Vermont Tourism

There is a famous joke about Vermont, that is has nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding. Although it is true that New England winters can be harsh and long, there really is never a bad time to travel to Vermont. The best time to take a New England vacation to Vermont depends on what you like to do.

Vermont is easily accessible year-round by plane, train, or car. Several major airlines offer flights into Burlington International Airport. Continental has service to Rutland, from which you can take a 10-minute shuttle to Killington ski area. Amtrak has train service to Montpelier, Essex Junction (near Burlington), St. Albans, and several other Vermont towns. I-87 and several other major highways run into Vermont, but expect heavy traffic on busy ski weekends and during fall foliage season.

In Vermont tourism is based on exploring the state’s beautiful mountains, valleys, and small towns. Most people who travel to Vermont probably do so to enjoy the great skiing and snowboarding resorts. Killington resort, with its extensive snowmaking capabilities, has extended the season so that some years it can last from early October to early June. Generally, Thanksgiving weekend in late November marks the beginning of Vermont skiing and the best skiing is usually over soon after Easter.

Downhill skiing is not the only reason to travel to Vermont in the winter months. Other popular winter activities in Vermont include snowshoeing, sleigh riding, and cross-country skiing. The area around Stowe Vermont is particularly good for cross-country skiing. New England travel in winter can be dangerous. If you are visiting Vermont in the colder months, watch out for icy roads and be sure to read your map carefully: many roads are closed in winter.

The second most popular season to take a New England vacation is autumn. Each year, thousands of people travel to Vermont to see the beautiful fall foliage. The leaves are at their most glorious in late September and early October. Some fall days can be glorious sunny and warm, but its best to pack a sweater just in case.

Vermont tourism season traditionally begins on Memorial weekend in late May, and most museums, parks, and sites celebrating Vermont history are only fully open between then and when the leaves come off the trees in October. The summer months are the best time for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, and many other outdoor activities. Many ski resorts have opened top-class golf courses, so golf enthusiasts will also enjoy a New England vacation during the summer. Ideal summer temperatures in Vermont are in the high 70s or low 80s F, but many summer days get uncomfortably humid and hot, with highs in the upper 80s or 90s F. During cool spell, summer temperatures can stay below 60 degrees F, with nighttime lows falling to close to freezing. An ideal wardrobe for New England travel will include t-shirts and shorts and also long trousers and warm sweaters, ready for varied temperature extremes.

Spring usually marks a lull in Vermont tourism and in New England travel in general. The season is often rainy and cold, an extension of winter rather than a beginning of summer. But beautiful spring days in Vermont provide some of the best weather of the year. The season is also ideal for rafting or canoeing, as Vermont’s rivers swell with waters from newly melted snow. And spring hikes in Vermont provide a chance to see the state’s blooming violets and other wildflowers.

A person who liked canoeing, hiking, leaf watching, and skiing would find Vermont tourism a truly four-season affair. Depending on your activity of choice, there is no bad time to travel to Vermont.

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