12 Best Things to Do in Vermont in Winter (Fun Attractions)

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Looking for a winter wonderland that offers more than just the usual? Vermont in winter is a delightful surprise, presenting a mix of snowy adventures and charming cultural experiences. From the tranquil beauty of snow-covered trails to the vibrant festivities in its quaint towns, Vermont’s winter season is an undiscovered treasure ready to enchant you.

Winter in Vermont is like stepping into a snow globe – magical, serene, and full of possibilities. As someone who’s explored its snowy landscapes, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Vermont in winter. Picture yourself wrapped in a blanket of white, with every snowflake inviting you to play, explore, and create memories.

I recommend starting your adventure at the iconic Stowe Mountain Resort, where the slopes come alive with skiers and snowboarders. But hey, Vermont’s winter charm isn’t just about skiing. It’s a season where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. From the lively Burlington Winter Festival to the serene experience of snowshoeing in Smugglers’ Notch, each activity in Vermont is a unique way to connect with this stunning state.

Winter here transforms every corner into a postcard-worthy scene. Whether you’re seeking thrilling Vermont winter activities or peaceful moments in nature, this guide will lead you to the best spots in Vermont. So, bundle up and get ready to discover the places to visit in Vermont in winter that will make your trip unforgettable!

The top places to visit in Vermont in winter

12 Unmissable Winter Activities in VT

Ready to uncover the best winter experiences in Vermont? From the exhilarating ski slopes of Stowe Mountain Resort to the festive spirit of the Burlington Winter Festival, Vermont presents a diverse array of winter delights.

Whether you’re gliding through the snow on a dog sled or warming up in a cozy mountain spa, Vermont in winter has something unique for every traveler. Here’s your ultimate guide to the top winter activities in VT. Let’s dive into this winter wonderland!

1. Skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort

Stowe Mountain Resort is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Imagine gliding down pristine slopes with breathtaking views of snow-covered peaks. It’s one of the best things to do in Vermont in the winter for a reason!

The resort offers trails for all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned pros. I’ve experienced the thrill of its slopes firsthand, and trust me, it’s exhilarating. You can take lessons, join guided tours, or explore the terrain at your own pace. The resort’s state-of-the-art lifts and gondolas ensure a smooth and scenic ride to the top.

After a day on the slopes, the village of Stowe, considered one of the top places to live and visit in Vermont, welcomes you with its charming boutiques and cozy cafes. Indulge in a hot chocolate or a hearty meal, sharing stories of your snowy adventures. And for those who love a bit of history, the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum in the village is a must-visit.

Stowe Mountain Resort isn’t just about skiing. It’s a hub of winter joy and community spirit. Whether you’re carving down the trails or enjoying the après-ski scene, it’s a place where winter dreams come true.

Stowe Mountain Resort is one of the best things to do in Vermont in winter.
Stowe Mountain Resort offers a winter haven with exhilarating slopes and stunning snowy vistas.

2. Attend the Waterbury Winterfest

If you’re wondering what to do in Vermont in winter, look no further than the Waterbury Winterfest. This vibrant festival is a celebration of winter joy and community spirit, packed with activities that cater to everyone.

Winterfest is Waterbury, Vermont’s premier celebration of winter recreation, bringing together indoor and outdoor events. From hilarious competitions to cozy food and drink experiences, it’s a festival that truly cures the winter blues. The festival not only offers a week of fun but also supports recreational activities in Waterbury throughout the year.

One of my favorite parts of Winterfest is the variety of events. You can join in the snow volleyball at Rusty Parker Memorial Park, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try the fat tire demo biking. For those who love a bit of competition, the bocce tournament on slick, snowy courts is a must-try. And let’s not forget the wine and beer tastings, featuring delightful local and international selections.

Winterfest is a festival that brings the community and visitors together. iF you’re looking to socialize, exercise, or simply enjoy the winter vibes, Waterbury Winterfest has something for you. It’s one of the fun places to visit in Vermont in winter, where laughter and good times are guaranteed.

Experience Waterbury Winterfest, a vibrant celebration with activities for everyone.
Experience the joy of winter at Waterbury Winterfest, a vibrant celebration with activities for everyone in Vermont. | Image Source: https://waterburywinterfest.com/

3. Go Dog Sledding in the Snow

For a truly unique Vermont winter experience, dog sledding is a must-try. Imagine being whisked through snowy landscapes, led by a team of enthusiastic huskies. It’s an adventure that connects you with nature and these incredible animals.

