5 perfect socially distanced activities to do in Vermont

Vermont has always been a popular holiday destination, with tourism accounting for $3 billion of the state’s economy, with around 13 million visitors during a typical year.

Outdoor activities are plentiful in Vermont, with vibrant foliage, nature trails and beautiful lake-side getaways; the state is an ideal location for holidaymakers who want a bit of distance from others.

Socially distanced activities are high on the agenda for travelers looking to take a well-earned break. Here are five activities that allow you to safely experience the best of Vermont.

Bikers and runners enjoy the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Highland on Sunday, June 7, 2020.
Highland Weather

Biking – Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail

The Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail is a 19.8-mile route in Western Vermont that runs from West Rupert to Castelton and was a vital component of the roofing and slate trade in the 18-to-1900s before being converted into a trail in the 1980s.

The terrain is flat, easy on the suspension, and is a mixture of asphalt, dirt paths, and short grass. The route takes in the Poultney River and briefly dips into neighboring New York, and has scenic views of forests, hills, farms, and charming villages. There are refreshments and restrooms dotted along the trail with ample opportunity to take in the sights.

The trail is multi-use, so bike-riding, walking, and horse-riding are all permitted. It stretches nearly 20 miles and can be joined at various locations in Vermont, such as West Pawlett and Poultney, so the likelihood of bumping into large groups is very slim.


Walking – Sucker Brook Hollow Trail

Sucker Brook Hollow Trail is a two-and-a-half-mile walking trail of moderate difficulty near Williston in central Vermont. Sucker Brook is also a beautiful national park, with streams and maple trees adorning the route.

The trail is used primarily for walking and running, dogs are allowed and must be leashed, and mountain biking and hunting are prohibited. Expect an easy-going, quiet walk which, at its highest point, offers a striking view of the surrounding areas.

The town of Williston is nearby, and along with its assortment of cafes and bakeries, it has a brewery that offers tours and tastings of their locally brewed beers.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 26: A kayaker navigates the waters at the Winged Waters Natural Area shortly before sunrise on March 26, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Kayaking – Lake Willoughby

Located in Westmore, Northern Vermont, Lake Willoughby is a five-mile stretch of clean, crisp water with surroundings akin to a Nordic Fjord, with steep hills and dense forest flanking the lake.

The still water makes for a comfortable kayaking adventure to be enjoyed by all ability groups and a public beach at the South Bay.

Westmore boasts various cafes and restaurants as well as health and wellbeing activities. It has the highest “second home” ownership in the US, meaning in an average year, it’s busier during the summer months, but Spring, Autumn, and Winter provide you with all the space you need for a relaxing, socially distanced vacation.

A trailside sign in Camel’s Hump State Forest near the Appalachian Gap on April 11, 2020. The Long Trail and all side trails were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Running – Camel’s Hump Trail

Camel’s Hump is part of a collection of mountains known as the Green Mountains, with neighboring Massachusetts and Quebec sharing the same range.

Camel’s Hump has tall peaks followed by low dips, which create a hump-like shape, hence the name, and is located in Eastern Vermont on the state border.

The trail gives runners expansive views of the mountainous region and a moderately challenging exercise experience.

Parts of the trail will test your abilities as the mixed terrain requires hands and knees at certain points, as scrambling is more effective and practical than running.

The route also gets steeper the closer you get to the summit and tends to be inhabited by experienced trail runners. As you ascend, the chance of coming across groups of people becomes increasingly unlikely.

Camping – The Battenkill River

The Battenkill River runs through South-West Vermont and on into New York and affords a backdrop for the perfect socially distanced vacation, camping.

In the outdoors, with your own accommodation and utensils, camping can be whatever you want it to be; for those interested in nature hikes, the surrounding areas have plenty of trails for differing abilities. You can also enjoy swimming, kayaking, and trout fishing on the river.

The town of Arlington is on the river route and has a convenience store, deli, and farmers market providing practical amenities.