If you are planning a perfect Vermont itinerary and looking for the best things to do in Vermont in winter, look no further! Here you can find a list of the top-rated things to do on your next winter vacation. Especially if you are visiting Vermont in December and January, it will allow you to experience the real winter wonderland in the United States and all the holiday festivities!
Vermont is a dream destination, and really one of the best places for a winter vacation in the country, with lovely villages blanketed in snow, plenty of outdoor fun, and indoor activities for the chilly days and nights. After having spent my last winter vacation in Vermont with my puppies, I am here now to share all my top picks and tips to make your experience as memorable as mine!
The green mountain state offers amazing ski resorts, where you can go skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, or all the other classic things to do in winter. Here you will find adventures from Stowe, to Burlington the center of culture and nightlife, and Woodstock considered one of the most beautiful towns in the United States, for a reason. Who’s ready for some fun things to do in Vermont in winter?
You will also love:
- Perfect Vermont Road Trip Itinerary
- 15 Cozy & Romantic Cabins to stay in Vermont
- 15 Best Boutique Hotels in Vermont
- Essential Tips for Visiting Vermont in Winter
- Things to do in Vermont in Winter for the Best Experiences
- 1. Chase the Most Beautiful Covered Bridges
- 2. Take a scenic drive at the Mad River Valley
- 3. Try the Famous Vermont Maple Syrup
- 4. Visit a brewery (or two)
- 5. Spoil yourself with a spa day
- 6. Rent a cabin in the woods
- 7. Enjoy the Food in Vermont
- 8. Explore the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington
- 9. Stowe Winter Carnival
- Things to do in Vermont in Winter for Outdoor Lovers
- What is the weather like in Vermont in Winter?
- What to Pack for winter in Vermont
- Things to do in Vermont in Winter Conclusion
Essential Tips for Visiting Vermont in Winter
Before you jump to the best things to do in Vermont in winter, let’s talk about trip planning in Vermont and make sure you are prepared for the best experience.
I highly recommend coming to Vermont with a well-defined itinerary of the top things you want to visit, see and do, in order to maximize your time.
Make sure you choose accommodation in a good area, where you can easily drive around and explore the main attractions. Making your reservations in advance is also part of a well-planned visit, as winter in Vermont is a popular destination and it may be hard to find last-minute accommodations.
Lastly, driving a 4×4 car during wintertime in Vermont is not necessary, but it is nice to have if you are planning to drive outside the town.
You will need a car to explore the surroundings of Burlington. You can get a 15% off your rental car when you book through this site. I use and recommend RentalCar because it is the most reliable rental car source, and it allows you to compare the prices of different places.
Things to do in Vermont in Winter for the Best Experiences
1. Chase the Most Beautiful Covered Bridges
With more than 100 wooden covered bridges from the late 19th century, making they the most famous landmarks in Vermont. The Woodstock area is where you can find some of the most beautiful covered bridges in the States.
Visiting the bridges is like a trip back in time while you enjoy the invigorating cool air, beautiful foliage in the early winter, holiday lights in the mid-winter, and the glistening snow of late winter. During your visit to Vermont, you will see several of these bridges.
Check here for the list of the 20 most beautiful covered bridges in Vermont that you need to visit!
PRO-TIP: If you are serious about chasing them, you can choose to do one of the loops where you can see them along the way. I have done it, and I recommend the Cover Bridge Loop in the Mad River Valley region. It is a 42-mile loop where you can visit a total of 7 classic New-England covered bridges.
2. Take a scenic drive at the Mad River Valley
I visited Vermont in December, and this was my top favorite thing to do! Also, this is a perfect thing to do in Vermont if you are short on time! You can drive the Mad River Valley in as short as 1 day and see the highlights of Vermont.
The drive is very scenic, and you will be able to explore the landscape of forests, mountains, and hillside farms, as you take in the culture and community of Vermont. You will have opportunities to visit towns and villages along the way.
You can shop for antiques, sip a craft beer or experience an authentic farm-to-table meal, visit one of the Maple Syrup Farms and of course, stop at the Ben & Jerry for ice cream.
If you are looking for more adventure, you can explore the Blueberry Lake Cross-Country Ski Center, and go to the Skatium, an outdoor ice skating rink. Or another option is as mentioned above, to take the Cover Bridge Loop to uncover 7 stunning bridges on a 42-miles loop.
