Burlington, Vermont with Kids: 15 Top Summer Activities in Burlington We recently headed up in our Toyota Highlander to visit two family friendly resorts in Vermont. Burlington is a great hub for outdoor activities, as anyone who skis know well. But Burlington is just as fun in the summertime. Hiking and biking abound, not to mention an abundance of activities on the great Lake Champlain. Burlington's Lake Champlain waterfront offers parks, beaches and boating as well as an aquarium and an Earth Clock, which resembles a mini stonehenge. After all that activity, you'll be happy that Burlington is the hometown of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, whether you want to stop in at the original vintage gas staion store or head just out of town for a factory tour.
The Burlington Waterfront is a hub for many activities. Start with the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center to learn about the ecology and history of this Great Lake. You can walk along the waterfront or rent a bike and bike down the 7.5 mile bike path to visit the Burlington Earth Clock. See if you can use it to tell the accurate time or just marvel at the Stonehenge-esque rock forms.
The Burlington Earth Clock is in Oakledge Park where you can take a dip from the somewhat rocky beach or just play in the park and playground. At the southern end of the park is a treehouse that's handicap accessible, meaning it's easy for little kids to reach the 15 foot height too. If you prefer a sandy beach, head to North Beach, a favorite place to swim and play. You can also rent kayaks here.
If the troops are hungry, Skinny Pancake is right at the waterfront and serves delicious crepes and other kid frindly foods. Check their website for kids music mornings too. Or head up to Church St Marketplace, a pedestrian strip with shopping and dining. Settle in to an outdoor table and kids may even be able to watch the buskers while you eat. Just off Church Street is American Flatbread which serves great wood-fired oven pizzas.
You can't go to Burlington without stopping by the location of the original Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shop right on Church St. While the original gas station shop was demolished, the current store built on the same site still serves up the cold stuff and offers free outdoor movies on summer Tuesdays. Check their facebook page to see what's playing.
You can also drive to nearby Waterbury to visit Ben and Jerry's Factory, take a tour and get a free sample of ice cream. Occasionally they even sample experimental flavors. Just be sure to get there early as the wait can be quite long. If you do head to Waterbury, you'll want to stop by the Cabot Annex Store and Cold Hollow Cider Mill for more sweet sampling and make a foodie day of it.
Ask locals what their favorite kid-friendly activity is and many will name the Shelburne Museum, which is understandable since it's so much more than a museum, with a huge art collection as well as living history exhibits, daily demonstrations, family days and camps. It seems like there's always something going on there.
If you are lucky enough to time your trip right, you might also be able to catch my favorite youth circus troupe, based in Vermont, Circus Smirkus Of course, there's always more hiking and outdoor activities outside of the city or find even more activities in nearby Stowe. The whole area is beautiful and just being out in nature is a joy in and of itself. Have fun!