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Southern Vermont is a beautiful location for an RV camping trip, with easy access to the Green Mountains, convenient transportation via Interstate 91, and fascinating towns like Brattleboro and Bennington to visit. While the Lake Champlain region up north gets most of the state’s visitors, the southern half has plenty of great things to do for those willing to roam off the beaten path a bit.
For a very low-key motorhome camping experience, consider getting an RV rental near Tree Farm Campground in Springfield, VT. Its rural location is a prime opportunity to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the Green Mountains, but just because it’s set back in the boonies doesn’t mean it’s short on amenities. The campground offers full hookups for your RV rental along with limited WiFi at most of their sites. There’s also a dump station, hot showers, a small playground for the little ones, and plenty of planned activities on weekends and holidays. If you want to get together with fellow RV campers, hot coffee and pastries are served every Sunday, offering the perfect opportunity to meet other travelers.
If you’re looking for outdoor recreation while staying at the RV campground, there are dozens of hiking trails just outside the park. Brought Fido along for the trip? There’s an off-leash dog park where your pup can play and get some exercise. Need some ideas for family fun? There's bocce ball, basketball, and volleyball courts, along with a corn horn setup.
You’re also never far from Vermont’s best attractions when you get a campsite at Tree Farm Campground. Interstate 91 is only a few miles from the campground, and you can be down in Brattleboro in just 45 minutes' drive or up in Lebanon-Hanover (home of Dartmouth University) in about 40 minutes.
Camping in Vermont is all about enjoying nature, and you’ll find dozens of amazing hiking trails to climb and pristine lakes to lounge near while you're here. Mount Ascutney State Park lies just half an hour's drive to the north of Tree Farm Campground and has one of Southern Vermont’s best hiking trails. There are several different routes to the 3,000-foot summit, but each of them is relatively easy and can be accomplished in a few hours. Views from the top are absolutely spectacular, but even more interesting are the groups of hang gliders that launch from there before gracefully whirling down to the valley floor.
If climbing prominent peaks is a little more adventure than you’re up for during your campervan rental vacation or you don’t have a full day to hike, consider a trip to Wilgus State Park just north of Springfield. The park hugs the Connecticut River and has some wonderfully scenic and flat pathways running alongside it. Many visitors use it as a kayak launching point (rentals are available in Windsor), as the wide and relatively slow-moving river has ideal conditions for novice paddlers. You could also pick up groceries or take-out food in Springfield and have a peaceful picnic lunch here.
Anyone considering a trip to New England in the autumn knows that seeing the leaves change is an obligatory experience. Bright oranges, reds, and yellows color the forest canopy, and a drive along any of the state’s rural highways is sure to be a memorable adventure. However, some of the more popular routes like Green Mountain Byway between Waterbury and Stowe or the Molly Stark Byway between Bennington and Brattleboro can be jam-packed with leaf-peeping tourists. Fortunately, just about any route through the Green Mountains is sure to be exceptionally beautiful, and Route 11 between Springfield and Manchester is relatively traffic-free, allowing you to snap pictures at your leisure.
Every one of Vermont’s tiny communities has something different to offer: charming white churches with big steeples, shops selling handmade wool clothes, and, of course, everything you could imagine involving maple syrup. One thing not often associated with small-town Vermont is industrial manufacturing. But back in the 1800s, the Connecticut River provided the power for many of New England’s factories, and southern Vermont was a leader in the industrial revolution. To learn more about this period, check out the American Precision Museum in Windsor, which has one of the largest collections of machine tools in the country. It’s quite interesting to see just how much the state and its economic activities have changed in the past century.
If you’re up for a scavenger hunt, one of the more unique activities in the state is to go hunting for all the covered bridges in the area. These architectural beauties once provided shelter to horses and carriages before the advent of the automobile. There are over 100 in the state, and a good portion of them are located in Windsor County, close to Tree Farm Campground. This is a great activity to combine with the autumn leaf-peeping.
Autumn is also a wonderful time to visit some of Vermont’s many apple orchards. Apple picking is a staple of couples' trips in New England and makes for a great family outing too. While most shoppers are only familiar with a few varieties of apples at their local supermarket, the orchards offer dozens with wildly different tastes and uses. You’ll undoubtedly end up with several pounds of apples after a day of picking, so ask the orchard staff for recommendations about how to make some delicious fireside snacks with them.