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As the days grow shorter and the leaves turn brilliant red, orange, and gold hues, Vermont transforms into a truly postcard-worthy landscape. Known for its stunning fall foliage, charming small towns, and an array of seasonal activities, the Green Mountain State is one of the best places to visit in the fall.
From scenic drives through vibrant forests to indulging in delicious maple treats, and exploring quaint villages, I’ve compiled a list of 27 of the best things to do in Vermont in the fall – read on to start planning your next road trip!
Cruise Down the Burlington Bike Path
The Burlington Bike Path, stretching for 8 miles along the shores of Lake Champlain, showcases an incredible panorama of the lake’s glistening waters and the vibrant foliage that blankets the path.
Whether you’re an avid cyclist or just looking for a leisurely ride, the Burlington Bike Path is perfect for anyone who loves bike riding or walking trails, and it’s one of the best things to do in Vermont in the fall. Along the way, you can make pit stops at green spaces, like Oakledge Park, take in the artwork adorning the path, and even enjoy a picnic by the lakeshore. You can also stop for a caffeine pick-me-up at Scout & Co. or have a late lunch at Skinny Pancake.
Taste Pure Vermont Maple Syrup
No trip to Vermont in the fall is complete without indulging in the liquid gold that is pure Vermont maple syrup. The state is renowned for its maple trees, and the autumn season is an excellent time to sample their syrup.
While you can purchase or try the local maple syrup at many places, I recommend Sugarbush Farms in Woodstock. This quaint, rural farm produces several varieties of syrup, cheeses, and artisan products and even hosts a walk where you can observe the tree-tapping process. This is one of my favorite things to do in Vermont in the fall!
Enjoy the Excitement of Church Street Marketplace
When the sun dips below the horizon, and the autumn chill sets in, Church Street Marketplace in Burlington comes alive with music, dancing, and entertainment. This historic pedestrian-only street is a hub of activity, featuring a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars, and live entertainment venues.
Support the Local Community at a Farmers’ Market
Fall farmers markets in Vermont are the best places to buy local produce, with a colorful array of pumpkins, apples, crisp heirloom vegetables, and other autumnal delights. The Burlington Farmers’ Market is the best place to start, housing about 70 vendors – you could spend the entire morning here.
If you are near the capital city, check out the Capital City Farmers’ Market in Montpelier. This market has over 50 vendors offering a variety of cuisines, including Greek, Chinese, and Mediterranean.
Welcome Fall at the Harvest Festival in Woodstock
Woodstock, Vermont, known for its historic architecture and vibrant community spirit, hosts an annual Harvest Festival – a must-do for autumn enthusiasts. Held at the Billings Farm and Museum, the festival fills the air with live music, laughter, and a plethora of picture-perfect autumn activities.
Get Lost in a Corn Maze
Exploring a corn maze is one of the best things to do in Vermont in the fall. The Great Vermont Corn Maze, located in Danville, is an annual highlight for locals and tourists, offering a slightly challenging experience that perfectly embodies the essence of autumn.
With 24 acres of maze and several bridges, expect to spend at least a few hours here. There are multiple maze designs each year so you can return season after season for a fresh challenge!
Enjoy Some R&R at a Stunning Resort
Vermont has no shortage of incredible resorts, especially for travelers who want to enjoy the mountain scenery and colorful foliage. Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, Stowe Mountain Resort offers the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. Surrounded by a tapestry of Vermont fall foliage, the resort boasts a range of accommodations – not to mention, it’s home to Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield.
For a dash of musical history, the Trapp Family Lodge, founded by the famous von Trapp family from “The Sound of Music,” is a unique retreat. Nestled in the rolling hills of Stowe, this Austrian-inspired lodge exudes an authentic alpine atmosphere, and in the fall, it comes alive with the warm tones of foliage.
Hike to a Waterfall
Most people think of waterfall chasing as a spring or summer activity, but Vermont’s falls are incredibly stunning when surrounded by foliage.
