Panoramic aerial view of the town of Stowe in Vermont in the fall.

7 Breathtaking Towns to Visit in Vermont

Located in the northeast corner of the US, Vermont offers a scenic destination for respite and recreation. In these seven towns, you can enjoy alpine adventures in Stowe, visit Burlington's top-rated public square, savor award-winning cheese in Grafton, explore the secret rooms in Chester’s historical buildings, and so much more. Renowned for its stunning mountains, sparkling lakes, and four distinct seasons, these seven towns are some of the most breathtaking in all of Vermont.


Beautiful snow day at the Stowe Mountain Ski resort Vermont.
Beautiful snow day at the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort, Vermont.

Stowe, Vermont, is a wonderland of natural beauty with old bridges, majestic mountains, and lush forests. Anchored by the Stowe Mountain Resort, it serves as a premier destination, combining vibrant village life with expansive outdoor pursuits. This destination thrives all year, famed primarily for its exceptional skiing opportunities on Vermont's highest peak, Mount Mansfield, and its neighbor, Spruce Peak. At an altitude of 4,393 feet, Mount Mansfield provides ample skiing opportunities, challenging hiking trails, and breathtaking views. Halfway up Mount Mansfield, Spruce Peak Village offers ice skating, skiing, and rock climbing and transforms in the warmer months into a hub for hiking, zip-lining, and golf.

Beyond the adrenaline-filled activities on the slopes, the town's natural landscapes are on display along the 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path. A stroll or bike ride reveals charming stone bridges, serene picnic spots, and refreshing swimming holes. Stowe's village showcases New England architecture featuring historic inns, white-steepled churches, and boutique shops that echo the town’s rich history and culture. Gentle Giants offers horse carriage rides to explore the quaint village, admire the traditional architecture, and soak in the panoramic mountain views. Within the village, indulge in luxury treats at Laughing Moon Chocolates, sample a local brew at Stowe Cider, or check out the Vermont Ski and Snowboarding Museum to learn about the alpine culture that makes Stowe unique. Whether it’s winter alpine sports, the mesmerizing display of colorful autumn foliage, or the cultural richness of the town, Stowe is a must-visit destination any day of the year.


Equinox Pond and Mount Equinox at the Equinox Preservation Trust in Manchester, Vermont, USA.
Equinox Pond and Mount Equinox at the Equinox Preservation Trust in Manchester, Vermont, USA.

Manchester, located in southwestern Vermont, is a breathtaking year-round destination with its charming downtown and abundant activities. The town, easily accessible from Boston and New York City, is home to picturesque streets, white churches, art galleries, local breweries, and a variety of shops. As a ski town in the winter and a hub for hiking and arts in the other seasons, Manchester offers something for everyone. Among the many attractions are Bromley Mountain with its summer alpine slide and the Southern Vermont Arts Center, an all-in-one stop with outdoor sculptures, photography, paintings, an on-site Garden Cafe, and walking trails featuring wildflowers, trees, and ferns.

Venturing into Manchester's outskirts, you'll find the Mountain View Ranch offering horseback riding through rolling farmlands with beautiful mountain views, as well as sleigh rides in winter. Step back into the 18th century at Hildene House, the former residence of Abraham Lincoln's son Robert; not just a historic destination, it features an old carriage barn, a working farm, beautiful gardens, and 12 miles of trails across its 400-acre property. Hiking enthusiasts will appreciate the trails at Equinox Preservation and Lye Brook Falls, which are part of the Appalachian Trail. Mount Equinox is a treasure trove of activities with a scenic golf course, a nursery offering seasonal activities like pumpkin picking, and the Equinox Preservation with its ponds, slopes, and breathtaking views. Finally, for a sweet treat, visit the Maple Reserve to Vermont’s acclaimed maple products, and end your day at the Manchester View, where you can enjoy the incredible Vermont landscapes from the comfort of your balcony.


The lighthouse on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, USA.
The lighthouse on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, USA.

