As many Vermonters opt to not travel out of state due to COVID-19 concerns, summer is looking very different this year. Instead of a big vacation, many people are choosing to spend time locally - biking, running, hiking and discovering what their backyard has to offer. Don’t worry, summer is not a bust! Vermont is a beautiful state with lots of options to get outside and explore.
Many people come through our door asking where to go, so we’ve curated an outdoor recreation guide of what to do in Vermont. Inspiring our community to pursue a lifetime of outdoor activity and environmental stewardship is our mission. We encourage you to do the same and share this guide. Nature is for everyone and we all share the job of making it comfortable and welcoming to others, as well as sustaining its natural habitats and beauty for generations to come.
Please support the organizations (many are listed below) that maintain trails, roads, beaches, etc in Vermont. These organizations provide facilities, parking, trail passes, trash removal, appropriate signage with guidelines for use and much much more! See something that belongs on our list? Please let us know and we’ll add it.
Vermont’s Seven Days (free) Newspaper has created a great resource guide for rediscovering Vermont this summer (and beyond) called Staytripper. The guide has something for everyone - from biking around Isle La Motte to Quirky Roadside Attractions to Packing Snacks. Grab a new issue every Wednesday or check online for regular updates.
Vermont Sports Magazine is the largest outdoor magazine in the Northeast and has been writing about the Vermont Outdoors for more than 20 years. They offer stories, tips, gears reviews/features and events on running, cycling, swimming, backcountry skiing and more. Their issues are monthly, but there are plenty of archives to sort through for ideas for Vermonting.
Kids VT is Vermont's only parenting magazine, a reliable resource for family-friendly events, activities, camps and classes since 1994. Find tips on health, fitness, food, shopping, books, crafts and more. This free, monthly magazine is available at more than 600 locations in northern and central Vermont.
4. General Vermont Guides
- Vermont Tourism: plan your Vermont vacation, find travel ideas, trip inspiration and additional outdoor recreation resources.
- Vermont.com: a privately-owned web portal, promoting businesses, recreation and events in the State of Vermont.
5. The Seven Days Vermont Restaurant / Local Business Guides
We are including restaurants and local businesses to this guide because as you travel to new Vermont areas to recreate, please make an effort to dine or shop with them. Spending locally keeps the dollars in the state and helps the economy. This could be a simple ice cream or souvenir; and if you prefer to not go inside - get some takeout or shop using curbside pickup, online (if available) or purchase a gift card. Word of mouth is very important - so tell your friends, share on social media and write a Google review.
- Restaurant Guide: searchable by region, cuisine and keyword search.
- The Register Local Business Guide: searchable by region, cuisine and type of business. The focus of this guide is locally owned businesses, but some larger chains are mixed in.
6. Adaptive Sports
- Vermont Adaptive: is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities. They promote independence and further equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational activities. Click here to check out some places to play.
- Kelly Brush Foundation: mission is to inspire and empower people with spinal cord injuries to lead active and engaged lives. Click here to learn about the Kelly Brush (virtual) ride - now through September 12, 2020.
- The Green Mountain Club Accessible Trails: A list of scenic vistas accessible by car, and a sample of new and interesting wheelchair-accessible trails.
- Local Motion: currently based in Burlington, Local Motion’s mission is to bring walking and biking within reach for all Vermonters. You can find biking (and walking) routes around Vermont on their website and printed maps at their physical location. Just note: the Burlington bike ferry will not be running until September, 2020.
- GravelMap.com: provides searchable gravel routes by location. Also check outVermont Sports Magazine for other gravel rides.
- Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA): through a family of 29 unified chapters, VMBA’s mission is to ensure the sustainable future of mountain biking in Vermont and to thoughtfully promote the best riding in the Northeast by serving as the central hub for advocacy, education and event support.
Head to the VMBA chapter webpage to find your local chapter and/or the location you’d like to mountain bike with a list of trails. Each chapter maintains their area’s local trail system. When you become a VMBA member, you support: the trail maintenance/building of your local chapter; a strong platform of administrative services that every chapter utilizes; and the critical advocacy needed to protect your riding.
We not only encourage you to become a member, but check out volunteer trail days and volunteer opportunities for each chapter. And when you volunteer, you receive one entry to win a new Specialized Enduro Expert Mountain Bike! Learn more here.
The mission of the Green Mountain Club is to make the Vermont mountains play a larger part in the life of the people by protecting and maintaining the Long Trail System and fostering, through education, the stewardship of Vermont’s hiking trails and mountains.
The GMC provides the go-to guide to hiking in Vermont. Memberships and volunteering is needed in order to support the Long Trail and other Vermont hiking trails. Before you go, make sure you are up to speed on GMC’s COVID-19 response.
9. Trail Running
We are focusing on trail running vs road since finding trails to run on can be challenging on knowing where to go. There does not seem to be one particular go-to guide to trail running. However, many organizations maintain trails that you can run on, such as VMBA chapters (#7) and GMC (#8). AllTrails.com is another great resource.
Here is a list of some places we love to trail run at (or hike/mountain bike) and support:
Additional Running Organizations and Groups we also support (be on the look out for upcoming events, many are virtual):
Mansfield Nordic Club’s mission is to help athletes of all ages and abilities improve their Nordic skiing and pursue skiing excellence at the local, national, and international levels. Through the use of creative coaching methods, our passionate coaches offer individualized instruction to help athletes ski fast while also fostering a fun and supportive team environment. This guide from MNC, offers links to parking and maps of their Master’s and Junior’s favorite roller ski routes.
Vermont State Parks offer a wide variety of camping experiences, including drive-in camp sites, lean-to's, remote campsites, group camping areas, and even an inn-style lodge, all surrounded by Vermont's beautiful mountains, lakes, forests and fields. Check out the Park Finder tool to select activities and amenities that interest you.
12. Swimming and Boating
- Vermont River Conservancy Swimming Hole List: VRC has protected many public access areas for your use and enjoyment. Please enjoy them respectfully and leave no trace.
- Vermont State Parks: nothing feels as good as a dip in clear, clean water on a hot summer day. Vermont State Parks have some great options, whether you want to swim in a lake, river or even a swimming pool. There are big or smaller, quieter lakes as well as kid-friendly swimming pools. Most Vermont State Parks that are located on bodies of water have beaches, restroom facilities, canoe and kayak rentals and sometimes even concession stands. Weekly water testing in all Vermont State Park swimming areas can be found on the site.