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Best Places to Live in Vermont

If you’re looking for a city with small-town vibes, you’re in luck. The whole state of Vermont has a small-town vibe. Burlington, the largest city in Vermont, has a population less than 50,000. And Vermont has the second-lowest population (647,000) in the U.S., just above Wyoming.1

You’ll experience all four seasons in Vermont, though winters can get pretty brutal that far north.  Fall is especially nice—with brilliant orange, red and yellow foliage. And yes, fall is also apple-picking season! 

Known as the Green Mountain State, Vermont has more than its share of natural beauty—not to mention maple syrup (it’s one of the four main food groups for Vermonters).

It’s no surprise Vermont is among the most popular states people moved to in 2023.2 Vermont is a destination—not just someplace you pass through on your way to Florida.

Here’s our list of the nine best places to live in Vermont.

Burlington

Known as The Queen City, Burlington is the biggest city in Vermont—but its population is still way less than most big cities.

Burlington is on the shores of Lake Champlain, one of the largest natural lakes in the U.S., so lake activities are big. Much of the town is pedestrian friendly, and Waterfront Park is one of the best places to take a stroll by the lake. You can also walk to ECHO, a science and nature museum by the lake.

Burlington’s walkable downtown has local shops, art galleries and restaurants (try the pizza at Pizzeria Verità, and you’ll be back for more).

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy all four seasons of fresh-air adventures—from swimming and biking to snowshoeing and skiing. And for more adventures, Canada is about an hour away.

Major industries in Burlington include education (the University of Vermont is in Burlington) and health care.

Population

44,6463

Median Household Income

$64,9314

Median Monthly Rent

$1,9755

Median Home Value

$383,3006

Unemployment Rate

1.7%7

Average Annual Rainfall

41.2 inches8

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Williston

Williston is a suburb of Burlington and one of the fastest growing towns in Vermont.9 Williston has lots of big-box retail stores and restaurant chains you might not find in other parts of the state. So if Home Depot and Walmart are part of your Saturday routine, Williston is the place for you.

Williston has highly rated public schools and easy access to Burlington. For residents who don’t work in Burlington, retail is a major employer.

And if visiting nearby Lake Champlain doesn’t give you enough of a nature fix, Overlook Park has a hiking (or cross-country skiing) trail along the Winooski River.

Population

10,07310

Median Household Income

$99,66411

Median Monthly Rent

$2,00012

Median Home Value

$423,10013

Unemployment Rate

1.7%14

Average Annual Rainfall

45.2 inches15

South Burlington

South Burlington is adjacent to Burlington, and it’s a small city with big-city conveniences. Burlington International Airport is in South Burlington, and the city is home to University Mall, the largest shopping mall in Vermont.

Highly rated schools and low crime make this a great place to raise a family. And there’s no shortage of outdoor activities. Red Rocks Park has a lakefront beach and trails that can be used for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

For music fans, Higher Ground concert venue hosts national (Lyle Lovett is a regular) and local acts throughout the year. And if all that activity makes you hungry, eating local is no problem. Pauline’s Restaurant has great crab cakes.

Population

20,24116

Median Household Income

$90,41017

Median Monthly Rent

$2,40018

Median Home Value

$383,30019

Unemployment Rate

1.7%20

Average Annual Rainfall

41.2 inches21

Shelburne

Shelburne is a quiet town about 20 minutes south of all the action in Burlington. It’s a well-to-do area with a higher household income than the other cities surrounding Burlington.

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Shelburne’s history goes back to 1763, before the U.S. was even a thing, and the Shelburne Museum showcases some of that history—including tons of folk art and a steamboat parked in a grassy field.

Shelburne has lots to do for outdoorsy types. You can boat and fish on Lake Champlain, take a riverside hike at LaPlatte River Nature Park, or hike (or cross-country ski when it snows) at Shelburne Sugarworks. While you’re at Sugarworks, you’ll want to try their maple ice cream and pick up a bottle of fresh maple syrup to take home!

