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If you are looking for a fun family getaway that isn’t overcrowded, Burlington, VT with kids might be just what you’re looking for. Beautiful, artsy, funky, and lots to do. Your family will be able to find lots to do in Burlington.
Our family went to Burlington, VT for the weekend, and barely scratched the surface of this gorgeous town. In this post, we will tell you our favorite activities along with some more places to visit while you’re in town.
Whether you have a week or a weekend, this Burlington VT travel guide for family-friendly activities will help you put together an itinerary that will keep you and your kids busy and having fun.
Related post: 14 Popular Things to Do in Vermont with Kids
What to do in Burlington, VT with kids
Visit the shops and restaurants at Church Street Marketplace
Located in the heart of downtown Burlington is the Church Street Marketplace, which is an open-air mall with a wide variety of restaurants and shops. It is a great place to grab a bite, do a little souvenir shopping, and is just a beautiful place to walk on a nice day.
Fun fact: This outdoor marketplace will probably look familiar to you if you’ve ever been to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado. There is a reason for that; they were both designed by the same design firm.
Learn about Burlington’s ecosystem at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
The ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is a fun little science center right on Lake Champlain. Here you will learn about the lake, its creatures, its history, and even some history about Champ, the sea monster that legend says lives in Lake Champlain.
There are many species of turtle, fish, frogs, and more that live at ECHO as well as special exhibits. Be sure to check their calendar to see what’s going on at the museum while you’re in town.
Hours and admission
ECHO Leahy Center is open year-round from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Toddlers (ages 2 and under): Free
Children (ages 3-17): $14
Seniors & students: $15
*If you have a membership with another participating zoo or museum, such as the Boston Museum of Science, admission is free with the reciprocal admission discount.
Walk the grounds at the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum
Ethan Allen, a farmer, businessman, writer, politician, and Revolutionary War patriot was born in Connecticut and eventually made a home in Vermont, then known as the New Hampshire Grants. He lobbied for Vermont’s official state recognition.
The Ethan Allen Homestead Museum is a beautiful homestead in the Winooski River valley. The farm is now a living museum where you can walk the grounds, find out more about Ethan Allen, and see what life was like in the 1700s.
Hours and admission
The Ethan Allen Homestead is open May 1st to October 31st, Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The last tour is at 3:00 pm.
Students 5-17: $6
Children under 5: free
More museums in Burlington, VT
Burlington, Vermont is home to several awesome museums. There is sure to be one that piques your family’s interest.
- Shelburne Museum – if your family is intrested in art and Americana, the Shelburne Museum has it all. This museum is home to folk art, paintings, toys, textiles, and much more.
- Fleming Museum of Art – if you enjoy art you will love the collections of art from Native Americans, Vermont, Africa, and more. You will find paintings, scultpures, textile art, and more.
- Perkins Museum of Geology – associated with the University of Vermont, learn about the geological history of Burlington at the Perkins Museum of Geology. This museum has free admission.
- Birds of Vermont Museum – if you love birds, then this museum is for you!
Lake Champlain Cruises
Take a cruise on Lake Champlain on the Spirit of Ethan Allen ferry. There are several different cruise packages from a general narrated scenic cruise to dinner cruises and murder-mystery tours.
The scenic cruise is a nice hour and a half cruise on the lake narrated with information about Burlington and even some stories of Champ the monster.
Cruise times and prices
Scenic narrated cruises run daily from May 9 to October 18 at 10:00, 12:00, 2:00, and 4:00.
Times and prices vary by the cruise, so check times and pricing for all other cruises.
Snacks, small meals, and drinks are available for purchase from the Ethan Allen Cafe.
Where to eat with kids in Burlington, VT
Eat an amazing breakfast at Henry’s Diner
When it comes to breakfast, nothing beats a great diner and Henry’s Diner is no exception. Since it is located downtown close to Church Street Marketplace, it’s convenient for visitors and its menu is top-notch. Even if you are traveling with picky eaters, they will find something they’ll love at Henry’s.
Henry’s has been serving breakfast since 1925 so they know what they’re doing! If you’re looking for an amazing breakfast, I highly recommend their omelets, but my youngest son will tell you that their french toast is the way to go. No matter what you order, you can’t go wrong.
Get a delicious flatbread pizza at American Flatbread
There are a lot of fantastic restaurants in Burlington, especially within the Church Street Marketplace, but many of them may have long wait times. If you are traveling with hungry kids and can’t wait or they’re picky and just want pizza, American Flatbread is an excellent option.
As the name implies, the pizzas served here aren’t traditional, but they are out of this world. Instead of a standard crust topped with cheese and standard pizza toppings, American Flatbread uses creative topping combinations on top of a flatbread that is then cooked in a stone wood-fired oven. Highly recommended for pizza lovers.
Parkway Diner also serves up delicious breakfast
Both of the diners in town were highly rated, and if you love diner food as much as most New Englanders do, why not give Parkway Diner a try.
Located a bit further away from downtown, Parkway isn’t as conveniently located as Henry’s. If you only want to try one diner, I’d recommend sticking with Henry’s. But if you’d like to try both, the drive out to Parkway Diner in South Burlington is worth it. Their eggs benedict is delicious.
Grab an ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s
You can’t visit Vermont without having some Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! Located in the Church Street Marketplace, no visit to Burlington is complete with a cone (or cup) from the original Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop location. Party like it’s 1978.
More family-friendly Burlington, VT attractions
- Shelburne Farms – visit the animals at this beautiful farm with walking trails and a children’s farmyard.
- Lake Champlain Chocolates – take the factory tour and buy some delicious local chocolate.
- Vermont Teddy Bear Factory – see where these iconic bears are made, visit the Bear Hospital, and create a new friend to bring home.
- Leddy Beach and park – take a walk, have a picnic, and dip your toes in Lake Champlain.
Drive through one of the covered bridges near Burlington, VT
What visit to Vermont is complete without finding a covered bridge or two? There is something so charming and nostalgic about covered bridges. They are a reminder of a bygone era and are one of the most quintessential symbols of New England.
There are three beautiful covered bridges in Charlotte, VT which is located about fifteen miles south of Burlington. While not a typical kids’ activity, covered bridges were really cool to walk and drive through.
Seguin Covered Bridge, Charlotte, VT
The Seguin Covered Bridge is a beautiful bridge located off the beaten path, which seems to be most of Charlotte, Vermont. There is a pull-off where you can get out of the car and explore the bridge up close and personal. Surrounded by woods, this bridge would be breathtaking in the fall.
Holmes Creek Bridge, Charlotte, VT
Located right along Lake Champlain, the Holmes Creek Bridge is in a gorgeous place to pull over and look out at the water.
Quinlan’s Covered Bridge, Charlotte, VT
Drive through miles of farmland to get to Quinlan’s Covered Bridge. As with the other bridges, this one has an area to pull over though it’s not as well defined as with the other two. Quinlan’s bridge crosses a peaceful little stream and is located next to a large field of farmland. A quaint scene that is worth the drive.
Consider Burlington, Vermont for your next family vacation if you are looking for a destination that is off the beaten path.
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do and places to visit near Burlington, VT with kids. Burlington is the perfect destination for outdoorsy families who like hiking, exploring, walking, and seeing how things work.