With fabulous skiing, sleigh rides, and lively festivals, Vermont really is a winter wonderland! It’s time for a rundown of the best things to do in Vermont in winter.
Visiting Vermont in winter is a real treat – expect snow-capped mountains, glittering frozen lakes, and picture-perfect white meadows. Once winter hits, the mountains and forests of Vermont are transformed into a festive wonderland.
Of course, many visitors flock here to take advantage of the powder on the ski slopes, but there are plenty of other Vermont winter activities on offer too. Explore the backcountry on horseback or snowshoes, grab your ice skates and head for the frozen lakes, try your hand at ice fishing, or simply enjoy cosy coffees and cocktails in one of the region’s friendly towns. You’ll find delicious local produce, craft ales, festive winter events and a warm welcome wherever you go.
If you’re thinking of heading to the United States for a winter break this year, why not consider Vermont? To give you a little inspiration for your travels, this is my pick of the best things to do in Vermont in winter.
Weather in Vermont in Winter
In winter, temperatures in Vermont plummet and often drop as low as -16 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit). Be prepared to wrap up warm!
These cold temperatures are usually accompanied by plenty of snow, with frequent snowstorms in December and January, which can leave very deep snow packs. My advice? Come prepared for very cold weather, but remember the snow makes the views even more spectacular.
Things to Do In Vermont In Winter
1. Go Horse Riding In Vermont
You might think that horse riding is an activity best enjoyed in summer, but in Vermont you can also head out on horseback in the depths of winter,. In fact, horse riding is one of the most magical Vermont winter activities, and is a great way to explore some of the most scenic snow covered trails in the state.
Expect snowy peaks, gurgling streams, and forests heavy with thick boughs of snow – a truly picturesque sight. Whether you’re an experienced jockey or a complete beginner, Vermont is a great place to try your hand at horse riding.
2. Hit The Ski Slopes In Vermont
Of all the things to do in Vermont in winter, the most popular activities are downhill and cross-country skiing. With pristine white powder and picturesque scenery, Vermont is a great destination for skiers and snowboarders, and offers slopes for all levels of ability.
The most popular resorts are in Stowe and Sugarbush, but you could also check out some of the quieter resorts that are favoured by locals, such as Okemo Mountain and Jay Peak.
3. Try Out Fat Biking
Fat biking is the USA’s latest winter trend – consider it the two-wheeled equivalent of snowshoeing! This fun sport essentially consists of mountain biking on a bike with thick, wide tyres, which don’t sink into the snow.
It’s a great way to experience the snow-blanketed landscapes across wintry Vermont, and provides an awesome workout too. If you’re tired of the slopes, and looking for something a little different, fat biking is one of the most fun things to do in Vermont in winter.
4. Take A Winter Hike
With such perfect frosty scenery, another top Vermont winter activity is to head out on to a trail for a classic winter hike. There are lots of accessible trails in Vermont – most are better with snowshoes or micro spikes, but some are fine in walking boots if the snowfall isn’t too thick.
With over 55 state parks to pick from, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to trails! I’d highly recommend taking a look at the ascent of Spruce Mountain if you’re looking for a challenge, or the Clarendon Loop, where you can see the amazing ice sculptures in Clarendon Gorge.
5. Take A Sleigh Ride
If you’re looking for something more laid back, why not put your feet up and explore the state from the back of a horse drawn sleigh? This is a wonderful way to see the scenery, as well as being one of the most romantic things to do in Vermont in winter.
Many local farms offer sleigh rides in the winter, with customisable routes that take you to the best viewpoints. This is one of the most popular Vermont winter activities for couples and families, and should not be missed!
6. Go Ice Skating
One of the best things about Vermont’s sub-zero winter temperatures is that many of the lakes and ponds across the region freeze solid. Once this happens, it’s time to get your skates out and head out onto the ice!
One of the most popular destinations for ice skating in Vermont is on Lake Morey, a picturesque body of water surrounded by towering mountains. Start early and you may even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or see the frozen lake shrouded in the morning mist – definitely one of the most magical things to do in Vermont in winter!
7. Hit The Shops In Vermont
Although many of the best things to do in Vermont in winter involve getting out into the great outdoors, Vermont’s towns also offer a lot. In addition to plenty of great bars and restaurants, towns such as Manchester, Stowe and Burlington have excellent shopping. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, gifts, or simply want an excuse to treat yourself, you’ll find some great items on offer.
Don’t miss the iconic Church Street Marketplace in Burlington with its open-air mall. With fabulous bookshops, plenty of artisan gift shops and delicatessens, antique furniture stores, and trendy fashion outlets, you might end up going home with more than you bargained for!
8. Visit Stowe Winter Carnival
Stowe Winter Carnival, which usually takes place in January, is a wonderful local celebration of the winter season. Expect an impressive ice carving competition, live music, hot food and drinks, plus a few sporting activities too.
You could join a guided snowshoeing trip, or even participate in a snow golf tournament! This festival is a much loved winter tradition, and a great way to experience the festive side of winter in Vermont.
Where To Stay In Vermont In Winter
Attention all Sound of Music fans! The beautiful Trapp Family Lodge is the original home of the Von Trapp family who settled here in the 1950 following their flight from Austria.
Even if you’re not a fan of the musical, this beautiful lodge is a great option if you’re visiting the Stowe area, with an old-world charm, stunning mountain views and exceptional service. This institution offers a little taste of Austria in Vermont.
If you’re looking for a little luxury in the Green Mountains in the south of Vermont, look no further than the Four Columns Inn. This rustic inn once hosted Mick Jagger (back in the 1970s) and is in a really pretty location.
Surrounded by woodlands and a picturesque river, the hotel also offers an excellent restaurant specialising in local produce. Plus, a bonus for those cold days, there’s a luxurious spa – an idea place to curl up on a cold winter evening in Vermont.
This luxury lodge is the ideal year-round destination in Vermont, nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains. You’ll be close to the mountains and all the best ski resorts, but there are plenty of facilities to keep you occupied in the lodge itself.
With a luxury spa, heated outdoor pool, and a relaxation area with open fires, you’ll leave feeling pampered and totally relaxed. There’s also an exclusive speakeasy, with a cocktail menu to die for!
I hope this guide has given you a little inspiration for things to do in Vermont in winter – it really is a magical winter wonderland! Oh and let me know in the comments if you have other top tips for this stunning part of New England.
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