Considered as the most populous city of Vermont and the seat of Chittenden County, Burlington is a vibrant cosmopolitan center that one should not miss when visiting The Green Mountain State. Whether you wish to see the picturesque scenery of Lake Champlain or the romantic fall foliage of its surrounding mountain range, the city of Burlington is no doubt the best jump-off to discover the wonderful natural landscape of Vermont and its neighboring states. Worrying about where to stay in Burlington? You wouldn’t have any problems at all as there’s plenty of accommodation options in the area. If you’re the kind of traveler who wants to see as much as possible, we recommend staying in a hotel, Airbnb, or Vrbo vacation rental located near attractions. If you’re planning a single trip, here’s a breakdown of the top day trips from Burlington, Vermont, that you should consider squeezing in your itinerary during your next getaway.
Visit the best attractions in this town located in the northern region of Vermont, where you can have the best spot to see the picturesque Mount Mansfield that is known for its trails and ski slopes. Fall in love with the serene wooded setting of Stowe Hollow, which will surely put colors on your Instagram feed. Head to The Trapp Family Lodge for spectacular mountain vistas and outdoor activities while admiring the European-style setting of the luxury mountain resort. To get closer to nature, trek the Smugglers Notch State Park and lose some pounds after a night of a gastronomic tour in Vermont.
Northern Vermont: Stowe and Waterbury Small-Group Day Trip
Duration: 7 hours
2. Waitsfield, VT
Travel for about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Burlington to reach this town that is sitting at the center of the Mad River Valley. Experience the legacy of its past, mostly relating to the cultivation of land, and head over to any of its famous farms such as Knoll Farm and Mountain Valley for an authentic farm experience that will leave you transformed and inspired. Indulge in the freshest produce ranging from healthy vegetables and fruits up to the award-winning maple syrup.
For a true one-of-a-kind experience, make sure to join the farm tour in Hartshorn’s Organic Farm during any of their four food festivals - Maple, Strawberry, Blueberry, and Pumpkin. There are also farm-to-table restaurants you can find around Burlington where you can sample great food made from the freshest produce in the region.
3. Norwich, VT
Wake up early and drive for about two hours in a northwest direction to reach this town that is home to some of the wealthiest Vermonters. Feast your eyes on its classic New England beauty as soon as you step on Main Street, which is lined with historic Georgian and Greek Revival architecture. After learning its history, admire its hilly and wooded landscape as you make your way to Montshire Museum of Science, featuring over 150 exhibits, perfect for your kids. Don’t forget to drop by King Arthur Flour Company to see some bakers in action or to enjoy delicious baked treats.
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4. Lake Willoughby
Go on a relaxing escapade to this marvelous lake located in the town of Westmore, just two hours’ drive from Burlington. Considered as one of the best lakes in New England, you can’t escape from the charms of its water promising a memorable getaway for tourists and locals alike. Dive to your heart’s content as you will never run out of enthralling activities to do for the day, including boating, swimming, and scuba diving. If you’re up for some challenge, hike the Willoughby State Forest, either the Mount Pisgah or the Mount Hor, to be rewarded with spectacular views of picturesque Willoughby Gap from the top.
5. Wilmington, VT
Marvel at the wonders of this historic town nestled in the mountains, where you will find vintage shops, restaurants, museums, and inns. Explore the natural wonders of Southern Vermont by spending time trekking Molly Stark State Park or Haystack Mountain, offering miles of woodland trails and beautiful wildflowers. Beat the summer heat by visiting Lake Whitingham, where you can sail, fish, and swim, or join other leaf peepers during the autumn months for a colorful show. Whether you’re a nature lover or an outdoor adventurer, there is something for everyone to see, whatever season it may be.
6. Quechee Gorge
Get lost in the lovely sight of Quechee Gorge, just a one-and-a-half-hour drive away from Burlington, and it is considered the deepest gorge in Vermont. Dubbed as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon, visitors are bound to enjoy beautiful vistas 168 feet (52m) from the bridge above the Ottaquechee River, after a fairly easy hike from Quechee State Park. Channel your inner explorer and walk to the bottom of the gorge for the equally fantastic views from below. Bring some snacks to keep your energy intact throughout your stay, as you can spend a couple of hours in the water that is a popular whitewater kayaking spot.
7. Plymouth, VT
Embark on this journey to the town where the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was born and located, just 2 hours’ drive away from Burlington. Check out his childhood home and the place where he took the presidential oath of office by visiting Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, complete with permanent must-see exhibits to know him more. Maximize your day by treating your kids and yourself to creamy goodness as you visit the historic factory of Plymouth Artisan Cheese. Make sure to bring some cow’s milk cheeses back to Burlington, perfect for your breakfast the next morning.
See some of the top attractions from the waterfront, while joining a historic sightseeing harbor cruise in the capital of Massachusetts, Boston. Found about three hours’ drive from Burlington, this city is one of the day-trip dream destinations, not just for history buffs, but also for those who want to see its lovely skyline and experience its distinct seasons. Get to admire the USS Constitution, the floating Boston Museum, and the Old North Church among other historic landmarks that you can see along Boston’s inner and outer harbors. Make sure to listen to the informative narration during the cruise for a better understanding of the city’s rich history.
Boston Historic Sightseeing Harbor Cruise with Up-Close View of USS Constitution
Duration: 1 hour
Wear your most comfortable footwear and start exploring the 2,000-mile (3,219 kilometers) scenic trails of New York’s Adirondack Mountains, perfect for a day hike or backcountry camping. Take in the beautiful sights and sounds of the surrounding wilderness as you leisurely walk on established pathways that are accessible and open to all enthusiasts. Be rewarded by the jaw-dropping sceneries of skip-along waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, even before you reach the summit. Worry not if you’re a novice hiker, for regardless of your skill level, there are accessible options for everyone to enjoy the rugged beauty of the mountains each season.
Guided hikes and backpacking trips
Duration: 2 to 8 hours
Sit back and enjoy the view of nature while sailing in this beautiful, freshwater lake located on the western shores of Vermont. Considered as a mecca of outdoor fun for Vermonters, everyone is bound to have an enjoyable time fishing, paddling, and watching about 318 species of birds flying around the lake. From the borders of Canada and the United States, breathe in the cool breeze while having a memorable trip with your loved ones as you glide along with the lush mountain range on both sides, up to the historic towns of New York’s Adirondack Coast. Don’t forget to book a tour in advance to get the full experience.
Two Hour Sunset Sailing Tour for up to Four Adults
Duration: 2 hours
Discover Burlington and beyond
If you run out of things to do in Burlington, be sure to take advantage of these nearby destinations to check out. See what The Green Mountain State has to offer by including these top day trips from Burlington, Vermont in your itinerary today.
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