We all know that Vermont is one of the most visited US destinations during the Fall season but have you ever wondered what it’s like to explore the Green Mountain State in the Summer? Last month, I went on an exciting Summer Road Trip to Vermont with my husband, thanks to our awesome friends from Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing. Not only did we get to explore some of the state’s beautiful landscapes, we also discovered several hidden gems along the way. I’m so excited to share to you guys my Ultimate Summer Road Trip Guide to Vermont, which consists of all the places we stayed, the restaurants we loved (plus other recommendations) and the activities we enjoyed during our time there.
Fun Facts about Vermont:
- Did you know? Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state and is home to about 1,000 dairy farms!
- About 630,000 people call Vermont home and enjoy more than 1,000 hiking trails, more than 50 state parks, 20 downhill ski areas and more than 100 historic covered bridges.
- Vermont is home to 23 historic downtowns that are filled with beautiful architecture and locally owned retail businesses that offer memorable shopping and dining experiences.
From LAX, we landed at Burlington International Airport. We rented a car at one of the rental companies conveniently located inside the terminal. Since we didn’t need to leave the airport to obtain our rental, this was a huge plus for us because we were able to start our road trip right away!
Where To Stay:
Shore Acres Inn & Restaurant is a serene lakeside inn located in Lake Champlain Islands. It boasts half a mile of private lakeshore, 23 lake view rooms and a restaurant that offers exceptional views of Lake Champlain from every table! Each morning, guests are invited to enjoy the complimentary hot coffee and baked goods from their restaurant. The breakfast quiche prepared by their talented chef was absolutely divine! I highly recommend staying at this picturesque inn.
North Hero House Inn & Restaurant is another great alternative if you’re looking to explore Lake Champlain. With its excellent location, fine accommodations and gourmet dining, it’s not surprising that this historic inn and restaurant has been serving locals and tourists alike since 1891!
Located in the heart of the Champlain Valley, Middleburry Inn is one of the most popular boutique hotels in New England. I think it’s pretty impressive that they’ve been in continuous operation as a hotel for over 180 years! This lovely inn has 71 refurbished guest rooms and although they are equipped with modern amenities, I love that they preserved its historic charm!
Lake Champlain Islands
Lake Champlain is an easy 30-minute drive from downtown Burlington. It’s comprised of several islands (Isle La Motte, North Hero, Grand Isle and South Hero) and is one of the best areas in Vermont for water recreation during the summer months.
Things To Do:
- Allenholm Farm – Check out their farm store and grab a delicious Maple Creemee, Vermont’s version of soft serve!
- Snow Farm Vineyard – Stop in for some wine tasting and enjoy a variety of wines ranging from sweet and smooth to dry and full-flavored. Don’t forget to pair your wine flights with local Vermont cheeses, meats, chocolates and summer sausages.
- Burton Island State Park – Enjoy the outdoors by taking a 10-minute ferry to the island, where you can rent bikes, kayaks, SUPs and canoes.
Where To Eat:
North Hero House Inn and Restaurant and Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant are great options for fine dining. I ordered the Faroe Island Salmon from North Hero House and loved the fresh ingredients! For lunch, Hero’s Welcome General Store offers tasty sandwiches (The Thomas Jefferson and The Sophie are the most popular) that’s perfect for on the go. Champlain Islands Candy Lab is another local favorite. Stop by for some baked goods, coffee or one of their signature chocolates – with ingredients all locally sourced! Want to enjoy live music with delicious wood-fired pizza, burgers or lobster rolls? Check out Blue Paddle Bistro for dinner.
Located on the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain, Burlington is home to a thriving arts scene and numerous outdoor pursuits. From museums to specialty shops, there’s always something new to discover in Vermont’s largest city.
Things To Do:
- Church Street Marketplace – Shop and dine at some of the best local stores and restaurants in Vermont.
- Burlington Waterfront Park – Enjoy spectacular lakeside views by going on either a bike ride or by chartering a boat.
- Shelburne Farms – Go on a leisure walk to the Farm Barn to view the cheesemaking process or visit the farm animals at the Children’s Farmyard.
Where To Eat:
Burlington has some of the best breakfast spots in Vermont! August First offers breakfast all day and proudly serves natural, healthy food from scratch. Their top selling Vermonter sandwich was my husband’s favorite! Another breakfast joint we enjoyed was The Friendly Toast. They are known for their creative menu and flavorful drinks. However, if I had to pick a favorite, my top choice would be The Skinny Pancake for their tasty crepes. I recommend getting the Lumberjack (savory crepe) and the Heartbreaker (sweet crepe). Both were equally delicious!
Vermont’s craft brewery industry is one of the best known in the country, so naturally, we had to pop in and visit one of the top breweries in the state, Zero Gravity Brewery. Grab lunch and try some of their popular beers (Green State and Little Wolf were highly recommended)! For dinner, make sure you check out American Flatbread and try the famous New Vermont Sausage.
Just a quick 35-minute drive down south from Burlington, you will find Vergennes, Vermont’s first city! Although it is the smallest city in the US, its charming downtown sure makes up for it.
Things To Do:
- Adam’s Berry Farm – Pick your own blueberries/raspberries/strawberries or have a picnic at the farm.
- Mt. Philo State Park – Go on a short, moderate hike and enjoy views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.
- Champlain Orchards – Procure locally sourced Vermont products or pick your own fruits!
Where To Eat:
Want something quick and tasty for breakfast? Check out Vergennes Laundry, a wood-fired bakery, cafe and épicerie. Their freshly baked pastries tasted so good that it left me wanting more! If you’re looking for organic produce, local cheese, home goods or even grab-and-go lunches, Philo Ridge Farm is a must visit.
For dessert, make sure you drop by Lulu Ice Cream, the winner of best ice cream in Vermont! I find it impressive that they make their delicious ice cream, sorbet and sauces from scratch. Their Epic Maple Creemee is made fresh with local milk and maple syrup and is definitely the perfect treat to help you cool off during the summer months! Another incredible find is The Arcadian, an Italian restaurant in Middlebury that serves fresh seafood and homemade pasta! I love that they feature amazing Vermont grown foods and partner with local farms to deliver the best Vermont ingredients!
With an array of outdoor activities, breathtaking views and amazing restaurants, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Stowe is lauded as one of the most popular destinations in Vermont.
Things To Do:
- Stowe Main Street – Stroll down main street and check out the local boutique shops and restaurants.
- Cold Hollow Cider Mill – Try their amazing apple cider (for free) and famous homemade cider donuts! You can also drop by next door and check out their Hard Cider Tasting Room and order a cider flight.
- Stowe Recreation Path – Enjoy the 5.3 mile paved trail with numerous picnic and swimming areas. Perfect for a morning jog or a relaxing bike ride.
- Smuggler’s Notch State Park – Take a quick dip at Sterling Pond and/or Bingham Falls, two of the most visited natural sights in this state park.
Where To Eat:
Doc Ponds is known for their mouthwatering American eats and amazing cocktails. If you find yourself dining in, don’t forget to order the Cheddar Fritters and Vermont Cheddar Mac & Cheese! You can also enjoy Vermont-made lagers at the famous Von Trapp Brewery. Their variety of lagers is perfect for any beginner or seasoned craft beer drinkers! Still hungry? Then check out Piecasso Pizzeria and Lounge and devour one of their famous pizzas!
I hope you enjoyed reading my Ultimate Summer Road Trip Guide to Vermont and have found some useful information to help plan your next road trip!
Disclaimer: Thank you to the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing for sponsoring our press trip.
As always, all opinions on my “The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Guide to Vermont” blog post are honest and my own.