Fun attractions in Stowe, Vermont for year round adventures await.
Nestled in between the Green and Worchester Mountain ranges, along the Little River lies the picturesque Stowe. Visitors will enjoy the many things to do in Stowe, VT from its magnificent colours in fall, and snow activities such as downhill skiing and cross country skiing in winter. To the leisurely or strenuous mountain hiking trails in summer.
Opportunities for year round family, friend, couple and solo adventures abound, especially for outdoor and winter sport enthusiasts. If you are travelling to New England, there are plenty of fun things to do in Stowe, VT to keep you busy.
I was dreaming of a road trip with my family and Stowe Village and area hits all the things we look for, mountains, fishing, hiking, fun attractions, in a charming village with good eats, quaint shops, and comfortable places to sleep.
Read on to learn more about the best attractions in Stowe, Vermont that also happen to be family friendly, where to stay and travel ideas by season.
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- FAMILY FRIENDLY: Top Notch Resort offers family rooms, suites and 2 bedroom homes which are a hit with familes, due to their laundry facilities, and plenty of space for everyone. The indoor & outdoor pools, and jacuzzi are a great way to relax after a busy day.
- SKI IN – SKI OUT: The Lodge at Spruce Peak (formerly Stowe Mountain Lodge) is located at the base of Mount Mansfield, and offers a variety of onsite activities for both kids and adults. Heated pool, kids night out activities, mountain access to the gondola and lifts are just right out the door. Also open year round!
- MORE BUDGET FRIENDLY: Green Mountain Inn, is everything travelers generally hope for in a cozy inn when they imagine a trip to Vermont. Decorated with Vermont hand crafted furnishings, you can enjoy their heated, outdoor pool, a health club, a game room and a fire pit. Whip Bar & Grill features local farm produce and New England microbrews & their famous country breakfast.
WHAT TO DO IN STOWE VERMONT YEAR ROUND
If you are heading to Vermont, Stowe offers a little something for everyone. Many of the attractions are available and accessible year round, so depending when you go, you might just see a different aspect to the mountainside or village.
Whether you are looking for winter sports to do a little cross country alpine skiing on groomed trails, or ice skating on the outdoor rink in during winter months.
Or heading on up the hiking trails in warmer weather, and fall foliage drives, there is something for everyone here.
1. Explore Stowe Recreation Path
The Stowe Recreation Path is a four season greenway running from Stowe Village to Top Notch Resort on Mountain Road.
Its flat, 5.3 mile (8.5km) paved trail is shared by bikers, runners and pedestrians in warm weather.
In the cold weather, join snowshoers and cross country skiiers for a little winter wonderland excursion.
You’ll pass covered bridges, farms, swimming holes, or take a short detour to one of the many shops and resturants that can be easily accessed from the path.
A great way to explore Stowe with your family is to take a relaxed bike ride along the recreation path. No motorized vehicles are allowed, so the littles (and their parents) have less to worry about.
Stop for a swim, and a picnic along the way. Not to worry if you didn’t bring bikes, there are a few shops in town where you can rent one, or five.
The Stowe Reacreation Path is one of the top attractions in Stowe, VT, so be sure not to miss a stroll, snowshoe, or bike long this scenic route.
2. Take A Local Brewery Tour (For Adults Only)
Love a good brew?
Tour the most iconic breweries and distilleries of Stowe on this fun half-day brewery tour.
Learn Vermont’s boozy history while being shuttled around to the areas 5 most popular breweries and distilleries.
Best part, you’re picked up & dropped off at your hotel, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
3. Fly In A Hot Air Balloon
If you plan on visiting Stowe, VT in summer, you won’t want to miss their three-day Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival. Each July, the town’s skyline blooms with rainbow coloured hot air ballons.
Don’t mind heights, join the multitude of hot air balloons dotting the sky, with mountains as your backdrop. Finding the perfect Instagram shot, just got easier.
Back on earth, delight in family friendly local entertainment, games, and kids activities like face-painting. Or sit back and relax at the beer and wine garden, while sipping your favourite beverage.
⭐️ Grab more New England ideas with our Rhode Island in Fall ideas
4. Play Mini-Golf at Stowe Golf Park
Mini-Golf, but with a twist.
Kids and discerning adults will love a chance to check out the Stowe Golf Park located in front of the Sun & Ski Inn.
This course is a real golf course, but in miniature. Expect 18 holes of landscaped rolling greens, and natural obstacles that would regularly occur on a full-sized course.
