Everyone who's ever been, knows Burlington is a gem of New England towns. It has the perfect amount of night life, day entertainment, parks, bike paths, cobble stone streets, and plenty of weird locals and train hoppers to occupy it all. A town that holds twelve breweries and many more bars such as the home of the band Phish, Nectar's. You can imagine staying at least one night here, if not the weekend, is a must. That brings in what seems to be one of Burlington's greatest secrets.
Not a hidden secret. More of a secret that sits in plain sight, yet goes unnoticed to most folks I've chatted with about the hot town. There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the city, but for those who are looking for a less comfortable bed, a much lower price, and a whole lot more star gazing, there's North Beach Campground. For those who would rather sit by a camp fire having a drink rather than in the hot tub with the hotel guest from room 213, this is the place for you. This campground has a special spot in our hearts since it has been our “Summer Home” for all of our trips to Burlington and it played a huge role in our love for what we call the west coast city of the east. It sits about 3-5 minutes north of the heart of Burlington. It's not right on Lake Champlain, but what buffers it is Burlington's enormous North Beach, which we will happily settle for. And if water views are a must for you, sites 20-25 are your best options.
What separates the beach from the campground is the 13+ mile Island Rail Trail bike path. Taking this route south for 5 minutes on a bike you'll follow along Lake Champlain and find yourself at Waterfront Park, just a few blocks downhill from the "main drag". And a beautiful park it is. Be sure to make your way back here for a unbelievable sunset over Lake Champlain and behind the Adirondack High Peaks.
Also, If you’re thirsty, We suggest you hold off on running straight to Splash At The Boat House, AKA "The Float Bar", and save this trip for last. Due to the rocking in the water, falling off your bar stool here is not grounds for last call.
If It's breakfast time, the Skinny Pancake won't pull you far from the park, or you can make your way into town and, on a good day, only have a short wait at the hot Mirabelles. Of course, depending on how fast your watch is moving, right next door to Mirabelles is the barNectar's with plenty of Phish memorabilia inside along with some great acts on the stage throughout most weekends. This bar is worth a stop for just a sight if not to try the, “world famous?” Heady Topper by The Alchemist Brewery. An 8% American Double IPA rated the 5th best beer in the world by Beer Advocate. Nectar's is one of the few places in Burlington that sells the very rare, extremely popular beer. If you want to buy a pack of it to take home, your best bet is to check the daily scheduled drop-off times and lactations on their website and be there waiting for the truck.
If you're a fan of street performers, heading to the cobblestones of Church Street will be your place to be. Walking down this drag, there's plenty of window shopping or actual shopping depending on what your bank account is in the mood for as you pass through all of the city's many unique and unusual shops, boutiques, cafes, and stores.
For all of the hipsters, classics, and folks who just love the un-crisp yet addicting sound of a spinning vinyl, be sure to check out Burlington Record Shop just off of Church Street. If a little more active souvenir is more your thing, Outdoor Gear Exchange is bringing a twist to outdoor gear companies. The first floor is loaded with some of the best gear on the market in all areas of outdoor Rec., and the basement is wallet-friendly, selling all consignment and used but not forgotten outdoor gear.
If you're not convinced with the fraction of information given above on the beautiful city, just know, there's something for you in Burlington and it's worth your trip.
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