In Vermont, several outfitters offer dog sledding experiences. I recommend Eden Ethical Sled Dog Sanctuary in Eden Mills. They cater to all ages, which makes it perfect for families looking for things to do in VT this winter with kids. You’ll learn about the dogs, the equipment, and even get a chance to help with the mushing. The thrill of gliding over the snow, with only the sound of the sled and the dogs’ paws, is unforgettable.

My advice? Dress warmly and be ready for an exhilarating ride. The guides are experts and ensure a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone. After the ride, you often get to spend time with the dogs, which is a joy in itself.

Dog sledding offers a unique perspective of Vermont’s winter beauty. It’s an experience that combines excitement, education, and a touch of magic. Trust me, it’s an adventure you’ll talk about for years to come!

Experience winter uniquely with dog sledding—whisk through snowy landscapes led by enthusiastic huskies.
Experience Vermont’s winter uniquely with dog sledding—whisk through snowy landscapes led by enthusiastic huskies.

4. Ice Fishing on Lake Champlain

When it comes to unique things to do in Vermont this winter, ice fishing on Lake Champlain is a top pick. This vast lake turns into a frozen playground, perfect for anglers and nature lovers alike.

Lake Champlain is a fisherman’s paradise, offering a chance to catch salmon, lake trout, perch, and bluegills. The experience of sitting on the ice, surrounded by the serene beauty of the lake, is both peaceful and exciting. Local bait and tackle shops provide up-to-date information on conditions and the best spots for a successful catch.

For beginners, many local fishing guides offer shelters and ice fishing shanties, creating little villages on the lake’s surface. It’s not just about catching fish. It’s about enjoying the winter atmosphere and camaraderie with fellow anglers.

Remember to dress warmly and bring your patience – ice fishing is as much about the wait as it is about the catch. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or trying it for the first time, ice fishing on Lake Champlain is a quintessential Vermont winter activity that shouldn’t be missed.

Embrace a unique winter with ice fishing on frozen Lake Champlain.
Embrace a unique Vermont winter with ice fishing on frozen Lake Champlain.

5. Snowshoeing in Smugglers’ Notch

Snowshoeing in Smugglers’ Notch is a serene way to explore Vermont’s winter beauty. It’s one of the most peaceful things to do in Vermont in winter, offering a chance to connect with nature in a quiet, intimate way.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Adventure Center provides a variety of snowshoeing experiences. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snowshoer, there’s a trek for you. The guided treks range from exploring Beaver Ponds to high elevation adventures and even evening fireworks tours.

One of the highlights is the Snowshoe Adventure Dinner, a unique dining experience atop Sterling Mountain. It’s perfect for those seeking a blend of adventure and delicious food. For families, the self-guided Snowshoe Scavenger Hunt is a fun way to explore the trails while engaging in a playful activity.

Snowshoeing here isn’t just a physical activity. It’s also an educational journey. You’ll learn about the local flora and fauna and maybe even some snowshoeing techniques. With the breathtaking backdrop of the Green Mountains, it’s an experience that embodies the tranquil essence of Vermont’s winter.

Discover tranquility through snowshoeing in Smugglers’ Notch.
Discover tranquility in Vermont’s winter beauty through snowshoeing in Smugglers’ Notch.

6. Attend the Stowe Winter Carnival

The Stowe Winter Carnival is a highlight of Vermont in winter. Trust me, this carnival is a spectacle of winter joy and creativity that you don’t want to miss. It’s a blend of artistic expression and festive fun. Hands down, it’s one of the coolest places to go in Vermont this winter.

Scheduled from January 18-20, 2024, the carnival features professional ice carvers who transform blocks of ice into elegant sculptures. It’s mesmerizing to watch these artists at work, creating masterpieces right before your eyes. The town-wide Ice Carving Demo Day is a personal favorite, where you can stroll through the village and see the carvings take shape.

The carnival also includes the Sip N’ Chip Ice Carving Class and Competition, where you can try your hand at ice carving. It’s a unique experience and a lot of fun. For families, the Kids Carnival Chaos offers delightful activities for the little ones.

And let’s not forget the Ice Carving Awards Party – a perfect way to wrap up the festivities. The Stowe Winter Carnival is a celebration of winter’s beauty and the artistic spirit. My advice? Bundle up, bring your camera, and immerse yourself in this winter wonderland.

