Planning a vacation is never easy. You want to make sure you chose the right place to entertain the whole family. With that being said, the summer of 2016, my family and I chose to spend part of our summer vacation camping on Grand Isle on Lake Champlain north of Burlington, Vermont. When we arrived the state park was beautiful. Well maintained grounds, spacious and clean sites, a small playground, clean facilities, a nature center with walking paths, a boat ramp and a swimming area. After setting up our campsite we walked to the lake for a much needed swim. While walking towards the lake we could smell something foul. Upon arriving at the swimming area we observed a large mud flat producing a strong odor. When planning our vacation we never considered the drought most of New England has been in that summer and the impact the lack of rain would have on the lake. The lake level was so low that parts of the lake had turned into mud flats producing a strong odor. With much disappointment we decided to change campgrounds since we had planned our vacation around the lake. The park ranger informed us that we could use any of the Vermont State Parks day use areas free of charge, but since we camp with our golden retriever that was not an option, as dogs are not allowed in most day use areas.
We quickly chose another campground, ending up at Mountain View Campground north of Stowe, Vermont. The campground staff was very accommodating providing us a site on such short notice. We were given a spacious grass site along the river. For amenities there were two pools, an adult only hot tub, a clean river for fishing and playing around in, which our dog loved, a mini golf course that unfortunately did not look like it has been used in a long time, an older playground, a nice general store and clean facilities. The campground was very peaceful and quiet.
Stowe provides a myriad of outdoor activities. We hiked to two separate waterfalls during our stay. The first one, Moss Glen Falls, was a short easy hike to a beautiful waterfall, which appeared to be popular due to the well worn trail. Swimming may be difficult as the embankment is very steep into base of the falls. There are small pools to wade in up and down stream of the falls.
The second waterfall, Bingham Falls located near Smuggler's Notch, is highly recommended as a swimming destination. It's a short steep walk down to the falls, with a deep pool to jump in and swim. The day we visited it was fairly busy with hikers and swimmers. I would caution bringing young children to this spot as the trail can get slippery and it is not easy for little legs to get into the swimming hole.
Stowe is a great area for the outdoors enthusiast as there are many hiking trails, swimming holes, biking paths as well as activities in the summer and winter at Stowe Mountain Resort.
Overall, we would visit both campgrounds again as their locations provide a great amount of outdoor activities and natural beauty.