Start with Moss Glen Falls, located in Stowe. This hidden gem is nestled in the heart of a lush forest. This easy hike meanders along a well-maintained trail, leading you to a serene oasis where you’ll be greeted by the cascading waterfall. The vibrant fall foliage envelops the trail, creating a breathtaking natural canopy that adds to the beauty of this experience.
Taste Locally Brewed Cider
Vermont is renowned for its local cider, especially in the autumn! Nestled in the heart of the Green Mountains, Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury is a haven for cider lovers. The aroma of fresh apples fills the air as you explore the mill and gift shop, and you’ll be treated to samples of their various cider blends, each bursting with the sweet and tangy essence of Vermont’s apple orchards. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor a warm, freshly made cider donut alongside your cider tasting.
Stowe Cider Mill is another great place to sample Vermont apple cider. This family-owned cidery crafts a diverse selection of cider flavors, often with innovative twists showcasing local apple varieties. Visit their tasting room to sample a bit of everything, from traditional dry ciders to unique seasonal creations.
Try a Fall Staple: Apple Cider Donuts
Apple cider donuts are a Vermont fall staple that you can try at several different orchards, cider mills, and farm stands throughout the state. These delectable treats are made with fresh-pressed apple cider, which infuses them with a sweet, tangy apple essence that pairs perfectly with the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Enjoy the Outdoors along the Stowe Recreation Path
For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, the Stowe Recreation Path is a true gem during the fall season. This scenic 5.3-mile-long paved trail meanders through some of Vermont’s most picturesque landscapes, including mountain scenery and riverside views with picturesque bridges, tranquil ponds, and open meadows. It is perfect for walking, riding, or rollerblading.
Support Local business at a Vermont Country Store
Vermont has several country stores oozing with small-town charm that are a perfect place to pick up a souvenir or two. These general stores aren’t just your run-of-the-mill shopping excursions; they offer an experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the rich heritage and charm of Vermont’s small-town businesses. Often outfitted with ice cream parlors, hot food cafes, gifts for all ages, and many locally made goodies from soap and clothing to specialty foods and ciders.
Country stores are sprinkled all around Vermont, but the Vermont Country Store in Weston and Rockingham are fantastic finds. I also love the cafe at the South Woodstock Country Store!
Experience a Craft Beer Tour
Embarking on a craft beer tour in Vermont during the fall is a great way to explore the state’s vibrant beer culture. While there are seemingly endless breweries in Vermont, I have a few favorites!
The Alchemist Brewery, located in Stowe, has a cult following, and it’s no wonder why! This brewery is known for its world-famous Heady Topper, in addition to fresh, unfiltered IPAs.
Hill Farmstead Brewery is another great spot to grab a drink. Nestled in the quaint town of Greensboro Bend, this brewery is perhaps best known for its stunning surroundings and scenery. As you sit outside and enjoy the mountain views, sample beers with blueberry, citrus, or vanilla notes.
Located on the banks of the Ottauquechee River in Bridgewater, Long Trail Brewing Company has a wide range of beers, including their iconic Long Trail Ale. This brewery was inspired by the Hofbräu House in Munich, Germany, so it has a European flair!
The Fiddlehead Brewing Company is another excellent brewery option. Nestled in the scenic town of Shelburne, Fiddlehead Brewing is known for its Fiddlehead IPA, Second Fiddle, and Mastermind, along with great food at the attached pizza restaurant.
Go Apple Picking
Whether you want to stock up on fresh apples for baking, cider making, or simply enjoy the fall weather, Vermont’s apple orchards are a must-visit.
Shelburne Orchards, located just south of Burlington, boasts stunning views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. They have a diverse selection of apple varieties to choose from.
Scott Farm Orchard, situated in Dummerston, is known for its historic orchards and wide array of heirloom apple varieties. This farm dates back to 1850, and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Not to mention, the rolling hills and scenic views make it a charming spot for apple picking.
You can also check out Chapin Orchard, nestled in Essex Junction. This orchard often hosts fun family activities and a selection of delicious apple treats in their store. Located in Dorset, Mad Tom Orchard is another lovely orchard with a variety of apple types, including Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, and Golden Delicious.
