9 State Parks to Visit in Vermont This Summer

In 2024, Vermont State Parks celebrates a century of family firsts, big adventure, and memorable moments. Statewide, 55 parks make up a legacy of conservation and stewardship in Vermont, creating a haven for wildlife, families, and outdoor recreators to enjoy scenic landscapes and history while protecting and preserving them for future generations. These 9 parks are a great place to start as you plan your parks visit.

2. Elmore State Park

On the shores of Lake Elmore, dubbed “Vermont’s Beauty Spot,” this state park is ideal for families, with a sandy beach on a comparatively shallow lake, campsites, boats available for rent, and picnic facilities on-site. Trails on park property lead up Mount Elmore to its fire tower, affording sweeping views of the Lamoille Valley (spot Vermont’s highest peak from up there.) A new beach house offers changing areas, bathrooms, and a concession stand selling park souvenir merchandise and light food.


Canoes stacked up next to a lake with a mountain covered in fall foliage in the background.

3. Brighton State Park

Those looking for a remote escape will find it at the sprawling Brighton State Park, located on the shores of Spectacle Pond. The closest town is rural Island Pond, a favorite base point for snowmobilers in winter and ATV riders in summer. Anglers, hunters, and campers looking to roam away from development will find an ideal mix of refuge and amenities at Brighton State Park, with campsites on the beach, a bathhouse with bathrooms, historic logging roads that lead further into the woods, and boats available to rent.

5. Kill Kare State Park

On the shores of Lake Champlain just outside the city of St. Albans, Kill Kare State Park unrolls like a painting on canvas. Named after the summer camp for boys that used the land from 1912 to 1966, the park offers lake life vibes for days. A museum and function area now occupies what was once a summer resort hotel before the boys’ camp moved in. Today, people love Kill Kare both for its own sake as a picnic, swimming, and boat launch, with boat rentals on site, and as access to Burton Island State Park, the original reason the state acquired the land in 1967. The Island Runner ferry accesses the remote island several times a day, taking travelers to cycling trails, beautiful views, and a small bistro serving lunch. Burton Island State Park can also be accessed by canoe or kayak.


A small ferry boat on a lake on a sunny summer day.

6. Mount Ascutney State Park

Calling all adventurers: Mount Ascutney State Park’s stock-in-trade is adrenaline. The park offers camping and hiking trails, leading hikers to the sites of former quarries and homesteads, relics of past logging operations, and other historical curiosities, as well as grand views of the Connecticut River Valley. Perhaps its most unusual offering is racing. Whether you race in cars, on bikes, or on foot, the park has been the site of annual races to the summit each summer. With two launch points, hang gliders love Mount Ascutney, too.


A person rides a bike on the rocky peak of a mountain with the sun setting in the background.

8. Fort Dummer State Park

With 217 acres of lush forest just outside Brattleboro, Fort Dummer State Park is a treasure trove of Indigenous and Revolutionary War history. The site of the first permanent European settlement in Vermont, the park overlooks what was Fort Dummer. Remnants of the fort, along with a swimming hole, can be found by hikers in the park today. The park also offers overnight camping in sites and lean-tos.


A sign reading “Fort Dummer State Park Camping” outside with flowers blooming in the summer.

9. Emerald Lake State Park

On the shores of sparkling Emerald Lake, this state park is inviting for swimmers, boaters, anglers, and families, with a playground, a boat launch, paddling gear for rent, and a campground to extend the fun overnight or longer. Located in southern Vermont between Manchester and Rutland, the Dorset area was known for marble quarrying, and that history forged this park. With the largest state campground in southwestern Vermont, brand-new docks, and on-site nature programming in the summer, Emerald Lake State Park is a true jewel.


People of all ages lounge and play on a sandy beach at a lake with a forest on the other side.