Budget Travel

The very best free things to complete in Vermont will always be outdoors

Luckily, Vermont's stunning views are always free. Visit in the fall to make the most of them and make the most of all the Green Mountain state provides through hikes, outdoor sculpture parks or even a little bird-watching.

Here's our guide to the best things you can do for free in Vermont.

Leaf peeping

In autumn, Vermont's hardwoods turn from deep green to a rainbow of reds, oranges, yellows and browns, transforming the Green Mountains into a nature-painted rainbow. Drive windy Rt. 108 through Smuggler's Notch, pedal along Rt. 100 or hike any hill or peak for stunning views and to witness nature's artistry. Find peak color using one from the state's foliage finders.

Music within the park

Vermont's many parks, breweries, libraries and town halls offer free concerts from classical music to folk, jazz and pop. The summer time is chock-full of free performances, which continue into the fall. Catch america Air Force Winds in the Plymouth Congregational Church, Folk Duo Hungrytown at Middlebury's Ilsley Public Library or Great Time at Foam Brewers in October.

Take a hike or perhaps a ride

There's always something to admire on the hike in Vermont. Walk, run, bike or wander on rec paths in Stowe, Burlington, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail or the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. Some are paved, some are dirt, and all sorts of wind through Vermont's stunning pastoral landscape.

If you are feeling ambitious, tackle the Long Trail, Vermont's end-to-end thru-hike, a 272-mile wilderness wonder that follows the ridgeline of the Green Mountains.

The oldest continuous footpath in the usa also offers 166 miles of side trails that give day hikers and weekend campers access along the length of the trail, while 70 backcountry campsites and shelters, almost all of which are free, provide lodging.

Immerse yourself in outdoor sculpture

There are nearly 30 spots to understand more about outdoor sculpture throughout Vermont. At Woodstock Sculpture Fest, visitors can walk, wander or glide on Nordic skis through outdoor art in most seasons and all sorts of for free.

Explore Vermont's historic graveyards

Whether you are looking for spooky Halloween hangouts or perhaps a window into Vermont's storied past, visiting Vermont's historic graveyards is a superb way to spend an afternoon. Most Vermont villages have aged graveyards with headstones so weathered they are able to barely be read.

Bring paper and crayons to create a rubbing and then try to decipher the sometimes haunting, sometimes playful inscriptions. Find inspiration as well as an overview at Vermont Old Cemetery Association's website.

Find a farmers' market

Find fresh produce, handmade crafts, home-cooked food, free music and performances, and much more at Vermont farmers' markets. Locate one near you through the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. Browsers and buyers are welcomed.

Many markets have music and examples of delicious treats from maple popcorn and freshly baked bread to artisan jams, jellies, cheese and spirits.

The Church Street Marketplace in Burlington is definitely hopping, but the pedestrian mall is especially lively in fall with end-of-season sales, street performers, outdoor art and food trucks galore.

Go birdwatching

Vermont is a superb place to see wildlife. Get up early or head out in the evening to see clouds of snow geese and Canada geese fill heaven because they flock south in the Artic for winter. In Addison County, Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area is really a regular stop on the birds' 5000-mile journey.

Hit it right, and not only will you marvel in a sky throbbing with beating wings, but you might also witness cornfields and wetlands alive with birds searching before another day of flight.

The snow geese are spectacular, but Dead Creek is definitely a birder's paradise. Mallard ducks, wood ducks, ring-necked ducks and hooded mergansers are all regulars here.

In southern Vermont, walk the perimeter trail around Grout Pond to hear the plaintive call of loons. If hawks, owls and eagles are of interest, walk the paved road up Mt. Philo in Charlotte to the summit viewpoint, which looks out within the Champlain Valley and New York's Adirondacks, turn your eyes and binoculars skyward to search for raptors surfing thermals.

Sign on for a scavenger hunt

Get inspired to explore. The American Institute of Architects' Vermont Chapter runs an architectural scavenger hunt and posts clue sheets for participating Vermont cities, including Middlebury, St. Albans, Burlington and Brattleboro.

Even if you cannot complete the search prior to the hunt's close date, make use of the clue sheets like a guide to architectural awesomeness throughout the state.

Lovers of cheese won't want to miss Vermont Cheese Council's The Hunt. Designed to encourage exploration thus making you hungry at the same time, participants about this cheese hunt select one or more regions to understand more about while completing tasks like biking within the Champlain Valley, preparing a backyard picnic around the shores of Lake Champlain, climbing towards the summit of Killington or going to a cheesemaker based at Calvin Coolidge's historic summer white house in Plymouth.

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