Thinking about spending the summer in Burlington? We love Vermont in every season, but summer in the Green Mountains is hard to beat. Vermont is an ideal place to enjoy festivals, music, food, and the great outdoors. Whether you’re participating in a summer college program for high school students or taking classes in UVM’s Summer University program, there’s plenty of fun to be had this summer in Vermont.
Here’s a list of our seven favorite things about summer in Vermont:
Church Street is the epicenter of Burlington, and for good reason. Visitors flock to the city’s brick and cobblestone pedestrian marketplace to enjoy a variety of locally-owned restaurants, food cart vendors, and cafes in the summer – including Leunig’s, Hong’s Chinese Dumplings, and Uncommon Grounds. Trust us, after enduring a winter of sub-zero temperatures, ice storms, and negative wind chills, dining outdoors in the warm sunshine while sampling local cuisine is a pretty outstanding experience.
Vermont’s most distinctive and third highest mountain (4,083 feet) is the only one of Vermont’s high peaks to remain free from major human development. Start your ascent from Camel’s Hump State Park in Huntington and enjoy panoramic views at the summit of the Adirondacks, White Mountains, and Greens. The Long Trail, one of the oldest long distance hiking trails in the United States that was a model for the Appalachian Trail, runs along Camel’s Hump. Dust off those hiking boots and don’t forget your trail map.
Established in 1886 by William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb as a model agricultural estate, Shelburne Farms is now a nonprofit environmental education center and working farm whose mission is to cultivate a conservation ethic. Open mid-May to October, the 1,400-acre Shelburne Farms offers walking trails, a children’s farmyard, wagon tours, a cheesemaking operation and lodging at the Inn at Shelburne Farms. If you love wide-open spaces, historic barns, tasty cheese, and lovely views, put Shelburne Farms on your must-see list.
Built in 1900 by the Rutland Railroad, the former rail bed is now a popular Vermont bike path. One of the best parts of the trail is the Colchester-South Hero Causeway, a narrow stretch that crosses Lake Champlain. While biking (or walking) the 2.5-mile Causeway, you’ll see panoramic views as well as people fishing, swimming, and snorkeling on both sides of the Causeway. Another reason to bike the Island Line Trail is a chance to ride the Bike Ferry, which transports passengers and their bikes across a 200-foot gap in the Causeway near the southern tip of South Hero in the Champlain Islands.
The opening of Route 108 through Smugglers’ Notch is a rite of spring in Vermont. This scenic road, also known as “The Notch,” winds through a narrow pass between Mount Mansfield, Spruce Peak and Sterling Mountain. Located near Vermont’s tallest peak, the route opens for the season once the snow is finally gone. The Notch has a unique feel with giant boulders, thousand-foot cliffs, and thick forests. In the spring, summer, and fall, thousands of visitors descend upon the Notch to hike, rock climb, and camp.
Known as the “sixth Great Lake,” Lake Champlain is 120 miles long, covering 435 square miles bordering Vermont, New York, and Quebec. The lake offers many access points for sailing, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Visitors can also enjoy ferry rides, beach access, and lakeside resorts, including Basin Harbor Club and Tyler Family Resort. Lake Champlain is 400 feet deep in some places, which according to local legend, is deep enough to harbor our very own prehistoric monster, “Champ.”
Burlington hosts the outstanding Discover Jazz Festival, an annual, week-long celebration featuring local talent and jazz. Established in 1983, the festival showcases incredible local talent with jazz legends from every corner of the globe. Performances are held throughout the city at indoor and outdoor venues, including Church Street, the waterfront, and the Flynn Theatre. Hands down, Discover Jazz is one of the best summer festivals in Vermont.