With gorgeous mountains in the background, who needs windmills? Be sure to watch out for hazards, sand traps, rough grass and trees.
Hours: Open from April until October, 10am – 9:30pm daily
Cost: $12 per round & 5 and under free
5. See A Show At The Stowe Theatre Guild
Stowe Theatre Guild puts on delightful performances for all ages mid-June to October each year.
Performing in the historic Town Hall Theatre, they usually produce four shows (both musicals and straight plays) each season.
Local theatre at its finest.
6. Visit The Vermont Ski & Snowboarding Museum
Housed in a converted church, the Vermont Ski & Snowboarding Museum celebrates Vermont’s ski and snowboarding history from the late 19th century to present day.
Inside you can watch a documentary on the history of skiing in the US, and enjoy their exhibits which range from ski fashion and historical equipment, to the 10th Mountain Division, an infantry unit in the US Armed Forces.
Be sure to also check out the gift shop, and their hall of fame, dedicated to honoring the athletes and pioneers of Vermont skiing history.
Hours: Open Thursday to Sunday 12 PM-5 PM
Cost: Suggested donation is $5/adult
7. Indulge in Lake Champlain Chocolates
After a long day on the slopes, or an afternoon traipsing the mountain side, something sweet is next on the list.
Lake Champlain Chocolates, formerly Laughing Moon is a gourmet chocolatier located in downtown Stowe that cooks in-house their own truffles, caramel, buttercream, marshmallow, fudge and buttercrunch.
They are currently renovating (expected to reopen Fall 2023) with an expanded cafe menu and ice cream. So stay tuned.
Or visit their Waterbury store on route 100.
FALL & LEAF PEEPING IN STOWE
Fall in New England is enchanting, and one of the best times to take in the natural beauty of Stowe, Vermont. Prime time for leaf peeping runs from mid September to mid October. Check out Vermont’s Foliage Report for the current conditions.
8. Hike The Stowe Pinnacle Trail
Stowe Pinnacle Trail is known for its spectacular leap-peeping in Fall, and summit views year round.
From the summit you will have an unobstructed view of the Green Mountains, and Stowe village below.
This steep 3.7 mile (6km) hike has a few rocky sections, and takes about 90 minutes. It is considered a moderate to difficult trail, so not suitable for people with mobility issues, or very young children.
In winter, the route is snowed-in but can be accessed by snowshoe.
👉 Grab more Fall Family fun ideas with our Rhode Island in Fall ideas
9. Enjoy A Fall Foliage Boat Tour
Now if you are looking for Fall adventures on the water, the Fly Rod Shop offers seasonal foliage boat tours on the Waterbury Reservoir. Here you can experience the explosion of colours, in between two mountain ranges from the comfort of your chartered boat.
The tours typically run mid September to mid October and last about an hour.
Keep an eye out, you might even be lucky enough to spot whitetail deer, bald eagles, or an osprey.
The Fly Rod Shop also offers a program called Family Gone Fishing in warmer months:
- This 3 hour guided tour takes you and your family to a “secret fishin’ hole”. They include instruction and all gear. How fun is that. My ten year old would love fishing from a secret spot. Not just for fall!
Check out our 3 Day Stowe, Vermont itinerary for more ideas.
10. Percy Corn Maze
What is more fall than taking a tour through a corn maze.
Percy Corn Maze is a super fun activity for families that takes about 30-40 minutes. You can also feed their cute calves!
Plus it’s easily reachable by the Stowe Recreation Path, so make a day of it and bike up there.
Cost: $8 adults, $4 students & seniors, Under 7 free
Hours: 10am to 5pm (weather permitting)
More New England Corn Mazes in Rhode Island to visit.
11. Stowe Foliage Arts Festival
Every year in early October, the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival celebrates the most colorful season. With fine art and craftwork from 175 juried artisans, these artists exhibit and sell their crafs, as well as original art, photography, sculpture and seasonal food products.
The festival is a great place to get a head start on your Christmas shopping.
In addition to shopping, there is live music, fantastic food and craft beers. A feast for all the senses.
Many of the hikes, trails and activities we list below are also amazing for fall foliage views.
CAMPING, BIKING & HIKING IN STOWE, VT
Stowe, known for it’s natural beauty, offers world class trails ranging from easy to expert. Hiking is a popular summer activity around Stowe, and with over 40 trails to choose from it’s easy to see why. For some of the best hikes in Stowe, VT try:
- For short, gentle trails try the Wiessner Woods or Kirchner Woods trails.
