We all know that Vermont is cold during the winter. In fact, I'm living it right now. We are currently buried in 3 feet of snow and frozen to the core by a 14-degree breeze. I'm not kidding when I say it hurts to go outside. But what some people don't realize is that it actually warms up around here. The snow will melt (eventually) and we will all soon be at the shores of Lake Champlain trying to cool down in 90-degree heat. It turns out Vermont isn't just for the skiers and snowboarders looking to coast down our famous slopes, but for warm-weather enthusiasts too.

Take a Hike

Vermont's picturesque mountains may make for unsurpassed winter fun, but in the summertime, you can hike to the top and take in a magnificent view. Mt. Mansfield is Vermont's highest and most popular mountain. Its summit ridge resembles the profile of a human face — hence the name Mansfield. The easiest way to the summit is the historic Toll Road, which zigzags its way up the mountain. From there the hiking distance is 1.3 scenic miles one-way.

Camel's Hump is Vermont's third tallest mountain but the most famous thanks in part to its profile decorating the state quarter. And yes, its summit resembles the hump of a camel. There are several trails from both the east and west sides ranging in length and difficulty. The Camel's Hump View Trail is universally accessible with a wide path and easy grades.

By Foot, By Bike, By Rollerblade

If hiking a mountain isn't your idea of relaxation, you can still enjoy the outdoors by walking, biking or rolling along one of Vermont's beautiful bike paths. Burlington's Waterfront Bike Path is a 7.6-mile stretch running from the southern end of Burlington at Oakledge Park to the northern end at the Winooski River where it meets the Colchester Bike Path. You'll enjoy views of Lake Champlain and enjoy six waterfront parks.

Another great bike path is located in one of Vermont's most famous towns. The Stowe Bike Path is a 5.3 mile stretch that starts in Stowe Village crossing through woods and meadows and over the West Branch River 11 times. From the path, you can stop to visit local shops and restaurants.

Eat, Drink, Shop, and Be Merry

Burlington is no Manhattan, but its quaint shops feature an assortment of Vermont-made products from food to jewelry. The Church Street Marketplace is a great place to both shop and eat with its mix of small local shops and big name stores. Most restaurants feature outdoor seating areas perfect for people watching.

Ben and Jerry's ice cream is undoubtedly the most famous Vermont product with scoop shops in 27 countries. You can tour the Waterbury factory to learn about the birth of Ben and Jerry's, watch the ice cream as it's made, and enjoy a free sample! Sit outside and tour the grounds while taking in the gorgeous mountain views.

Explore and Learn

One of our family favorite spots is Shelburne Farms, a nonprofit environmental educational center that features a 1,400-acre working farm. It's a National Historic Landmark nestled in rolling hills on Lake Champlain just south of Burlington. Kids can do everything from chasing the chickens to milking a cow.

Shelburne Museum is another great way to spend a day in Vermont. There are art exhibitions plus hands-on learning for the kids. You can enjoy daily demonstrations at the Blacksmith Shop, the Print Shop, the Weaving Shop, and the Settlers' House and Barn where museum guides cook on the hearth and introduce your family to life in Vermont's early days.

The Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center on Burlington's waterfront offers the Awesome Forces exhibit that lets you experience the power of the wind, water, volcanic action and other forces that shaped the Champlain Basin. There's also a water-play space, and a tide pool touch tank with snails, crabs and more. Rotating exhibits come to the center frequently and have included the Beluga Whale Dig and FrogWorld.

Water Works

Summer isn't complete without some fun in the water, and for all of its brilliant mountains, Vermont is also home to many lakes and swimming holes. The Sand Bar State Park is a popular destination and perfect for kids of all ages. This natural sandbar sits between South Hero Island and the town of Milton and features a depth of only a couple of feet. The 15-acre park has a long beach, picnic areas with grills, canoe and kayak rentals, a play area, and food concession.

Bristol Falls is just one of Vermont's many swimming holes. Though the rocks can be slippery, there is a great shallow area perfect for children just a couple of hundred feet down from the waterfall. The area also has great spots for picnicking.

Additional Summer Fun

This is just a sampling of the fun to be had in Vermont during the summer season. Many state parks boast swimming and kayaking fun throughout the state. While in Stowe, you can enjoy the Alpine Slide, a 2,300-foot ride down Spruce Peak, and a Gondola Skyride that offers amazing views. And don't miss one of the several music festivals held in Vermont throughout the summer including the Snow Farm Vineyard Concert Series featuring variety of music from classical to classic rock in South Hero, and the Open Air Summer Family Concert Series featuring music, storytelling, puppetry and magic in Norwich.

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