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An Outdoor Weekend in Saint Albans, Vermont

In downtown Saint Albans, Vermont, historic buildings rub elbows with new development projects as readily as new residents mingle with old-timers in Taylor Park. It’s a town that embraces its roots while looking toward a bright future.

There are so many things to do in Saint Albans, VT!

Located on Lake Champlain in northern Vermont, Saint Albans offers visitors ample opportunities for recreation, eclectic shops along Main Street, and a few stellar eateries that are worth writing home about.

Taylor Park is the hub of the community and home to the weekly farmers’ market, a lively summer music series, and numerous downtown festivals throughout the year. This is the spot to drink your morning coffee while admiring the ornate Taylor Park fountain — donated to the city in 1887.

The Taylor Park Fountain in downtown Saint Albans.
The Taylor Park Fountain in downtown Saint Albans.

Saint Albans is further divided into Saint Albans City (the commercial hub) and Saint Albans Town (the town surrounding the city), but I’ll cover both under the name Saint Albans for ease and clarity.

We recently spent a weekend meandering around downtown Saint Albans, hiking local trails and enjoying the most incredible coffee, pastries, and beer (priorities). Here’s a complete itinerary for a magical summer weekend in Saint Albans VT.

At-A-Glance: Saint Albans VT

Here’s a bite-sized snapshot of everything you need to know to plan your trip weekend getaway to Saint Albans, Vermont.

Day One: Shopping, Craft Beer, and Sunsets

Downtown Saint Albans VT in the spring.
Downtown Saint Albans, VT, in the spring.

Downtown Saint Albans encompasses just a few city blocks, but there are a surprising number of locally owned shops just begging to be explored. Start your weekend with a stroll down Main Street to get your bearings and check out the neighborhood.

Here are some of the shops I fell in love with during my visit:

  • Rail City Market: A mainstay of Saint Albans City for more than 30 years, Rail City Market is part health food store, part artisan market, and the perfect stop for bulk spices, hand-turned bowls, jewelry, or picnic supplies.
  • The Eloquent Page: I’m a sucker for local bookstores, and the Eloquent Page is full of literary finds, including rare volumes, brand-new novels, and lots of books about Vermont.
  • As the Crow Flies: If you’re looking for maple syrup or other maple products, head to As the Crow Flies, where you’ll also discover fun kitchen gadgets and one-of-a-kind tableware for the cook that has everything.

Next, stroll up Main Street to 14th Star Brewing Company, where you can enjoy a pint or two on the dog-friendly patio and indulge in a pub-style burger made with Vermont beef. Summer in Vermont is IPA season, so be sure to try the Tribute Double IPA, which is citrusy and refreshing — summer in a can, and especially delightful if you’re walking back to your hotel room.

Lake Champlain sunset over Saint Albans Bay.
Not the best Lake Champlain sunset, but I’ll take it!

End the day in the best way possible — with a gorgeous sunset over Lake Champlain. Drive seven miles west on Lake Street to Saint Albans Bay Town Park. Stroll along the water or grab one of the lakeside benches to catch the show. Seagulls will provide the soundtrack as the sun goes down on your first night in Saint Albans.

Day Two: Saint Albans Museum and Missiquoi Valley Rail Trail

Before jumping into your day with both feet, do yourself a favor and head over to Catalyst Coffee Bar and Red House Sweets, both on Lake Street.

When I arrived promptly at 8 am for my Saturday morning maple latte, I was greeted with a short line outside these side-by-side businesses. At 8:02, the doors were unlocked to cheers from the patrons as they filed inside to grab their espressos and croissants, necessary staples for a Saturday morning full of sunshine and birdsong.

The best croissants at Red House Sweets in Saint Albans.
The best croissants at Red House Sweets in Saint Albans.

If the weather is cooperating, take your breakfast across the street to Taylor Park, where you can admire the fountain ladies and watch Saint Albans wake up.