- For a leisurely sunset walk, take the Sunset Rock Trail
- For spectacular views and a more challenging hike, climb the Stowe Pinnacle Trail (see leaf peeping above)
- For waterfalls explore Bingham Falls, Moss Glen Falls Trail or Sterling Gorge Falls
To do justice to all the trails would require multiple posts, but I will highlight a couple below.
12. Walk Wiessner Woods
Wiessner Woods is a 79-acre conservation area, maintained by the Stowe Land Trust. The family of Muriel Wiessner gifted the land in memory of her late husband Fritz.
The forested land has a network of well maintained trails that wind their way through the woods. This is a great place to enjoy an easy stroll with family.
Along the way you will experience brooks, foot bridges and many species of trees including maples, white pine, birch and hemlock.
Wiessner Woods is used for hiking, dogwalking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. However bikes and snowmobiles are not allowed.
You won’t want to miss out on these special places:
- Meadow Overlook – for majestic views of Mt. Mansfield & old stone walls dating back to the 1800’s
- Vernal Pool – home to woodland salamanders & frogs.
- Spruce-Pine-Hardwood Forest – for 100 year old trees. Look for snowshoe hare tracks in the winter.
- Gnome Home – this one’s for the kids. Watch out for the Gnome of Weissner Woods on the way to the Sugarhouse Loop.
13. Sunset Rock Trail
Sunset Rock Trail is located in the heart of Stowe’s historic village. It is a fairly easy but steep 200 yard / 0.2km climb to the actual Sunset Rock. This lookout provides stunning views of Stowe, particularly at sunset.
Bring a picnic and let your family enjoy the sun as it descends behind Green Mountain.
If you are eager for more, the trail continues for another 0.25mi / 0.6km to the Upper Overlook for fabulous views of Mount Mansfield.
LOCAL TIP: The best way to access the trail is by foot (no parking) from Sunset Street via the Sunset Rock Trail. Follow the wildlife themed trail markers painted by Stowe Elementary School students. You can also access this trail at the parking lot on top of Taber Hill Road.
14. Hike To Bingham Falls
In summer, taking the short, fairly easy trail to the swimming hole at the bottom of Bingham Falls, should be at the top of your must do list.
Bingham Falls Trail is located in Mount Mansfield State Park, just outside of Stowe.
The 0.5 mi / 0.8 km out and back hike, can be accessed by either two paved pull offs via Route 108 / Mountain Road or through the Stowe Land Trust owned Mill Trail.
Its 72 acre property is popular with both visitors and locals for hiking, picnicking, swimming, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeiing. Which does mean it can be busy during peak times.
The waterfall is a series of cascades ending in a 40 feet drop into the emerald pool below. One caution, the last part of the climb down to the falls is steep and can be slippery. Make sure to watch your young’uns.
15. Camp in Smugglers’ Notch State Park
About 6 miles (9.7km) from town, Smugglers’ Notch State Park is open mid-May to mid-October.
Here you will find campgrounds with twenty campsites and fourteen lean-to shelters, as well as access to numerous trails, including the 273 mile (439km) Long Trail that runs the length of Vermont.
Not into camping? Still lots to do from the Day Use area:
- For an easy hike, take the wetlands boardwalk near the Barnes Camp Vistor Centre, or the popular Sterling Pond Trail.
- For a more challenging hike, the Hellbrook Trail is fun
- Ice climbing
- Cave exploring
Smuggler’s Notch itself, is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains, surrounded on either side by 1,000 foot cliffs. The winding road is only accessible in winter by snowmobile or skis / snowshoes.
In the past, the “Notch” was a hot bed for illegal activities.
Following the US trade embargo with Britain & Canada, cattle and goods were brought through the pass from Canada in the 19th century. During prohibition illegal booze was smuggled from Canada to the US.
16. Mountain Bike Cady Hill Forest
Cady Hill Forest is abandoned farmland from the 1700’s, that has regrown into a white pine and hardwood woodland area. The forest extends 258 acres, 23 of which are designated as wetlands.
The eleven miles of trails are popular with mountain bikers for the steep grade of the hill, and it’s switchbacks. Check out the trails here. In warm weather it’s also a popular place for hikers and dog walkers.
