The First Five...It's Almost Time!

Summer is fast approaching, and we can’t wait to see everyone out at the parks. Here’s a quick look at the five parks that open first, starting in just a few weeks!

April 27 - Wilgus

 Located in Weathersfield, this park provides day use access to the Connecticut River and the Pinnacle Trail hike provides a scenic vista of the Connecticut River Valley. The original park, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, consisted of a picnic area with large flue-type stone fireplaces and picnic tables, and the ranger's quarters. It now boasts 4 cabins with wifi connection, 17 tent/RV sites, and 6 lean-to sites which are located along the Connecticut River bank. There is one rest room with running water and hot showers, a picnic area, and 3 lean-tos in the group area. There is also a small picnic shelter that can be reserved at no charge for small groups, and canoes and kayaks are available!

Nearby Things to Do: Mt. Ascutney State Park (great hiking!), Windsor Covered Bridge, American Precision Museum, Quechee Gorge, VINS Nature Center, St. Gaudens National Historic Site.

Wilgus State Park
3985 Route 5
Weathersfield, Vermont 05156

 May 8 - Jamaica

 Located on a beautiful bend of the West River, Jamaica State Park is a favorite spot for many fishermen. The combination of deep slow running water and shallow fast ripples makes for the perfect conditions to get some bites!There are 41 tent/RV sites and 18 lean-to sites that are spread out through the campground. Two rest rooms, complete with hot showers, are located in the campground. A picnic shelter and nature center are located near the picnic area and swimming hole. A hiking trail follows the West River and branches off toward Hamilton Falls. Don’t forget to bring Fido! Pets are permitted throughout the park.
Nearby Things to Do: Hamilton Falls, Hildene - Robert Todd Lincoln's home, Manchester. A theater and shops, Weston; Art Center, Manchester; Alpine Slide, Bromley; Townshend Dam Recreation Area.

Jamaica State Park
48 Salmon Hole Ln.
Jamaica, Vermont 05343


May 8 - Grand Isle 

Looking for weekend plans? Grand Isle State Park is the most-visited campground in the state park system, located on South Hero Island in Lake Champlain. With 4,150 feet of Lake Champlain shoreline, Grand Isle is popular with many destination campers who spend their entire vacation here!
The Island (Grand Isle) is 14 miles long and over 3 miles wide, making it the largest in Lake Champlain. It contains the towns Grand Isle (on the northern half) and South Hero (on the southern half). The North and South Hero Islands are named in honor of early pioneering Vermonters who served in the American Revolution.

There are 117 tent/RV sites, 36 lean-to sites, and 4 cabin sites that make this Vermont's second-largest state campground. Rest rooms have running water and hot showers. There is a trailer sanitary station but please be aware there are no hookups. Many of the sites are large enough to accommodate self-contained RVs, and lakeshore areas permit water access for swimming and shore fishing. There is a boat launching ramp for registered campers, and you can rent kayaks and rowboats through the park office! Also within the park is a sand-court volleyball, horseshoes, a play area and a nature walk. Campers are also allowed free entry to the sand beach at Knight Point State Park seven miles north and Alburgh Dunes State Park nineteen miles north. Don’t forget to check the Nature Center for interpretive programs, games, or entertainment!

Nearby Things to Do:Hacketts' Orchard, South Hero; Chazy Reef (world's oldest fossil reef), Isle LaMotte; St. Anne's Shrine, Isle LaMotte; Hyde Log Cabin (nation's oldest), Grand Isle; Ed Weed State Fish Hatchery, Grand Isle; Snowfarm Vineyard, South Hero; Lake Champlain Ferries, Grand Isle; Shelburne Museum, Shelburne; Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, Shelburne; Church Street Marketplace, Burlington; ECHO: Lake Aquarium & Science Center, Burlington; Niquette Bay State Park, Colchester, North Hero State Park, North Hero; Alburgh Dunes State Park, Alburgh; Sand Bar State Park, Milton.

NOTE: Access to the campground is limited to campers via an electronic security gate, and campers will need to obtain a pass card with a $20 refundable deposit at the park office.

Grand Isle State Park
36 East Shore South
Grand Isle, Vermont 05458

May 9 – Niquette Bay

 Our strategy at Niquette Bay is to support an oasis for appreciating nature. Although camping is not permitted, there is a beautiful park trail system, comprised of three interlocking “loops” along which a variety of great hiking combinations can occur. Two long ridges with summits rising to over 400’ elevation run parallel along a sandy terrace that splits the park into two sections. Limestone cliffs form the headwall of the western of the two ridges, and the park’s trail system accesses high points along each of these ridges, from which impressive vistas overlook Malletts Bay to the south, the Green Mountain ridge line to the east, and the Lake Champlain Islands to the west. The complete loop around the Ledges, Muhley, and Island View trails is 3.5 miles. The shortest distance to the lakeshore is 0.6 miles, via the Allen trail.

Day use hours are from 10 a.m. to sunset, to give you as much time as possible to enjoy the natural beauty that pervades Niquette Bay’s 553 acres. Niquette Bay is pet-friendly, although proof of rabies vaccination is required and pets must remain on-leash at all times.

NOTE: Public drinking water is not supplied at Niquette Bay. Please come prepared!

Niquette Bay State Park
274 Raymond Road
Colchester, Vermont 05446

May 15 – Lake Carmi

The largest of the state’s campgrounds, Lake Carmi State Park includes over two miles of frontage on the southern and eastern shores of Lake Carmi, which is the fourth largest natural lake entirely within Vermont! The lake used to be much bigger, but after thousands of years much of it has become a beautifully undisturbed peat bog characterized by spindly black spruce, tamaracks, mountain holly, and pitcher plants. Most of the 140-acre bog lies within Lake Carmi State Park and is a designated State Natural Area, which means it’s been set aside for the preservation and protection of its unique ecological, geological, or scenic and contemplative values.


There are 140 tent/RV sites, 35 lean-to sites, and 2 cabins in the campground. Rest rooms have running water and hot showers, and most sites are large enough to accommodate self-contained RVs. You can entertain yourself at the swimming beaches, nature center, or even rent a boat! Your pet can come camping with you but is not invited to the day use areas.


Nearby Things to Do: Missisquoi Rail Trail, Franklin Town Museum, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Sundays; Franklin County Historical Society, St. Albans; Jay Peak Ski Area; Smugglers' Notch and Stowe ski areas (gondola and alpine slide); Missisquoi National Wildlife Rufuge, Swanton; Granby Zoo, Granby, Quebec.

Lake Carmi State Park
460 Marsh Farm Rd.
Enosburg Falls, VT 054850

Can't wait to see you there!

By Carlie Timbie
Vermont State Parks

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