Camping in Vermont

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Camping in Vermont guide

Overview

Known for its colorful fall foliage, wilderness lakes, and scenic camping areas, Vermont is an outdoor lover's playground. From camping, hiking, fishing, and boating in summer to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and downhill skiing in winter, the state has something for every kind of adventure traveler. Here you'll find over 50 state parks, a vast network of trails including portions of the Appalachian Trail, and 400,000 acres of protected lands in the Green Mountain National Forest. Choose from hundreds of camping sites to pitch a tent, park an RV, or book a backcountry cabin.

Where to go

Lake Champlain

Often referred to as the sixth Great Lake, Lake Champlain is a huge freshwater lake flanked by the Green Mountains and the Adriondacks. Nearly half of the lake is in Vermont, parts of it are also in New York and Quebec, and it's known for boating, sea kayaking, swimming, and an array of camping experiences. Campers will find a variety of options near Lake Champlain from RV sites with full hookups and dump stations, and glamping sites near Burlington and St. Alban, to state parks with tent sites right on the lakeshore of Grand Isle and Burton Island.

The Northeast Kingdom

The northeast corner of Vermont is the state's wildest and most remote region, filled with world-class mountain biking trails and challenging hiking trails. Several state parks dot the area, including some with the northeast's most charming campgrounds: Brighton State Park, where you'll find lakeside camping and waterfront cabins, and Maidstone State Park, a favorite among fishermen.

Green Mountain National Forest

Featuring rolling hills of dense forest and some of the best fall foliage shows in the northeast, Green Mountain National Forest is one of Vermont's top outdoor destinations. Hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and cross-country skiing weave through the Green Mountains along with nearly a dozen national forest campgrounds and day-use areas.

When to go

Summer is the best time for camping, hiking, kayaking, and paddling in Vermont. Most Vermont state parks are open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, although some parks are open through the second Monday in October and others open earlier and stay open later. Fall is especially lovely, when the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow—catch the show in late September in the northern part of the state or mid-October in the south. Ski season typically runs from December through March.

Know before you go

  1. Vermont State Park reservations can be made up to 11 months in advance. Reservations can be made online, by calling the state park's reservations center, or by calling the park directly (during open season).
  2. Many Vermont State Parks have "lean-to" campsites featuring a 3-sided structure that can shelter campers from wind and help keep gear dry. Some campers set up tents inside the lean-to, and others just use it for cooking and staying dry. 
  3. Some Green Mountain National Forest and Groton State Forest campgrounds can be reserved ahead of time online. Plenty of first-come, first-served campsites are also available.

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