Each September, when school starts again and subtle hints of fall creep into the air, I get the itch to start filling my weekends with our glorious Vermont fall activities.
Come on… Vermont fall is incredible, and it offers countless options for seasonal enjoyment. To help you out, Vermont Mom compiled the Ultimate Guide to Vermont Fall Fun to help you and your family enjoy the season in our beautiful state! Below, you’ll find all the best spots for leaf-peeping in Vermont, the best places to stop for eats along the way, a variety of festivities happening around the state, and other locations where you can participate in some fall fun!
And please… while we do our very best to stay up-to-date with events, it’s always a great idea to check and make sure the Vermont fall fun activity or event is still happening.
Enjoy western views overlooking Lake Champlain and beyond from the top of Mount Philo. The perfect excursion for all abilities and generations, you can choose to hike the trail, walk the road, or drive up to the summit. Bring a picnic, then stop at Vermont Cookie Love in Ferrisburgh on your way back home for freshly baked fall-tastic cookie flavors like oatmeal, coconut, chocolate chip, dried cranberry, almond (that’s all one cookie!), or pumpkin chocolate chip.
Be a Tourist in Your Own State
You’ll find both the Stowe Gondola SkyRide and Cold Hollow Cider Mill on many tourist must-do lists, for good reason. The views that emerge as you ascend Mount Mansfield on the gondola wow all foliage enthusiasts and kids will love the gradual, smooth ride. Once up top, choose to hike around or just rest and take it all in. On your way out of town, grab a dozen piping hot cider donuts from Cold Hollow, voted best cider donuts by Seven Days readers.
Anytime you’re down near Norwich in the Fall, you must stop at King Arthur Baking Company! They always have stellar desserts, but having all your fall favorites in baked goods while in season is a no-brainer.
Colors on the Move
Leaf peeping doesn’t have to take place from the top of a mountain ridge. On the contrary, Vermont’s towns and valleys are as spectacular as the mountains during foliage season. Take in the beauty of the colorful landscape in the Champlain Valley on a round trip Train Ride between Burlington and Middlebury. This ride is a three-hour trip with a three course dinner! Everyone in your party must be five years or older to ride.
Seeing the autumn colors is one thing. Being inside the colors is a whole other experience. Through Columbus Day weekend, Little River State Park is an ideal spot to immerse yourself in the fall scenery. The History Hike is much more a walking journey back in time than a hike. The trail meanders through beautiful forest, past stone walls, foundations, and orchards from a century ago. You may work up an appetite, so head into Waterbury for lunch or dinner at Prohibition Pig. While known for classic cocktails and craft beer (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), kids and adults alike will love the hearty BBQ comfort food.
Profile-Worthy Photo Ops
Route 100 through the Mad River Valley follows the eastern edge of the northern half of the Green Mountain National Forest, making it one of Vermont’s most scenic stretches of road. Tucked into the forest in Granville you’ll find family-favorite Moss Glen Falls, a breathtaking waterfall just a short walk into the woods, with easy access from Route 100. A backdrop of fall colors makes the waterfall even more sensational. On your way to or from the falls, round off your quintessential Vermont experience at The Warren Store. Order a sandwich on homemade bread at the deli or a whoopie pie from the bakery in the barn out back.
When Should You Go?
Pinning down peak foliage is tricky. Luckily, there are plenty of others doing it for us. Check the Vermont Travel & Tourism Foliage Forecaster or the Yankee Live Foliage Map to plan your optimal trip. Then get out there with your favorite people and soak in the autumn beauty, because pretty soon you’ll be giving it up for the frosty Vermont winter.
Vermont Fall Fun Festivals and Events
1. Harvest Festival at Shelburne Farms
September 10, 2022
Starts at Noon
Admission price unknown.
This annual festival never disappoints! The barnyard animals will be out for visiting as always, but this festival offers so much more! Join this fall celebration and enjoy a variety of live music and other performances, fresh farm food, local artisans, and a plethora of free activities for kids. In the past, they have offered horse-drawn hayrides, as well as live bird presentations.
2. Colors of the Kingdom Festival, St. Johnsbury
This festival is scheduled for September 17, 2022, but the fall 2023 event is already booked too, for September 16, 2023!
Events are being held all day on those SATURDAYS in Downtown St. Johnsbury, including “Train Rides, Farmers’ Market, Arts & Crafts Fair, Planetarium Shows, Music, Children’s Activities & much more”!
While you’re there, visit the local cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants. About 30 organizations and 50 businesses are consistently involved in this festival! There’s something for everyone at this festival!
3. Shoreham Apple Fest, Shoreham
September 18, 2022, 12pm-4pm
Beginning at noon, the town green will be abuzz with farmer’s market booths, live music, children’s activities, and a pie contest. An annual fundraising event for the Platt Memorial Library, attendees’ lunch purchases will benefit this worthy cause. This year, the library is planning on selling pulled pork sandwiches with coleslaw, mac ‘n’ cheese, and apple desserts and cider. Yum!