Burlington, the most populous city in Vermont with nearly 45,000 residents, boasts a lively atmosphere brimming with attractions, all while maintaining its small-town feel. Perched along Lake Champlain and encircled by the Green Mountains, the town is a unique destination with its urban setting and natural beauty. In the heart of Burlington lies Church Street Marketplace, a bustling pedestrian-only street that serves as a hub for community events and local commerce. Historic buildings line the cobblestone streets, hosting an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and street performers. The city’s spirit comes alive in this vibrant district, living up to its title as America’s top public square. You can get a real taste of Vermont with Burlington’s farm-to-table culinary scene, numerous local craft breweries, and one of the state's largest year-round farmers markets.

Equally captivating is Waterfront Park, a green oasis along Lake Champlain. It features scenic biking and hiking trails, ample green space, water activities, and a beautiful waterfront offering a front-row seat to stunning sunsets. Not only is it a spot for recreation and relaxation, but Waterfront Park also transforms into a stage for social gatherings, hosting festivals and events throughout the year. From jazz to food to craft beer, Burlington's festivals offer many opportunities to connect with the local community. With its thriving community spirit, captivating lakes and mountains, and vibrant downtown, Burlington is a quintessential stop for anyone who finds themselves in Vermont.


View of snow covered landscape from the top of Mad River Glen Ski Cooperative with pine trees on mountain with blue sky.
View of snow covered landscape from the top of Mad River Glen Ski Cooperative with pine trees on mountain with blue sky.

Waitsfield, Vermont, tucked away in the heart of the Mad River Valley, is a year-round destination that effortlessly blends old-world charm with modern adventure. This quiet little town offers an array of local breweries, art galleries, bed and breakfasts, boutique shops, and restaurants serving fresh farm-to-table eats. The town extends through 15,000 acres of wooded hills and valleys, including the Mad River Glen Ski Area and Camel's Hump Town Forest. It features a picturesque landscape, where one can explore vast rolling hills spotted with hillside farms, rustic barns, and two iconic covered bridges. On Bridge Street, artisanal shops such as Waitsfield Pottery and the Mad River Glass Gallery offer handmade goods, perfect for grabbing some memorable souvenirs. American Flatbread, a local favorite restaurant, serves wood-fired pizza using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. At the end of Bridge Street, you'll encounter Big Eddy, one of the town’s iconic covered bridges, where you can admire the 19th-century structure while overlooking the flowing Mad River.

Waitsfield is also home to the Vermont Festival of the Arts and a vibrant Saturday farmers market, offering fresh produce, local crafts, and music. The town's transformation into a premier ski destination is evident in the legendary slopes of Mad River Glen, and Sugarbush Resort, which invite skiing enthusiasts to carve their way down the slopes blanketed in pristine snow each winter. The Mad River Path, a network of trails connecting Waitsfield and Warren, offers a scenic escape for hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts, while the Mad River itself beckons anglers, kayakers, and tubing enthusiasts. Visitors to Waitsfield can savor the simple pleasures of life amidst nature's beauty, making it a must-visit for those seeking an authentic Vermont experience.


Cascades and old buildings along Whetstone Brook, in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Cascades and old buildings along Whetstone Brook in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Brattleboro, Vermont, beautifully combines natural beauty and rich history, nestled where the Connecticut River slices through the Black and Round Mountains' landscape. Its unique architecture, including historic state parks and 19th-century covered bridges, accentuates the stunning outdoors. The town offers a variety of activities, from hiking and biking to cross-country and downhill skiing to snowshoeing and sleigh rides.

The Retreat Farm, a standout feature of the town, spans 500 acres of forest and farmland laced with waterways and trails. This site offers an educational experience on land stewardship, farming, and food, with nine historic barns and animals grazing among the fields. Visitors can stop to sample local beer, meat, and cheese.

The vibrant downtown of Brattleboro is a testament to its strong community spirit, evident in the numerous local shops selling clothing, books, antiques, and gifts, as well as cheese shops, breweries, and restaurants sourcing locally. The historic Art Deco-style Latchis Hotel, centrally located downtown, provides an ideal base for exploration. The town's commitment to the arts is reflected in the Brattleboro Museum's contemporary art exhibitions and a beautiful stone church transformed into a live music venue. The Fort Dummer State Park, a historical site from the Revolutionary War, and the 53-acre Living Memorial Park, offering a range of sports and recreational activities, add to the town's charm. Brattleboro, with its mix of history, arts, and natural beauty, is one of Vermont's most stunning destinations. However, it is the town's steadfast dedication to nurturing its community, environment, and arts that truly encapsulates its beauty.


