Lake Champlain is the epicenter for recreation. Waterfront and Battery Parks are the town’s popular outdoor hangouts with picnic tables, lots of green space and access to the 12-mile hike and bike path along a former railroad right-of-way. You can rent kayaks, row boats and Boston Whalers, or take a sightseeing or dinner cruise.
Don’t miss ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center (www.echovermont.org). The views of the lake from the observation deck alone are worth the visit, but the exhibits are as fun as they are fascinating. You can explore a submerged shipwreck remotely and help feed the resident critters.
related: Scenic train rides in West Virginia
Downtown Burlington is a gem with over 200 restored buildings. Preservation Burlington has a self-guided walking tour on their website (www.preservationburlington.org). Church Street Marketplace is the heart of the downtown. It’s the venue for events and festivals, like the “Festival of Fools,” an annual gathering of international street performers July 31 to Aug. 2. The plaza is surrounded by unique shops, restaurants, and businesses, most of them independently owned. The nearby enclosed Burlington Town Center has the familiar national chains. The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, a restored Art Deco movie palace, is the stage for theatrical performances and music concerts. Check the schedule at www.flynncenter.org.
On the University of Vermont Campus, you’ll find paintings by American masters and an extensive collection of Native American art and artifacts at the Robert Hall Fleming Museum. Revolutionary Patriot Ethan Allen hailed from this region. His homestead is five miles north of town. You can pay your respects at his grave in Greenwood Cemetery on the UVT campus.
Vermont’s official website, www.vermont.org, has a section dedicated to Burlington and its environs.
For more travel tips, go to www.insightguides.com.