The rain has finally let up, giving our guests a chance to explore Vermont in beautiful sunny weather. There are so many outdoor activities available in the summer in Vermont: hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and so many more. One of the best ways to explore all of these activities and to really get the true feeling of Vermont is to visit at least one of our Vermont State Parks.
Vermont State Parks is a division of the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, and their mission is to conserve and interpret on behalf of the people of Vermont their natural, cultural, historic, and scenic heritage, and in the process, provide recreational opportunities and economic benefit. The Division manages 55 developed state parks. Additionally, the state parks promote, operate, and maintain a large system of conserved lands that are enjoyed by over half a million visitors each year. The parks are run by full-time and seasonal staff, and a number of volunteers in various roles.
Among the 55 state parks there are 29 beaches, one swimming pool, and 38 picnic areas. One of those state parks, Branbury State Park in Brandon, is located less than 20 minutes from us, the Swift House Inn in Middlebury, Vermont. Branbury is located on the eastern shore of Lake Dunmore at the base of Mt. Moosalamoo. The Green Mountain National Forest is its neighbor to the east. The 69-acre park started out in operation as a farm, then a guest house, summer boys’ camp, and finally a private beach and picnic area. In 1945, it became Branbury (a combination of the towns Brandon and Salisbury) State Park. The park features a 1000 foot natural sandy beach and multiple large open grassy areas, making it ideal for playing sports, sunning, picnicking, and of course, swimming. Forgot your lunch or Frisbee? There is also a concession stand selling snacks, drinks, and beach toys.
Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and pedal boats are all available to rent at the park. Along with fishing and boating being available on Lake Dunmore, there are numerous hiking trails to scenic vistas, waterfalls, caves, mountain lakes, and streams, just a few minutes away from the park. Like many other state parks, Branbury has a park interpreter that dedicates their time to helping guests learn more about the natural and cultural history of the park and Vermont. The park interpreter works to come up with fun, hands-on activities including night hikes, nature crafts and games, campfire programs, and amphibian explorations.
Interested in traveling to more than one in a day? It’s very inexpensive to get into a state park for day use at only $4.00 an adult, $2.00 for children aged 4 – 13, and free for children 3 or under, and that fee covers a day use pass for your vehicle that can be used all day at any Vermont State Park. There are two other state parks in the area: Button Bay State Park in Ferrisburgh and DAR State Park in Addison, both just a half an hour away from the Swift House Inn.
Visit the Vermont State Park website for more info on Branbury State Park and upcoming events.
Directions to Branbury: Head west on Stewart Lane toward North Pleasant Street. At the traffic light, turn left onto North Pleasant Street, which is Route 7. You will have to make an S turn to stay on Route 7, heading south. In 6.8 miles, turn left onto State Route 53. In 3.5 miles, Branbury State Park will be on the right.