Aerial view of fall colors in Chester, VT.
Aerial view of fall colors in Chester, VT.

Chester, Vermont, is a quintessential New England town tucked away in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Not to be confused with the more well-known Manchester, this quiet country village offers a respite from the noise of daily life. Take in the crisp, fresh air and marvel at the autumn foliage as you explore the historic downtown or roam through the mountains. Chester is a unique blend of past and present, where nature intertwines with craftsmanship.

Visitors can explore the Chester Village Historic District, with its cozy inns, mom-and-pop shops, and the beautiful Gothic revival-style Baptist Church dating back to 1835. Indulge in locally made cheeses and Wilcox Ice Cream at the Stonevillage Farmer's Market or raise a glass of Vermont craft beer at the Long Trail Brewery. From handcrafted treasures to one-of-a-kind finds, Chester offers numerous opportunities to celebrate local creativity and craftsmanship. Art lovers can peruse galleries like The Crow Hill Gallery, while history buffs can embark on a walking tour of the town's historic churches and libraries, spotting houses of prominent historical figures. Nearby, the Stone Village Historic District reveals a different side of the past, with ten unique stone houses built by 19th-century Scottish masons. These unassuming structures, crafted from local granite and gneiss, hold secret rooms said to have been used in the Underground Railroad.

Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the opportunity to escape the crowds and embrace the tranquility of Vermont's countryside. Hike to a cascading waterfall on Mount Ascutney or lose yourself in the 550 acres of the Chester Town Forest, following the Lost Mine Trail past mossy streams and through vibrant hardwood groves. At Lowell State Park, the serene Lake Lowell provides ample opportunities for boating, fishing, or simply enjoying the relaxing views while breathing in the crisp mountain air.


The main street in Grafton, VT. Editorial credit: Bob LoCicero /
The main street in Grafton, VT. Editorial credit: Bob LoCicero /

In the heart of Southern Vermont, Grafton stands as a picture-perfect small town with a rich history and breathtaking natural beauty. Once a hub for wool and cheese, the town has gracefully adapted to the times while still honoring its roots. Stroll along the river, cross the iconic covered bridge, and take in the serene beauty of Grafton's countryside, where grazing sheep dot the fields and the crisp air is filled with sounds of nature. A walk through the town reveals historic buildings with preserved 19th-century architecture, steepled churches, and a tranquil community garden. Indulge in a farm-to-table meal at the Old Tavern, a part of the historic Grafton Inn, which has been welcoming guests since 1801. As one of the oldest in America, the inn itself is a testament to the town's history, offering a glimpse into the past with its elegant accommodations. Just steps away, the Phelps Barn offers a cozy retreat to unwind with a glass of wine, enjoy live music, and bask in the warmth of a crackling fireplace.

Immerse yourself in the local community at the general store, MKT, a true one-stop shop and a vibrant hub for both daily provisions and social gatherings. Get a taste of the town's agricultural legacy at the Grafton Village Cheese Company. Once a cornerstone of the local economy, they offer tours, tastings, and a shop that brings in visitors with the promise of award-winning cheeses.

Grafton Trails and Outdoor Center provides year-round outdoor adventures, from hiking and biking in the summer to cross-country skiing and sleigh rides in the winter, with a snug cabin to unthaw by the fire with a hot chocolate in hand. With a modest population that barely touches six hundred, Grafton is a place where everyone might know your name, and the sense of community is as palpable as the fresh Vermont air.

In Vermont, beauty lies not only in its landmarks but also in its seasons. The hot summer sun brings opportunities for canoeing, swimming, and lakeside picnics. Autumn transforms the landscapes into breathtaking displays of color, offering a perfect backdrop to explore local towns and villages. Winter sees the lakes freeze and the mountains blanketed by snow, creating an oasis for skiing, skating, or horse-drawn carriage rides. Spring breathes new life into the region, with blossoming nature for hikers and bikers and the perfect climate to appreciate the rich history and cultural heritage of these seven breathtaking towns.

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