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Ottaquechee River

From The Blog Summer's Guide: Swimming and Ice Cream Spots

Woodstock Insights Cool Down with us this Summer

We know it's still Spring but can you blame us for dreaming of summer as soon as it starts to get warm?

Summer in Vermont means it's time to be outdoors day and night. The landscape is lush in green glory and the water is warm enough to swim. After playing in the sun all day, nothing can quite top off a hot summer's day better than a big scoop of Ice Cream.

With that in mind read on for our guide to the perfect swimming spots and ice cream stops in town.

The Ottauquechee River connects the towns of Bridgewater, Woodstock, Hartford, Pomfret, and Hartland; and the villages of Woodstock and Quechee offers multiple different access spots that are easily walkable from the village or with a short drive from the town center. Once you've read the details in this blog you can choose the perfect location to drop in and relax this summer. 

Ottauquechee spring summer

Ottauquechee River Trail off east end park

Located a few steps from East End Park, you can start on the trail and choose multiple different entryways to the river in order to wade, tube, or swim in the Ottauquechee River. This flat trail makes it family-friendly and easy to bring along a little bit of gear. So pack your towels, sunscreen, and even tubes and find the perfect spot along the river.

*Note you will need to walk the trail for a little bit before it meets up with the access points to the river.

Mt Tom views from the Ottuaquechee River Trail
Katie Berdan
You don't want to miss this Mt Tom perspective
boy splashing in water
Jennifer Schmidtke
Swimming area in between Rec Center and Little Theatre

Additional Ottauquechee River Access Points

  1. Between the Woodstock Recreation Center and the Little Theater: This is a small sandy area you can access while walking in between the Rec Center and Little Theater. It's a short walk down to gain access to family-friendly swimming and playing. Depending on the time of summer it can be muddy in some river access points but there's plenty of sand and water to get into the clear river. 
  2. Old River Road: A scenic drive the whole way through, from the village to Taftsville Bridge, along the way you will find places to pull over and enter the river. Rope Swings and tubing are a few ways to enjoy this area.
  3. Lawn of the Woodstock History Center: This open grassy area is right behind the historic center with a rocky area that leads to the river and a beautiful side view of the Middle Covered Bridge. 
  4. Elm Street Bridge: Just past the iron bridge walking towards Billings Farm & Museum, you can walk down a pathway (on your right) to the stunning river views. Lots of big rocks are spread out for ample space to sunbathe or let the kids skip rocks and dip toes in.
Ottaquechee River
Jennifer Schmidtke
Underneath the Iron Bridge
White Cottage swim area
Jennifer Schmidtke

White Cottage Snack Bar, 2 miles from woodstock center

Open: May through Labor Day weekend

The perfect combo of swimming and ice cream. A short drive from Woodstock Village you can find a great picnic area with some sand and lots of space to play in the river. This wide-open area is located directly next to the snack bar with outdoor picnic tables for eating at the restaurant.

This is a great family spot and easy access for children to wade with the middle of the river getting slightly deeper.
Location: 863 W Woodstock Rd, Woodstock, VT 05091


Silver Lake through the Trees
Jennifer Schmidtke
View from picnic area on Silver Lake
family on the beach at silver lake
Jennifer Schmidtke
Beach area on Silver Lake
silver lake
Jennifer Schmidtke
Silver Lake

Silver Lake State Park, 10.8 mi. from Woodstock’s Center

Open: May 28 through Labor Day Weekend
Cost: $5 for adults (14+), $2 for children (4-13), kids 3 and under are free

Right across from the Barnard Country Store, this state park is situated in between plenty of trees for shade and grilling and offers a magnificent 84- acre silver lake for swimming and kayaks. It's the closest you'll get to a larger beach experience near town with plenty of sand for kids to play with. When visiting Silver Lake you'll have access to the picnic area, snack bar, a playground, and of course the lake for all your leisurely pleasure. 
Location: 20 State Park Beach Rd, Barnard, VT 05031.

Ice Cream cone at Billings Farm
Jennifer Schmidtke
soft serve with sprinkles
Jennifer Schmidtke

I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream

There's no denying ice cream and summer go hand in hand. We have a few spots right in town that make the most delicious homemade ice cream you can't get just anywhere.

  • Mountain Creamery: located next to the Sleep Woodstock Motel at 4374 W Woodstock Rd, with a short drive from the center of town you'll have your pick of delicious homemade ice cream in no time. Insider Tip: Cash Only

  • Billings Farm Dairy Baradmission is required into Billings Farm and Museum but with plenty to see in the summer, it's the perfect afternoon spot for an ice cream scoop and beautiful views of the farm. *Don't forget to check out the sunflower maze while you're there.

  • White Cottage Snack Bar: a short drive from town you can choose between soft serve and scoops of delicious Vermont made ice cream. Insider Tip: Cash Only

Ice Cream in town
Jennifer Schmidtke
Mountain Creamery Scoop in town
family at kedron pond
Jennifer Schmidtke

Kedron Valley Inn Pond, 4.7 miles from Woodstock’s Center

Open: May through September 

This pond has a great sand area as well as the option to walk around the entire pond with a small pathway. You can choose between a grassy area or bring your beach towels to set up on the sand. This is a versatile family spot and walkable to grab a bit at the Ransom Tavern or South Woodstock Country Store. 
Location: 4778 South Road, South Woodstock, VT 05071

Quechee Gorge
“Quechee Gorge”, by Len Radin, is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Quechee Gorge is only steps away from the camping area

Quechee Gorge, 9 miles from Woodstock’s Center

Open: Summer through Labor Day for warmth

Along Route 4 with camping and picnic spots available you can hike down a pathway to the waters of the Quechee Gorge. This is a popular tourist spot so choose your day and time to visit wisely if you'd like to avoid crowds. If you don't mind sharing the water with others this is a scenic and beautiful spot to cool down this summer. 
Location: 5966 Woodstock Rd, Quechee, VT 05059

20 foot swimming hole
Jennifer Schmidtke
Sand area and swimming at 20 foot swimming
swimming hole
Jennifer Schmidtke

20 Foot Swimming Hole, 14 miles from Woodstock Center

Open: May through September for warmth
Parking: On the side of Tyson Road, you will cross the street to head down the path

After a very short but steep walk, you will be lead down to the swimming hole. There are three different pools here, each featuring a small set of cascades or waterfall. Plenty of room to spread out and find your very own spot. It does feature a cliff where people use to jump off into the "20-foot hole", please be cautious as it's been reported due to hurricane Irene the depth may be down to 10ft in certain areas. It still remains a great spot to swim and enjoy the summer weather.
Location: 1082 Tyson Road, Reading VT 05062