15 Best Places to Live in Vermont

Written by Darren Griffiths
Updated on
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Tucked away on the east coast of the United States of America, nestled between New Hampshire and New York, lies peaceful and picturesque Vermont. Home to countless acres of mountains which attract families and backpackers alike every year to hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding.

If the snow isn’t what attracts you to Vermont, then surely the hundreds of hiking trails through the maple trees would be a significant draw. As one of the leading producers of maple syrup in the States, agriculture is a significant employer here in Vermont.

As best places to live in the United States go, Vermont, small may it be, punches above its weight. Taking into consideration access to public schools, affordable housing, and crime statistics, as well as proximity to major commuter routes and population diversity, we have assessed the top cities, towns, and neighborhoods to live in Vermont.

So, without further ado, no need to beat around the maple tree about it, Here are our 15 best places to live in Vermont.

1. Norwich

Norwich, VermontSource: Bram Reusen / shutterstock

Norwich is out and out, the best place to live in Vermont. Locals are passionate about their town and the beauty it holds.

The general grocery store is something of a community institution; if you upsticks and fall in Norwich, make sure you make your introductions here, a surefire way to get in on the action.

Rent and house prices would be deciding factors for many young families aspiring to live in this neighborhood. With median rent and house prices above the national average, you are, in fact getting good value for money when you take into consideration the rural feel, safety, and commuter distances adopted when moving in.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Norwich are:

  • Montshire Museum of Science
  • Hood Museum of Art
  • Killdeer Farm
  • Nugget Theaters
  • Hopkins Center for the Arts
  • Norwich Farmers Market
  • Billings Farm and Museum
  • Nathan’s Garden

2. Charlotte

Charlotte, VermontSource: ragingwire / Flickr

A strong contender for first place, Charlotte falls in a very competitive second-best place to live in Vermont. Again, adopting a rural feel, the public schools in this town are nothing shy of fantastic.

With the majority of the over three thousand residents living in owned homes, this is a clear indicator of population satisfaction. With home ownership being so high, it is fair to assume that locals don’t want to be moving on anytime soon. Renting is still a viable option here, although, with a median rent above the national average, many would encourage you to get onto the property ladder as soon as possible.

Homes in Charlotte all come equipped with generous-sized gardens, with few properties on the market being in built-up areas. This is a significant draw for many people looking to settle in Vermont; who doesn’t want a massive garden for the kids to run around in and invite the family over to enjoy in the summer?

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Charlotte are:

  • Mt. Philip State Park
  • Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
  • Charlotte Village Winery
  • Charlotte Town Beach
  • Shelburne Orchards
  • Shelburne Museum
  • Starry Night Cafe

3. South Burlington

Overlook Park in South Burlington, Vermont Source: Ann Moore / shutterstock
Overlook Park In South Burlington, Vermont

Parents are honestly spoiled for choice when schooling their little ones in Vermont. South Burlington, sitting at a secure third-best place to live in Vermont, has five A-rated schools in the suburb alone. This comes with ample opportunities to socialize as parents, kids, and a complete family.

Sadly, with excessively low crime rates, excellent schools, and suitable housing comes a higher-than-average cost of living and, of course, housing costs too. If your lifestyle and income will allow, then it is an ideal sacrifice. With average house prices balancing around the national average, house prices are significantly more affordable than, say, Norwich.

Homeowners vs. renters are somewhat more balanced in South Burlington, which reflects the frenetic nature of suburbia. That said, South Burlington is far from a city, with many parkland areas, perfect for dog walking and taking the kids out for fresh air.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in South Burlington are:

  • Church Street Marketplace
  • Red Rocks Park
  • Shelburne Farms
  • Overlook Park
  • Fleming Museum of Art
  • Burlington Farmers Market
  • Higher Ground Music Venue

4. Shelburne

Shelburne, VermontSource: jiawangkun / shutterstock

Just missing out on the top three, we find Shelburne. Locals highly recommend it as a beautiful place to raise children, citing the welcoming nature of the residents as a key player in their decision to relocate to the neighborhood.

The average 4-bedroom house is currently on the market for over the national average, with house prices only set to rise over the coming decade, now is the time to snap up a spacious, light, and sturdy house in Shelburne.

