top day trips from burlington, vt

Leah Fishman

Perfect for visitors who have an extra day to kill and locals who need to skip town (hey, college move-in week). I've lived in Burlington for 10 years, and these are my favorite day-trips between 40 mins-2 hours of BTV. From hikes and trails to breweries and swimming holes, here are my 10 favorite escapes.

Killington, Quechee Gorge, Middlebury, Stowe, Montreal, Waitsfield, Lake Placid, The Flume, Alburg Dunes State Park, Lake Willoughby

  • Killington, United States

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    • leah

      If you're visiting in winter, def bring your board or skis. If you're like me and downhill activity isn't your thing, Killington offers plenty of spas, resort hot chocs, snow tubing, snowshoeing, fat biking, sleigh rides, ice skating, etc. In summer, Deer Leep is an easy hike with epic views and you can sit outside at Liquid Art Eatery & Coffeehouse, which offers killer coffee and cocktails. Distance from Burlington: 1.5 hours.

  • Quechee Gorge, United States

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    • leah

      Vermont's Grand Canyon? Prob a little dramatic, but the bridge over Quechee Gorge does offer one of the most insane views in the state. Pull up and park at the visitor's center. Walk across the street and over the bridge to get the view from above, then circle back and take the trail directly behind the visitor's center to hike down into the gorge. The hike is easy (perfect for families and puppers), and there's a nice spot to take a dip. While in the area, drive the 15 mins over to Woodstock for really rad book stores, restaurants, drinks, and small town Vermont vibes. Distance from Burlington: 1.5 hours.

  • Middlebury, United States

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    • leah

      Midd is mega cute and quaint. Home to a private liberal arts college, the town is exactly what you'd expect: cool breweries (Otter Creek), art (Mahaney Arts Center), food (Taste of India), and hikes (Snake Mountain). Venture just outside the town limits to explore Hancock Falls, the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail (a trail covered in poetry, rad rad) and The Spirit In Nature Path Sanctuary which includes a meditation circle, labyrinth, and 14 spiritual paths (Jewish, Buddhist, and Bahai, to name a few) that truly help you slow down and be present, even if you aren't religious. Distance from Burlington: 50 mins.

  • Stowe, United States

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    • leah

      While famous for its outdoor winter sports (Stowe Mountain Resort), hot take: Stowe is actually best-visited in the fall. Cruise up and through Smugglers' Notch to peep all those fiery leaves. Favorite fall hikes include: Stowe Pinnacle, Sterling Pond, and Mount Mansfield via Hell Brook (the start of this hike is literal hell, but hey, you only live once). In town, grab a vegan sammie at Ranch Camp and a beer at The Alchemist. Distance from Burlington: 40 mins.

  • Montreal in Montreal, Canada

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    • leah

      Whenever possible, stay overnight. The food scene is insane, and the city is home to some of my favorite cozy cocktail bars in the world. But if you only have one day, take it and run. My favorite day trip is brunch and coffee at Tommy on St. Paul (get the avotoast) and an afternoon of R&R at Bota Bota. Pay for the 3-hour water circuit to enjoy 3 levels of hot tubs, saunas, cold pools and hammocks on a floating river spa boat. Distance from Burlington: 1.75 hours (passport needed).

  • Waitsfield, United States

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    • leah

      Everyone has their spot in the world, and the Mad River Valley is mine. This little valley in central VT is jam-packed with good eats (American Flatbread, Stoke Ramen Bar), scenic hikes (Sunset Ledge Trail), maple creemees (Canteen Creemee Co.), winter fun (Sugarbush, Mad River Glen), and secret swimming holes (no way I'm giving you this one). Hop over to Warren for insane waterfalls, a sandwich at The Warren Store, and a chance to spot Bernie Sanders at one of the cutest 4th of July parades you'll ever participate in.

  • Lake Placid in New York, United States

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    • leah

      Same distance as Lake George, but way better. The less-touristy Lake Placid is a little mountain town in the heart of the Adirondacks. The ADK's are filled with 46 high peaks (mountains at or over 4,000ft), and you can definitely hit one in a day if you wake up early and get back to Burlington late. If you have time for a beer, Big Slide is cool and has some bomb vegan options on their menu (yo vegan supreme veggie pizza). Distance from Burlington: 2 hours.

  • The Flume in Lincoln, United States

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    • leah

      Winding steps. Wooden footpaths. Waterfalls. Insane views. Flume Gorge may be a trek from Burlington, but its def worth it. The 2-mile easy loop is perfect for kiddos and 'grammers. If you're looking to sweat a bit more, Franconia Notch State Park is filled with tons of moderate and difficult hikes within a 10min drive. Distance from Burlington: 2 hours.

  • Alburg Dunes State Park in Alburgh, United States

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    • leah

      Forget North Beach and Oakledge (jk Oakledge is my jam, but that shit's crowded)— Alburg Dunes State Park is VT's best beach destination. While it's one of the biggest beaches in the state, it sees very little foot traffic because of its far-north location. To get to the park, drive through the islands, stopping at Island Ice Cream, North Hero State Park, and Hackett's Orchard for apple picking along the way. Distance from Burlington: 1 hour.

  • Lake Willoughby, United States

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    • leah

      A hidden gem in the North East Kingdom. Trek the 4 miles up Mount Pigsah for amazing views, rent a kayak from Clyde River Rec (they'll even drop them off for ya), and pop in the Willoughby Lake Store for local goodies. If you have more than a day, primitive camp sites are a'plenty. Distance from Burlington: 2 hours.