Summer is the best season to spend time in Vermont. Whether you want to be in perpetual motion or just relax and get away from it all, you can do it in Vermont in summer. Hike up a waterfall, cycle along scenic Route 100, run around the lake, relax with a cold drink on the back deck, cuddle in the hammock, play a game of horseshoes, paddle around the lake or take a moonlit soak in the hot tub.
Here are some suggestions for enjoying a variety of activities in the Okemo Valley region. A great source is the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce website, yourplaceinvermont.com. The Chamber also puts out a magazine each season. Here’s summer’s virtual edition!
Please note that all activities and offerings are impacted by COVID-19, so check the websites to make sure they are still running. Many are canceled in summer 2020.
Fishing licenses and supplies can be purchased at the Tyson Village Store, a half-mile north on Rte. 100. Our part of Lake Rescue, called Round Pond, has excellent fishing, including trout, perch and bass. Kids like to catch sunfish off the dock.
Vermont State Park
Camp Plymouth State Park, two miles away on Echo Lake (north on 100, right at Echo Lake Inn, left on Scout Camp Rd.), has lots of grass, a playground, picnic facilities, boats, a beach, and a food vendor.
There are three good playgrounds nearby – one at Camp Plymouth State Park; one six miles north on Route 100 on the left, next to the Plymouth School; and the other behind Black River High School, on your left on the far side of downtown on Rte. 103 East.
Okemo in Summer
Okemo Mountain Resort, just miles down the road, has a swimming pool in its Spring House at the Jackson Gore Base Area that’s open to the public. It has two kiddy slides, a shallow part for kids and a lap lane. The facility also includes a weight room, hot tub, yoga classes, a weight room, sauna, and more.
Okemo also offers the Adventure Zone at Jackson Gore, with a zipline, mini-golf, disc golf, a bungee thing, an alpine slide and much more. It presents a free Summer Music Series Friday nights, with food trucks and beer for sale.
You can rent road or mountain bikes at Okemo’s Jackson Gore base, and at Killington Resort. Both also run lifts in summer to access the trails. Below are some basic road cycling routes from the house. Serious road cyclists might wat to visit our list of Cycling Routes for some longer, more challenging rides.
- Route 100 is one of the most scenic roads in New England for riding. You can head north to the end and back; that’s about 22 miles round trip.
- For a longer, hillier route, take a right at the end (11 miles) onto Route 4, then another right onto 100A (about 4 miles) at the Bridgewater Corners Country Store (this is a very hilly section), then take a left back onto Route 100 in Plymouth. Or head south on 100, turn left on 103, ride through Ludlow and continue into Chester (rolling).
- For a short (ten-mile) ride that’s not too hilly, head south on 100, right on 103, bear right at the fork 100 yards in onto Buttermilk Falls Road), and ride to the end, then come back. (At the halfway point, I suggest you park your bike and hike into the falls and take a dip).
- If you have a mountain bike, you can ride at Killington, where the lift is running in the summer.
- There’s also a gorgeous 12-plus-mile route around the lakes, for hybrids or mountain bikes. Head south on Route 100. Turn left on East Lake Road, a mile past the Green Mountain Sugar House. Follow the dirt road to the end (you’ll come out on 100 at Hawk Mountain Resort). Turn left and head home. There are some big hills.
Running & Walking
- Either direction on Route 100 is lovely as an out-and-back course, with breathtaking views of the lakes.
- Or, head north on Route 100, turn left at Echo Lake Inn, and go out as far as you want on the dirt road, then come back for a nice out and back course. (Warning – it’s uphill out, downhill back.)
- For a hilly five-mile route around Lake Rescue, head south on route 100, turn left on Red Bridge Rd., turn left at the end onto East Lake Road, then left at the paved road back to 100, where you’ll turn left and you’re home!
- Another route (at least four miles): North on Route 100. Right at Echo Lake Inn. Left onto Scout Camp Road. Left onto the dirt road after Lake Amherst. Left onto Rte. 100 and home. Or, instead of taking the left after Lake Amherst, stay straight and follow it into Hawk Mountain Resort, then left onto Rte. 100 and home. This stretches it to more than 5, possibly even 6. All the lake routes are HILLY.
Of course the boats at the Lake Rescue Chalet dock are available for your use. But if you want to visit another lake in the region, you can rent kayaks, paddleboards and canoes at the Tyson Store (they will transport boats to the lake of your choice for a fee), and at Camp Plymouth State Park.