A spate of burglaries has jilted the crime statistics somewhat. With this now dealt with, it is reasonable to expect that crime rates will continue to fall over the coming years. With a real family feel to the area, this plays a significant role in controlling crime. Being neighborly can make all the difference.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Shelburne are:

  • Shelburne Museum
  • Shelburne Orchards
  • Fiddlehead Brewing Company
  • Shelburne Farmers Market
  • Village Wine and Coffee
  • Shelburne Bay Park
  • Wild Hart Distillery
  • Shelburne Tap House

5. Montpelier

Montpelier, VermontSource: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Now we turn to the Vermont state capital of Montpelier. It is not unheard of for the state capital to fall lower down the ranks significantly as incomes rise and families have more money to invest in property in more rural, arguably desirable areas.

The weather is a significant factor when it comes to moving to Montpelier, sadly on the receiving end of the state’s worst weather fronts, but this can be taken with a pinch of salt when you think about the quality of schools, health facilities, and nightlife too.

One big draw, mentioned by several locals, is that all the amenities in Montpelier are within walking distance. Given its small size, reasonable public transport facilities are available for when that iffy Montpelier weather rears its ugly head!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Montpelier are:

  • Vermont State House
  • Hubbard Park
  • Three Penny Taproom
  • Capital City Farmers Market
  • Bear Pond Books
  • North Branch Nature Center
  • North Branch Vineyards
  • Savoy Theatre

6. Williston

Williston, VermontSource: Hank Shiffman / shutterstock

Lying adjacent to South Burlington, Williston could be branded as a ‘budget Burlington’ but a stand-alone neighborhood with plenty going for it.

Schooling is universal of a high standard in Vermont, putting Williston on the map for good places to raise a family in Vermont.

Outdoor activities are a vital player in Williston. With plenty of health and fitness amenities, there are no excuses not to be in tip-top condition when residing in Williston.

Another central plus point to Williston is its proximity to Burlington Airport. Within a 30-minute drive, you can access non-stop flights to Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Detroit. If you wanted to, you could save yourself the five-hour drive, and jump on a daily United flight to New York City.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Williston are:

  • Catamount Outdoor Family Fun Center
  • Williston Country Club
  • Majestic 10 Movie Theater
  • Windswept Farm
  • Goodwater Brewery

7. Jericho

Jericho, VermontSource: Ann Moore / shutterstock

Neat rural Jericho is a quaint and unchanging neighborhood. With the majority of proprieties owned by the inhabitants, Jericho would be an ideal choice if you are looking for stability and rural living.

Renting a house in Jericho is a viable option, but with house prices below the national average, it is easy to see why people have chosen to strike while the iron is hot and jump on the property ladder. With a three-bed, two-bathroom family home fetching just over $200,000, you can get great value for money.

We sound like a broken record, but again, the schools in Jericho are well above average. Although a little less culturally diverse than Montpelier, this can be explained by the small population of just over five thousand residents.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Jericho are:

  • Jericho Cable Car
  • Russian Museum
  • Safari Aqua Park
  • Samaritan Museum

8. Essex

Essex, VermontSource: www.tripadvisor.com

Located near the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, this town, surrounded by nature, has an urban and rural landscape.

Essex is ideally located within easy reach of Burlington Airport but not so close enough that your peace is disturbed by air traffic.

Nightlife in Essex is on the up, and with with over twenty thousand residents to meet, you are bound to find a social circle waiting to embrace someone new like you.

Essex is an up-and-coming home destination for Millennials, which makes sense when you think about it, given the proximity to the airport and the median house prices coming in over the national average.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Essex are:

  • Essex Cinemas
  • Maple Street Park and Pool
  • Essex Family Fun & Entertainment Center
  • Spa at the Essex
  • Essex Experience Shopping Mall
  • Ray’s Seafood Market and Restaurant

9. Colchester

ColchesterSource: Meg M / shutterstock
Dog in Colchester 🙂

With over seventeen thousand calling Colchester home, this suburban neighborhood is a little more expensive than Essex regarding median rent, but home values over the national average prove a counterbalance.

Swinging around one of the countless Lake Champlain bays, many Colchester homes offer idealistic lakeside views. A little further out from Burlington Airport than South Burlington, for example, it is still possible to get to the terminal building in well under an hour, even at peak times.

Niquette Bay State Park is a popular spot for outdoorsy locals over weekends and holidays. Get your hiking boots at the ready!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Colchester are:

  • Niquette Bay State Park
  • Spare Time Colchester
  • Champlain Marina
  • Colchester Paintball
  • Airport Park

10. Cornwall

Cornwall, VermontSource: origamidon / Flickr

Tucked away in Addison County lies Cornwall. A classic and tranquil rural village, houses are built to last, spacious, and highly desirable. As ever, with desirability comes a cost. Although far from the most expensive place to buy a property in Vermont, you should start saving now, for median home values are way above the national average.