In South Hero, Hackett’s Orchard offers 47 different apple varieties, in addition to maple syrup, donuts, and apple cider slushies. You won’t leave hungry!
Pick Out the Perfect Fall Pumpkin
Whether you’re planning to carve a spooky jack-o’-lantern, decorate your home, or use the pumpkin for delicious seasonal recipes, going to the pumpkin patch is the perfect fall activity in Vermont. Visit Armstrong Farm in Bennington, Vermont, for particularly stunning scenery. This might be a small patch, but they have an impressive pumpkin selection!
Leaf Peep in Quechee Gorge State Park
Known as “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” Quechee Gorge is one of the state’s most stunning natural wonders and is even more enchanting during the fall season.
As you explore Quechee Gorge State Park, you’ll be treated to sweeping gorge vistas, a deep chasm carved by the Ottauquechee River, surrounded by forests ablaze with brilliant fall hues. The vibrant red, orange, and yellow leaves against the rugged terrain are a sight to behold, so bring your camera!
Take an Ice Cream Factory Tour
Ice cream may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of fall, but while in Vermont, you can’t miss a trip to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. You can take a guided factory tour, where you’ll witness the ice cream-making process and learn about the company’s history. The tour concludes with a sample of the day’s featured flavors.
Go hiking in the Green Mountains
Because of the Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont is truly a hiker’s paradise. The Green Mountains have a diverse range of trails, catering to hikers of all skill levels, from gentle strolls through magical meadows to challenging ascents to panoramic summits.
Vermont’s iconic Long Trail, located within the Green Mountains, is the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States, spanning the length of the state from Massachusetts to the Canadian border – about 270 miles. Hikers can choose from a variety of sections, with Mount Mansfield being a highlight, offering breathtaking views.
The Appalachian Trail also passes through the Green Mountains, offering hikers a chance to experience a portion of this famous long-distance trail. If you’re looking for something a little less busy, check out Camel’s Hump, one of Vermont’s most iconic peaks. It offers spectacular 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape on the 6-mile out-and-back trail.
Zipline through Foliage with ArborTrek Canopy Tours
If you’re a thrill seeker, what better way to experience Vermont’s vibrant fall colors than on a zipline? Located in Cambridge, Vermont, ArborTrek Canopy Tours is home to a forest amusement park, a treetop obstacle course, and zip line tours. Enjoy a two to three-hour guided zip line adventure through the Green Mountains – you’ll rappel from trees, glide through 4,500 feet of zip lines, and cross sky bridges along the way.
Watch the Sunset on the Shores of Lake Champlain
As the sun dips below the Adirondack Mountains on the western horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of beautiful hues, casting a warm and golden glow over the pristine waters of Lake Champlain. Whether you’re strolling along the Burlington waterfront, relaxing on a sandy beach, or perched on a lakeside rock, the tranquility of the moment is genuinely awe-inspiring.
Drive Through a Historic Covered Bridge
Visiting a historic covered bridge is like taking a step back in time and the Taftsville Covered Bridge, first built in 1836 is the perfect example.
As you approach the Taftsville Covered Bridge, you’ll be greeted by its classic red exterior and the warm, rustic charm of the structure. The bridge, built in 1836, has withstood the test of time and is a testament to the craftsmanship of its era.
Other iconic covered bridges in Vermont include the Henry Covered Bridge in Bennington, the Gold Brook Covered Bridge in Stowe, the Hammond Covered Bridge in Pittsford, and the longest bridge in the US, the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge in Cornish.
Enjoy the views from the top of Mount Mansfield
Mount Mansfield boasts some of the most panoramic vistas in Vermont. As the state’s highest peak, this mountain provides a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding landscape, and in the fall, the vista is even more spectacular with the vibrant colors of the autumn foliage.
You can hike, drive or ride to the summit. If you’re driving to the top of this iconic peak, you’ll have to take the Auto Toll Road, a windy, unpaved 4.5-mile road. You can also take the Gondola Skyride for $37, which is an experience in and of itself.
