If you’re planning a snow-heavy Vermont trip, you should know how different each season is from the next. The weather can be drastically different, even month to month, so knowing when to go for what in Vermont is an absolute must.
Vermont is a beautiful state primarily known for its famous ski resorts and regularly has heavy snowfalls during the winter to keep them stocked with fresh powder.
But there’s much more than just skiing and snowboarding because Vermont is filled with charming small towns, nature, and tradition.
Outdoor enthusiasts love Vermont for all the outdoor sports like ATVing, kayaking, biking, and more, while winter enthusiasts love it for its winter sports and lovely wintertime villages.
So, whether you want to water ski on Lake Champlain or shred some powder in one of the best eastern ski resorts, you must pick the time you visit carefully.
Why You Should Visit Vermont
Vermont is a postcard-perfect destination that many people don’t know about. Sloping mountains are filled with forests. Majestic swelling peaks and quaint towns are situated at their bases.
With 13 million visitors to the state yearly, a significant portion of the economy relies on tourism, like maple tapping, ski resorts, and towns near large natural parks.
With so many visitors, you’d think it’s crowded. However, the crowds are spread throughout the state, so it’s not as crowded as it sounds on paper.
There’s something for every season, admiring nature’s artwork in the foliage of fall, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, enjoying the taste of maple syrup in the spring, and exploring the great outdoors and numerous festivals in the summer.
There’s something for everyone, and getting outdoors and having fun is practically a requirement for visiting, with every outdoor sport imaginable at your fingertips.
Besides the state’s natural beauty, taking a scenic drive through the small towns and going antiquing is also very popular.
The New England towns help visitors feel warm and welcomed as they flash by the window. No matter what time you choose to visit, there are always things to see and do in the natural splendor of Vermont.
Overall Best Time to Visit Vermont
September through the first half of October is generally the best time to visit Vermont. This is when nature paints the scenery, starting from the tips of the mountains of the north and then moving to lower elevations further south.
The scenery erupts into a beautiful symphony of colors as the leaves burst into brilliant reds, golds, and oranges. Early fall is the prime leaf-peeping season, and it’s popular with travelers for this exact reason.
The weather is nippy, but it hasn’t turned frigid, so it’s possible to walk up and down the state to enjoy the cacophony. Keep an eye on the sky as the weather can change quickly, and pack layers for when the sun drops below the mountains and the temperature plummets.
Fall in Vermont is perfect for exploring the forests and mountains, some of Vermont’s biggest draws, but if you want a sport more strenuous than hiking, Vermont has you covered.
You can go fishing, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, camping, or even hunting in the vast forests. If you have trouble with exercise, you can go on one of the scenic byways and roll through the charming New England small towns.
If you want to get into the fall spirit, participate in one of the many fall activities like corn mazes, apple picking, and picking out your own pumpkin to carve. And at the end of a day filled with fun activities, you can curl up in front of the fireplace to wind down.
Ensure you visit during the first part of fall, September through early October. After the leaves are gone, the temperature drops and snow descends upon the state.
Fall is undoubtedly one of the most popular seasons to visit Vermont, but it comes with crowds and higher prices as a drawback. If fall isn’t your cup of tea, then the other seasons in Vermont also have their perks.
Cheapest Time to Visit Vermont
Late October through November is the cheapest time to visit Vermont. This is after the leaves fall and the leaf peepers go home, but before the hardcore skiers and snowboarders arrive.
It’s a dry tourist season between two major ones, and many hotels and attractions take advantage of this by closing down and preparing for winter.
Vermont during Halloween is truly spectacular, as there’s nothing more remarkable than taking a stroll through the small-town main streets and looking at the displays. It’s much chillier this time of year, and you’ll likely see snow on your trip.
You shouldn’t let that get you down, as there’s still a lot to see and do. You can still visit the outdoor activities (sans foliage and water sports) or take a relaxing drive.
November tends to be a bit snowier than October, and if you’re lucky enough, you can get early entrance into the ski resorts. If not, you can still take a stroll through the trails to discover the barren nature of Vermont.
Hotel prices and bargains crop up during this period as Vermonters try to attract more tourists, so it’s undoubtedly the cheapest time to visit. April also tends to have great deals, but that comes with its problems.
If you’re planning to visit this time of year, pack for cold and snow. Vermont is buried from November to March, and the snow starts falling near the end of October.
The area can also get rather muddy since the snow falls during the night and melts during the day. It results in slush that can freeze and ice the roads, so you should pick another time of year to take that Vermont road trip.
However, small towns are still open, so if you’re willing to brave some inclement weather, you can be rewarded with great deals in restaurants and stores. So, while this time of year may be cheap, it has fewer things to do.
It’s not like summer when outdoor sports are at their peak and not like winter when the resorts draw in big crowds. It’s so dead this time of year that many hotels and attractions close down because there aren’t enough people to stay open.
Nevertheless, if you’re willing to deal with this, you’ll find that Vermont is still enjoying this time of year. You just have to look a little harder to find the best places to go.
Least Busy Time to Visit Vermont
Do you like maple syrup? Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like maple syrup? You can stop into one of the several sugar shacks during spring in Vermont to get fresh syrup by the bucketful.