Renting property in Cornwall is more reasonable than many other areas of the state. You will have to hunt for rental properties, as the majority of residents own their homes.

Schools, hospitals, and other amenities are shared somewhat between the small and lovely community of over one thousand residents.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Cornwall are:

  • Pulp Mill Covered Bridge
  • Vermont Folklife Center

11. Dummerston

Dummerston Covered BridgeSource: Paul Brady Photography / shutterstock
Dummerston Covered Bridge

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing where to live in Vermont. Despite missing out on the top 10, Dummerston has everything going for it.

Now that the schools in Vermont are outstanding this trend is actually in Dummerston, too.

Perhaps due to the small population of over one thousand residents, the diversity ranking is a little lower than one would want. Still, with home ownership flying high, there are fewer properties on the market for newcomers to snap up.

Dummerston comes in a solid sixth place as the best place to buy a house in Vermont.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Dummerston are:

  • Dummerston Covered Bridge
  • Scott Farm Orchard
  • Walker Farm
  • Brattleboro Bowl
  • Latchis Theatre
  • Brattleboro Museum & Art Center
  • Old Jelly Mill Falls

12. Burlington

Burlington, VermontSource: Erika J Mitchell / shutterstock

Now, don’t go confusing South Burlington with Burlington itself. Although they are both phenomenal places to buy property and raise a family, the availability of housing sends Burlington shooting down the ranks.

Futile as it is, the weather has a hold over residents’ satisfaction in Burlington and, on a more serious note, job opportunities, too. Team this with a higher-than-state average cost of living, and you can understand why people tend to lean toward South Burlington rather than the city itself.

Considering job opportunities, though, with Burlington Airport on your doorstep, options for commuting are high.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Burlington are:

  • Burlington Farmers Market
  • Oakledge Park
  • Foam Brewers
  • Waterfront Park
  • Battery Park
  • University of Vermont
  • Switchback Brewing

13. Middlebury

Middlebury, VermontSource: Margaret Berry / shutterstock

Residents note a supportive and friendly community among the top reasons they love Middlebury. This area of Vermont is another example of how some sites rank high, but there is little wrong with those who rank below. After all, Middlebury is coming in at number 13 on our 15 best places to live in Vermont.

With a college in the center of town, there is an eclectic mix of people coming in and out of the town center, creating a friendly hubbub of activity.

There are lots of properties available to rent in Middlebury, namely due to the large student population, but this, in turn, drives the median rent down to a very affordable; affordable for Vermont, that is!

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Middlebury are:

  • Henry Sheldon Museum
  • Town Hall Theater
  • Lincoln Peak Vineyard
  • Branbury State Park
  • Werner Tree Farm
  • Edgewater Gallery at the Falls

14. Essex Junction

Essex Junction, VermontSource: Dougtone / Flickr
Essex Junction

With a decent selection of property on the market, it seems that Essex Junction is an up-and-coming town and has put itself on the map.

Plenty of outdoor activities keep you occupied, and with outstanding infrastructure, there is little not to love about Essex Junction.

The downside is that the population of just over nine thousand residents gives the place a minimal-town feel. Then again, there are ample job opportunities for youngsters in one of the many cafes and restaurants.

The community comes together on the weekend Farmer’s Markets, sharing local produce and supporting local agriculture.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Essex Junction are:

  • Maple Street Park and Pool
  • Essex Cinemas
  • 1st Republic Brewing
  • Fleming Museum of Art

15. Underhill

Underhill, VermontSource: Dougtone / Flickr

And to round off our list of 15 best places to live in Vermont is Underhill. Underhill is the fifth best place to buy a house in the state. You can invest in a spacious 3-bed, 3-bathroom family home with ample garden area for over $300,000.

Almost equidistant, certainly in terms of time, from Burlington and Montpelier, you get the best of both worlds in Underhill regarding location.

Bitterly cold in winter but nice and balmy in the summer, Underhill can boast low crime rates, good schools, and outdoor activities.

Entertainment & Activities

Some of the best things to do in Underhill are:

  • Mount Mansfield State Forest
  • Underhill State Park
  • Stowe Mountain Resort
  • Cantilever Rock
  • Mount Mansfield

15 Best Places to Live in Vermont:

  • Norwich
  • Charlotte
  • South Burlington
  • Shelburne
  • Montpelier
  • Williston
  • Jericho
  • Essex
  • Colchester
  • Cornwall
  • Dummerston
  • Burlington
  • Middlebury
  • Essex Junction
  • Underhill