Don't miss the Stowe Winter Carnival—an unmissable spectacle of winter joy and creativity.
Don’t miss the Stowe Winter Carnival—an unmissable spectacle of winter joy and creativity in Vermont. | Image Source: https://gostowe.com/

7. Snowmobiling on the VAST Trails

Snowmobiling on the VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) trails is an exhilarating way to experience Vermont’s winter landscape. With over 5,000 miles of trails, it’s a snowmobiler’s paradise. Believe me, the thrill of zipping through snowy forests and open fields is unmatched!

Vermont’s trails are well-maintained and marked, ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride. The trails connect various towns, which makes it easy to plan a day trip or a longer adventure. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of spots for fuel, rest, and local meals. It’s a fantastic way to explore the state’s natural beauty and quaint towns.

If you’re new to snowmobiling, many local clubs offer rentals and guided tours. It’s a great way to learn the ropes and enjoy the sport safely. Remember, you’ll need to become a VAST member to ride on the trails, but it’s a simple process and well worth it for the access you get.

Snowmobiling in Vermont is a fantastic way to connect with the outdoors and experience winter in a thrilling, unique way. Whether you’re gliding over a frozen lake or weaving through a snowy forest, it’s an adventure you’ll always remember. Get ready to enjoy one of Vermont’s best winter activities!

Experience the unmatched thrill of snowmobiling on VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) trails.
Experience the unmatched thrill of snowmobiling on VAST (Vermont Association of Snow Travelers) trails. | Image Source: https://visitislandpond.com/

8. Enjoy a Spa Day in a Mountain Resort

After a day of snowy adventures, there’s nothing better than unwinding at the Spa at Spruce Peak. It’s a luxurious retreat that offers the perfect balance of relaxation and rejuvenation – a must-visit for anyone exploring relaxing things to do in VT in the winter.

The Spa at Spruce Peak is an incredible experience. You can indulge in saunas, massage services, and both indoor and outdoor hot tubs and swimming pools. The heated outdoor pool and Jacuzzi hot tubs are my personal favorites. Imagine soaking in warm water while surrounded by the stunning winter landscape of Stowe – it’s magical!

The Spa also features a Sanctuary Lounge and private treatment rooms. The therapists are skilled and attentive, ensuring a personalized experience. Whether you choose a signature treatment in the Healing Lodge or a relaxing massage, you’re in for a treat.

This spa is a haven of wellness and relaxation. It’s the perfect way to pamper yourself and recharge your batteries. Trust me, a day at the Spa at Spruce Peak is an essential part of any Vermont winter vacation.

Unwind at the Spa at Spruce Peak for the perfect blend of relaxation and rejuvenation after a day of snowy adventures.
Unwind at the Spa at Spruce Peak for the perfect blend of relaxation and rejuvenation after a day of snowy adventures.

9. Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides

A horse-drawn sleigh ride at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe is a quintessential Vermont winter experience. It’s like stepping into a classic winter tale! Without a doubt, it’s one of the most magical things to do in Vermont in winter for families.

As you glide through the snow-covered landscape, nestled under warm blankets, the world seems to slow down. The gentle sound of the horses and the sleigh bells adds to the enchantment. It’s a peaceful, picturesque journey that allows you to appreciate the serene beauty of Vermont’s winter.

The Trapp Family Lodge offers a unique backdrop for this experience. The lodge’s history and charm enhance the sleigh ride. This makes it not just a ride but a journey through a winter wonderland. It’s perfect for couples seeking a romantic outing or families wanting to create special memories.

I recommend booking in advance as these rides are quite popular. Take it from me, a sleigh ride here is an unforgettable way to experience the magic of Vermont’s winter!

Embark on a winter experience with a horse-drawn sleigh ride at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.
Embark on a Vermont winter experience with a horse-drawn sleigh ride at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.

10. Winter Hiking on the Long Trail

Winter hiking on the Long Trail is a must for anyone seeking a serene and invigorating experience in Vermont’s winter landscape. It’s one of the most rewarding activities in Vermont in winter, offering breathtaking views and a sense of peaceful solitude.

The Long Trail, stretching the length of Vermont, transforms into a winter wonderland. The snow-covered paths and frozen streams create a stunning backdrop for a hike. It’s important to be well-prepared with proper gear and an understanding of winter hiking safety, but the effort is absolutely worth it.

I’ve hiked parts of this trail in winter, and it’s a unique experience. The quietness of the forest, broken only by the crunch of snow underfoot, is meditative. You might even encounter wildlife tracks, adding an element of wonder to your hike.

If you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a peaceful walk in the woods, the Long Trail offers something for everyone. Just remember to check trail conditions before you go and enjoy the pristine beauty of winter in VT.

