There’s a reason why road trips are such a popular American pastime. With the right itinerary, you can find so many things this country has to offer and fit the tastes of every member of your brood. The Northeast is chock-full of terrific, family-friendly attractions, with everything from adrenaline-pumping amusement parks to taking in natural beauty on quiet beaches. Click through the gallery to get planning.
Green Mountain National Park Loop— Green Burlington, Vt—170 miles
What to See
There’s a lot to do in Burlington but head down Route 7 to Shelburne for three great family attractions. Shelburne Museum has exhibitions kids will love like circus models and vintage toys spread through a campus including a lighthouse, a steamboat, a carousel, and a locomotive. Shelburne Farms is bucolic, with a children’s farmyard, and tours of grounds and cheesemaking. Wee ones will enjoy a quick tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory (only in production on weekdays.)
Further down 7, Vergennes offers a small, scenic waterfall park and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Continue south, keeping an eye out for outlooks and covered bridges. Fall foliage, maple syrup, and apple picking are a big draw, but in summer stop by Charlotte Berry Farm for pick-your-own, creemees and pies. Turn onto 53 to hike, swim or camp at Branbury State Park or head on to picturesque Brandon to stop for food or an overnight, then visit the herd nearby at Maple View Farm Alpacas.
Head west to the Mt. Horrid Observation Site, a short but steep hike to a not-so-horrid view. At Rutland take the Route 4 Scenic Byway to Killington for skiing in winter or outdoor fun like zip lines and a land coaster in warmer months. Head north on the Route 100 Scenic Byway for kid-friendly waterfall hikes like Thundering Brook Falls and Texas Falls Recreation area, and then, north of Green Mountain you can continue up 100, hike Camel’s Hump State Park and take the Ben & Jerry’s factory tour before heading back to Burlington.
Good to Know: Known as “Vermont’s Main Street,” Route 100 is considered one of the most beautiful drives for fall foliage, and is the curvier, more rustic side, while Route 7 is smoother and has more towns and roadside attractions. Remember to book far in advance for foliage season lodgings and pay attention to local road reports in winter.
Where to Eat
Brandon has several good restaurants, including Café Provence for a more elevated meal kids will still like. On Route 100 stop by the Original General Store in Pittsfield for gifts and antiques with your deli sandwich or a farm-to-table restaurant in back.
Where to Stay
Brandon’s aptly-named Brandon Inn is a classic right in town, while the Brandon Motor Lodge is quietly set just outside town and has a pool. The Vermont Inn near Rutland is surprisingly affordable for a country beauty. Off of 100, Liberty Hill Farm Inn offers farm food and activities, while for campers, Country Village, Moosalamoo and Chittenden Brook fit the bill.
photo: ultramodernhome on YouTube
What’s your favorite family road trip? Share with us in the comments!