One of the most magical states to visit in New England in the winter is Vermont. While it’s one of the most popular destinations for fall foliage, I always like to tell people that it’s just as amazing and cozy in the winter. Between covered bridges and gorgeous red barns surrounded by freshly fallen snow, the mountain air, cozy inns, amazing seasonal food and outdoor activities, there are so many incredible things to do in Vermont in the winter. Let’s get started!
Is Vermont Worth Visiting In The Winter?
100% yes! Vermont is one of my favorite states to experience in the winter season in New England because everything that makes it cozy and charming year-round is amplified this time of the year.
Not only is one one of the top ski destinations in the Northeast, there are so many cute little towns that make you feel as though you’ve stepped inside of a snow globe, in addition to the amazing dining options and fun things to do both indoors and outdoors that perfectly celebrate the season.
Best Things To Do In Vermont In December To Celebrate Christmas
Vermont is such a great state to visit during the holiday season, and almost every town has some form of Christmas event. If you’re looking for a festive Christmas getaway in the Green Mountain State, check out these suggestions on things to do in Vermont in December.
1. Wassail Weekend In Woodstock
One of the most fun Christmas festivals in Vermont is Wassail Weekend in Woodstock. Not only is Woodstock one of the most charming towns in the entire state, it’s even more magical during the holiday season, so it’s a win-win to visit at Christmas.
Wassail Weekend typically takes place the second weekend in December, and includes holiday home tours, the lighting the community yule log, parades, festive decorations all over town, craft fairs, concerts, and tons more (yes, including wassail!).
2. Christmas At Billings Farm In Woodstock
In addition to Wassail Weekend in Woodstock, you can also celebrate the season with Christmas at Billings Farm. Billings Farm is not only one of the best places to visit in Vermont year-round, but it’s also especially fun at Christmas.
As a working dairy farm, and one of the top interactive farm museums in the country, you’ll find beautiful Victorian Christmas decor in the farmhouse parlor, events where you can hand-dip your own candles, vote on the best gingerbread houses made by the team at the farm, and sit by a fire pit with a hot cocoa to admire the stunning grounds. And don’t forget to stock up some of their homemade cheeses for your holiday entertaining!
Christmas at Billings Farms happens every weekend in December through New Year’s, and is definitely worth adding to your winter itinerary!
3. A Traditional Christmas In Stowe
Stowe is also one of the best towns to visit in Vermont year-round, but especially during the winter season. And at Christmas, you won’t want to miss their Traditional Christmas in Stowe event, where the entire town is decked out in festive garlands and twinkle lights, with lots of events happening throughout the entire weekend.
A Traditional Christmas in Stowe typically takes place the first weekend in December, and kicks off with the town tree lighting. You’ll also get to experience a holiday craft market, a lantern parade, live music, cookie and ornament decorating and even a special appearance by Santa, Mrs. Claus and their trusty reindeer.
4. Winter Lights At Shelburne Museum
Just outside of Burlington, you’ll find the adorable little town of Shelburne (one of my personal favorite places in Vermont), and one holiday event you don’t want to miss is Winter Lights at the Shelburne Museum.
Winter Lights typically kicks off the Friday after Thanksgiving, and then runs Thursday through Sunday each weekend through New Year’s Day. During the event, you’ll find yourself stepping into a true holiday wonderland where the grounds of the museum are completely aglow with all kinds of light displays.
During special nights in December, they also host events during the light display, including Lake Champlain Chocolate Night and an evening with ice bars, serving up speciality winter cocktails. Click here for more information!
5. Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
One of the best things to do in Vermont in December to kick off your own holiday celebrations is to cut down your own Christmas tree at one of the local tree farms. Vermont has so many tree farms to choose from, and no matter where you are, you’ll be able to find one nearby. But to get you started, here are some suggestions on really great ones to check out:
- Elysian Hills Tree Farm in Dummerston
- Balsam Acres in Worcester
- Murray Hill Tree Farm in Waterbury Center (just outside Stowe)
- L H Stowell & Son in Brookfield
- Bennetts Tree Farm in Bennington
6. The Vermont Holiday Market In Essex
A relatively newer addition to Vermont’s Christmas celebration is the Vermont Holiday Market in Essex. It’s become so popular in the last couple of years that they’ve expanded it into a 2-day weekend event.
