is a great photo op.
Walk the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk, a relaxing short walk by the river near the bridge. Along the Topsham part of the walk, you will see Fort Andross, a historic mill, and the Topsham Mill.
The Cathance River Preserve features different ecosystems, and offers easy hiking, with wildlife and birds to spot. Some trails meander by the river, and the little rapids are picturesque.
12. Mount Mansfield
The tallest mountain in Vermont, Mount Mansfield is part of the Green Mountains. When you look at it from the east (and somewhat from the west), the mountain has the profile of a supine human face and neck, with nose, lips, and chin.
There are fun activities to enjoy at Mount Mansfield all through the year. It has an alpine ecosystem at its higher elevations, one of only three areas in Vermont where the alpine tundra still survives.
In the warmer months, go hiking! The Sunset Ridge Trail is one of the less strenuous paths to the summit, but it is a challenging hike nevertheless. From the top, you get 360-degree views.
Alternatively, you can drive the 4.5-mile Auto Toll Road to the summit of Mount Mansfield. The drive is super scenic. Yet another way to get to the top is to ride the Scenic Gondola.
Adventurous visitors may also want to try the Stowe Mountain Ziptour Adventure, a ziplining ride from near the summit down Mount Mansfield. The longest line goes down almost 4,500 feet!
In the winter, Stowe Mountain Resort offers skiing and snowboarding. Runs range from beginner to expert and you can even take lessons. Snowshoeing and ice skating are other winter activities to enjoy here.
The charming village of Waterbury is small, but there are lots of things to do here! Located near Stowe, the Waterbury Village Historic District offers excellent shopping and dining.
The Ben & Jerry’s Factory is one of Waterbury’s popular attractions. Here you can visit the Flavor Graveyard, tour the facility, and sample ice cream. Cold Hollow Cider Mill is another must-stop spot, to see fresh cider bring pressed.
Waterbury Center State Park is located on the Waterbury Reservoir, just a short drive off Route 100. Here you can hike the nature trail, have a picnic, go boating or fishing, or swim.
Camel’s Hump State Park is the largest state park in Vermont and a popular hiking destination. Many trails here are moderate to challenging, but the Monroe Trail has an accessible loop that’s family friendly and offers views of the summit.
For a relaxed activity, drive the Green Mountain Scenic Byway, through Vermont’s northern Green Mountains. The route features stunning scenery and several historic villages.
14. St. Johnsbury
Considered the gateway to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the St. Johnsbury Historic Village District offers art and architecture, along with history and culture.
St. Johnsbury is also just a short drive from picturesque Peacham, the most photographed town in New England. Be sure to visit, especially if you are in St. Johnsbury in the fall!
The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is the town’s public library, but also has an art gallery with works by American and European artists from the late eighteenth century to the middle nineteenth century.
The Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium is a must-visit. The museum houses collections from many natural sciences, and is fascinating for kids and adults alike. The building itself is gorgeous.
The downtown district offers lots of shops and art galleries to browse, along with eateries. Look for hand-made gifts, unique home decor, apparel, books, and toys at independent stores.
The Maple Grove Farms Sugar House Museum has exhibits about the process of boiling down maple sap to make maple syrup, with a video that shows the sugaring process. Taste the different grades of maple syrup and buy maple products.
15. Moss Glen Falls
Moss Glen Falls, located near Stowe, is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the state. The cascade is 125 feet tall, with a series of small drops before the dramatic 75-foot plunge at the end.
To get to Moss Glen Falls, take Route 100 from Stowe to Moss Glen Falls Road, where you will find the trailhead for the short hike to the falls. At the fork, you can either choose to go to the base of the falls or to the upper viewpoints.
If you choose to go up to the upper viewpoints, you will have great opportunities to photograph the falls along the way. The upper viewpoints, from the top of the walls of the gorge, offer the best view of the upper part of the falls.
The trail may be wet and slippery, so shoes with good grip are essential. The area around the falls especially can be dangerously slippery.
Moss Glen Falls is located near other beautiful waterfalls like Bingham Falls, Terrill Gorge, Hell Brook Cascades, and Sterling Brook Gorge, so you can plan a tour to see all of them when you are in the area.
Middlebury is located in west-central Vermont. It is a historic town, having been chartered in 1761. Middlebury offers an eclectic mix of history, architecture, shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation.
Robert Frost had his summer home in Ripton, just a few miles from Middlebury. He wrote a lot of his poetry in a log cabin on the property, and taught at the Middlebury College Bread Loaf Campus for many years.
Walk the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in Ripton. The easy 1.2-mile loop features many of his poems in woods and fields along the route, and you may see blueberries and huckleberries in season.
The Middlebury College Museum of Art has an impressive collection that spans the gamut from antiquities to contemporary works. Paintings, sculpture, prints, and photos are represented.
History buffs will want to visit the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History, housed in a stately building in downtown Middlebury. It has a sizable permanent collection of fine Vermont furniture, paintings, household objects, and artifacts.
The Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) is an aggregation of trails that offers excellent hiking through the scenic landscape, including woods and forests. You can hike as much or as little of the TAM as you wish. Some trails are bike accessible.
Located along the scenic shores of Lake Champlain, Shelburne is small but charming. It offers year-round recreation, cozy inns, and great eateries, for a fun Vermont getaway.
Visit the Shelburne Museum, with impressive exhibits indoors and outdoors. On the grounds, you will find, among other things, a round barn from the 1900s, the old Lake Champlain lighthouse, and the Ticonderoga, a historic steamboat.
The Vermont Teddy Bear factory is another fun place to visit. On a guided tour, you can see how the bears are crafted by hand, and you can create your own bear here as well!
Shelburne Farms features lots of trails you can walk, and the scenery is lovely. Kids will love the interactive farmyard, and you may see cheese being made. Stop by the bakery for a sweet treat!
Downtown Shelburne is home to many interesting independent shops. The Flying Pig Bookstore’s collection of kids’ books is outstanding, and there’s a cool toy shop to browse as well.
Explore More in New England!
Planning a trip to New England?
We have a round-up of the best places to visit in New England, from historic Boston and picturesque Portland to charming little towns and natural areas like Acadia National Park.
In Boston, you’ll want to spend a few hours in the lovely Boston Public Garden.
Also check out our article on the best things to do in Stowe, Vermont, and not-to-be-missed things to do in Newport, Rhode Island.
Looking for more travel inspiration for the US East Coast?
We have an article on the best East Coast weekend getaways, from vibrant cities like Miami to smaller getaways like Savannah and Charleston!
And if you are looking to do a road trip, we have an article on the best East Coast road trips you can take, from the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Overseas Highway in Florida to New England in the fall.
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