Vermont is beautiful at almost any time of year.
From historical sights on Church Street in downtown Burlington or the Shelburne Museum to natural wonders like Lake Champlain or Mount Mansfield and Smuggler’s Notch, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
There are plenty of state parks and national parks to camp or RV in, and even more beautiful things to see! Hiking? Camping? Fishing? Vermont is perfect.
In this article, we are going to list the things you need to know before visiting Vermont:
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Peak Camping Times:
Many state parks in Vermont allow all-season camping, which is great if you have an RV that can sustain cold temperatures.
Due to its more northern location, the autumnal season is gorgeous and full of color, while the winters are cold and snowy. With an 81 inch average snowfall, only the hardiest campers and those with RVs should go camping year-round in Vermont.
That being said, summer and fall are probably the most beautiful and comfortable times to visit Vermont.
With their historical sites and pumpkin farms to visit in the fall, as well as their many hiking trails, lakes, and rivers to visit in the summer, it is probably best to camp between June and October.
The coldest that nighttime temperatures can reach in autumn is between 30 and 45 degrees, so make sure that you either pack really well (when taking a tent) or bring a climate-controlled recreational vehicle.
Can you Go RVing in Vermont Outside these Dates?
You can absolutely go camping in Vermont at any time.
Whether you decide to go in spring when it is still quite chilly and rainy or during winter when it is much colder, and there is a lot of snowfall, there are some year-round camping spots to check out!
Here is a list of a few year-round state parks to camp:
- Ricker Pond State Park
- Green River Reservoir State Park
- Kettle Pond State Park
- Woodford State Park
- Underhill State Park
There are so many places to go winter camping for the hardy and experienced explorer, from incredibly remote areas like Green River Reservoir to advanced hiking trails at Underhill State Park.
More than anything, though, remember that camping or hiking in cold temperatures can be dangerous. Novice campers or hikers should go with experienced partners or friends before they attempt to do it alone.
Finally, make sure that the tent and equipment you bring are suited to whatever elements you intend to camp in.
Where Can you Camp for Free in Vermont?
According to the USDA Forest Service (United States Department of Agriculture), there are plenty of dispersed or free camping locations.
This is usually done on public or government land and does not happen on private campgrounds that a family or company owns.
First, What is Dispersed Camping?
Dispersed camping is when you camp on public land rather than pay for a site at a campground.
This is basically incredibly rustic camping which requires that you bring your own water, supplies, food, generators (if necessary) and take all trash with you when you leave.
Only experienced campers (especially during winter or harsher conditions in Vermont) should be camping without amenities or facilities.
Dispersed camping is quite common all over the United States. You just need to know where to look.
There are a couple of districts in Vermont for dispersed or free camping:
Green Mountain – Middlebury/Rochester District:
The Middlebury/Rochester district at Green Mountain is located in central Vermont and is great for campground camping and dispersed camping.
Locations that allow dispersed camping are examples like:
- Michigan Brook Road
- Sparks Landing
- Steam Mill Clearing
- Texas Meadows
- Breadloaf Wilderness
These are not all examples available, and the different areas in these sections of the park will have different spaces for dispersed campers than others.
If you are interested in fishing, Breadloaf Wilderness is a great option for free camping! You will need a fishing license to fish here, but if you have one, you can catch the likes of brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout.
There is hiking nearly everywhere and plenty of picnicking, scenic driving, horseback riding, and winter sports to enjoy.
Green Mountain – Manchester District:
Little Rock Pond Trail and Stratton Pond Trail are only just a couple of the places where you can camp for free in the Green Mountain and Manchester District.
There are some amazing non-motorized boating areas as well as swimming areas, specifically at Little Rock Pond. Hiking, nature viewing, and wildlife sightseeing.
Located at Depot Street in Manchester Center, VT, this is a great option for dispersed camping in a beautiful spot.
Can You Camp on Public Hunting Land in Vermont?
There is public land where you can camp and hunt in Vermont.
For example, as we mentioned before, you can hunt in some areas of the Green Mountain district.
Camping Rules & Regulations in Vermont:
Like most states, Vermont requires that primitive or dispersed camping takes place in designated areas.
You must also only pitch your tent in free or dispersed areas 200 feet from any trail or private properly line and also about 1,000 feet from any traveled road.
Every campground will have its own rules or policies, so ensure that you are following protocol or know the rules before heading out.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve listed some common rules for campgrounds that you should know:
Almost every campground will prohibit drinking or having alcohol in public spaces like picnic areas or the beach.
They will also prohibit glass bottles near pools or heavily-treaded areas for safety. Furthermore, when drinking alcohol at your campsite, it is recommended that the liquid is in closed containers with lids like Tervis cups or screw-cap bottles.
If you are going to drink out of plastic cups, keep an eye on your alcohol to keep it out of the hands of minors.
Anyone under the age of twenty-one in possession of alcohol at a campground may result in legal action against all parties involved.
Firewood is almost always sold or provided by the campground in some capacity.
Plenty of homeowners on the highway will offer firewood at the end of their driveway with an “honor’s system” drop box to help pay for the firewood or support the homeowner.
If you bring your own firewood, make sure that the campground allows this. Some will want to sell their own or prefer that customers don’t burn strange wood at their sites.
Furthermore, never cut down your own trees and always use sticks that are already deadwood and have fallen on the ground. Especially if you are in a national or state park, you will need to leave the forestry alone.
Finally, never burn dangerous woods like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, resulting in terrible health side-effects and consequences.
Almost every pet law requires that your dog or cat be on a leash that is at max 6 feet in length.
When unattended, pets should be put in the RV or tent and not left out on a chain or leash where anyone could go up and pet, steal or harm your animal.
If your pet is going camping with you, you must clean up all waste and make sure to prepare your pet with flea and tick preventatives to keep everyone clean, safe, and healthy.
Unless you are camping in a hunting-approved area, no firearms are allowed in most campgrounds, parks, or public areas.
If you are unsure of the rules where you are going camping, definitely reach out to authorities or owners of the campground and ask.
Unlicensed carry of firearms or use of firearms in prohibited spaces could result in legal action taken against all parties involved.