This holiday market takes place the first weekend in December at the Champlain Expo Center, and is packed with vendors selling all kinds of hand-crafted goods. This is a really great place to get started with your Christmas shopping, and also, to support local artisans.
7. Very Merry Middlebury Celebration
The beautiful town of Middlebury has a festive holiday celebration called A Very Merry Middlebury that you don’t want to miss. It pretty much has all the ingredients for the perfect Christmas weekend including live carolers, a hot cocoa cart, a town Christmas tree, wreaths and garlands strung at every turn, special holiday shopping stroll events, photos with Santa, and even a special light display on the town falls.
Best Things To Do In Vermont In The Winter
Once the excitement of December passes, you still have the restorative and rejuvenating winter months ahead to plan your perfect trip to Vermont. Here are all my suggestions on the absolute best things to do in Vermont in the winter.
8. Go Ice Skating
One of my favorite things to do in Vermont this time of year is to skate under the twinkle lights at the ice rink at Lodge at Spruce Peak. Their skating rink is open to the public, so you don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy it, and they also have skates available to rent during your visit.
While the ice rink is open during the daytime, too, I especially love it at night because not only will the twinkle lights be on, the grounds at the resort feel extra special and cozy at night with all their lights and winter decorations. If you choose to go during the day, though, you’ll still have amazing views of the mountains while you skate.
Pro Tip: The restaurants at Spruce Peak are also awesome and cozy in the winter, so I suggest making a dinner reservation during your visit to the ice rink, and really enjoy the atmosphere at the resort. In past years, they’ve had igloos and fire pits outside, too.
But there are more wonderful places to go ice skating around Vermont. One of which deserves its own section in this post, so stay tuned on where to find the longest ice skating trail in Vermont!
But moving on … Another magical place to check out is the outdoor ice rink at the Farm Road Estate in West Dover, which is absolutely perfect if you’re looking for winter fun in southern Vermont. This rink is also illuminated by twinkle lights, and usually stays open until 10pm. They also typically have the fire pits going to stay warm outdoors for an even more cozy experience.
9. Hit The Slopes
One of the most popular things to do in Vermont in the winter is to head to the mountains and go skiing, and if you ski, this is really an incredible place to go! Some of the best ski resorts in Vermont are:
- Stowe Mountain
- Jay Peak
- Mount Snow
The most popular (and crowded) of the ones on this list is Stowe Mountain, and that’s largely because it’s also such a picturesque town that so many people want to enjoy during their ski trip. Honestly, I think it’s worth it, and for me, Stowe is always worth braving the crowds regardless of the season.
If you’re looking for a quieter ski resort experience, Jay Peak is awesome. There’s less of a town scene there, but it’s still very scenic with some great restaurants, and the slopes are far less crowded than popular places like Killington and Stowe. Okemo is also one that tends to be a little less crowded, and is known as being a great mountain for beginners.
10. Taste The Local Chocolates
While you can, of course, sample all the amazing locally-made chocolates year-round, winter is one of the best seasons to indulge since you won’t have to worry about them melting. Plus, with Valentine’s Day being the perfect occasion for some chocolate tasting, it makes it an even extra special thing to do in Vermont in February.
Vermont is packed with artisanal chocolatiers, and it seems no matter where you go in the state, you’re bound to find a place where you can sample some amazing chocolate made close by.
A few really great places to pick up some delicious, locally-made chocolates in Vermont are:
- Chocolate Barn in Shaftsbury
- Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Stowe, and Waterbury
- Tavernier Chocolates in Brattleboro
- Farmhouse Chocolates in Bristol
- Daily Chocolate
11. Go Maple Syrup Tasting & Stock Up On Maple Candies
Not only is chocolate one of the best things to nibble on during your visit, you’ll also want to hit up some sugar shacks and taste some of the local maple syrups. Bonus tip: this is also a great time of the year to stock up on freshly made maple candies.
Once there, they have a sugar house set-up for visitors that’s open in the winter, and off syrup tastings, and even their own cheese that you can buy.
