Kayaking on Blueberry Lake in Warren.
Now that summer is in full swing, it’s a good time to map out places to go kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and even fishing. Here are nine lakes, swimming holes, and ponds worth visiting this summer in Vermont. (By no means is this a complete list, but these spots come highly recommended.)
Blueberry Lake in Warren is shallow enough for kids and big enough to kayak and canoe. The man-made lake is surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest with a gorgeous view of the Northfield Mountains.
Getting there: From Brook Road in Warren, turn right on Plunkton Road and take your first left after Lois Lane.
Silver Lake in Barnard is one of the prettiest lakes around. Perfect for swimming and kayaking, the lake is located a stone’s throw from the Barnard General Store and situated along Silver Lake State Park.
Getting there: Go swimming or launch your kayak from Silver Lake State Park, located at 20 State Park Beach Road in Barnard off Route 12, about 10 miles north of Woodstock.
Bartlett Falls in Bristol is a dramatic, 15-foot waterfall surrounded by rocks that drops into a deep, misty pool. Located along the New Haven River off Lincoln Road, this swimming hole is perfect for adventure-seekers and families. You’ll also find quiet spots along the river—namely Circle Current—that are great for kids.
Getting there: Bartlett Falls is located on Lincoln Road, just off Route 116 in Bristol. Parking for Bristol Falls is on the right. Parking for Circle Current is farther up the road on the right.
Grout Pond is a 1,600-acre recreational area in the Green Mountain National Forest that’s open for camping, fishing, canoeing, swimming, and hiking. The area includes primitive camping sites and 12 miles of trails, which circle the pond and connect with Somerset Reservoir.
Getting there: Located in West Wardsboro, the pond is located off Kelley Stand Road/Arlington-Stratton Road, about 20 minutes from Stratton Mountain Resort.
Wrightsville Beach Recreation Area
Wrightsville Beach Recreation Area in Middlesex is located along the north branch of the Winooski River, just outside of Montpelier near the Wrightsville Dam. Canoe and kayak rentals are available.
Getting there: From Montpelier, take Route 12 north and look for signs for Wrightsville Reservoir on your right.
Crystal Lake in Barton is bordered on one side by tall cliffs and features a beach on the northern shore that’s nearly a mile long. In some places the lake is 100 feet deep. The beach house, located at Crystal Lake State Park, is made of granite, which came from an old quarry on the eastern side of the lake.
Getting there: From Interstate 91, take Exit 25 onto Route 16 to Route 5 and follow signs.
Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow is an ideal swimming hole for kids and families located close to downtown. Okemo adopted Buttermilk Falls, and the ski area’s staff environmental scientist takes samples of the water weekly and posts results at the on-site kiosk so swimmers can enjoy the water with confidence.
Getting there: Buttermilk Falls Road is located directly across Route 103 from the turn to Okemo’s Jackson Gore. Follow Buttermilk Falls Road for a half-mile to the end. You’ll see an information kiosk and short trail through the woods to the main pool, with more pools upstream.
The Dorset Quarry, which was mined in 1785, is the oldest marble quarry in the United States. It’s now a popular swimming hole for locals and visitors. The quarry is deep and lacks easy access to the water, so it’s more suitable for older children and adults.
Getting there: From Manchester, take Route 30 north about six miles to Kelly Road, where there is parking near the historic marker.
Sunset Lake in Brookfield is home to the famous Floating Bridge. First built in 1820, the bridge has been replaced over the years, most recently in 2015. It is the only bridge of its kind in Vermont. But you can do more than just drive over this beautiful lake. I’ve seen people fishing from the bridge, canoeing, and jumping in the water near the grassy shore on the eastern edge of the lake. There’s no public beach, but it’s worth checking out on a hot summer day.
Getting there: From Interstate 89, take Exit 5 to Route 64 east and take a right onto Stone Road south to Brookfield village and Sunset Lake.
What other lakes, swimming holes, and ponds would you recommend visiting in Vermont?