In winter grab your cross country skiis or snowshoes, and make some tracks. Although please note that some parts of the park are closed off in winter for the safety of overwintering deer overwintering.
17. Four Points Mountain Bike Tours
On the topic of mountain bikes, Four Points offers mountain bike lessons and guided mountain bike tours around Stowe. From beginners to advanced riders, they have lessons and private tours for all levels.
Private Group Clinics and Rides are still available right now.
For a fun way to see the breweries in Stowe, VT, and a more adult centred activity, try the Four Points microbrewery tours. These involve three hours of mountain biking in the morning, lunch, and then a brewery tour to 5 breweries in the afternoon.
Or for a more artisanal flare, try one of their Specialty Tours. You will be transported to a local glass blower, a metal worker, cheese maker and a variety of artisans in the area. They can even tailor your tour if you give them advance notice.
Note: You must make advance reservations for your tours. You can book online.
MORE FUN THINGS TO DO NEAR STOWE
18. Visit Gold Brook Covered Bridge “Emily’s Bridge”
If you are looking for a ghostly encounter, the Gold Brook Covered Bridge, more commonly known as Emily’s Bridge should be on your list of things to do in Stowe, Vermont.
Legend has it that the bridge is haunted by a girl named Emily, who died there. Stories vary as to how she died, and there is no evidence she was actually a real person. However many people claim to hear strange noises, such as footsteps, and a girl screaming.
This small, covered wooden bridge was built in 1844 over the Gold Brook and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
19. Drive The Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road
If you are keen to reach the top of Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak in Vermont but don’t want to break a sweat, the Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road has got you covered.
The Auto Toll Road is open daily to cars (no bikes motorcycles, or scooters) from May to October most years.
The Toll Road is over 150 years old, and winds it’s way 4.5 miles (7km) to the summit.
From the top, enjoy views of the Adirondacks, the White and Green Mountains and the Lake Champlain Valley below. On a clear day, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of Mont Royal in Quebec.
The upper road also provides access to three trails, the Cliff Trail, Long Trail and Canyon Trail. All are about 1.5 miles long and climb about 550 feet.
This is one of the most popular things to do near Stowe, VT.
Hours: 9:30am to 4:30pm daily (weather permitting), typically from mid May to mid October
Cost: $32/car and $12/passenger
20. Ride a Gondola To The Top Of Mt. Mansfield
If you are heading to Stowe in the summer or fall, another easy way to enjoy Vermonts highest peak is to take a gondola ride at Stowe Mountain Resort.
What, you don’t have to hike to the top, you say? Not if you don’t want to (though hiking up is an option).
Visitors can ride in style at Stowe Mountain Resort. The gondola is your sweat free ticket to soaring heights, that is unless you are afraid of heights. If so we suggest taking the Auto Toll Road instead.
Wanting more of an adrenaline rush? Try their zipline back down the mountain. The Nosedive Zip is 4,462 feet long and 180 feet high. There are also shorter options.
They have two side-by-side lines on each zip span, so you can experience the thrill with a friend or family member. Kids must be 10 years or older to zip. The Zip Tour Adventures are available with reservations Wednesday to Sunday.
Hours: Open daily from 10am – 4:15pm weather permitting, until the end of fall foliage.
Cost: Adult: $32, Child: $22, Family Pack (2 adults, 2 children): $93, Children 4 and under free
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21. Try Outdoor Sports At Stowe Mountain Resort
Writing about things to do in Stowe would not be complete without mentioning outdoor and snow sports.
This quaint town always makes the list of top ski towns and resorts in America, and is home to the most popular resort on the east coast, the Stowe Mountain Resort.
In winter, this resort offers spectacular skiing and snowboarding on Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. Head out on one of their 116 trails or try your hand (or is it foot) at nordic skiing on their 26 miles (42km) of groomed cross country trails.
With abundant snowfall, diverse terrain, natural beauty and a wide variety of winter activities, it is easy to see why it has been called one of the top ski resorts in the US.
Stowe Mountain Resort is also a fantastic year round destination. In warmer months it offers
- Mountain hikes
- Rock climbing
- Zip lining
22. Tour the Historic Von Trapp Family Lodge
The Hills are alive……… Ok, I couldn’t resist. The historic Von Trapp Family Lodge was indeed owned by the very same family immortalized by Julie Andrew’s and the Sound of Music.
In the 1940’s the von Trapp Family moved to Vermont, and opened their rustic lodge in 1950. Family members still run the lodge today.