Sugar shacks can be found all over the state, and all you really need to do is take a drive, and you’ll run into one. But if you happen to be in the Woodstock area, I highly recommend Sugarbush Farms. It’s located about 5 miles outside the village of Woodstock, and you’ll go down a hilly gravel road that makes just getting there quite an adventure. The grounds are very scenic and surrounded by mountains, too.
And of course, we can’t forget about the maple candies, which are abundant everywhere in Vermont. From lollipops to hard candies to soft, chewy creations, it’s impossible to not find them at any country or Vermont store. And with maple pairing so well with the flavors of the winter season, this is a great time to try them all.
12. Tackle The Longest Ice Skating Trail In The U.S.
The Lake Morley Resort in Fairlee is home to the Lake Morey Skate Trail, and at over 4 miles long, it’s the longest in the entire country!
The trail is free to use if you bring your own skates (and rentals are available if you don’t!), and with the gorgeous Vermont mountain scenery as your backdrop, this is the perfect way to spend a winter day.
For a really unique experience, you can also plan to visit for one of their Glow Skate weekends, where from 5-8pm, the ice is aglow in bright, rainbow colors. Seasonal cocktails are also served at their lounge for the perfect, apres skate treat!
Pro Tip: Be sure to check weather and ice conditions before you arrive to ensure the lake is safe for skating. Click here to check the daily ice conditions on the resort’s website.
13. Experience The Magic Of Maple At Billings Farm
Speaking of maple, one of the most fun experiences in Vermont in the winter season is visit Billings Farm (again!) and experience their Magic of Maple event.
Every day from mid to late February, the farm does an amazing job showcasing what the sugaring process is like from tree tap to bottle, and features events like sleigh rides, sugar on snow demonstrations, maple popcorn recipe demonstrations and so much more.
14. Take A Pottery Class At Farmhouse Pottery
If the outdoor weather is too frightful, head inside and try a new skill. One of the coolest things to do in Vermont in the winter is to take a pottery class at Farmhouse Pottery. If you’re in the Woodstock area, popping into this beautiful shop is something that should be on everyone’s list. The store is beautifully merchandised with their hand-thrown pieces, and you can even watch artisans at the wheel making these heirloom-quality creations.
But did you know you can actually get a pottery wheel lesson right at the studio with one of the master artisans? They call them Clay Dates or Wheel Workshops on their website, and this is such a fun experience. My husband and I did one during a chilly February afternoon, and it was a great way to warm up inside while learning something new. It was a truly wonderful experience that I’ll never forget.
They also offer different options including morning workshops with mimosas, or afternoon sessions with wine and cheese. Click here for more information.
15. Backcountry Adventure Dinner
Okay, so maybe one of the most amazing experiences to have in Vermont in the winter is head out into the backcountry with a fully catered, chef-created dining experience.
Adventure Dinner is a really cool and unique company that curates bespoke dining events in gorgeous locations, and has expanded to offer a winter outdoor dining event. The Love Trek adventure begins with snowshoeing through scenic woods, and includes four fire-cooked courses and drink pairings that are scattered throughout the trail.
The entire experience is self-guided, so you can go at your own pace, and then end by a toasty fire to enjoy your last course. Leashed dogs are even welcome!
16. Hunt For Epic Landscapes Covered By Snow
One of the great things about any state in New England is experiencing famous and scenic landscapes in different seasons, as each season highlights something new about its natural beauty. In winter, you can enjoy some amazing views under a blanket of white snow.
Landscapes that have red barns or red covered bridges are especially beautiful against the white snow this time of the year. So one of the best things to do in Vermont in the winter is to grab your camera and a map, and plan a scenic drive to see some of them in person. Need some tips to get started? Click on the link below to read my itinerary for the best self-guided covered bridge tour in Vermont.
17. Attend The Stowe Winter Carnival
We’re heading back to Stowe to talk about their very fun winter carnival, which has been happening every year since 1921. Regarded as one of the top winter carnivals in the entire country, the Stowe Winter Carnival takes place toward the end of January (often the third weekend) and is packed with all kinds of exciting wintery events.
During the carnival, the entire town is transformed into a winter wonderland (which is crazy, because it’s already a picture-perfect winter town as it is). You’ll see ice sculptures pop up around town with ice sculpting demonstrations, fun winter sporting events and live music with dance parties.
