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Vermont is one of the smallest states in the country, but for our family, it has one of the biggest places in our hearts. While we love to plan our family travel there year-round, fall is by far the best time to experience the natural wonder of this gorgeous area. Whether your family is looking for outdoor adventures or prefers to relax and take in scenic views and some of the best fall colors found in the United States, an autumn trip to Vermont is not to be missed. For some pro tips and family-friendly recommendations on the best places to visit in Vermont, check out our fall guide to making the most of your family vacation in the Green Mountain state.
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Burlington is one of the top destinations in the state and a great place to visit with kids. One fabulous attraction is the ECHO Leahy Center, a nature and science Museum which is located on the shores of Lake Champlain. My kids had a blast learning fun facts about reptiles, turtles, and fish while exploring the museum’s hands-on tours, 3D films, and interactive exhibits. In late September, the museum will be featuring a new “Guardians of the Great Outdoors” exhibit where kids can engage in land exploration activities while learning conservation and survival skills. Other family-friendly activities in Burlington include taking a ride on the lakeside Burlington Bike Path and checking out the great shopping and street performances at the Church Street Marketplace.
Pro Tip: While visiting Lake Champlain, be on the lookout for Champ, the mysterious lake monster that is rumored to inhabit the lake. Over the years, hundreds of people claim to have spotted this eel-like creature roaming around the water.
Where to stay in Burlington
For a convenient family stay in the Burlington area, I recommend the Green Mountain Suites Hotel. The property is close to area attractions and many of the spacious suites contain full kitchens. A full breakfast and fireside reception (hot food, wine, and craft beer), are complimentary and amenities include an indoor pool and hot tub.
When we plan a vacation in Vermont, our family always looks forward to eating some really good food. Everything is always incredibly fresh, and much of it is produced locally. From warm apple pies to aged cheddar cheese, Vermont cuisine never disappoints. In the Waterbury area, there are lots of really fun ways for families to experience local flavors. Our favorite tourist attraction is the Ben and Jerry’s Factory where guests can tour the ice cream factory and get an up-close view of how the products are made. The tour ends with a sample of some delicious homemade ice cream. Nearby, the Cold Hollow Cider Mill is also a great stop for apple cider, jams, and donuts. Some great area hiking can be found at Mount Mansfield State Forest, less than a half-hour drive away in nearby Stowe. Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont and the most visited by tourists. There are several trails leading to the top of Mount Mansfield. Two of these are the Long Trail (2.3 miles one way) and the Sunset Ridge Trail (3.3 miles one way), beginning at Underhill State Park. Other popular area hikes include Moss Glenn Falls, Waterbury State Park, and Smuggler’s Notch State Park.
Where To Stay in the Waterbury/Stowe Area
Spruce Peak (formerly Stowe Mountain Resort) is a great stay for fun and relaxation. There are a variety of lodging options, and there is so much to do. The luxurious resort offers many family-friendly activities such as horseback riding, hiking, and fishing tours, Guests can also enjoy rock climbing, and gondola rides at the Adventure Center and entertainment at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center. Check the website for special events, concerts, and fall festivals.
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The picturesque town of Woodstock is located in the eastern part of the state and is a wonderful place to visit for some cool animal experiences. At Billings Farm and Museum, there are opportunities to interact with the sheep, chickens, and cows, as well as to explore the gardens and take sleigh or wagon rides around the lush property. For a truly unique experience, we also recommend making reservations with New England Falconry, where visitors have the thrilling experience of handling and flying a magnificent hawk. A great place to experience nature while in the Woodstock area is a visit to Queeche Gorge, just a short drive away in the town of Queeche. The walk around this short nature trail is one of our family’s favorite short hikes in the entire state. My kids love standing high atop the bridge and looking down at the massive gorge below. The views of this spectacular formation surrounded by red, orange, and yellow leaves are absolutely gorgeous!