3. Try the Famous Vermont Maple Syrup
During your trip, one of the must-do things in Vermont in winter or any other time of the year is to visit a Maple Syrup sugar house or Farm and learn about the history, and even better, try some form of maple syrup.
I find it funny that I actually tried, LOVED, and bought some Maple Syrup in Vermont – considering I am a person who doesn’t like sugar. Yes, I know, I am weird! But after learning about this deeply rooted family tradition and seeing the hard work to produce, I got motivated to try it!
Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state in the United States. Some offer tours, many offer samples and all have the sweet stuff in spades. With more than 70 locations available to choose from, make sure to add a visit to the sugar houses while in Vermont.
4. Visit a brewery (or two)
No matter which brews you choose to sip, Vermont is known for its hip and happening beer scene, making a brewery tour an absolute must for your winter in Vermont!
Actually, Vermont has the most breweries per capita than any other state in the US. With 60+ breweries across the State of Vermont, between brewery-pubs, microbreweries, craft brewers specializing in one beer at a time, and larger regional breweries, there is a lot of beer being produced and consumed in Vermont.
PRO-TIP: Some notable breweries in Vermont are the Magic Hat, Otter Creek, Alchemist, and Von Trapp Brewery just to name a few. Some breweries also offer reservations for dining, and the food is always amazing too!
5. Spoil yourself with a spa day
Although many of the best things to do in Vermont in winter involve outdoor activities, you can also take a break and spoil yourself with a spa day.
Either to relax after a very active day on the snow slopes or to simply take a pause and get pampered, a spa day sounds perfect when the world around you is covered in snow. Namaste Vermont!
Also if you are in Vermont in winter for a wedding, honeymoon, or anniversary, some spas offer special packages with a full range of services, including couple’s treatment. How romantic 😉
6. Rent a cabin in the woods
I consider this a must thing to do in Vermont in winter. I rented the cabin in this picture, located on top of a hill at the Mad River Valley – it was just stunning, relaxing, fun, and a cozy experience.
It is a perfect scenery experience t invites magic and romance, to be able to sip a glass of wine sitting in front of a wood burn fireplace at the end of a day of exploration, or get up in the morning and slowly enjoy a hot coffee while watching the white wonderland just outside your window.
It has a lot of cabins for rent in Vermont ranging from rustic cabins to huge and elegant and all between. I just recommend renting way in advance, as they tend to go fast!
PRO-TIP: If you are planning to visit Stowe, this Quaint Stowe Cabin has stunning mountain views for a perfect gateway vacation. Or check this Bunker House in Warren if you are planning to go skiing or snowboarding nearby, it is insanely gorgeous!
7. Enjoy the Food in Vermont
No list of best things to do in Vermont is complete without mentioning food! Vermont is known for its farm-to-table style. Fresh eggs, vegetables, and organic meat are pretty iconic foods in Vermont that you will see often.
Or munching on some comfort food and sipping hot cocoa is one of the best ways to celebrate winter in Vermont! I had meals in restaurants, farms, breweries, and even take out and I have to say that I didn’t have one bad meal in Vermont. They say they serve some of the best and freshest food in the world, and I don’t doubt it.
Vermont has world-class restaurants for mom-and-pop diners, with an endless selection of delicious meals prepared with fresh local ingredients. Here you can find a list of the Top-rated restaurants in Vermont. Woodstock area offers some of the top-notch restaurants in the State, so check out some of the amazing things to do in Woodstock when you are in the area.
PRO-TIP: If you are really into food and local beer, you can join a tour with an expert. You can also choose to go on a Classic Beer Tour with tasting and lunch to taste the best of Burlington. Or you can join the Stowe half-day local brewery and food tour.
8. Explore the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington
One of the most magical things to do in Vermont in winter is to visit the Church Street Marketplace in Burlington. If you have been searching for the best things to do in Vermont in Winter, you have probably seen many pictures of this iconic place in Vermont.
Church Street is a magical open-air mall, with plenty of artisan gift shops, amazing bookshops, fabulous delicatessens, antique stores, and trendy fashion shops. This is a must-visit place during your wintertime in Vermont.
At night you can see the street beautifully decorated with twinkling Christmas lights at this time of the year, with many great options of top-rated restaurants and breweries. You can also choose to go on a Classic Beer Tour with tasting and lunch to taste the best of Burlington.
