Burlington is a great place to bring the family for the weekend, with its in-town beaches and parks, kid-friendly restaurants, and fun outdoor gatherings. Start your day off with a good breakfast at Mirabelles Cafe on Main Street. This chef-owned bakery offers classic breakfasts and serves a mean popover – and the kid friendly staff is very welcoming. Alternatively, if it’s a nice day, stop by the City Market co-op and pick up some snacks and some Myer’s Montreal-style bagels and head to City Hall Park for a picnic breakfast.
Make the Echo Aquarium on the waterfront your first stop of the day. The educational center offers all kinds of interactive, kid-friendly activities. It also has various presentations – such as animal demos and fish feedings – throughout the day.
After Echo, head up the hill for a stop at the Burlington Bay Café to enjoy a sandwich or a maple creemee (soft serve ice cream) on their outdoor deck with spectacular views of the lake. Then take some time to explore Church Street, where in the summer there are often entertainers from musicians to magicians to check out. You can also find some good toys at stores like Kidstructive Fun or Homeport.
For afternoon activities, head out to Burlington’s North Beach for some fun in the sun and sand. It’s Burlington’s only beach with lifeguards on duty and there are kayaks and paddleboards for rent. Alternatively head south to Oakledge Park, which has a playground, a neighboring small beach, and a cool tree house to check out.
For a fun day trip from Burlington, head south to Waterbury and take the tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Factory. Don’t miss a stop by the flavor graveyard on the factory grounds. Afterwards, head over to Little River State Park for a swim or canoe in the Waterbury Reservoir, or take a walk and explore the remnants of the cerca 1800s farming community.
Another easy trip from Burlington is to head to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory for a fun, interactive tour where kids can make their own bear. If you’re hungry on the way back into town, Folino’s is a family-friendly spot for a good pizza. Adults can indulge in one of the Fiddlehead beers from the adjacent brewery.
For families looking to get out and enjoy the outdoors, head over to the Catamount Outdoor Family Center. The center offers biking (including mountain biking camps for kids) in the summer, and cross-country skiing in the winter.
Families will also enjoy a trip to Shelburne Farms. Here you can take a wagon ride out to the children’s farmyard, and the kids can participate in a variety of activities throughout the day, including cow milking, sheep brushing and egg gathering.
Back in Burlington there are various evening activities worth checking out, depending on the day or the season you’re in town. On Thursday evenings in the summer you can choose between a free concert in Battery Park or food tasting and live music at the Summervale events in the Intervale – both very family-friendly events where the kids can run around. Or you can head to a Burlington Lake Monster’s baseball game at Centennial Field. They offer the usual baseball game fare (hotdogs, pretzels, etc.) and adults can enjoy a local Vermont beer, while the kids might have the opportunity to dance with Champ, the team mascot.
If you’re in town and looking for more of a sit-down dinner – head over to Bluebird Barbecue. They have delicious barbecue, a great beer selection, and kids under 12 eat free on Sundays.
No matter what you choose to do, you can bet that both you and the kids will be getting a good night’s sleep after a day full of activities.
Do you know of other fun family activities in Burlington? If so, join in the conversation in Hints and Tips below and let other travelers know.