Things To Do

Discover Vermont's Breathtaking State Parks

By Adam LouisMay. 30, 2023

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Are you looking to get out and explore Vermont this summer? Vermont’s state parks are exactly what you’re looking for. With more than 50 unique parks to explore, get ready to be mesmerized by breathtaking landscapes, serene lakes, and exhilarating trails. From the tranquil shores of Burton Island to the rugged beauty of Smugglers' Notch, Vermont’s state parks are the perfect launching pad for a Green Mountain adventure.

Whether you're a first-time VT visitor or a seasoned Green Mountain explorer, these parks offer a slice of paradise. From kayaking on serene lakes to hiking through lush forests, each park has its own unique allure. And it's not just about the parks themselves - nearby attractions, charming lodging options, and farm-to-table dining experiences will add an extra touch of magic to your expedition. So pack your sense of adventure and get ready to uncover the beauty, excitement, and hidden treasures that await you in Vermont's stunning state parks.

Burton Island State Park Lake Champlain

Located in Lake Champlain, Burton Island State Park is a true gem for outdoor enthusiasts. A short ferry ride over will bring you to Burton Island’s stunning shorelines and panoramic views -  which are perfect for swimming, boating, and kayaking. The island also offers hiking trails that lead to hidden coves and picnic spots. For those who love camping, Burton Island State Park provides amazing island camping experiences in their lakefront lean-tos and tent sites.

Nearby attractions include the picturesque bike trails along Lake Champlain and the historic village of St. Albans. When it comes to lodging, we happen to love the charming Back Inn Time Bed & Breakfast, or if you don’t mind a bit farther of a drive, Hotel Vermont in nearby Burlington is a chic boutique winner. For dining, don't miss the great eats at Twiggs Gastropub or the craft beers at 14th Star Brewing Company.

Bomoseen State Park

Nestled along the shores of Lake Bomoseen, this state park is a hidden paradise. Take a dip in the crystal-clear waters, try your hand at fishing, or rent a boat to explore the lake's serene beauty. Hiking enthusiasts will enjoy the trails that wind through dense forests and offer breathtaking views.

Within 10 miles, you can check out the Pond Hill Ranch Rodeo (one of the only rodeos in the state), or you can have a night at the track at Devil’s Bowl Speedway. For a unique lodging experience, check out the cozy Lake Bomoseen Lodge and Taproom, or we like this great VRBO cottage. Satisfy your taste buds with farm-to-table delights at The Taproom or eat dockside at Lake House Pub and Grille.

Camel's Hump State Park

Prepare to be mesmerized by the majestic Camel's Hump, Vermont's iconic mountain peak. Camel's Hump State Park offers a network of hiking trails that take you through lush forests, alpine meadows, and breathtaking vistas. As you ascend the mountain, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and lakes.

Within a short distance, explore attractions like the scenic Stowe Mountain Resort or the charming village of Waterbury, home to the renowned Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory. For a unique stay, consider the cozy Green Mountain Inn, perfectly located in the middle of downtown Stowe. Treat yourself to a farm-to-table dining experience at Hen of the Wood or sip craft beers at The Alchemist Brewery.

Elmore State Park

Nestled around the picturesque Elmore Lake, Elmore State Park is a tranquil haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Swim in the clear waters, relax on the sandy beach, or embark on a scenic hike up Elmore Mountain for breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Don't forget to bring your picnic basket to enjoy a leisurely lunch by the lake.

For a unique lodging experience, this rustic cottage farmhouse on Airbnb is as tranquil as it gets. Just down the road in Morrisville, be sure to visit Lost Nation Brewing, for great food and amazing local craft beers.

Emerald Lake State Park

Emerald Lake State Park, with its sparkling lake and lush forests, offers a perfect retreat for nature lovers. Swim, fish, or paddle in the crystal-clear waters, surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Green Mountains. The park's hiking trails lead you through serene woodlands and provide glimpses of wildlife along the way.

Nearby in Manchester, explore attractions such as the legendary Northshire Bookstore or the breathtaking drive up the longest private-owned toll road in America at Equinox Mountain. Stay at the charming Banrstead Inn or indulge in a fabulous stay at the iconic Equinox Resort. For dining, savor farm-to-table delights at the Silver Fork or the Crooked Ram for truly excellent meals.

Green River Reservoir State Park

Tucked away in the heart of Vermont's wilderness, Green River Reservoir State Park offers a secluded retreat for outdoor enthusiasts. Paddle through the calm waters of the reservoir, surrounded by lush forests and untouched beauty. Hiking trails allow you to explore the park's diverse ecosystems, where birdwatching is a must for nature lovers.

Camping is the way to go at Green River, or make a day trip of it and enjoy a stay at the always-welcoming Smugglers' Notch Resort. Also, heading back to Lost Nation for pints and food is always advisable.

Jamaica State Park

Jamaica State Park, nestled along the scenic West River, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Swim in the river's refreshing waters, explore the park's hiking trails, or simply relax and enjoy a picnic by the water. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the park's captivating Hamilton Falls, a spectacular waterfall hidden within the lush forest.

This amazing tiny house is the perfect home base for your Jamaica adventures, and there are also a ton of nearby camping areas, including the park itself. We always like to stop by Honey Pie for burgers and shakes, and you can never go wrong with a trip up to Stratton’s Village shops and restaurants.

Lake St. Catherine State Park

With its picturesque lake and surrounding mountains, Lake St. Catherine State Park offers a serene and scenic retreat. Swim in the pristine waters, rent a kayak or paddleboard, or just take it easy on the sandy beach. The park also features hiking trails that provide panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding landscape.

Stay at this quaint cottage for lakefront living or enjoy the luxury of The Wilburton just a short drive away in beautiful Manchester. Satisfy your taste buds with farm-to-table delights at the rustic local favorite, Barn Restaurant.

Mount Philo State Park

For breathtaking views and scenic beauty, Mount Philo State Park is a must-visit destination. A short hike to Philo’s summit where you'll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. The picnic tables and grills are ideal for a sunset outing.

Within the area, explore attractions like the Shelburne Museum or the charming town of Vergennes. Stay at the cozy Basin Harbor or head a bit farther north to the Hotel Vermont in Burlington. Starry Night Café has been serving up delicious dishes for years and is always the perfect treat. Similarly, you could head North on Rt. 7 to Fiddlehead Brewing Company where you can enjoy a wood-fired pizza from Folino’s and a pint or two from the eponymous brewery on site.

New Discovery State Park

Tucked away in the picturesque Northeast Kingdom, New Discovery State Park offers a serene and secluded retreat. Don't miss the chance to spot wildlife, including moose and deer, during your explorations. They call the Northeast Kingdom God’s Country, and this gorgeous state park is certainly adding to the allure.

No summer trip to the NEK is complete without time spent on Kingdom Trails, so be sure to get in your mountain biking fix on the hundreds of single-track trails found here. For the best of it all, you’d be wise to stay at the Wildflower Inn, where many of the trails begin and riders and hikers alike gather for end-of-day drinks.

Vermont State Park Tips:

- Pack essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, hiking shoes, and plenty of water.

- Book accommodations in advance, especially during peak summer months.

- Respect the environment by practicing Leave No Trace principles and following park regulations.

For detailed information on all 55 of Vermont's state parks, be sure to visit the official State Parks website. It's your go-to resource for everything you need to know about these incredible natural destinations, including park amenities, activities, and directions.

By Adam LouisMay. 30, 2023
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