Check here for more fantastic things to do in Burlington in winter.
PRO-TIP: Burlington offers fantastic options for accommodations. If you are looking to explore the surroundings I recommend booking your stay at the incredible Williston Village Inn or the Essex Resort. Or you can also check out the top cabins in Vermont for a cozy and romantic experience.
9. Stowe Winter Carnival
If you are visiting Vermont in January, take advantage of including the Stowe Winter Carnival.
It is a fun winter season tradition and a great way to experience the winter in Vermont, with lots of very unique things to explore. You will be able to see an impressive ice carving competition, delicious food and drinks, a live music festival, and some sports activities too.
Things to do in Vermont in Winter for Outdoor Lovers
10. Skiing & Snowboarding
The most popular people head to Vermont in winter, hands down, is to hit the slopes. Vermont is a ski and snowboarding paradise for beginners to experts and thrill-seekers.
One of the most popular ski resorts to stay at is in Stowe a quaint ski village that offers a combination of expert ski terrain with indulgent hospitality. With Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak, another one of Vermont’s top ski resorts, here you can find 19 beginning trails, 116 intermediated, and 29 expert trails.
Other great locations for skiing in Vermont are the Okemo Mountain Resort, with 121 trails with top-rate snowmaking and grooming, Smuggler’s Notch, and two in the town of Warren: Sugarbush and Mad River Glen.
So, if you are planning a holiday vacation and wondering what to do in Vermont in December and January, skiing and snowboarding should be on top of your bucket list!
PRO-TIP: If you are looking for the best ski resort in Stowe, you should check out the Lodge at Spruce Peak. Don’t forget to check the sky conditions to find out the best ski areas. Also, a great option, if you are traveling in a group or with family, is to rent a cabin in Vermont.
11. Winter Hiking: Explore the trails
With so many things to do in Vermont in winter, one of the best activities, if you love the outdoors, is to find a hiking trail. Explore the pristine white powder and picturesque scenery while you choose one of many hiking trails in Vermont.
If you’re looking for stunning scenery, the Sterling Pond trail northeast of Mt. Mansfield provides unobstructed views of Smuggler’s Notch. You can check the 5 best winter hikes in Vermont for options. You don’t have to look too far to find a quiet trail in Vermont.
PRO-TIP: Vermont has amazing hiking trails to explore during winter, but keep in mind that the weather conditions may change quickly, so be sure to bring a warm jacket, extra snacks, and plenty of water. Depends where you decide to go hiking and the distance, you can also get help from snowshoes.
12. Go ice-skating
One of the best ways to enjoy the crisp air of winter in Vermont is by embracing the chill and hitting the rink for some ice skating! You can find several locations in Vermont to go ice skating, and it is a perfect winter activity for the whole family.
If you’re looking for something really unique, and the opportunity to take in some breathtaking views while you skate, try the Nordic skating trail on Lake Morey. With 4-mile, beautifully maintained ice trail, inspired by the Scandinavian skating tradition
To skate with the locals, you can go lake skating on one of the frozen lakes. Lake Champlain is one of the locations, despite the size, you will be able to find a great place to skate, not too far from Burlington.
13. Ice-climbing Adventure
For anyone searching for more adrenaline and adventure, ice climbing is an amazing choice. I have done ice climbing in Iceland before, and it was AWESOME!
This is a great full-body workout, while you scale alpine walls, ice slabs, or even frozen waterfalls. Make sure you choose an experienced tour company with prepared guides. They will be able to train and guide you, especially if you are a first-time climber. They also provide all the tools you need to stay safe and enjoy your time!
PRO-TIP: Vermont Adventure Tours offer experienced guides for both, private or group climbing programs, from a half-day or full-day activity.
14. Experience horse riding or sleigh
One of the most magical things to do in Vermont in winter is to go sleighing. Many inns and farms offer traditional horse-drawn sleigh rides, some with jingle bells!
You can also choose to visit an Icelandic Horse farm and go on a horse ride. The ride will take you through maple trees, meadows, and forests for different lengths, from a few hours to a few days.
PRO-TIP: If you want to go on Icelandic rides and treks, you will need to make reservations in advance, especially if you are visiting Vermont in December and January when it is considered the high-season. You still can visit the farms any time of the year without making reservations. The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe has beautiful sleigh rides.