18. Snow Tubing, Snowshoeing and Snowmobiling … Oh My!
There’s no shortage of outdoor winter activities in Vermont, and one of the best things to do this time of the year is to try a new one you haven’t done before.
One of my favorites is snow tubing. As much as I also love downhill skiing, snow tubing is a really fun way to feel like a kid playing in the snow, and there are a few snow tubing parks throughout the state that make for a perfect afternoon outside. Killington, Okemo and Magic Mountain all have great tubing parks you can check out.
Snowshoeing is also a time-honored tradition and peaceful winter outdoor activity in Vermont. You can find groomed trails all over the state, or rent snowshoes and head out on your own for a thrilling adventure.
And finally, snowmobiling. For those looking for more of a thrill, you’ll definitely want to check out renting a snowmobile or taking a tour. A few awesome places to look into are Snowmobile Vermont in Killington, Okemo and Stowe, and Vermont Mountain Adventures near Manchester. But no matter where you are in the state, you’re sure to find a place offering rentals or tours nearby.
19. Taste The Local Spirits & Seasonal Brews
Tasting the local spirits is another one the fun things you can do in Vermont year-round, but since liquor offers that wonderful, warming sensation, this is especially fun in the winter. There are some amazing craft distilleries in Vermont that offer tastings and cocktail bars with fun, winter speciality drinks you can order. Here are some of my favorites to check out:
- Vermont Spirits Distilling Co. in Hartford
- Village Garage Distillery in Bennington
- Smugglers’ Notch Distillery in Burlington
- Green Mountain Distillers in Morristown
- Killington Distillery in Killington
This is just a small sampling of all the wonderful distilleries in Vermont, but these are some of the best to get you started in planning your itinerary.
In addition to spirits, Vermont is an amazing state to explore if you love craft breweries. There’s no shortage of them all over, and one of the best things to do in the winter is sample the seasonal selections they’ve curated that highlight the flavors of the season, in addition to their best-selling standby favorites. Here are a few you can check out during your visit:
- Zero Gravity
- The Alchemist
- Burlington Beer Company
- Switchback Brewing Co.
- Foam Brewers
20. Enjoy A Cozy Gourmet Dinner Inside A Ski Gondola
The Hermitage Inn in Dover offers an amazing and cozy gourmet dining experience, which is served inside your own private ski gondola outdoors! While the gondolas are outside, they are heated, so you get the best of world worlds for a true wintery experience.
The Hermitage Inn is an idyllic property in southern Vermont, and you’ll have to cross a beautiful covered bridge to access the property, so that alone is already a great start! Once you’re seated inside the gondola, you’re treated to a seasonal menu filled with incredible choices (including fondu!), and expert wine pairings. In fact, the inn has won awards in wine excellence, so I highly recommend going for the wine pairing if that appeals to you.
If the gondola experience isn’t quite up your alley, you can also choose to book a table for their private wine cellar dinners, which are also incredible.
21. Take A Memorable Sleigh Ride
One of the best winter activities in Vermont is to head out on a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a scenic wintery forest, and there are lots of places to choose from.
One of my favorites is Taylor Farm in Londonderry, which starts off in a scenic open field, meanders through the woods, and then ends at a cozy warming hut where they serve hot apple cider. It’s truly a magical experience!
Best Things To Do In Burlington, VT In The Winter
With Burlington being such an exciting and fun destination in Vermont, many people choose to base themselves there during their trip (which is an excellent choice). If you plan to visit Burlington during your getaway, here are all the best things to do in Burlington, VT in the winter during your stay.
22. Enjoy The Glow Of Twinkle Lights On Church Street
Church Street Marketplace is a fun pedestrian shopping destination in the heart of downtown Burlington, and in the evenings in the winter, it’s completely aglow with twinkle lights.
Start your evening on Church Street with a stroll through the shops, then grab a cozy Italian meal at Pascolo Ristorante and then end your night at Lake Champlain Chocolate for dessert. This is the perfect way to spend a chilly, wintery evening in Burlington.
23. Grab A Hot Cocoa From Nu Chocolat
Nu Chocolate is an incredible place for a cup of hot cocoa in the winter season, especially because it’s topped with homemade whipped cream. Swing by and grab a cup before you start your day in Burlington.
