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Celebrate Your Freedom to Recreate: Free Things to Do Outside around Burlington

Free things to do outside in and around Burlington Vermont

Spend your 4th of July week outside doing these (free!) activities.

Just getting outside is free, sure. But getting into a specific outdoor activity—climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, paddling—costs money, and sometimes, a lot of money. So to celebrate the 4th of July, and freedom in general, we’ve compiled a list of things to do outside, in and around Burlington—for free!

1. Hike at Eagle Mountain Natural Area – Milton

Eagle Mountain natural area

View of Eagle Mountain from Lake Champlain. Photo: Lake Champlain Lake Trust.

A half-hour north of Burlington, the Eagle Mountain Natural Area offers panoramic views of Lake Champlain, and not a lot of work to see them. Take the Hoyt Lookout Trail for the best views, and tune in to an 8-part podcast on your way up for an interesting rundown on the wildlife and natural surroundings there. Learn more.

2. Check out one of our SUP demo nights or Hump Day Fun Runs! – Burlington

Join us for our weekly fun runs or SUP demos all summer long!

All summer long, OGE will be hosting weekly SUP demo nights and group fun runs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays respectively. Call ahead and RSVP for a spot in one of our SUP demos, then come out to the coast guard station on the Burlington waterfront and get out on the water!

If you want to join in on one of our Hump Day group fun runs, just show up at the shop on Wednesday nights at 6PM for all-inclusive, 9-12 minute/mile runs and explore the trails and natural beauty available right here in Burlington. Learn more.

3. Hike (or paddle) at Shelburne Pond Natural Area – Shelburne

Hike or paddle at Shelburne Pond Natural Area

Sunset over Shelburne Pond and the H. Laurence Achilles trail loop. Photo: The Nature Conservancy

10 miles outside of Burlington, this surprisingly wild natural area offers a lush and interesting forest to explore for very little commitment. The 1-mile H. Laurence Achilles trail loop is easy to hike, very scenic, and well maintained by the Univerity of Vermont. If you’ve got a canoe or kayak, you can use the free boat launch to explore Shelburne Pond’s shoreline. Learn more.

4. Trail Walking through the LaPlatte Nature Park – Shelburne

Trail map of the LaPlatte Nature Park in Shelburne, VT

Trail map of the LaPlatte Nature Park. Image: Town of Shelburne

A 145-acre park owned by the town of Shelburne, the LaPlatte Nature Park is reachable from Burlington by bus, accessible to people with disabilities, and offers both a meadow trail and a wooded trail following the LaPlatte River to explore. Check out the scenery of the falls overlook at the southern end of the park, then hit up the Shelburne Supermarket at the north end for lunch. Learn more.

5. Try an E-Bike from LocalMotion – Burlington

Try an e-bike for free from LocalMotion

Try an e-bike for free from LocalMotion this summer and motor around town. Photo: LocalMotion

If you’re a Vermont resident, the lovely people over at LocalMotion will loan you an E-Bike to try for a weekend! They have several different types of E-Bikes available, so if you want to see what all the fuss is about—and make moves towards cutting down your car usage—head to LocalMotion’s website and make a reservation.

Not in Burlington? Check out their traveling library of E-Bikes and see if one is available in your area. Learn more.

6. Camping on Law Island – Colchester

View of Law Island from the Causeway

View of Law Island from the Causeway. Photo: Lake Champlain Land Trust

Located just 100 yards southwest of the Colchester Point Causeway, Law Island is only accessible by boat, so in order for this one to truly be free, you’ll have to already have one. Camping there is free, however, with primitive tent sites there for all to use with no reservations required.

Paddle in from the public boat launch at Delta Park near the mouth of the Winooski River for a 2-3 mile paddle, or put in at North Beach in Burlington for a longer trip—around 7 or 8 miles. Learn more.

Remember, getting outside doesn’t have to break the bank—or even involve the bank at all. Get after it for free this summer whenever you can!

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Published:July 2, 2019

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