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Sweet Sites: Our 5 Favorite Family-Friendly Vermont State Park Campgrounds

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Kettle Pond in Groton State Forest - CATHY RESMER
  • Cathy Resmer
  • Kettle Pond in Groton State Forest

Camping fees start at $18 for tents and $25 for lean-tos, with additional costs based on campsite location, and number of people and pets. Find a full list of Vermont's 55 state parks here. And check out the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge, a family-oriented scavenger hunt that runs through October 15.

Grand Isle State Park - VERMONT STATE PARKS
  • Vermont State Parks
  • Grand Isle State Park

1. Grand Isle State Park

About 30 minutes from Burlington, Grand Isle's 226 acres include a nature center and a rocky beach with a stunning view of the Vermont shoreline. A stand of trees near the playground conceals a small clearing that makes an excellent secret clubhouse or fort.

Location Details Grand Isle State Park
36 East Shore South
Grand Isle, VT
802-372-4300
Parks, Outdoors & Wildlife and Swimming
Elmore State Park - CATHY RESMER
  • Cathy Resmer
  • Elmore State Park


2. Elmore State Park

This Lamoille County gem boasts hiking trails and a sandy beach. The two moderately challenging routes up Elmore Mountain lead to a spectacular view at the top — and a rickety fire tower that will challenge anyone with the slightest fear of heights. If you're looking to splurge a bit, try the amazing Fire Tower Pizza in lieu of a campfire dinner, available at the Elmore Store. Call ahead so it will be ready when you go to pick it up.

Location Details Elmore State Park
856 VT Route 12
Lamoille
Lake Elmore, VT
888-2982
kettlepond-cathy.jpg

3. Groton State Forest

There are several state parks within this oasis at the southern edge of the Northeast Kingdom, all close to hiking trails, a nature center, Lake Groton's Boulder Beach and a seasonal store. Campers can drive right up to their sites at Stillwater and Ricker Pond, which both offer water access and the occasional loon sighting. Nearby New Discovery,  a quieter car-camping destination, features trailheads and a play area. Families looking for a more serene retreat can opt for remote camping at Kettle Pond, where sites are accessible only by foot or boat.

Location Details Boulder Beach State Park
2278 Boulder Beach Road
Caledonia
Groton, VT
802-584-3823
Parks, Parks & Playgrounds and Swimming
Location Details Stillwater State Park
44 Stillwater Road
Caledonia
Groton, VT
802-584-3822
Parks & Playgrounds
Location Details New Discovery State Park
4239 Vermont Route 232
Caledonia
Groton, VT
802-426-3042
Parks, Outdoors & Wildlife, Fishing, Horseback Riding and Paths & Trails
Location Details Ricker Pond State Park
18 Ricker Pond Campground Road
Caledonia
Groton, VT
802-584-3821
Parks, Outdoors & Wildlife, Paths & Trails, Hiking, Bike Paths, Horseback Riding and Swimming
Location Details Kettle Pond State Park
6993 State Forest Road
Caledonia
Groton, VT
802-426-3042
Parks, Outdoors & Wildlife, Paths & Trails, Hiking and Swimming
Burton Island State Park - VERMONT STATE PARKS
  • Vermont State Parks
  • Burton Island State Park

4. Burton Island State Park

This island campground is accessible only by boat; a ferry between Burton Island and Kamp Kill Kare in St. Albans runs several times a day. There aren't many sites, or people, so the trails and beaches are never crowded. Cars aren't allowed on the island, so older kids can explore on their bikes without parents having to worry. A marina attracts enough boaters to justify a well-stocked store. Sites on Burton Island are in high demand, which is why they're more expensive and difficult to reserve. Because it's impossible to hop in the car and leave with a cranky kid who can't fall asleep, parents of babies and toddlers might want to consider another park.

Location Details Burton Island State Park
1 Burton Island
Franklin
St. Albans, VT
802-524-6353
Parks, Outdoors & Wildlife, Swimming and Paths & Trails
Half Moon Pond State Park - VERMONT STATE PARKS
  • Vermont State Parks
  • Half Moon Pond State Park

5. Half Moon Pond State Park

Much smaller and quieter than nearby Lake Bomoseen, Half Moon Pond is a safe place to practice paddling a canoe or kayak, both of which are available for rent. Half Moon is also an ideal home base from which to explore the day-use only Taconic Mountains Ramble State Park, with its peaceful Japanese garden, wildflower meadows and extensive network of rocky trails.

Location Details Half Moon Pond State Park
1621 Black Pond Road
Rutland
Hubbardton, VT
802-273-2848
Parks, Outdoors & Wildlife, Paths & Trails and Fishing

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