Vermont is most famous as a fairytale winter-wonderland state – think twinkling lights, horse-drawn sleigh rides, epic skiing and boarding and the home of ‘White Christmas’ – or as the place you’ll find America’s highest concentration of maple trees, leading to its breathtaking autumnal colour display.
But did you know this is also one of America’s favourite great-outdoors states in summertime? Summer is a time for family fun the old-fashioned way here, in what is consistently rated the contiguous USA’s healthiest state. So throw away those tablets and remember what a family holiday is supposed to be about: playing together!
Fly into New York for one of the city’s famous minutes, then wind down as you head up into the heart of Vermont, along the scenic shores of the Hudson River, aboard Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express. Get cosy in a traditional Vermont inn or an incredible treehouse as you breathe in the Green Mountains, and remember that this is how holidays used to feel.
Take a family hike (or the aerial tramway for the views) to the top of Jay Peak mountain in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and see how many states you can spot (not to mention a whole other country!). Then head back down for some serious splash time at Jay Peak Resort’s Pump House Indoor Waterpark, featuring lazy river, tubes, surf wave and lots, lots more, all in a tropical indoor environment, but with retractable roof for sunny summer days.
Keeping the watery theme, head to Burlington, Vermont’s lively university town on the shores of glorious Lake Champlain. While away lazy days sailing, spotting more than 300 species of birdlife, 78 native fish species, 21 types of amphibian and over 50 different mammals that call the lake home. Don’t miss life under the surface at the ECHO Leahy Center, a fantastic lake aquarium and science centre dedicated to the stewardship of the Lake Champlain basin.
Of course, Vermont is also home to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and as its factory tour is located at Waterbury, we think it can still be considered a legitimate stop on your watery summer family tour of the state. The toughest thing you’ll have to do in Vermont is pick your favourite flavour.