Next, walk over to Saint Albans Museum, which is located on Church Street, adjacent to Taylor Park. In general, I’m more of an outdoor gal than a museum buff, but I have a soft spot for small Vermont historical societies, and the Saint Albans Museum (SAM) is a gem.

Entrance to the Saint Albans Museum.
Welcome to the Saint Albans Museum adjacent to Taylor Park.

Run by the Saint Albans Historical Society, SAM features two floors of cool exhibits, and the town and city of Saint Albans are at the center of this little universe. Spending a few hours learning about Saint Albans’ railroad history, industry, famous citizens, and first peoples will give you a new appreciation for this part of Vermont. Promise.

Schoolroom exhibit at the Saint Albans Museum.
Schoolroom exhibit at the Saint Albans Museum.

Saint Albans Museum is open between late May and mid-October: Wednesday and Friday from 11 am – 4 pm, and Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm. Admission is free.

Next, pick up some picnic supplies at Rail City Market on Main Street, rent wheels from Bootlegger Bikes, and head over to the Missiquoi Valley Rail Trail to explore one of Vermont’s loveliest bike paths.

Start at the corner of North Main Street and Sheldon Road in Saint Albans and head northeast through wetlands, pine forests, fields, and villages. The trail totals 26.4 miles from Saint Albans to Richford on the Canadian Border.

veggie burger and fries from the Drake in Saint Albans VT.
A veggie burger and stellar fries from The Drake.

After working up an appetite on the trail, head back into downtown Saint Albans for an upscale pub experience at The Drake. This neighborhood eatery makes killer fries, outstanding mocktails, and fish and chips that are locally famous.

Day Three: Kill Kare and Burton Island State Parks

I would be remiss if I encouraged you to visit Saint Albans without getting out on Lake Champlain, so today, we’re exploring two gorgeous state parks just off of Saint Albans Bay.

First stop, Kill Kare State Park, where you can picnic on the lawn, swim in the lake, and enjoy the exhibits at Rocky Point House Museum, which is housed in an 1870s building that was once a popular summer resort on the property.

Rocky Point House Museum at Kill Kare State Park.
Rocky Point House Museum at Kill Kare State Park.

Learn about the land and building’s history, including the local hotel era and the rise and fall of Kamp Kill Kare, an adventure camp for boys that thrived from 1912 to 1966.

From Kill Kare, you can rent a canoe or kayak to get to Burton Island State Park or hop aboard the Island Runner Ferry, which runs between Kill Kare State Park and the Burton Island Marina every day in the summer.

Burton Island is a 253-acre park off the southwestern tip of St. Albans Point in Lake Champlain’s ‘Inland Sea.’ We will absolutely argue that this is one of the best state parks in the United States!

Paddleboarding at Burton Island State Park.
Paddleboarding at Burton Island State Park.

It can only be accessed by boat, and the marina is a lively stopover for people cruising the lake. The campground is popular with those who enjoy relaxing on a semi-remote island away from cars.

The Burton Island Bistro serves up a fabulous breakfast and lunch, which you can enjoy before exploring the island. It opens at 8:30 am and serves fresh, hot coffee to go with the wind in your hair and the smile on your face.

Burton Island sunset.
Burton Island sunset.

After grabbing a meal at the Bistro, it’s time to choose your own adventure. Visit the nature center and museum to learn about the critters that frequent the island, meander the 3+ miles of easy walking trails, go for a swim, or relax on one of the pebbly beaches. Burton Island is made for relaxing!

That wraps up another fantastic weekend getaway in Vermont. Want to explore more ideas? Here’s a link to all of our weekend getaways.

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A collage of photos featuring things to do in Saint Albans VT. Text overlay: Explore the outdoors in Saint Albans, Vermont.

Tara Schatz is a freelance writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Vermont Explored and Back Road Ramblers, an American road trip blog. She is also the co-author of the 3rd edition of AMC’s Best Day Hikes in Vermont, released in May 2023, and the author of 100+ Wonderful Ways to Experience Vermont.