Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier, Vermont (Photo by John Holm on Unsplash)

Chances are, if you’ve seen a photograph of fall foliage so vivid you wonder if it’s real, you were looking at a photo of Vermont. The cozy New England state is home to the stunning Green Mountains, dozens of rom-com worthy small towns, and autumn foliage you have to see to believe. Some of the best places to live in Vermont offer access to amazing ski resorts, breweries, and breathtaking scenery year-round.

Living in Vermont brings you to the heart of the extensive nature its residents enjoy. And as research has continually shown, time outdoors is full of benefits for both body and mind. In fact, a recent study has revealed that living closer to nature can even help ward off psychological distress. Researchers from Washington State University report living closer to both green spaces (outdoor areas, parks, forests) and blue spaces (bodies of water) may reduce the risk of experiencing serious psychological distress among older adults. This trauma often leads to mild cognitive impairment and the onset of dementia.

Another study from researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada recruited 395 individuals to participate in a study on how even the most ephemeral of experiences with nature could improve health outcomes. Participants were split into three groups. One group was asked to photograph and document observations on natural surroundings over a two-week period, while another group was tasked with doing the same for manmade objects. A control group was told to do neither. Outcomes were remarkably different between the groups. Overall, “the difference in participants’ well-being — their happiness, sense of elevation, and their level of connectedness to other people, not just nature — was significantly higher than participants in the group noticing how human-built objects made them feel and the control group,” notes researcher Holli-Anne Passmore.

Whether you’re moving to spend more time stopping to smell the roses, or you’re simply relocating for work or personal reasons, life in Vermont has plenty to offer. In fact, you’ll likely find that the hardest part of the move may be deciding between the state’s many charming towns. To help kickstart your search, StudyFinds sought the opinions of local experts and compiled this ranking of the best places to live in Vermont. This list includes the most frequently recommended locations, but as always, be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have a favorite that we missed!

The List: Best Places to Live in Vermont, According to Experts

1. Montpelier

As the capital city of Vermont, Montpelier boasts plenty to do. But at the same time, the smaller population allows for a tight-knit community. “No matter where you’re from, Montpelier, VT is one of the cutest small towns to call home away from home,” says Green Light Real Estate. “Although it’s one of the least populated in Vermont, Montpelier has no shortage of fun; and it’s a great place for those looking for tranquility.”

Vermont state capital building in Montpelier
Vermont state capital building in Montpelier (Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash)

“Despite being the capital, it still feels like a quaint and charming small town,” notes Rocket Homes. “There is great skiing, hiking, and canoeing nearby. If you’re looking for a cozy zip code surrounded by breathtaking nature, then Montpelier might be the best place for you.”

“Home to the New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier not surprisingly boasts a highly regarded culinary scene. You also can create your own culinary masterpieces with locally-grown and sourced ingredients from the town’s farmers market,” mentions Rent. “And, unlike many larger cities, Montpelier’s business scene has locally-owned retailers and independent businesses that pride themselves on personal service. Montpelier also capitalizes on the area’s natural beauty, with hiking and biking trails, local parks and more.”

2. Burlington

As a bustling college town with a lively population, Burlington is an exciting place to call home. With plenty to entice residents of all ages, the city is a true blend of much of what Vermont has to offer. “Burlington features a mix of outdoor recreation, arts and culture and abundant economic opportunities,” says Rent. “It’s the perfect setting for residents of all ages and circumstances, from young professionals to growing families to empty-nesters, and everything in between.”

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“Ah, Burlington: the heart and soul of Vermont,” claims HomeSnacks. “Home to a thriving arts scene, entrepreneurship out the wazoo, the very best of Vermont’s dining and shopping, and plenty of outdoor recreation, residents of Burlington can’t imagine living anywhere else. It’s the youngest city on this list, with a median age of just 27, easily explained by all the University of Vermont and Champlain College students around. Many students never leave, and they can’t be blamed for that.”

“While Burlington does have many of these bigger city amenities, it still has a smaller town feel compared to the big cities of most states,” adds Rocket Homes. “Burlington is located on the shore of Lake Champlain and has picturesque views and easy access to many outdoor activities. If you’re looking for a city in Vermont that has the beautiful geography but also modern city amenities, Burlington might be the perfect choice.”