Where to Stay in Woodstock
The Woodstock Inn and Resort offers families an array of activities, including mountain biking, tennis, and even fly fishing. Kids will have a blast playing games in the retro game room and making smores at the hotel’s fire pit. The resort is close to Main street, where you can find some of the best restaurants and shops.
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Not far from the Canadian border lies a quiet, less populated area of Vermont named the Northeast Kingdom. A scenic drive along the byways and beautiful back roads of the region’s small towns is truly a road-trippers paradise. With an array of covered bridges, spectacular views, and some of the best fall colors in the state, families can find endless opportunities for fabulous scenic photos and fantastic selfies. Along with the beautiful scenery, the Northeast Kingdom is a perfect place for lots of outdoor adventure including hiking trails and bike tours. For some excellent maple syrup and a lesson on how it’s made, visit Maple Grove Farms. While here, be sure to stock up on some authentic Vermont-made products. Another festive family activity is a visit to the Great Vermont Maze, the largest corn maze in New England. Put your family’s teamwork and navigation skills to the test on the challenging three-hour Big Maze, or take the easier forty-minute Scenic Maze. The fun lasts until early October, and advance reservations are recommended.
Where to stay in the Northeast Kingdom
For maximum family fun, staying at Jay Peak Resort is the way to go when visiting the Northeast Kingdom. The resort has so much to do, that families don’t even need to leave the premises to have a great vacation. Autumn activities include indoor rock climbing, disc golf, miles of trails, and a scenic aerial tram ride. One of the best things about Jay Peak is the Pump House, Vermont’s only indoor waterpark. A relaxing ride down the lazy river is always a great way to end a day of outdoor adventure and leaf peeping.
Gorgeous fall colors typically blanket the state of Vermont from the middle of September to late October. Five incredible places to visit with kids in Vermont. Find great road trips, outdoor adventures, and family fun.
Located in the southern part of the state, Bennington County is home to the Green Mountain National Forest and Camel’s Hump State Park. For families looking to experience some quintessential Vermont fall foliage activities, Bennington is the perfect place to start your Vermont road trip or stay for the weekend. Both kids and adults will enjoy the area’s many covered bridges, specialty museums, and family farms. A visit to the Chocolatorium at The Village Chocolate Shoppe, where guests can take a self-guided chocolate tour, is sure to be a hit with everyone.
Where to Stay in the Bennington Area
The Hampton Inn Bennington offers family travelers comfortable guest rooms, an indoor pool, and a sauna. A hot breakfast at the inn’s dining room is included in the stay and there are pet-friendly rooms available for those who bring dogs on their Vermont fall trip. The hotel is conveniently located close to the Mary Stark Trail, a beautiful drive offering scenic views of Vermont’s fall foliage.
Pro Tip: Your Vermont vacation is the perfect opportunity for some great family pictures. Take advantage of the beautiful fall images and consider booking a photo shoot as part of your New England vacation.
When You Go
Best Time To Visit Vermont
When planning your Vermont vacation, you will want to take advantage of peak foliage. Gorgeous fall colors typically blanket the state of Vermont from the middle of September to late October. For your best shot at catching some of the best colors, sign up for weekly fall foliage reports through the Vermont Department of Tourism website.
Getting To Vermont From LA
Vermont’s major hub is Burlington International Airport. There are currently no non-stop flights from Los Angeles but that could change. Start your research for flights with exclusive discounts available from Scott’s Cheap Flights. There’s no need to buy a membership (you’ll still have access to great deals), but if you do decide to get the extra savings, you’ll have more flight options.
Another excellent discount site is Cheap O’Air! (no code needed!)
A road trip is one of the best ways for nature enthusiasts and leaf peepers to make the most of their travels. Families could rent a car at Burlington International Airport. There are plenty of beautiful scenic drives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York.
To see many of these sights on a guided tour try discount tour retailer Viator which offers 51% off last-minute tours (and great deals on advanced ones too).
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