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Visiting Vermont: Why nature lovers, foodies and photographers flock to the Green Mountain State

Vermont has long been the destination of choice for people around the country and even from around the world. 

It’s easy to see why: Vermont is home to vast natural landscapes, picturesque farms and pastures, quintessential New England towns, and a distinctly unique culture and vibe. 

Around 13 million people visit Vermont annually. 


If you’re interested in being one of them this year, read on for inspiration on what to do and see in the Green Mountain State.

Autumn cityscape of downtown Montpellier

Vermont’s capital city of Montpellier, pictured in autumn, has the distinction of being the least populated capital in the U.S., with a daytime population of only 8,000. (John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Explore and have fun in Vermont’s great outdoors

“People come to Vermont for the outdoor activities,” said Jonathan A. Lhowe, president of Visit New England and Mystic Media, which publishes 

Experiencing the state’s forests, mountains, rivers, streams and lakes is why so many people from across the U.S. and abroad vacation in Vermont.

Whether your activity of choice is hiking, biking, camping or boating, you can find what you’re looking for at one of Vermont’s state parks. 

The state’s Division of Vermont State Parks manages more than 50 state parks, which dot the entire length of the state, from the southern section near the Massachusetts border, to the area around the capital city of Montpelier on I-89, all the way to its north section, especially on the edge of Lake Champlain or on its many islands. 

fly fishing in Vermont

A fly-fisher casts his line in the Battenkill River in Arlington, Vermont. (Mark Conlin/VW PICS/UIG via Getty Image)

Vermont is also a freshwater fisher’s paradise. Lake Champlain is the perfect destination for fishermen, with popular species including perch, bluegill, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, brown bullhead and northern pike, according to the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department.

Trout fishing is also popular in Vermont’s many rivers and streams. 

The open season for trout begins on the second Saturday of April and runs through Oct. 31. However, you can still catch-and-release outside of the open season (using artificial flies or lures only).

Vermont is well-known for its winter sports, such as skiing, both downhill and cross-country, and snow shoeing. Be sure to dress warmly, as it’s not unheard of for the temperature to drop to single digits in some parts of the state.

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team United States in action during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on November 26, 2023 in Killington, Vermont.

Home to the Green Mountains, Vermont offers multiple world-class ski resorts. Mikaela Shiffrin of Team United States skies in the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Slalom, hosted in Killington, Vermont, on Nov. 26, 2023. (Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Sample the Green Mountain State’s homegrown goods

Take a drive across Vermont and you’ll notice that the landscape is dotted with small farms selling eggs, produce or maple syrup. 

Restaurants across the state often buy locally sourced food to offer diners farm-to-table meals.


Dairy farming is a major industry in Vermont, dotting the landscape with scenic pastureland. The state’s Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets estimates that there are more than 500 dairy farms in Vermont that produce milk from cattle, sheep and goats. 

Vermont is also famous for its maple syrup industry. Syrup season usually falls between February and April, during which time you might see huge clouds of smoke and steam rising from sugar houses as sugarmakers boil down the sap from maple trees to process into syrup. 

Vermont maple syrup

Vermont is the top producer of maple syrup in the U.S. (John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The state is also known for its thriving craft beer scene, boasting the most craft beer producers per capita than any other state. 

It’s legal for adults 21 years or older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and recreational use of cannabis is legal in Vermont. “It’s very much a part of Vermont’s ‘brand,’” said Lhowe. “Vermont is very earthy, very crunchy, very green.”

Take in Vermont’s scenery

From stunning nature to apple orchards, maple farms, covered bridges and charming New England towns, Vermont offers sights and scenery that have delighted visitors throughout the nation’s history. 


With four distinct seasons, no one location looks quite the same for long. Autumn is a particularly scenic time to visit the state, and many visitors flock to wooded areas to see the deciduous trees that have turned to a sea of red, orange and yellow.

Picturesque Sleepy Hollow Farm on Cloudland Road in The Fall in Woodstock, Vermont

A tranquil farm is shown by a pond in Woodstock, Vermont. (Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Even the state law itself puts a premium on beauty: In 1968, Vermont passed the State Billboard Act, which bans unsightly signs on state and local roads.


“What I tell people to do is to get off the highway, get on back roads, and if you get lost, just keep driving downhill,” said Lhowe. 

Sooner or later, you’ll encounter a town, as development occurred along Vermont’s waterways at lower elevations. “That’s how you discover what Vermont really is like.” 

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