Why Vermont's Smugglers' Notch Resort Is The Perfect Family Vacation Destination

Smugglers' Notch Resort, or Smuggs as repeat visitors call it, is a popular resort in the Green Mountain State that boasts beautiful natural landscapes providing a backdrop for numerous hiking trails and award-winning skiing. It was voted No. 1 overall ski resort in the East by Ski Magazine readers and has been consistently raking in awards in the family category from the magazine for two decades now. Family Vacation Critic observes that the resort was designed for the family, comparing a trip there without children to "honeymooning in Legoland."

Located roughly an hour east of Burlington, it's a go-to vacation spot for active families, with a list of activities that will keep both you and your kids entertained throughout your stay. Because resort activities cover every season, Smuggs recently bagged an award for All-Season Entertainment Resort from Good Housekeeping's first annual Travel Awards. A TripAdvisor reviewer writes: "By far the best resort in Vermont and New England. Year-round fun for the [f]amily, especially the children."

Outdoor seasonal activities for the entire family

Family Vacation Critic reports that the Vermont resort offers staple family activities, such as water sports, skiing, bicycling, hiking, and golf, so there's always something your family can do. A TripAdvisor reviewer notes, "It was off-season so some things were closed but enough was open to have an enjoyable time." In the spring and fall, you can canoe, kayak, fish, and enjoy the Zip Line Canopy Tour. Off-site adventures, such as an e-bike fall foliage tour and a self-guided brew tour, are perfect during fall.

A cool way to spend your summer days is to go on a llama trek. "The hike was beautiful and the grounds at Smugglers' were clean and well-kept," says a TripAdvisor reviewer. The farmers' market in the Village courtyard, and the farm-to-table dinner and organic farm tour at the Valley Dream Farm in Cambridge — about 15 minutes west of the resort — offer fresh produce. Go boating or play pickleball, or join one of the resort's arts and crafts workshops, including jewelry making and painting, hosted by local artists.

In winter, there's ice skating, tubing, snowcat rides, and skiing. Aside from group and private lessons, a private experience allows your family to learn to ski and snowboard together. The resort also holds bonfires, fireworks, and a weekly winter carnival on the Village Green featuring an ice carving demo. Overall, a TripAdvisor reviewer summarizes the Smuggs experience: "Smugglers' Notch is a great family getaway. Skiing and activities for the whole family make it worth the trip."

Kid-friendly programs

With a list of activities longer than your child's Christmas wish list, there's no shortage of things to keep your kids busy during your stay at Smugglers' Notch Resort, per Family Vacation Critic. "There is always something to do. ... [Your] kids will not be bored," claims one TripAdvisor reviewer. With numerous freshwater reservoirs, heated pools, and waterslides, swimming and playing in the water will be top of mind for your little ones. If they're tired of the water, a number of playgrounds and a recreation area will keep them occupied.

Kid-friendly activities and programming vary depending on the season. For instance, there's a mountain bike clinic and private lessons in the fall, while in winter, Smuggs offers private lessons and group ski or snowboard lessons. If you have teens in tow, herd them off to the Alley in the Village, where your 13- to 19-year-olds can listen to music, play ping-pong or Xbox 360, or just hang out with their peers. If you have young children ages 6 weeks to 3 years old, Smuggs' Treasures child care center offers partial or full-day child care and babysitting, so you and your spouse can bond over activities you both enjoy without any worries.

Entertainment for the grownups

With the kids taken care of at Treasures or the Alley teen center, or otherwise enjoying themselves with a fun kid-friendly activity, you and your partner can head out and appreciate some time alone together. Activities during the day include yoga, Zumba, arts and crafts workshops, adult karaoke, and many more. At night, Bootleggers Lounge features magic shows, karaoke, and dance parties, according to Family Vacation Critic.

Depending on the season you're visiting, you could zip line through the canopy in the spring, learn about wild edible and medicinal herbs during an educational summer walk, go mushroom hunting in the fall, or join an après ski party in winter. Or, try the Top of the Notch Snowshoe Adventure Dinner, where you'll ride a lift to the Top of the Notch mountain cabin to dine on a gourmet meal from Hearth & Candle Restaurant before snowshoeing to the Base Lodge. Any time of year is a great time to visit Smugglers' Notch Resort.