And while you’re there, you’ll probably be tempted to pick up some of their gorgeous hand-crafted chocolates (I know, I know – more chocolate!). This family-owned business is run by master chocolatiers, and the pieces are absolutely stunning works of art. This is a wonderful place to create a gorgeous box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, too. But yes, definitely start with the hot cocoa!
24. The Archives
For some fun nightlife in Burlington, VT in the winter, one of the coolest things to do is head to The Archives, which is an arcade game bar that also serves up yummy food. You’ll find awesome vintage arcade games here like Pac Man and Donkey Kong, and also some newer ones. And the food and drinks are actually really good! This is the perfect place to come in from the cold on a winter night and have some fun.
25. Take A Wintery Stroll Along Lake Champlain
A walk along lake Champlain is one of the best things to do in Burlington year-round, including winter. I never tire of the path along the lake, and even on a cold day in the dead of winter, it’s just as beautiful and relaxing. It actually seems more peaceful in the winter to me, and I personally love a winter stroll around a lake.
The path begins at the Waterfront Park in Burlington, and from there, you’ll be able to see the two lighthouses that overlook the lake, and even continue your walk for up to 8 miles on the Greenway, the paved path that follows the shoreline of the lake. In the winter, you may even see people using it to cross-country ski.
Best Towns To Stay In Vermont In The Winter
Some of the best places to stay in Vermont in the winter are:
Stowe, Woodstock and Waitsfield are all amazing places to stay in Vermont in the winter for those looking to strike the perfect balance between cozy towns with lots to do and skiing and/or outdoor activities. All have access to awesome mountains for skiing, and have cute little towns that are perfect for the apres ski scene after sunset. Stowe and Woodstock are among the more picturesque towns in Vermont year-round, too.
Manchester is also beautiful, with access to skiing at Stratton Mountain, and is conveniently located in Southern Vermont for those who don’t want to drive further north.
Killington is centrally located, and is one of the top destinations for skiing in Vermont. The nightlife in Killington is also great with a really cool apres ski scene.
And Burlington is an awesome place to stay if you’re looking to stay in a city. It has everything from great breweries, shops and restaurants, and it’s also easy to get to some of the other towns on this list for day trips.
Best Places To Stay In Vermont In The Winter
Depending on what kind of winter getaway you’re looking to have in Vermont, you’ll find all kinds of amazing places to stay this time of the year. From upscale ski lodges, to cozy inns, to comfortable motels, you’ll find it all – even amazing cabin rentals. Here are a few of my favorite places to check out for a winter stay.
Luxury: The Lodge at Spruce Peak is really the ultimate Vermont resort destination in the winter because of its location in Stowe, and the fact that the entire resort turns into its own winter wonderland. You’ll find twinkle lights strung everywhere, hot cocoa creations being served, the restaurants will feature the perfect comfort food options, and of course, there’s the beautiful ice rink right there on the grounds. You’ll also find a spa here for an afternoon of rest and restoration.
Luxury: The Woodstock Inn & Resort is an amazing choice if you want to stay in Woodstock. It’s been named Vermont’s most beautiful address, and is located in the heart of Woodstock’s village, so you can walk everywhere. During the winter, you’ll find cozy rooms, restaurants and an incredible spa on-site. The only downside is that you’ll probably never want to leave the hotel.
Moderate: The Green Mountain Inn is a great place for a cozy and romantic winter getaway in Stowe. Located right on Main Street in the heart of the village, it’s also the perfect location. Book a jacuzzi room and unwind after a day of skiing or playing in the snow!
Budget: The White Horse Lodge in Waitsfield is very fairly priced for Vermont in the winter, and is super cozy and comfortable. The common room features a gorgeous fireplace that’s perfect for warming up after a day outside in the cold, and it’s only a short drive from the Mad River Glen ski area.
Cabin Rental: This cozy cabin/tiny house rental is perfect for two people, and features a mini fireplace, an outdoor fire pit and hot tub, and is also pet-friendly! The location is great because it’s secluded for the ultimate romantic getaway, but is within an hour from Stowe, Burlington and Woodstock to take day trips.
