While many families flock to Stowe, Vermont for skiing and snow tubing, there’s so much to do in the area when the weather is warm, like hiking, kayaking and fishing. Over the summer, we spent time in Vermont as part of a three-week northeast road trip and we were not disappointed by the Green Mountain State.
We stayed in a townhouse rental at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, which was perfect for the five of us. There were two bedrooms, a kitchen and a huge living area. Even better, the back of the townhouse opened up to a pond and an open grassy area where the kids could run around and play. It’s so nice to have loads of space to stretch out after a long drive in the car.
At Stoweflake, there’s both an indoor and an outdoor pool, as well as an on-site restaurant, Charlie B’s, which was perfect for breakfast and dinner. If you want to venture off-property, we loved Piecasso Pizzeria, which is just a few blocks away. Stoweflake really is in the middle of Stowe, so it’s pretty easy to walk or take a short drive to most places in-town.
If you’re thinking about an adventure in Stowe, take a look at my list of 10 things to do in Stowe with kids.
1. Hike the Stowe Pinnacle Trail. For incredible 360 degree views, hike the Stowe Pinnacle Trail. It’s a relatively short, though steep, hike up to the summit but you will be awed by the views of the Green Mountains, especially when fall foliage is at its peak. Take a lunch and sit on the rocks to enjoy the views.
2. Stop for Ice Cream at the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. In nearby Waterbury, you won’t want to miss the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, especially if you’re a first-time visitor to Vermont. Take a free 30-minute tour of the factory to learn how the ice cream is made before scooping up a full-size sample at the end of the tour.
3. Get in a Round of Golf at Stowe Golf Park. Stowe Golf Park really is a “mini” golf course, complete with water hazards and sand traps. No windmills here. The kids had a great time putting around after dinner. Even better, they sell ice cream treats. Perfect for celebrating mini golf victories.
4. Go Kayaking at Waterbury Center State Park. Check out some kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and get out on the water at Waterbury Center State Park. The reservoir was so clean and clear. An absolute delight on a perfect Vermont day. Your kids may also enjoy hiking along the Peninsula Nature Trail at the park.
5. Learn to Fish at The Fly Rod Shop. We were lucky to be in Stowe on a Monday because that’s the one day of the week when The Fly Rod Shop offers its Junior Fishing Program. My kids loved this three-hour class that taught them the basics of fishing. They even caught quite a few fish in the on-site stocked pond.
6. Get a Gourmet Snow Cone at Jackwax. Only open in the summer, it’s a must to stop in Jackwax for gourmet snow cones. Look for tropical flavors like guava, fresh lime and mango. Jackwax also has giant-size games to play outside, like Connect Four and Jenga. We could have stayed all afternoon.
7. Take the Gondola to the Top of Mt. Mansfield. At nearby Stowe Mountain Resort, plan to take the Gondola SkyRide to the top (well, near the top) of Mt. Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont. The views are fantastic and you can take a steep hiking trail from the gondola to the very top of the mountain.
8. Stop for Covered Bridges. Since Vermont is fairly well-known for its covered bridges, it’s a must to stop for at least one. I actually drove past one on the way back from a hike, turned around, stopped and took a photo of Gold Brook Bridge (which I later learned was haunted, yikes).
9. Indulge in Apple Cider Donuts. Cold Hollow Cider Mill in nearby Waterbury Center is the place to go for warm apple cider donuts. You’ll also want to sample the apple cider and the array of mustards set out upfront with oyster crackers. For lunch, walk across the driveway to the Apple Core Luncheonette.
10. Visit a Sugar House. When in Vermont, visit a sugar house, even if it’s out of season (sugaring season usually runs between February and April). We stopped in at Bragg Farm Sugar House in nearby East Montpelier to taste the maple syrup and hike the maple walking trail, before kicking back to enjoy the views from the Adirondack chairs on the deck.
Disclosure:My kids and I were hosted by Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa while in Stowe. However, I was not compensated for this article and all opinions are my own.