3. Woodstock

You’d have a hard time finding a town with more charm than Woodstock. With dozens of inns, beautiful views, and a postcard-worthy downtown, you may find yourself wondering if you’ve woken up in a storybook. As HomeSnacks says, “if you’re looking for a place with quintessential New England charm, you’ve found it in Vermont’s best town, Woodstock. An abundance of covered bridges, farms dedicated to sharing their agricultural heritage or just providing divine cheese and maple syrup, and Vermont’s only national park: these are the features that make for a simple, pleasant life in Woodstock.”

“Without any doubt, this is a perfect place for families,” boasts Green Light Real Estate. “Besides having the top schools in the state for your kids, Woodstock, VT also has the 2nd lowest crime rate. Imagine all the great things you can think about, if you didn’t have to constantly worry about your children’s safety?”

Whether you have kids to bring along or are just enjoying the outdoors on your own, Woodstock is the place to do it. “Outdoor enthusiasts will find more than enough to keep them on the go all year long, from fishing to hiking to snow sports to swimming, and so much more,” says Rent. “Parents will love the town’s highly-rated school system, as well as two recreation centers, three daycare centers and a performing arts center, all of which offer many opportunities to help their children learn and thrive. They even can become a junior ranger at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Vermont’s only national park.”

4. South Burlington

While smaller than nearby Burlington, the town of South Burlington is a delight all to itself. Outdoor enthusiasts will be especially pleased, as South Burlington is situated perfectly amongst some of Vermont’s best nature scenes. “Burlington may be the biggest city in Vermont, but South Burlington has the slight edge when it comes to quality of life,” says HomeSnacks. “You can get sweet views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks from Red Rocks Park, meet the local legends behind Vermont’s top craft beer at the Magic Hat Brewery, and party all night long at the Higher Ground music venue. It’s truly a vibrant city with an endless supply of entertainment and natural splendor.”

Head downtown for plenty of fun activities for residents of all ages. “South Burlington is considered one of the dream places to live in the Northeast US because of its suburban downtown, bustling amenities, and a lot of breweries,” claims Movingist. “Entertainment and recreation spots in South Burlington are found in large numbers consisting of bars, restaurants, clubs, and parks to enjoy great nightlife and holidays.”

And for parents, South Burlington proves a fantastic place to raise a family. “Parents are honestly spoiled for choice when it comes to schooling their little ones in Vermont,” adds The Crazy Tourist. “South Burlington, sitting at a secure third best place to live in Vermont, has five A-rated schools in the suburb alone. With this comes ample opportunities to socialize as parents, as kids, and as a complete family.”

5. Jericho

For families moving on a budget, Jericho brings much of the best of Vermont to a cozy suburban town. Thanks to a small population and a beautiful country landscape, Jericho residents enjoy the benefits of a peaceful rural life with the conveniences of nearby Burlington. As Movingist puts it, “if you wish for rural living and a stable lifestyle, owning a home in Jericho can be a great investment.”

“Jericho is a suburb about 20 minutes outside of Burlington. It’s considered a more affordable and rural alternative to living in downtown Burlington,” says Rocket Homes. “If you prefer a suburban area with a family-focus and want to keep your budget a little lower than some of the other options, Jericho could be a great result.”

“Parents can rest easy about their children’s education because GreatSchools gave Jericho’s district a 9/10 average score. Jericho also has the 2nd lowest high school dropout rate in Vermont,” points out HomeSnacks. “Other impressive statistics include a poverty rate of 3.6% (the lowest in Vermont) and unemployment rate of 0.0%. Homes in Jericho are the 5th most expensive in Vermont at $268,800, but that’s no sweat when you’re also earning the highest median household income statewide at $92,188/year.”

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.

About Anna Landry

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StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

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7 Comments

  1. John says:

    Don’t come to vermont. We don’t want you

  2. usa says:

    meh, I can’t think a one good reason to live in Vermont …

  3. TJ says:

    Number 2…Burlington???🤣 Hell no!

  4. Guy says:

    Everything in this article is false. I wouldn’t live in any of these towns.

  5. Ray says:

    Burlington – No thanks

  6. Real Vermonter says:

    As someone who had lived in Vermont all his life. I would live in none of these places. These are where all the non Vermonters move. Real Vermonter live in the NEK. iykyk

  7. Mari J says:

    Pure hypocrisy happening in this state. Watching them deplete forest , crowded housing. Taking everything beautiful about Vt, ruining. More people more garbage, ridiculous tax, worst is F35 jets that have been here 5 plus years and no ones paying attention to the particle matter left behind making our air quality very poor. No compromise . Long term exposure to this pollution dangerous. Lots respiratory illness. Wake up vt. Making decisions on money greed. Not welfare humans.