Columbus Day weekend in Vermont marks the peak of the colorful fall season. As you can imagine, there’s plenty to do in Vermont at this time of year to celebrate autumn. A weekend getaway at an incredible Vermont vacation rental offers a perfect opportunity to appreciate Mother Nature and take the family out for one more hurrah before winter comes along. The state of Vermont is unique in that most of its urban areas are small, so there is a definite charm wherever you go. Check out the top cities and towns to stay at in Vermont.

1. Burlington

Burlington is a picturesque city with plenty of history and beautiful architecture in terms of stately vacation rentals that serve as your headquarters for a lot of family fun or a romantic weekend. Wooded parks have plenty of scenic beauty if you want to stay close to home and see the nature in Oakledge Park, Battery Park and Waterfront Park. Look for great local eateries and markets along Burlington Bay on the west side of town when you want seasonal foods that are fall-time treats, such as squash, pumpkins, seafood, and apples. Take the ferry to Port Kent, across Lake Champlain in New York, for more autumn scenery.

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2. Rutland

Rutland’s Fall Foliage Art in the Park Fine Art and Craft Festival lets you talk to artists and buy their wares while enjoying the splendorous fall colors. Pico Mountain and Killington Peak, just east of Rutland, harbor ski resorts in the winter, but before the snow hits the slopes there are scenic trails, deep valleys and plenty of fall foliage for your family to see. For a slice of Americana, visit the Norman Rockwell Museum northeast of town, and make sure to explore the grounds and its massive trees.

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3. Waterbury

The Waterbury area. in between Burlington and Montpelier, has plentiful natural areas and unique Vermont attractions ideal for families and a vacation rental. Cold Hollow Cider Mill is in full swing by Columbus Day Weekend with its apple-based delights, treats, and tours of the apple cider mill. Visit the Ben and Jerry’s factory to see where the famous ice cream flavors were born, and make sure to partake in some seasonal samples. Nearby Mount Mansfield and Camel’s Hump State Park feature soaring vistas that you can hike to the top. Once there, enjoy a bird’s eye view of the fall colors in all of their glory. The Green Mountains Scenic Byway lets you drive through autumn’s splendor in your car.

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4. Woodstock

Columbus Day Weekend in Woodstock is a big deal thanks to two main events. Harvest Weekend at Billings Farm, a working dairy farm, shows adults and kids alike how to harvest vegetables for the fall, including corn and pumpkins. You can also learn how to properly peel apples, milk cows, and maybe even shear some sheep. At the end of the day, dance with your sweetie at a traditional barn dance filled with live music and great food. The Woodstock Apples and Crafts Fair features more than 100 juried artists and specialty foods over the two-day Columbus Day weekend. A vacation rental in the heart of Woodstock lets you enjoy both events in the comfort of a home-like setting. Your rental might have picturesque views of the Ottauquechee River.

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5. Barre

Barre is known for some unusual places to see, especially during the dry weather of early October. Rock of Ages granite quarry contains bright green water that reaches nearly 600 feet deep and towering granite cliffs that oversee the surrounding countryside. In early October, the quarry gives you a great view of the fall colors as you bowl on a granite bowling alley. Fall leaves give Hope Cemetery an ethereal quality among headstones called the Granite Capital of the World. Most of the headstones here are beautiful works of art as part of a macabre and solemn stone sculpture garden.

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6. Vergennes

A vacation rental in Vergennes serves as your headquarters for plenty of nature walks and history museums. Vergennes Falls Park is a serene place with fall leaves resting on Otter Creek, while Snake Mountain overlooks a wide, flat valley filled with panoramic vistas. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum preserves the history of the huge lake in between Vermont and New York. Tour the lake with a glass-bottomed boat to see a magical underwater world. Vacation rentals near Button Bay State Park have fantastic views of Lake Champlain if you’re a water lover.

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7. St. Albans

St. Albans is a charming, quaint city that time seems to forget about a dozen miles from the Canadian border on Lake Champlain’s east side. The city prides itself on maintaining its proud history, as evidenced by the downtown area filled with vintage buildings more than 100 years old. The St. Albans Museum gives you an idea of how the railroad the U.S. Civil War shaped this town. About 12 miles to the east in East Fairfield, enjoy live music on Saturday of Columbus Day weekend from a favorite folk or bluegrass band in an idyllic setting at The Meeting House on the Green. If you love driving, head south to find the Lake Champlain Scenic Byway to explore the eastern side of this historic body of water.

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8. Newport

Vacation rentals in Newport tout majestic views of Lake Champlain near the Canadian border. Check out the local restaurants that specialize in real maple syrup and apple cider at this time of year, and make sure to enjoy some local samples. The Old Stone House Museum showcases the area’s rich history. Fish from your back porch or dock while you enjoy the lake, or pencil in some romantic time with your sweetie in this small town.

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9. Derby Line

Derby Line sits on the Canadian border with Quebec. The Haskell Free Library and Opera House, just over the border in Canada, is a charming attraction that takes you back in time more than 100 years. The stage is in Canada, but many of the seats are in Vermont. Take a tour or see a live show. Eagle Point Wildlife Management Area features 457 acres of pristine wilderness with mountains in the background when you want to take a day hike to get away from city life to marvel at the fall foliage.

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10. Stowe

Stowe sits just north of Waterbury and east of Burlington. Smugglers’ Notch State Park showcases a narrow pass in the Green Mountains replete with fall colors on all sides. Hike to the top of 1,000-foot cliffs to get the full effect with swift waterfalls serving as the background noise. Take to the trails of C.C. Putnam State Forest to the top of Mount Worcester to enjoy dynamic views you’re sure to remember long after your Columbus Day weekend getaway.

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11. Springfield

Springfield, Vermont, sits on the eastern border of the state next to New Hampshire. This vibrant city also serves as a great place to explore Vermont’s many covered bridges to the north and south. More than dozen covered bridges are within a 30-minute drive of Springfield, all of which offer fantastic photo ops as you enjoy a romantic weekend with your partner. Along the way, drive through some scenic areas filled with natural splendor that typifies New England at this time of year.

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