Things to Do at Vermont State Parks

Man and dog hiking in Vermont

Explore the many ways to get outside and enjoy our beautiful state parks.

Each year, we host signature events that encourage Vermonters to get out and enjoy what our state has to offer, no matter the season. Everyone has their own definition of fun, so we’ve come up with a list of ways you can have fun while you visit a state park!

  • Hiking: Vermont State Parks feature numerous trails of varying difficulty levels, offering opportunities for leisurely strolls, kid-friendly and scenic hikes, or challenging treks.
  • Camping: Many parks offer campsites for tent camping, RV camping, or cabin rentals, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the outdoors overnight.
  • Swimming: Several parks have designated swimming areas in lakes, ponds, or rivers, providing opportunities for cooling off during hot summer days.
  • Boating and kayaking: Visitors can enjoy boating, canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding on the lakes and rivers within the parks.
  • Fishing: Anglers can cast their lines in search of trout, bass, perch, and other freshwater fish found in Vermont's waterways.
  • Picnicking: Picnic areas with tables, grills, and scenic views are available for visitors to enjoy meals outdoors with family and friends.
  • Wildlife viewing: Vermont's diverse ecosystems support a variety of wildlife species, including birds, mammals, and amphibians, making it a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts. 
  • Cycling: Some parks offer biking trails or paved paths suitable for cycling enthusiasts of all skill levels.
  • Nature photography: With its picturesque landscapes, abundant wildlife, and vibrant foliage in the fall, Vermont State Parks provide excellent opportunities for nature photography.
  • Educational programs: Many parks employ interpreters dedicated to helping visitors learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. Examples of staff-led activities include night hikes, nature crafts and games, campfire programs, and amphibian explorations. 
  • Treasure hunting: Our state parks are a treasure for all of us, but you can embark on a real-life treasure hunt among the mountains by metal detecting, gold panning, or geocaching.

Find a Local Spot

The Vermont State Parks website is a great resource for things to do and even has a nifty park finder feature where you can filter the Vermont State Parks map by park amenities. We suggest using it to plan your next Mountain Days adventure! 

Day entry fees at Vermont State Parks are $5 for adults (14+), $2 for children (4-13) and free for small children (0-3). Learn more about admittance fees, season passes, and group entry.

Visit Responsibly

Exploring Vermont State Parks is a rewarding experience that allows us to connect with nature. However, it's essential to approach outdoor recreation with a mindset of stewardship and respect for the environment. By following responsible practices, particularly during mud season (generally spanning the six-week period between snowmelt and Memorial Day), we can ensure that these precious landscapes remain pristine for generations to come.

  • Stay on designated trails: One of the most important principles of Leave No Trace ethics is to stick to established trails to minimize soil erosion and protect fragile vegetation. During Mud Season, trails are especially vulnerable to damage, so resist the temptation to create new paths or shortcuts.
  • Check trail conditions: Before embarking on your outdoor excursion, check with park officials or online resources for updates on trail conditions.
  • Respect trail closures: If a trail is closed due to Mud Season or other environmental concerns, respect the closure signs, and find alternative routes for your hike or other activities. Ignoring trail closures can lead to irreparable damage to the ecosystem and compromise the safety of both visitors and wildlife.
  • Practice Leave No Trace: Whether you're hiking, picnicking, or camping, adhere to the seven Leave No Trace principles - plan and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors.
  • Pack out waste: This includes not only your trash but also organic waste such as fruit peels and food scraps. Leaving behind biodegradable waste may seem harmless, but it can disrupt the natural balance of the ecosystem and attract wildlife to areas frequented by humans.
  • Be mindful of wildlife: As you explore Vermont State Parks, respect the habitats of resident wildlife, and observe them from a distance. Avoid feeding or approaching animals, as this can disrupt their natural behaviors and lead to potentially dangerous encounters.
  • Educate yourself: Take the time to learn about the unique ecosystems and cultural heritage of the parks you visit. Many parks offer interpretive programs and educational resources to help visitors deepen their understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Get Involved

Thousands of people visit Vermont for our gorgeous state parks each year. This year Vermont State Parks mark their centennial. To celebrate, Vermont Parks Forever is collecting and sharing memorable park stories. You can share yours on the Vermont Parks Forever website.

We’re excited to be collaborating with Vermont Parks Forever for our Mountain Days event. For each post we’re tagged in on social media during the May 11-June 1 virtual event, we will donate $5 to their Access Fund which grants free park passes to thousands of Vermonters each year. 

“We’re so grateful to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont for highlighting and supporting our work again this year over Mountain Days," shares Sarah Alberghini Winters, Executive Director of Vermont Parks Forever. "More importantly, we’re thankful for their encouragement to get us all outside, actively enjoying our beautiful state!”