Population

6,19522

Median Household Income

$102,21323

Median Monthly Rent

$2,50024

Median Home Value

$451,80025

Unemployment Rate

1.7%26

Average Annual Rainfall

41.2 inches27

Montpelier

Montpelier is a small town in the Green Mountains, pretty much in the center of Vermont. As the state capital, Montpelier is home to the gold-domed Vermont State House, one of the oldest state capitols in the country. And much of the city’s population works in state government.

Downtown Montpelier has so many international restaurants that it’s said you can take a trip around the world in three square blocks.28 Sarducci’s is a must if you like Italian food. Downtown also has boutiques, book stores and art galleries.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Hubbard Park has trails and an observation tower with beautiful views of the city. Since three rivers converge in Montpelier, it’s a great place to kayak, when it’s not freezing—and when it is, world-class skiing is just a short drive away in Stowe.

Population

8,03029

Median Household Income

$76,14330

Median Monthly Rent

$1,40031

Median Home Value

$326,80032

Unemployment Rate

1.8%33

Average Annual Rainfall

48.5 inches34

Norwich

Norwich is a tiny (seriously tiny) town in eastern Vermont on the border with New Hampshire. From the white steeple of Norwich Congregational Church to its colonial-style town hall, Norwich screams (or at least politely declares): This is New England.

Norwich is a prosperous town with a highly rated public elementary school. Public high school and middle school students attend class across the river in nearby Hanover, New Hampshire. Many residents also work in New Hampshire.

Norwich’s largest employer is the King Arthur Baking Co., which sells flour and baking supplies around the country.

There’s not a whole lot to do in Norwich besides going to the general store or sipping a Whistling Pig red ale at Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse. It’s a quiet, low-key escape, and that’s the way residents like it.

Population

83935

Median Household Income

$138,75036

Median Monthly Rent

$1,60037

Median Home Value

$605,20038

Unemployment Rate

N/A

Average Annual Rainfall

43.3 inches39

Middlebury

Nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains, Middlebury is picturesque small town complete with a waterfall (Otter Creek). The town looks like something from a postcard or a puzzle.

It’s home to Middlebury College, a private, liberal arts college founded in 1800. The college is also one of the city’s largest employers, along with Porter Medical Center.40 Middlebury has plenty of outdoor activities, but bicycling in the rolling farmlands is a favorite among locals.

History buffs will want to spend time at Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History. And Middlebury’s downtown has a nice mix of local shops and restaurants (the prime rib at Fire & Ice Restaurant is a must).

Population

6,91341

Median Household Income

$76,42042

Median Monthly Rent

$1,50043

Median Home Value

$382,60044

Unemployment Rate

1.7%45

Average Annual Rainfall

41.9 inches46

Charlotte

Charlotte is located between Burlington and Middlebury along the shores of Lake Champlain. The town is an idyllic spot for boating, fishing and swimming. Mount Philo State Park offers hiking and beautiful views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains on the other side—you can even take a ferry across the lake to visit Essex, New York.

Charlotte is an agricultural community with 53 working farms that produce a mix of crops—from apples and grapes to hay and flowers—not to mention dairy farms (that famous Vermont cheddar!) and apiaries.47 If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, you’ll find it in Charlotte.

Charlotte’s Main Street has a small collection of antique and craft shops, but you’ll need to drive north to Burlington for some necessities. Take the scenic route and check out the Holmes Covered Bridge, a local landmark built in 1870.

Population

3,91048

Median Household Income

$124,61149

Median Monthly Rent

$3,40050

Median Home Value

$628,80051

Unemployment Rate

N/A

Average Annual Rainfall

41.9 inches52

Work With a Pro if You’re Planning to Relocate

If you think small-town life in Vermont seems like your speed, don’t start packing yet. If you’re serious about making Vermont your new home, you need a local real estate agent who can help you find the part of the state that’s just right for you.

 

Next steps

  • Decide where in Vermont you want to live.
  • Interview at least three local RamseyTrusted agents.
  • Choose one who’s right for you and start your moving journey.
Find Vermont Agents

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