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This Is The Most Underrated U.S. State To Visit This Fall

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You’ve probably heard of Vermont, but have you been there lately?

It may be called the Green Mountain State, but Vermont sports a wide array of colors every fall. This fall may be an especially colorful one up here, so now’s a good time to plan the ideal autumn getaway.

Even if you’re not into leaf peeping, Vermont still has a whole lot to offer visitors this season.

It May Be Underrated, But Those “In the Know” Know Not to Overlook Vermont

Earlier this year, TimeOut named Vermont’s largest city, Burlington, as one of the world’s 14 most underrated destinations.

Vermont town in the fall. Montpelier

Even though Burlington may not enjoy as much fame and praise as fellow New England destinations like Portland and Boston, it has its own growing culinary scene to rival those of the region’s more famous cities. Plus, as a proud college town, Burlington’s bars are always hopping.

Also this year, HuffPost named Vermont as one destination that “travel experts return to again and again.” Why? It’s simple: Vermont is a fantastic destination for outdoor activities year-round, including kayaking during the summer and skiing in winter.

But during the fall season, Vermont truly shines bright. Once the leaves start to change hues, there’s a certain magic in the air, and nothing else really compares.

A Look at Peak Fall Foliage in Smugglers Notch, Vermont

Every Fall Is a Good One in Vermont, But 2023 May Especially Be a Great One

Fortunately for everyone who loves autumn colors, New England is forecast to have a longer-than-usual fall foliage season. 

While the leaves’ colors are expected to be more pastel-toned this year, they will likely nonetheless be quite beautiful. 

And while peak fall foliage, or the time when the leaves are at their most colorful and their most plentiful (right before they’re mostly off the trees), is expected to arrive early in October, travelers will probably have some extra time this fall to enjoy the colorful leaves before all the deciduous trees become completely barren.

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A Church Surrounded by Fall Colors in Stowe, Vermont

This is due to 2023’s brutal weather cycles (thus far). Because New England experienced a long and brutal winter, followed by a very wet summer, the trees are generally behind the cycle of leaf growth and development. 

Now that the region will probably enjoy some extended warmth and a milder-than-usual start to autumn, the warmer temperatures and calmer winds mean that you will probably have more time to enjoy Vermont’s fall colors before they’re all gone.

With that said, you don't have forever, so let's do a quick run-through of Vermont's finest fall colors.

The Fall Colors in Stowe, Vermont

Where Can We Go to Find the Best Fall Colors?

Really, there’s no shortage of great places to enjoy Vermont’s glorious fall colors, especially since the state has America’s highest concentration of maple trees.

Even if you’re planning to stick around Burlington, you have options: Area parks like Centennial Woods Natural Area and the Burlington Bike Path offer great views of the vibrant fall colors. Less than 10 miles outside of town, Shelburne Farms allows visitors to explore their 1,400 acres of working farmland, trails, gardens, and historic structures now through October 23.

If you’re up for more of an adventure, the ski town of Stowe provides particularly scenic fall colors before the mountains turn powdery white. From Stowe, you can continue north on Route 108 to Smugglers Notch for even more spectacular fall colors and mountain views. 

At the southern end of the state, the town of Manchester offers another great vantage point to enjoy autumn at its finest. Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home, combines rich American history, a tradition of civic responsibility, and fantastic views. Meanwhile, the Southern Vermont Arts Center has amazing art inside and picture-perfect mountain and forest views outside. 

A Look at Downtown Burlington, Vermont

OK, But What Else Can We Do in Vermont?

Even if you’re not excited at the prospect of driving and/or hiking to find the best fall colors, you still have plenty of great reasons to visit Vermont this fall.

The Upper Valley near the Ivy League Dartmouth College (which is across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire) abounds in arts and culture, including the culinary arts. The area has many working farms that give “farm to table” a new and special meaning. Plus, you can check out the area’s Beer Trail to find some great craft breweries.

Back in Burlington, restaurants like Honey Road, May Day, Penny Cluse Café, and A Single Pebble seamlessly combine New England tradition, global flavors, farm-fresh ingredients, and expert technique. And at night, this college town (the University of Vermont is here) really comes to life with bars and clubs worth hopping around in Burlington’s historic downtown.

The Burlington, Vermont Amtrak Train Station

It’s Easier Than Ever for Visitors to Reach Vermont

Whether you’re taking the train from nearly anywhere in the Northeast or you’re flying in from elsewhere, you’re in luck. 

Amtrak relaunched the Ethan Allen Express train line for the first time in 7 decades last year, so riders can take one train all the way between New York City and Burlington. Since New York is at the heart of the Acela Corridor, that makes train service to Burlington accessible for riders from Boston to Washington, D.C.

Amtrak also has the Vermonter train that runs between St. Albans in Northern Vermont and Washington, and talks are underway to potentially extend the train across the U.S.-Canada border to Montreal in the future.

For those who prefer to fly, Vermont is still well within reach. From Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport, you can find frequent direct flights to and from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Denver, plus seasonal service to and from Dallas and Miami.

Fall Foliage Reflected at the Pond Near Stowe, Vermont

No Matter Why You Want to Visit This Fall, Vermont Is Worth the Visit

Vermont may be one of America’s smallest states, yet this small state packs big punches of natural beauty, tasty flavors, prolific art, and all kinds of seasonal fun.

It’s hard to get bored here; it’s easier than ever to get here, and the journey proves to be quite rewarding once you experience the special magic of this uniquely pretty state.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Friday 1st of September 2023

Wow Vermont in the fall, who would have thought!? And Stowe! Brilliant suggestion, no on goes there for the foliage season.