Spring, or May, has plenty to see and explore as the world comes alive again after the severe winter. Fresh flowers, farmer’s markets, and scenic waterfalls are all hallmarks of the Vermont springtime.
Maple syrup flows like water, so watch for the rising smoke’s chimneys to stop at a sugar shack producing maple syrup. Taking a short hike to a waterfall is perfect in the spring when the waterfalls swell to impressive proportions.
Other popular activities include touring the small towns for small pop-up markets and farmer stalls for fresh produce and unique goods. Maple fudge, in particular, is a hot commodity.
Spending time outside is a great way to enjoy the season. However, you should pack for sudden weather changes and chilly weather at night. Moreover, while May is the perfect springtime getaway, this doesn’t go for March and April.
They both have weather issues you’re better off avoiding if what you want is to frolic in a field of flowers. If you’re worried about busting your diet, your concerns are warranted.
The fresh maple syrup you can buy is some of the best you’ll ever taste, and spring is when farm-to-table restaurants and farms begin to open up again.
Taking a farm tour will give you all the fresh goodies you can ask for, and you can even pick the fruit yourself! Strawberries and other springtime goodies are famous, with many themed menus giving you all the yummy choices you could want.
Ultimately, spring is one of Vermont’s most underrated times. Nature is coming back, and you can see all the best trails and waterfalls.
While the slopes are closed, the resorts often have touristy activities for the summer and fall, so you can still give them a visit to see what they have available. Best of all, you don’t have to share it all with a bunch of other people.
Worst Time to Visit Vermont
April is called “mud season” in Vermont. It’s warm enough, so it’s muddy. It’s cold enough that most plant growth is stunted. While there are few visitors and great deals this month, you’re better off avoiding it altogether.
The mud gets in the way of any outdoor activities (one of Vermont’s main draws), and even the most lovely small towns don’t look good covered in the brown goop.
That said, a visit during this time can be rewarding if you are willing to brave the mud. You can enjoy a different side of the area and joke with the locals about the weather to truly get the whole Vermont experience.
The mud can be an easy workaround if you participate in activities that include soil, like off-roading or mud runs, or if you don’t mind getting a little wet, you can go hiking.
All the other attractions are also open, so you can still explore the small towns, sugar shacks, factories, and historical sites. If you don’t mind the mud and rain, you’ll find that April can be a great time to deal with and avoid crowds.
Just keep in mind that everything is very…brown.
Things to Consider
Vermont is beautiful year-round (except for April), and it’s never the wrong time to explore the mountains outdoors. However, there are some things you should keep in mind for each season when planning your trip.
- Pack and dress in layers
- Don’t plan nightly activities
- Prepare for cold temps and snow
- Plan your trip for early fall to see the foliage
- Pack warmly, Parka, snow pants, boots, etc.
- Book your trip ahead of time
- Prepare for crowds at popular ski resorts
- Dress in layers
- Pack an umbrella and rain jacket
- The weather is unpredictable, so be flexible
- Book your hotel and attractions well ahead of time
- Pack for the eighties and high humidity
- Plan for some rest times or excellent activities like water sports
- Lake Champlain is crowded this time of year
Frequently Asked Questions
Vermont is a beautiful state that’s worth putting on your bucket list. It’s genuinely magnificent no matter when you choose to visit.
Where is the best place for a vacation in Vermont?
Areas near the famous ski resorts are trendy, like the Green mountains area for Killington and the Burlington Area for Stowe. Montpelier, the state’s capital, is centrally located, so you can base yourself there while exploring the state.
If you like a particular area, base yourself there. Know a fantastic B&B in Weston? Go there! Want to watch the northern lights? Stick near the top of the state.
What is Vermont best known for?
Snow. Lots and lots of snow. Vermont is home to some of the best ski resorts on the east coast, making it a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders who don’t want to go to the Rockies to shred the slopes.
Another big draw to the state is the outdoor recreation. Vermont has plenty of forests, mountains, rivers, and lakes for all sports, from hiking to water skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. It makes a great summer and winter destination, giving it a steady supply of tourists all year round.
Is Vermont crowded in the summer?
Yes, summer is the most popular season in Vermont. Even winter can’t compare to the number of families heading to the mountains from the coast. It’s high tourist season, so book everything for a month or two to ensure you get the best rates and rooms if you’re planning a summer trip.
Is it worth visiting Vermont?
Yes, Vermont is breathtaking, with all manner of natural splendor to see and enjoy. The delicious food, friendly locals, and numerous attractions dot the state.
Which airport do you land at when flying into Vermont?
Burlington is generally where most flights come in. The Burlington International Airport services the major airline carriers and is a convenient entry point for anywhere you’d like to go in the state.
So, What Is the Best Time to Visit Vermont?
Well, you shouldn’t go during April. Any other time is excellent, as Vermont always has plenty to see and do. Spring is the time of maple syrup, delicious food, and breathtaking nature. Summer is the time to get outdoors and have a blast.
Fall is for vibrant leaves and painted landscapes. Winter is the time for mountains and snow. Vermont is great anytime, but you can choose when and where you’d like to go, so pick the season that suits you best. Happy travels!