Here you will find amazing views of Stowe, an Austrian-inspired alpine lodge rebuilt after a fire in 1980, a brewery and brew hall, austrian inspired meals, and a 90 minute historical tour.
In summer they offer wagon rides, mountain biking trails and hiking trails throughout their property.
In winter enjoy sleigh rides on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Reservations are required.
You can also learn to cross country ski here, at the first nordic ski centre in the country. The Trapp Family Lodge is home to 37 miles of groomed trails.
Plus many more activities in and around the lodge.
23. Have A Spa Day
Treat yourselves or your loved ones to a spa day around Stowe.
Whether you’re staying at the Lodge at Spruce Peak or not, their onsite spa provides a sanctuary of calm and relaxation. Make a day of it and experience their swimming pools, healing lodges, and more after your massage or treatments.
Or book a massage and sauna session with the Calm Company.
24. Grab a Snack & Coffee
The heart of Stowe is home to some fabulous cafes serving up freshly brewed coffee and tasty snacks (& meals).
The Stowe Bee Bakery is the local’s choice. Grab a buttery, sunrise sandwich on home made biscuit, or a Cubano panini and a Trail cookie for dessert.
Grab a famous Maple Latte from Black Cap Coffee, or a local Vermont beer, cider or hard kombucha.
Visit Woodland Baking & Coffee for tasty Vegan Lunch Burrito, and a house made lavender lemonade. Run by a long-time Stowe resident, you can often find his family popping by for a coffee or breakfast before school.
25. Take A Day Trip from Stowe to Waterbury
Once you have exhausted all the fun things to do in Stowe, a day trip is in order. Travel the 14 miles from Stowe to Waterbury, along the Green Mountain Byway.
Driving in between the mountain ridges of the Green Mountains and the Worcester Range you will be blessed with stunning views of farmland, forests, open meadows, and three state parks. All set against the backdrop of majestic peaks.
Kid Pick: In Waterbury, don’t miss out on the Ben & Jerry Factory Tour, or one of the legendary apple cider donuts made by a Donut Robot at Cold Hollow Cider Mill. They also offer cider and hard cider tastings.
Alright, now that you have a starting list of all the best things to do in Stowe, Vermont, I hope this will inspire ideas for your next family vacation.
STOWE THINGS TO DO BY SEASON
Stowe, Vermont Fall Activities
Leaf peeping in Stowe:
- Hiking the Pinnacle Trail
- Take a Fall Foliage Tour by Boat
- Visit the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival (early October)
- Wander through a haunted bridge “Emily’s Bridge,”
- Bike the Stowe Recreation Path
- Hike in Missner’s Woods
Winter in Stowe, Vermont
All your favourite winter sports and Stowe activities:
- Cross country skiing and snowshoeing on the Stowe Recreation Path
- Enjoy the snow covered view of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak from the Gondola Skyride
- Visit the Vermont Ski & Snowboarding Museum
- Spend the day on the slopes at the Stowe Mountain Resort
- Tour the Von Trapp Family Resort & take a winter sleigh ride, followed by a nordic ski
Spring and Summer things to do in Stowe, VT
From hiking & dipping in the river, to mini golf, and flying high in a hot air balloon, spring & summer in Stowe, Vermont is an amazing place to be:
- Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival in July
- Take a half-day brewery tour to the most iconic breweries and distilleries of Stowe
- Taste some of Vermont’s top artisan beer, spirits, and food producers with a half-day tour
- Drive through Smugglers Notch
- Mini Golf at Stowe Golf Park
- Hiking one of the many trails; Wiessner Woods, Sunset Rock Trail, Moss Glen Falls, Bingham Falls & more
- Wander downtown Stowe and fest on some delicious food at places like pizza, burgers & wings at Piecasso, or sweet and svoury crepes at the Skinny Pancake
- Watch the sun set over Stowe, from Sunset Rock
- Bike the Stowe Recreation Path or Cady Hill Forest
- Drive to the top of Mount Mansfield on the Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road
- Hit the road to Waterbury & take a Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour. Don’t forget to try the ice cream!
Final Thoughts: Not To Miss Activities in Stowe, Vermont
New England is such an amazing place to visit. And there’s so many fun Stowe Vermont activities for kids and adults year round.
Whether you’re looking for a ski adventure or to do a little hiking in warm weather, there’s plenty of outdoor activities to try.