Best Things to Do in Vermont in Summer: Soak Up the Outdoors, Arts and Culture
May 26, 2022
Looking for things to do this summer in Vermont?
Let’s face it, summer in Vermont is short. Over the next three months, you can make the most of your Vermont summer by exploring swimming holes, hiking trails, bike paths, festivals, music, arts and culture.
Things to Do in Vermont this Summer
Get Outside on Bike Paths and Trails
In Vermont’s summer and fall months, you can choose from hundreds of miles of bike paths, gravel routes, and easy and challenging trails. Whether you want to bike along scenic Lake Champlain on the Burlington Bike Path/Island Line Trail or opt for more rural paths along the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in Cambridge, you can’t go wrong. For mountain biking, Kingdom Trails is always a top pick. If you’re looking to pedal off-the-beaten-path, try Saxon Hill Bike Trails in Essex Junction, Pine Hill Park in Rutland, Blueberry Lake trails in Warren, Catamount Outdoor Center in Williston, Slate Valley Trails in Poultney, or Ascutney Trails in Windsor.
Art, Music and Beauty at Shelburne Museum
Shelburne Museum is celebrating its 75th year in 2022. The museum, founded by Electra Havemeyer Webb, features collections in 39 buildings set on 45 acres. Home to the 200-foot Steamboat Ticonderoga and the Colchester Reef Lighthouse, Shelburne Museum includes fine and decorative arts, folk art, circus collections, textiles, toys, carriages, decoys, and more.
The museum’s 2022 exhibition, Luigi Lucioni: Modern Light, examines the career, influences, and techniques of American artist Luigi Lucioni, who had an affinity for Vermont. Special outdoor events include musical performances this summer by Wilco, Lyle Lovett, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and many more. (6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne; shelburnemuseum.org)
Stop and Smell the Peonies at Hildene
Hildene in Manchester was once home to three generations of President Lincoln’s descendants from 1905 to 1975. Every June, about 100 fragrant peonies are in bloom at Hildene’s public garden. Everything is weather dependent in Vermont, but an ideal time to see the peonies in bloom is at the beginning of June. The Formal Garden includes early and late blooming peonies, so visitors have about a three-week window to catch the peonies at their finest. (1005 Hildene Road, Manchester; hildene.org)
Festivals, Events, and Country Fairs
See more than 150 artists at the statewide Vermont Open Studio Weekend or watch performances from dozens of artists at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. Take a ride in the sky at the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival, discover new beers at the Vermont Brewers Festival in Burlington, or check out traditional country fairs including the Caledonia County Fair in Lyndonville or the Addison County Fair & Field Days in New Haven. If you’re around July 4th weekend, Independence Day celebrations in towns like Warren, Stowe, and Killington feature parades, music, and fireworks. For a full listing of summer events, visit www.vermontvacation.com.
Off to the Races
Vermont has no shortage of marathons, 5Ks, and bike races this summer. The Vermont City Marathon in Burlington kicks off the season Memorial Day Weekend. In June and July, try the Covered Bridge Half Marathon in Pomfret, the Goshen Gallop hosted by the Blueberry Hill Inn, and the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield. For biking, the border-to-border 200-on-100 bike ride, the Overland gravel race in West Windsor, and the Race to the Top of Vermont in Stowe are all exciting options.
Take a Hike
Hiking in Vermont is one of the most rewarding experiences of summer. If you want to climb the tallest peaks, head to Mount Mansfield, Camel’s Hump, or Mount Abraham. To beat the crowds, try lesser known trails or locations, such as Beaver Meadow Loop in Morristown, the Skylight Pond Trail in Ripton, Okemo State Forest off Route 155 in Mount Holly, Merck Forest in Rupert, or Wheeler Mountain in Sutton. Don’t forget about town forests in places like Dover, Chester, Dorset, and Newbury, which offer low-key options that get you outside but aren’t as rigorous as scaling those 4,000-foot peaks. Visit the Green Mountain Club for hiking trail information.
Cool Off at a Vermont Swimming Hole
Splashing around a Vermont swimming hole is an annual rite of summer. Kid-friendly spots like Pike’s Falls in Jamaica, Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow, Bartlett Falls and Circle Current Swimming Hole in Bristol, and Lareau Farm Swimming Hole in Waitsfield offer easy access and calm waters. For deeper pools and gorges, try the Dorset Marble Quarry, Bingham Falls in Stowe, Four Corners Falls/Jay Branch Gorge in Troy, and the Green River Timber Crib Dam in Guilford.
Watch the Sunset Over Lake Champlain
End the perfect summer day by catching the sunset over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Prime spots for viewing include the Burlington Boathouse, Burlington Waterfront Park, The Spot on the Dock, or the back deck at the Shanty on the Shore.
What are you looking forward to most this summer?