There are lots of great places to swim along the Mad River — you need only look for parked cars to find the sweet spots. Two well-marked areas couldn’t be more different: Dramatic Warren Falls is one of those rope-swing spots that attract shirtless adolescent boys. The family-friendly Lareau Swimming Hole is a peaceful bend in the river that is shallow enough for kids in some places and, in others, deep enough for a real dip. PHOTO: MATTHEW THORSEN
Addison County is a biker’s dream come true. The terrain ranges from flat, open expanses along the lake to rolling roads dotted with dairy farms.
This 482-acre state park includes more than two miles of land on Lake Carmi — and Vermont's third largest peat bog. Take a walk through this designated natural area, or get out on the water. Bring your fishing pole and land some walleye or Northern Pike. This is also the state's largest campground, so there are plenty of spots to spend the night.
This state park is home to the Island Center for Arts and Recreation, a community-based nonprofit that promotes cultural events in the region. Until recently, the Royal Lippizan Stallions used this as their summer home. It's a great place to watch the boats go by on Lake Champlain.
This park is popular with people who want to camp near — but not in — Burlington. There's a boat launch for canoes and kayaks and plenty of lakeshore for swimming and fishing.
Where there’s a wind, there’s a way, and it’s almost always blowing in Champlain Islands. That, combined with lots of beach access, makes the area ideal for windsurfing. At Sandbar State Park, you can catch a southeast breeze, or a northwest one, and go the distance. White’s Beach on South Hero is also a favorite launch spot. Serious surfers head out between Stave and Providence islands to the broad lake, where they can ride the big waves all the way to New York. Depending on the wind direction, the Grand Isle Lake House can be a sweet spot, too.
The 830-acre Waterbury Reservoir was dry for seven years while the dam was being repaired, but has since been restored to its former boating-fishing-swimming glory. The only “development” on its pristine shores is Little River State Park, central Vermont’s largest and most popular campground, with 101 sites. Look for cellar holes, an old sawmill and other evidence of an abandoned 300-year-old farming “campground” that preceded it.
Hiking, swimming and picnicking are popular at this South Burlington municipal park. Please, folks, no bikes on the trails.
Burlingtonians come here to swim and picnic, out-of-towners also use it as a campground.
This park was once home to an exclusive girls camp, but it's now a natural area known as a great spot for weddings. Locals picnic and swim here. Bike down flat, open, back roads to nearby Button Bay State Park.
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