September 24, 2022, 10am-4pm
At this festival, you’ll find no shortage of craft and vendor booths, food, live entertainment, and other activities.
5. Sam Mazza’s Corn Maze, Hayrides, Pick Your Own Pumpkins, and Annual Pumpkin Weigh-In, Colchester
Pumpkin Weigh-In on September 17, 2022
From September 3, 2022 – October 31, 2022, Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm, and Sunday 10-5, Sam Mazza’s Corn Maze will be open, weather permitting. Follow their Facebook page for updates. Admission is $6 for children ages 3-11 and $11 for individuals who are 12 years old or above. Buy tickets online or buy one at the farm. Tickets for the day are not available within an hour or the maze closing.
Hayrides/Pick Your Own Pumpkin Saturdays and Sundays from September 24, 2022 to October 16, 2022 from 10-4. The fee for a ride in the wagon only is $3, but you can ride and pick your own pumpkin for $12 per person. You can also find more information on Sam Mazza’s Facebook Page.
6. Old Fashioned Harvest Market, Underhill
September 24 & 25th, 2022
This year’s annual Old Fashioned Harvest Market kicks off with a fun run at 8:30 and a parade at 9 am.
The festival is full of fun activities for the kiddos, craft vendors, and live entertainment including music, delicious food options, and more. This two-day extravaganza has it all!
October 7th-9th, 2022, Festivities start at 10 am each day
Admission is $10 for adults for a day, and $12 for a weekend pass. Kids ages 14 and under are free. Free parking is also available. Tickets are available online. Pets are not allowed.
8. Billings Farm Harvest Celebration and Museum, Woodstock
October 8th & 9th, 2022, 10 am-5 pm
*There is a charge for admission and tickets can be bought in advance online.
This party includes a traditional corn husking competition, tractor-drawn hayrides, craft activities, and a barn dance! Kids and adults can learn how to pickle, process squash, and preserve garden produce. Don’t forget to find some donuts and hot spiced cider at the Farmhouse Cafe (open 11 am-5 pm), as well as visit The Wicked Awesome BBQ Food Truck (between 11 am and 4 pm)! This museum is a must-visit for families — the foliage on your way to Woodstock is a fantastic bonus! And check out their full schedule of events too!
9. Montpelier Fall Festival, Montpelier High School
September 24, 2022, 12pm-4pm
This event supports the local schools of Montpelier and kicks off with a Fun Run! Festivities include live entertainment, a story walk, a Celebrity Dunk Tank, crafts, food, and games.
**Stay tuned for a 2023 date, as this event has been canceled for 2022.**
Event planners are setting their sights on integrating it into a larger, community-wide event the second week of October in 2023.
When the parade was held in the past, it included a fantastic parade of a couple of hundred tractors! This Vermont favorite also usually featured a variety of vendors selling crafts, food, clothing, and so much more!
Sundays October 2nd, 9th, and 16th, 2022 from 1-4 pm.
On these dates, there will be Food Trucks and the Vermont Maple Creemee Truck. Maple, honey, produce, and crafts will be available for purchase.
Saturdays in October, wagon rides will be available and the corn maze will be open!
12. Fall Festival at Vermont Orchards
October 1st and 2nd 10 am-6 pm
This event will occur at the West Swanton Orchard location of Vermont Orchards.
There will be a bounce house, face painting, tractor rides, apple picking, cider donuts, and corn hole. JJ’s maple cotton candy & popcorn will also be available!
Fall without apple picking is like summer without creemees. We have so many wonderful orchards to choose from and enough weekends to hit up several, if not all of them! After all, not every variety is available at the same time, and you’ve got to balance out your Macintoshes and your Red Delicious. Fill your baskets and test out different pie recipes, make an epic vat of homemade apple sauce, or just eat the crunchiest ones straight up. The doughnuts aren’t bad either. Check out this list to work out your pickin’ schedule!
Adam’s Apple Orchard & Farm Market, Williston.
(formerly known as Boyer’s Orchard and Cider Mill), Monkton For further information, follow their Facebook page.
South Hero- Stay up to date on which kinds of apples they are picking here.
Isle La Motte.
Shelburne- You can find out everything happening at the Orchard this fall on Facebook!
Corn Maze Frenzy
Lose yourself in a dizzying farm labyrinth or a “maize maze,” if you will. Your kids will love running around the puzzle trying to find their way out. Here are some fun ones to visit!
