Smugglers Notch Resort an oasis of summertime family fun

It’s a common sticking point in family vacation planning: how to find a place that works for all crew members.

A child is in the arts; the other enjoys running, hiking and swimming. Mom really likes the zipline; dad is more of a disc golf guy. What’s a family to do?

Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vermont has been answering that question for decades. Smuggs has since been known as – summer and winter – the master of family vacations.

My kids have grown up on Smuggs summer and winter tours. For me, with multiple pools, endless activities, and great amenities, it’s still like a cruise ship on land.

This year, Smuggs is back in full swing and offering everything that makes for a great family vacation.

Smugglers’ Notch is located a short drive north of Stowe, Vermont. In the summer you climb above the Notch itself, a cool route that starts – and ends – your journey in style.

Guests move into mountainside condos – they have a space and size for every family. There are full kitchens (and a nice little on-site store; I’d stop in Stowe first and buy the essentials there) and bright, airy bedrooms, all within walking distance of the resort.

Childcare – and programs – are offered from 6 weeks to 17 years old, each tailored to the needs and tastes of a specific age group.

When our kids were on the programs, my husband and I would take amazing guided hikes (one on Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak), play tennis (and now pickleball), or just hang out by the pool. swimming pool.

With eight pools throughout the property and four waterslides, Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont is full of places to swim. (Photo courtesy of Smugglers’ Notch Resort)

You won’t have trouble finding “the” pool: Smuggs has eight of them on its property, as well as four waterslides.

In the afternoons and evenings, we did all the fun family activities that create memories. My daughters – one is now a mother herself – are still shaking their heads at my karaoke rendition of “Leader of the Pack” I performed on a Smuggs trip a long time ago. I thought I was pretty awesome.

There are those traditional things, but Smuggs is also about creative fun.

Daily events include a large farmers market (you can shop not only during your stay but also to take home), country fairs and fireworks.

Many games are available for youngsters in Smugglers Notch's children's programs.  (Photo by Alyssa Van Lanen, courtesy Smugglers Notch Resort)
Many games are available for young people in Smugglers’ Notch children’s programs. (Photo by Alyssa Van Lanen, courtesy Smugglers’ Notch Resort)

Goodtime Charlie is a legend. He was the DJ for the karaoke event at the time (about 25 years ago). He rocks with a house band under the stars on the Village Green every Thursday night.

And they have imagined novelties for the season.

You can lead the home champions by participating in “The Big Smuggle”, a race in which family teams navigate a course made up of several challenge stations before returning to the finish. The families choose their own path, collecting gold bars along the way.

The “I-Did-A-Cart” is a Big Air Dummy Derby in which you use an assortment of supplies such as tape, balloons, paints and cardboard – along with your creativity – to build a derby dummy.

In “Friendly Pirate’s Raingutter Regatta”, participants create their own boat from materials provided by the activity team. The ships (and their captains/creators) then compete to see who has the fastest ship to get down the gutters. Prizes are also awarded for the tallest, longest, widest, most seaworthy, most pirate and cutest. Of course, it’s all run by Rockin’ Ron the Friendly Pirate.

Llama hikes at Smugglers Notch bring guests along the trails to a picnic.  (Photo by Craig Orsini, courtesy Smugglers Notch Resort)
The Llama Treks at Smugglers’ Notch take guests along the trails for a picnic. (Photo by Craig Orsini, courtesy Smugglers’ Notch Resort)

And they now offer Llama Treks.

They bring you and your llama for a day of hiking and picnicking in the woods and trails of the resort. The llamas are from the Northern Vermont Llama Co.

There are barbecues, dinners and more.

Smuggs hasn’t been a part of our lives for a few years – my daughters are adults now. But for my two granddaughters Molly and Lucy many visits will come.

After all, they need to see how great their Rara is at karaoke. And dummy building. You can find out more at

About Brad S. Fulton

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