A Walk in the Park: Fun in the Vermont State Parks for Families


The Vermont State Parks are wonderful places for families to spend time together in the great outdoors.

Here are some great options for families to check out.

kids, water, sand, toys

Alburgh Dunes State Park

The dunes at Alburgh make up an interesting habitat that you can learn more about through a series of signs near the parking lot. In reality, my children completely ignored the signs and were excited to play on the remarkably long beach. The water stays shallow for quite a distance from the shore, which they loved. The view is beautiful and great for picnics. Just be aware that portalets are the only bathroom option.

Button Bay State Park

Located in Ferrisburgh, Button Bay State Park is a popular spot for camping. Kids will enjoy the play area and the pool with a lifeguard. Families can also enjoy fishing, sailing, or renting canoes or kayaks. There is also a hiking trail through the Button Point Natural Area and a nature center to visit. There are plenty of activities at Button Bay to keep your entire family entertained for the whole weekend.

Elmore State Park

Elmore State Park is located on the beautiful Lake Elmore. Children can play on the beach and go swimming. Boat rentals are available. There is also a very nice beach house which contains plenty of clean, modern restrooms and a small concession stand to feed your hungry family. There is also plenty of space outdoors for picnicking and several campsites.

Elmore Mountain offers some wonderful hiking opportunities. Starting near the parking lot, there is a shorter nature trail loop that is ideal for families with younger children. For the the very adventurous, there are more difficult trails that lead up to the top of Elmore Mountain for some wonderful views. Older children especially love to climb up the fire tower at the top of the trail.

Kamp Kill Kare State Park

Kamp Kill Kare State Park is located on land in St. Albans that was a summer camp in the early 1900’s. Now, park visitors can enjoy picnicking and swimming in Lake Champlain at this site. There is also a small museum that showcases the history of Kamp Kill Kare. For fun on the water, you can rent kayaks or use the boat launch for your own boat. For a fun trip, you can catch the Island Runner ferry over to Burton Island State Park.

Kingsland Bay State Park

Located in Ferrisburgh, Kingsland Bay State Park offers stunning views of Lake Champlain. There are several buildings available for rental, which makes this park an ideal spot for large gatherings, such as family reunions or weddings. Picnicking and swimming are popular activities at the beach. There are also some trails to explore that run along the shoreline of the lake.

Knight Point State Park

Knight Point State Park, located in North Hero, has a nice beach for swimming and offers a scenic backdrop for picnicking. There is a small playground area and also boat rentals. For hiking, there is a trail that loops around the park offering views of the shoreline and the forest. This trail is easy enough for smaller children to navigate while it also offers a variety of views to keep the entire family interested. This trail is a great introductory hike for children.

water, trees, hill

Little River State Park

The Waterbury Reservoir will grab your attention on the drive in to the park. It was built in the 1930’s and now offers a popular spot for swimming and boating. You can try your luck with a fishing pole or even enjoy some water-skiing. If you just want to appreciate the beautiful views, you can walk out across the top of the Waterbury Dam. Little River offers boat rentals and a boat launch for campers. There is also swimming and boat rentals available at the nearby Waterbury Center State Park.

Moreover, there are a number of hiking trails located throughout Little River State Park, which is part of the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. One that is particularly suited for children is the Dalley Loop. The terrain is beautiful without being too challenging and also offers signs throughout the trail explaining about the remains of old settlements from the 1800’s. History comes to life when you read about how the old stone wall in front of you is evidence of a farm that once stood in that spot.

Mount Philo State Park

The summit of Mount Philo offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside in Charlotte. The views of Lake Champlain and New York’s Adirondack Mountains are particularly arresting. The summit is a grassy and inviting space for children to play games and families to picnic. This is also a popular park for camping.

There is a hiking trail from the lower parking lot up to the summit of Mount Philo. It’s a great transition hike for children, since it’s more challenging than a flat trail but much easier than most other summit trails. There is also a road that vehicles can take to the summit. This is a great option that allows people of all physical abilities to enjoy the wonderful views.

Niquette Bay State Park

Niquette Bay State Park offers three different loop trails to hike, all of which are suitable for children. This is also a great place to hike with your dog, although you must provide proof of rabies vaccination and use a leash. Located in Colchester, the trails offer great views of Lake Champlain. The beachfront offers a great place to take a break in the middle of your hike.

Sand Bar State Park

Located in Milton, Sand Bar State Park is a lovely beach along Lake Champlain. Children enjoy swimming in the water that remains shallow a long way out from shore. This is also a great place to build sand castles. Canoe and kayak rentals are another popular option. There are plenty of picnic tables, grills, and a concession stand, which makes it easy to spend an entire day at Sand Bar.

woman, bridge, stream, trees

There are also many other entertainment options at the Vermont State Parks. All the parks have letterbox activities, which are great fun for all ages. Many of the parks are great places to ride bicycles. There are also a lot of different activities spread throughout the summer and throughout the different parks.  Check out the Vermont State Parks website or the Vermont State Parks Facebook page for more information.

Also, don’t forget that the state parks are around all year. In the winter, they can be great sites for snowshoeing and sledding. While there is no admission charge over the winter, there is also no access to restrooms, so plan accordingly.

water, trees, snow

I encourage you to explore the many Vermont State Parks! Where will you go for your next adventure?


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