1. Great Vermont Corn Maze, North Danville
Well worth the (amazing foliage) drive to the Northeast Kingdom, this Top-10-in-America rated option is the ultimate corn maze experience. Seriously, this thing is huge. It’s slated to be open until October 10, 2022, six days per week and generally opens at 9 am, but they do sometimes close for inclement weather so make sure to follow their webpage. Also, note that you must buy advance tickets online (and that there are a limited number of tickets available) and enter the maze within a half hour of your ticket time. Saturday and Sunday, the mazes close at 4 pm so the final entry to the maze is at 12:30 pm. On weekdays, the mazes close at 3 pm, with the final entry to the maze at 12:00 pm. Hours on weekdays may vary depending on ticket sales.
2. Isham Family Farm, Williston
This maze is a Chittenden County favorite! As you search for the exit sign, you’ll also be playing a scavenger hunt. Good times!
3. Percy Farm Corn Maze, Stowe
Enjoy a scenic drive to one of the most charming towns in Vermont, Stowe! Work up an appetite solving the maze, then head to one of the town’s adorable restaurants for lunch or an early dinner. Bonus: This maze is dog-friendly, but leashes are required for Rover.
4. Whitcomb’s Corn Maze, Williston
Last but not least, Whitcomb’s combines their maze with learning, as you reach checkpoints that teach you all about pumpkin harvesting! Perhaps you will also find the candy jackpot hidden within the 4-acre maze, or maybe the specially marked ear of corn that entitles you to a free small pumpkin. For more information, visit them here. They open on September 17th for the 2022 season! Hours are Wednesdays from 2 pm-6 pm (with the final maze entry at 5:30 pm) and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-5 pm with the last maze entry being at 4:30 pm).
And speaking of pumpkins…
When we think October, we think pumpkins, and we’re not just talking about fancy coffee drinks here, but actual pumpkins! If you’ve never picked your own straight from the patch, you are missing out on some serious fall fun. Here are a few places to choose from as you hunt for the perfect jack-o-lantern candidate. Don’t forget to roast those seeds for a well-earned reward (because you know you’ll be doing most of the carving work, not the kids).
Chapin Orchard, Essex Junction
Isham Family Farm, Williston
Parker Family Farm, Williston
Red Barn Gardens, Williston
Sam Mazza’s Farm Market, Colchester
Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne
Whitcomb’s Land of Pumpkins, Williston
1. Trunk or Treat and Pumpkins in the Park, Milton
2022 DATES UNKNOWN
Now that you’ve picked the perfect pumpkins, it’s time to carve them- and what better way than somewhere that’s not your house? Bring the mess to Milton instead! They will even provide stencils, decorations, and carving tools. The event will also include costume and best carving contests with prizes, as well as trick or treating, refreshments, and a big bonfire.
2. Haunted Happenings, Shelburne Museum
2022 DATES UNKNOWN (This event hasn’t happened since before the pandemic, and there is currently no information about a 2022 event).
Cost: Free with Museum Admission
Put on your costumes and head over to Shelburne for this incredible event that combines candy with culture — the best of both worlds! Named a Top 10 Fall Event by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, this spooktacular fall fun shindig turns the museum into a trick-or-treating tour as workers dress up to hand out candy. Wrap up with lunch at the cafe, now featuring Skinny Pancake.
3. Halloween Family Party at University Mall, S. Burlington
Details for this annual event have not been posted. Please stay tuned to the University Mall Facebook page for any information if it is held this year!
Knock out some early Christmas shopping while your kids are rewarded with candy from every store you drag them to. They can also enjoy fall fun activities, like a pirate train ride and a bouncy house!
4. Trick-or-Treat Street on Church Street, Burlington
2022 DATES UNKNOWN
Enjoy trick-or-treating, face painting, and other seasonal activities on our beautiful, car-free favorite downtown Burlington street.
5. Swim with the Pumpkins at Burlington YMCA
2022 DATES UNKNOWN
Registration is required on the YMCA website
Children can go pumpkin picking in the pool and take home an inflatable or real pumpkin. Light refreshments are also provided.
6. UVM Horse Barn’s annual Halloween Barn
October 24, 2022, 5-7 pm (Pending COVID concerns)
Horses and owners dress up for Halloween! This fun and candy-filled excursion is great for horse-lovers of all ages.
October 29, 2022, 4-8 pm.
Preregistration (including reservation of a half-hour time slot) of $5 per group is required through Essex Junction Recreation and Parks. Stay tuned to their website and their Facebook page for details and upcoming registration information!
This fun and spooky walkway ends in a must-see giant wall of jack-o-lanterns carved by Essex Junction community members!
8. Catalyst Church Trunk or Treat, Jericho
October 31, 3pm-5pm. Dress up for maximum fun! Also, follow the Facebook event here.
October 29 – 30, 2021 with lead-up events.
Free, open, and inclusive of all, Halloween in Winooski features music, activities, and crafts- and the beloved 1,000 jack-o-lantern display in Rotary Park, which is the ultimate photo opp for dressed-up kids and adults alike. The parking garage is free all weekend and street parking is free on Sunday.