Go Camping at Smugglers Notch State Park
Nestled within the rugged beauty of the Green Mountains, Smuggler’s Notch State Park provides a serene escape where you can connect with nature. Dense forests surround this park’s campground, and the babbling waters of the North Branch of the Lamoille River provide a soothing backdrop to your stay. Whether you prefer pitching a tent, setting up a camper, or reserving one of the park’s rustic cabins, you’ll find various accommodation options to suit your camping style.
Spend the Day at a Working Dairy Farm
Nestled in the idyllic town of Woodstock, Vermont, Billings Farm & Museum stands as a captivating living history experience that seamlessly transports visitors back to the agricultural roots of rural New England. This meticulously preserved working farm, established in 1871, offers a delightful blend of educational exhibits, interactive programs, and hands-on learning. Stroll through the beautifully landscaped grounds, visit the calf barn, feed a world famous jersey cow or just enjoy the atmosphere of a fully operational dairy farm.
Visit a Charming Small Town
Vermont is no stranger to picture perfect Hallmark towns that are truly magical come fall and well into winter. In the past few years, I’ve visited many small towns in Vermont and have a few favorites. I love strolling through their downtowns, stopping at a gift shop or two along a decorated main street, and enjoying a bite to eat at a cozy cafe. For some of the best foliage views and charming main streets, consider visiting Woodstock, Stowe, Wilmington, or Woodbury. For a more secluded experience, head to Peacham, Westmore, or Montgomery.
Enjoy a Scenic Drive
If you want to enjoy Vermont’s foliage but don’t feel like camping or hiking, just go for a drive! This state has no shortage of scenic roads. Iconic Route 100 is a scenic highway that stretches through the heart of Vermont, showcasing the state’s rural beauty. As you travel along this route, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing panorama of rolling hills, charming farmsteads, and vibrant forests.
The Mount Equinox Skyline Drive near Sunderland, VT is another incredible scenic drive. This toll road adventure leads you to the summit of Mount Equinox, offering sweeping, 360-degree views of the surrounding landscape. As you ascend this scenic route, you’ll wind your way through dense forests and rocky terrain before reaching the summit’s viewing area. From there, you can witness breathtaking vistas that stretch across Vermont and neighboring states, making it a must-visit destination for those who love panoramic views.
Another incredible drive is the Green Mountain Byway, which takes you through the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, offering a picturesque route that winds through charming villages, past pristine lakes, and into the heart of the wilderness, perfect for outdoor activities.
The Lake Champlain Byway meanders along the shores of this magnificent lake, presenting breathtaking water views, with the Adirondack Mountains on one side and Vermont’s lush landscapes on the other. You’ll want an entire afternoon to drive this route – it takes about 3 hours.
Don’t forget about the Molly Stark Byway, winding through the southern Green Mountains. The route is named after the wife of American Revolutionary War General John Stark, and it encapsulates the historical and natural charm of Vermont. Along the way, you’ll encounter covered bridges, historic villages like Willimgton, Battleboro and Bennington and vibrant rolling hills, providing an authentic taste of Vermont’s rural character.
Spend the Day at Lake Willoughby
Lake Willoughby in Westmore, Vermont, beckons visitors with its breathtaking natural beauty and serene ambiance, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a tranquil escape. I often travel here to soak in the serenity and do some hiking through the rolling hills of the Northeast Kingdom.
The rugged cliffs that frame the lake, such as Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor, provide a dramatic backdrop for hikers and nature lovers that come to life in fall with vibrant hues of red, orange and yellow. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone simply yearning for a peaceful lakeside retreat, Lake Willoughby promises an escape into the heart of Vermont’s unspoiled wilderness.
With so much to see and do in the fall (or any time of year), a visit to Vermont is a fantastic idea if you want to experience a fall full of scenic vistas, world-class leaf peeping, and all-around down-home charm. It is one of my favorite states to visit in the fall, and I’m sure it will become one of yours too!
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