Experience serene winter hiking on Long Trail—a must for breathtaking views and peaceful solitude.
Experience serene winter hiking on Vermont’s Long Trail—a must for breathtaking views and peaceful solitude.

11. Visit the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury

A visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Vermont is a delightful experience, especially in winter. It’s a sweet escape from the cold and a chance to indulge in some of the best ice cream in the world. It’s a fun and tasty break from outdoor winter activities in VT.

The factory tour is both entertaining and informative. You’ll learn about the ice cream-making process, the company’s history, and its commitment to social causes. The highlight, of course, is the sample at the end of the tour. Trying a flavor right where it’s made is a special treat.

The factory also has a gift shop where you can pick up unique Ben & Jerry’s merchandise. And don’t forget to visit the Flavor Graveyard, a quirky tribute to retired flavors. It’s a fun, lighthearted addition to the tour.

A visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory is a must-do for families and ice cream lovers. It’s a sweet addition to any Vermont winter itinerary, offering a delightful blend of education, fun, and, of course, delicious ice cream.

Warm up with a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory—a sweet escape and a chance to indulge in world-class ice cream.
Warm up your winter with a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory—a sweet escape and a chance to indulge in world-class ice cream.

12. Vermont Maple Open House Weekend

Last up on our list, and certainly not least, is the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend happening on March 23-24, 2024. It’s a sweet finale to our winter adventure in Vermont, and trust me, it’s as delightful as it sounds!

This event celebrates the first crop of the season, where Vermont’s sugar makers open their sugarhouses to the public. Imagine stepping into a world where the air is filled with the aroma of boiling sap and the warmth of the sugarhouse embraces you. It’s a sensory experience that’s both educational and enjoyable.

You’ll get to see the maple syrup-making process up close, from tapping the trees to boiling the sap. And yes, there are plenty of samples to taste! The traditional sugar-on-snow is a must-try – it’s maple syrup in its most magical form.

Visiting the sugarhouses is not just about tasting syrup. It’s about experiencing a cherished Vermont tradition. It’s a perfect family activity and a great way to interact with local artisans. I recommend bringing home some syrup to extend the sweet memories of your Vermont winter vacation.

The Vermont Maple Open House Weekend is a fitting end to our exploration of fun things to do in Vermont in winter. It’s a celebration of tradition, community, and, of course, the sweet taste of Vermont.

Conclude your adventure with the sweet finale of the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend on March 23-24, 2024.
Conclude your winter adventure with the sweet finale of the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend on March 23-24, 2024. | Image Source: https://happyvermont.com/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Vermont in Winter:

Looking for more content on the top things to do in VT this winter? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your winter vacation to Vermont.

Is Vermont fun in the winter?

Absolutely! Vermont, a New England gem, transforms into a winter wonderland of activities. From snowshoeing in Smugglers’ Notch to attending the vibrant Waterbury Winterfest, there’s something for everyone. The landscapes turn into picturesque scenes, perfect for outdoor adventures or cozy indoor experiences. Trust me, winter in Vermont is not just fun – it’s unforgettable!

What is there to do in Vermont in winter if you don’t ski?

If you don’t ski, there’s plenty of awesome things to do in Vermont in the winter. You can go dog sledding, experience the magic of a horse-drawn sleigh ride, or explore the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. Don’t miss the Vermont Maple Open House Weekend for a sweet treat. Winter hiking and snowmobiling are also great ways to enjoy the outdoors. And for relaxation, a day at the Spa at Spruce Peak is a must.

Experience the magic of a horse-drawn sleigh ride in Vermont.
Experience the magic of a horse-drawn sleigh ride in Vermont.

How cold is Vermont in winter?

Vermont winters can be quite cold, with temperatures often ranging from 10°F to 32°F (-12°C to 0°C). It’s essential to dress warmly in layers. I recommend a waterproof outer layer, thermal underwear, and good quality gloves and boots. Don’t forget a warm hat and scarf!

What months does it snow in Vermont?

Snow in Vermont typically starts in late November and can last until early April. The peak snow months are usually January and February. It’s a long season, giving you plenty of time to enjoy winter activities.

Which is better for skiing: Vermont or New Hampshire?

Both have great skiing, but Vermont often gets the edge for its larger resorts like Stowe Mountain. Vermont’s ski areas are known for their diverse terrain and excellent snow quality. New Hampshire has its charms, but for more extensive ski options and a vibrant après-ski scene, I’d lean towards Vermont.

The top things to do in Vermont in winter for all types of travelers
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