15. Go Fat Tire Biking
The first time I heard about and saw fat-biking was during my trip to Alaska, and I was very familiar already when I saw that it is one of the things you can do in Vermont in winter too.
It is a mountain bike with wide and thick tires that do not sink in the snow. Besides being a fun thing to do in Vermont in winter, it is a great workout too, if you are looking for things to do to keep active during your travels, I know I do, always!
PRO-TIP: Biking is pretty big in Vermont year-round, from mountain biking in the summer to fat biking in the winter. Check this guide for the best locations by region.
One of the best things to do in Vermont in sub-zero winter temperatures is to go snowmobiling!
If you’re an adventurous soul looking for things to do in Vermont in Winter, consider renting a snowmobile. If you haven’t tried it, snowmobiling is easy, comfortable, and surprisingly addictive. I have tried it in Fairbanks in Alaska, and just loved it!
Some winter resorts offer guided rides to get you started.
PRO-TIP: Snowmobiling is a great and fun way to experience winter in Vermont, and the Snowmobile Vermont has a variety of tours and many locations across Vermont. Make sure you make your reservations in advance and have fun!
17. Go Cross-Country Skiing
This is one of the most popular things to do in Vermont in winter – I was surprised by the number of places that offer cross-country, and actually, I really wanted to go. But I had my dogs with me and I thought it would be too risky to try something new for the first time, while I had my dogs.
Most of the ski areas in Vermont offer cross-country trails, including Stowe Mountain Resort and Smuggler’s Notch Resort. Also, the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe operates a Nordic cross-country ski center since 1968, and here you can also take lessons and rent your equipment.
Another excellent option in the Warren area is the Blueberry Lake Ski Trail, and the Blueberry Cross Country Center also offers equipment rental and lessons at very affordable prices.
If you are looking for a fun and free thing to do in Vermont in winter, snowshoeing is for you! It is a great activity for any age, and it is just a great way to explore the outdoors and keep active. If you are visiting Vermont in December or January for your holiday vacation, is even better to enjoy the snow sports.
You can bring your shoes, or if you don’t have one, you can always rent from most adventure sports stores around Vermont.
What is the weather like in Vermont in Winter?
The fact is that Vermont is cold in winter – with temperatures that can drop below zero. But as long as you pack accordingly, you will love it because the snow makes Vermont’s landscape look and feel even more spectacular!
The low temperatures mean you may also see some snowstorms, especially if you are visiting in December and January. Make sure to check the weather, and pack accordingly.
What to Pack for winter in Vermont
You need to plan the right packing for your winter trip to Vermont. Make sure you are prepared, considering the season and the activities you are planning to do. Here are some quick tips:
- Pack layers are the best you can do!
- Pack rain gear – you don’t want to get soaked wet while exploring
- A hat, gloves, and scarf can’t go wrong, even in summer.
- Bring good quality sturdy snow boots.
- Bring warm leggings to wear as a layer is a smart choice!
- Pack a good and warm jacket a waterproof jacket for your trip, check my complete review guide on the Top Jackets for Travel
- If you are planning to carry a backpack for your trip to Vermont, I have compiled a very detailed review of the Best Backpacks for Travel on the market today
Things to do in Vermont in Winter Conclusion
With this, we conclude this amazing list of the best things to do in Vermont in winter!
Vermont is truly a very unique and wonderful winter destination, and if you are planning to visit Vermont in December for your next holiday vacation, you will just fall in love with this winterwonderland!
Vermont offers plenty of things to do in winter, and your vacation in Vermont will be surely fulfilled with amazing outdoor activities, and wonderful experiences to last a lifetime. If you have any questions or anything I am missing from this list, please let me know in the comments below.
You may also enjoy reading:
- Perfect Vermont Road Trip Itinerary
- 15 Coziest and Most Romantic Cabins in Vermont
- 15 Best Inns & Boutique Hotels in Vermont
- Winter Vacation in Vermont: 10 Perfect Winter Getaways!
- 20 Most Beautiful Covered Bridges in Vermont
- 13 Awesome Things to do in Stowe in winter
- 20 Amazing Things to do in Woodstock
- Terrific Things to do in Burlington in winter
- 19 Awesome Things to do in Vermont in Winter
- 30 Dream Destinations for your Bucket List!
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