What To Pack For Vermont In The Winter
Vermont in the winter, especially up in the northern areas like Stowe, can get pretty chilly, so you’ll want to come prepared. Here are some things I recommend you pack for your Vermont winter getaway.
- Sweaters and turtlenecks to layer.
- Jeans will do just fine for exploring towns and going out to dinner.
- Long underwear or base layers for any outdoor activities.
- Hand warmers for being outside all day.
- Wool socks. I recommend Darn Tough Socks made right in Vermont. Check them out here for men and women. They’re so worth the price, and are great for staying warm and dry.
- A good parka. I really love Eddie Bauer parkas, and they’ve served me very well over the years.
- Warm, waterproof boots. These Sorel Boots are my tried and true for winter.
- Going out boots. These are my favorite for casual dinners or exploring towns, while also staying warm.
- Hats, gloves and scarves. You’ll want a nice warm hat like this one for exploring all day.
- Snow pants for skiing or outdoors activities.
Important info on New England winter weather: The last couple of years, New England has been impacted by Global Warming, and winter has seen the biggest shift in weather patterns. Just in 2023 and 2024 alone during my winter travels, I’ve experienced -20°F wind chills, followed by days in the 50’s (F). Also, huge rain storms with winds over 50mph and flooding that took out buildings along the coast. And of course, just regular old snow.
All this to say, I highly suggest checking weather forecasts a few days prior to your trip, as experts are saying the new trend for winter in this region is extremes. While it’s generally cold and snowy, it’s also warm on some days, rainy on others, and everything in between.
Tips For Visiting Vermont In The Winter
- If you’re flying in and renting a car, I strongly suggest you ask the rental company for a 4WD vehicle or an SUV. Chances are, you’ll be okay without this, but if a blizzard or significant snowfall comes through during your stay, the last thing you want is to get stuck somewhere. Most rental car places in the U.S. don’t offer snow tires, but a larger car with 4WD should be perfect.
- That said, Vermont does a great job plowing roads and keeping them clear to drive, so it’s not something you should stress about. Just have awareness, and then have fun!
- Vermont winter weather can vary, and while generally, it’s cold and snowy, you could have warm-ish sunny days, too. Check the weather forecast before your trip to tailor your packing accordingly. But know that nights will always be chilly, so plan to layer up.
- Get travel insurance. For any winter trip, regardless of how far I’m going (even for a two-hour drive to Vermont!), I always get travel insurance because more things can go wrong in the winter due to weather than any other season. This will help you with delayed and/or cancelled flights, and having to cancel or change hotel reservations last-minute.
- In the popular destinations, expect crowds. Vermont of one of the most popular New England states in the winter (hopefully now you see why!), so it’s good to expect that you’ll experience crowds. Places like Stowe and Woodstock will be especially busy. Making reservations for dinner is a really good idea.
- Have the best time! Vermont is simply magical in the winter, and it’ll be a trip to remember for a lifetime.
More Of My Vermont Travel Guides:
- Vermont In The Fall
- Vermont In The Spring
- All The Best Things To Do In Vermont
- Things To Do In Woodstock, VT
- Things To Do In Stowe, VT
- Best Places To Stay In Vermont In The Fall
- What Is Vermont Known For? I’ll Tell You!
- Vermont Covered Bridge Road Trip Itinerary
- Best Vermont Pumpkin Patches & Farm Stands To Visit In The Fall
- Christmas In Vermont: All The Most Festive Things To Do
- Best Things To Do In Waterbury, VT
- Awesome Corn Mazes In Vermont
- Best Time To Visit Vermont
You may also enjoy:
- Best New England Winter Getaways
- Best Stops To Make Driving From Boston To Stowe, VT
- Best Things To Do in New Hampshire in the Winter
- Best Things To Do In Maine In The Winter
- Best Things To Do In Portland, Maine In The Winter
That’s A Wrap On The Best Things To Do In Vermont In The Winter
And there you have it! Now that you know about the best things to do in Vermont in the winter, hopefully you’re getting ready to plan your own winter getaway to the Green Mountain State. Whether you’re planning a festive Christmas vacation, are hoping for a cozy and romantic winter getaway, or are excited for the apres ski scene, Vermont has everything you could possibly wish for to make it one of your best getaways yet.