- Okemo Valley Resort and Golf Club
89 Fox Ln., Ludlow, VT 05149-9693
- Crown Point Golf Course
Weathersfield Center Rd., Springfield, VT 05156
- Tater Hill Golf Course
6802 Popple Dungeon Rd., Chester, VT 05143-9825
- Stratton Mountain Country Club
Stratton Mountain Road, Stratton Mountain, VT 05155
- Killington Golf Course
4763 Killington Rd., Killington, VT 05751-9746
- Stonehedge Golf Course
216 Squires Road, North Clarendon, VT 05759
- Woodstock Golf Course
14 The Green, Woodstock, VT 05091-1283
- Here’s a list of some nice Vermont State Park hiking trails in the state of Vermont.
- The Tiny Pond Wildlife Management Area trailhead is less than half a mile north on Rt. 100 on your left.
- Camp Plymouth State Park at Echo Lake, two miles away, has beautiful hiking trails, including a short one to the hilltop with a breathtaking that kids can even do. (Trailhead is to the left of the cabins, across the street from the parking lot. Take the first left, cross the old cemetery, continue up.)
- Hawk Mountain Resort (north on 100 about three miles) has a variety of trails.
- Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow is a short hike with a waterfall. (South on 100, right on 103, then an immediate right at the American Legion. Go about a mile or a mile and a half. Park and hike in to the right; there are several spots.) You can hear the falls from the road; even small kids can do this hike. Early in the summer season the water is high; later it’s low and swimmable.
- The Healdville Trail to Okemo Mountain will provide a long, challenging hike. Take Healdville Rd. to the top of Okemo, 2.9 miles and all day. South on 100, right on 103, left on Healdville Rd. and immediate left.
- You will find beautiful hiking trails at Camp Plymouth State Park (which has a Vista Trail up to the mountain top that even kids can do),
- Okemo Mountain has a fire tower at the top with 360-degree views
- Vermont’s Long Trail and Appalachian Trail trailheads can be accessed by car in several locations. The Long/Appalachian Trail crosses Route 103 West on the way to Rutland. The trailhead is right after you cross the railroad tracks, and there is parking.
- The Long Trail also crosses Route 4 at the Long Trail Inn at Killington. There is a parking lot across the street from the inn, and you’ll find hiking on both sides of the road. The south side goes to the top of Killington Mountain, and the north side has the added feature of bouldering and an incredible vista.
New England Villages
- Downtown Ludlow, of course! Our own village is a wonderful place to poke around in, with a number of charming shops and restaurants, as well as basic necessities such as food, gas and liquor. Here are TripAdvisor’s Top Things to do in Ludlow!
- Woodstock, a quintessential New England Village
- Manchester, one of Vermont’s premier tourist and outlet shopping destinations
- Chester is small but adorable
- Burlington, the largest city in the state, is 2 hours away and worth the drive
- Brattleboro, an artsy town
- Rutland, half an hour away, has stores, hospitals, a Saturday Farmers Market, outdoor concerts, festivals, and a vibrant historic downtown
- Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, is about two hours away and definitely worth the drive for a day trip. Check out the Church Street Marketplace, visit the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet, or take a boat ride on Lake Champlain
There are a number of family-friendly day trips within a couple of hours of our house, including but not limited to:
- Calvin Coolidge Historic Site, Plymouth
- Quechee Gorge, Quechee (Vermont’s Grand Canyon)
- VINS (Vermont Institute of Nature and Science), Woodstock (raptors and nature)
- Billings Farm and Museum, Woodstock (dairy farm with cows and ice cream)
- Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts (arts and crafts classes)
- Montshire Museum of Science, Hanover, NH
- Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour, Waterbury Village
- Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, Shelburne (build your own bear)
Dine in the surprisingly fine restaurants of Ludlow, including Goodman’s American Pie (brick oven heaven; our favorite!), Outback Pizza (fun for groups with karaoke), D.W.’s, Ma Ma’s casual Italian, the Downtown Grocery, Du Jour Vermont (live music), the Echo Lake Inn, Harry’s Mount Holly Café, La Tavola, Mr. Darcy’s and Sam’s Steakhouse.
Music & Culture
Here’s a comprehensive list of Events in Okemo Valley this summer, provided by the Vermont Tourism Network. You can find a free outdoor concert every night of the week! A few local highlights follow:
- Jackson Gore Summer Music Series on Okemo Mountain
- Killington’s “Cooler in the Mountains” summer concert series
- Woodstock Brown Bag Concert Series