10 Places to Travel on a Budget: Vermont

Finding 10 places to travel on a budget in Vermont isn’t hard. The state is a great, inexpensive haven where billboards are illegal and nature reigns. Here’s a list of Green Mountain State highlights:

  1. Burlington. Burlington is Vermont’s biggest city, though don’t expect a metropolis. The population stands at around 40,000. Despite this, there’s a lot to do and it’s a great place to travel on a budget. Church Street is a pedestrian area full of shopping, from used bookstores to handmade Vermont crafts and art. Lake Champlain, the sixth largest in the states after the Great Lakes, dominates Burlington’s west side. Make sure to stop by Penny Cluse for brunch; it’s every Vermonter’s favorite.
  2. Middlebury. Middlebury College makes the town famous. The campus is stately, with a fantastic library and art museum. In town there’s Frog Hollow, one of three branches of the Vermont State Craft Center. Middlebury’s waterfall is beautiful and quaint. Find great, inexpensive coffee at Carol’s Hungry Mind café and explore Middlebury’s green.
  3. Brattleboro. Brattleboro is a funky, alternative New England village with a thriving artistic community. Like most Vermont towns, Brattleboro can be seen in a few hours. After walking the town check out one of the great cafes. The Original Common Ground is a New England gem with vegetarian food that features touring bands. Brattleboro sits on the Connecticut River.
  4. Montpelier. With a population of less than 9,000, Montpelier is one of the smallest state capitals in America. The Vermont State House and Vermont History Museum, both of which are a must for the Vermont traveler on a budget, are in central Montpelier.  
  5. Lake Willoughby. The Northeast Kingdom’s Lake Willoughby is one of Vermont’s best places to visit on a budget. Surrounded by beautiful forested mountains, the area is a great place for fall foliage. Bring your binoculars and be prepared to see thrushes, warblers, hummingbirds, loons, herons, and even a Peregrine Falcon; over 100 species of birds have been spotted in the Lake Willoughby area.   
  6. Seymour Lake. Like Lake Willoughby, Seymour Lake is in the Northeast Kingdom, the section of Vermont that borders Canada. It is Vermont’s second largest lake and accommodations in the area are inexpensive making it a must for the Vermont traveler on a budget.
  7. Barnard. Barnard is quintessential Vermont. Its downtown is a few blocks long with nothing but a general store, post office, and a few restaurants. Two world-class chefs from California run the Barnard Inn Restaurant. While the main dining room is pricey, Max’s Tavern is great for Vermont travelers on a budget. Silver Lake, also in Barnard, is perfect for traditional Vermont swimming: no beaches, no lifeguards, just water and the woods on a mountain. If you’re lucky, you might see some naked hippies.
  8. Waterbury. Waterbury advertises itself as “Just What You’re Looking For”. If you’re looking for ice cream, there’s truth to that. The Ben & Jerry’s factory is one of the town’s central attractions. Free ice cream comes with a tour and the flavor graveyard offers a glimpse at some bizarre combinations laid to rest. Waterbury also boasts Camel’s Hump, Vermont’s tallest mountain. Though it looks more like a shark fin, the Hump has great hiking and is free for all.
  9. Woodstock. Woodstock is classic Vermont. The small town features covered bridges, quiet inns, beautiful foliage, and great hiking. Woodstock boasts an impressively long list of things to do for a town of 3200 people: kayaking, canoeing, balloon tours, horseback riding, golfing, performing arts and skiing. They’ve even got a winery. For the arts lover, Vermont native Stephen Huneck kept his main gallery in Woodstock.
  10. St. Johnsbury. Named American's best little town by “National Geographic Adventurer”, St. Johnsbury offers the Vermont staples. It sets itself apart with artist Stephen Huneck’s Dog Temple. Huneck is most famous for his life-size dog sculptures. In his home of St. Johnsbury, on the side of what he dubbed Dog Mountain, Huneck built a temple for humans of all denominations to celebrate spiritual connection to dogs in. Though he passed in January 2010, Huneck’s spirit of joy and simplicity is essential to St. Johnsbury.

Tip: It helps if you have a car: Vermont is isolated.

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