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Vail in Summer: 25 Things to Do Off-Season at America’s Ski Resort

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Vail in summer overflows with fantastic off-season activities. While serious ski and boarding bunnies can't swoosh through the snow down mountains, there are still plenty of activities to get your heart pumping at one of the biggest ski resorts in the United States. Plus, Vail's Colorado mountain beauty is undeniable year-round. If you’re looking for a gorgeous setting, delicious food, and lots of outdoor fun, then read on to discover 25 things to do in Vail in summer.

Vail in summer chairlift
Vail in Summer (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

1. Epic Discovery

From zip-lining canopy tours to bungee trampolines, there's something for adrenaline junkies of all sorts at Epic Discovery in Vail in summer. Kids aged 3+ love getting some air and doing flips on the Bungee Trampoline. Plus, all ages climb to new heights while rock climbing on the Paramount Peak Climbing Wall.

Two Epic Discovery adventure courses challenge balance strength, and bravery: Holy Cross and Eagle's Nest. Expect ropes, bridges, and logs on easy, medium, and difficult courses.

Additionally, children and adults alike can get in on the fun at Epic Discovery with summer tubing hills, zip-lining, and an Alpine slide. Continue reading to learn more about these activities below!

Vail Challenge Course in summer
Challenge Course in Vail (Photo credit: Mark Woolcott for Vail Resorts)

2. Summer Tubing

You don't need snow to enjoy tubing at Vail in summer. Adventurers are surrounded by green trees and grass as they speed down a 550-foot tubing hill with Eagle's Nest Tubing. Plus, kids aged 3+ can get in on the fun at Marmot Mini Kids Tubing.

Tubing in Vail in summer at Epic Discovery
Tubing in Vail in summer at Epic Discovery (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Game Greek Aerial Adventure Zip-Lining

Are you game for zip-lining? For a truly epic day, go for the Game Creek Aerial Adventure. This 2.5-hour course includes one aerial bridge plus seven zip lines. The longest one sends zippers aged 10+ soaring 2,700 feet above Vail's beautiful mountain landscape. That's a whole lot of beauty and adrenaline!

Kids as young as 8 can zip the Golden Eagle line. For the Little Eagle Zipline, kids should be age 3+ and must weigh between 30 and 100 pounds.

Game Creek Aerial Adventure aerial bridge
Game Creek Aerial Adventure aerial bridge (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster

My favorite heart-pumping activity at Epic Discovery? The Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster

Wind your way down 3,400 feet of mountain on this exciting Alpine coaster. I dare you not to hit the brakes at all. I couldn't do it, even though I know the coaster's brakes will automatically engage as needed. (For ages 3+ with an adult driver.)

Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster
Forest Flyer Alpine Coaster (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Hiking Trails at Vail Nature Center

For a more mellow activity, you can't go wrong with a hike on one of Vail's gorgeous trails. From easy nature hikes to strenuous multi-day adventures, there are 40 hiking trails in the Vail area according to All Trails.

Vail Nature Center is a great spot to start your trek. This farmhouse is located between a sweet mountain meadow and the lovely Gore Creek. You can pick up trail maps, learn about local vegetation and wildlife, and get advice from staff on where to venture. Also, the whole family can sign up for guided hikes, stargazing events, and youth nature programs.

Hiking trail in Vail in summer
Hiking trail in Vail (Photo credit: Cavan, Depositphotos.com)

6. Trekking with a Llama

Yes, you read that right. You can go trekking with a llama in Vail on summer days with Paragon Guides!

According to their website, “Llamas have a curious, gentle and intelligent nature making them an ideal addition for your backcountry adventure.” Plus, they'll carry your gear.

Hike with a llama in Vail, Colorado in summer
Hike with a llama in Vail (Photo credit: Jack Affleck)

7. Gore Creek Mini Golf

Located at the bottom of Eagle Bahn Gondola, practice your short game at Gore Creek Mini Golf. Families learn about Vail's mountain wildlife while playing this animal-themed miniature golf course. Nature's beauty abounds in all directions at this 9-hole course.

Gore Creek Mini Golf
Gore Creek Mini Golf (Photo credit: Jack Affleck for Vail Resorts)

8. Vail Village Shopping

There's something so cozy and enticing about ski villages. Vail is one of the largest ski resorts in North America and boasts an impressive village filled with cute shops and tempting local restaurants.

Of course, you'll find all sorts of outdoor gear outfitters in the heart of Vail Village. But shoppers will also enjoy the many jewelry, clothing, and art shops. The Toy Store and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory are big hits with kids.

A covered bridge leads to Vail Village
A covered bridge leads to Vail Village (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Scenic Gondola Ride

After the snow melts, you can still embark on scenic gondola rides in Vail. Take in the beauty of the Colorado Rockies during your summer vacation from 10,000 feet.

Reach the top of Vail Mountain from gondola stops in Vail Village or Lionshead Village. From both Eagle's Nest and Gondola One, you’ll be treated to incredible views plus access Vail's extensive network of hiking and biking trails. Pair your journey to the top of Eagle’s Nest with Epic Discovery activities. 

Eagle Bahn Gondola in summer in Vail
Eagle Bahn Gondola (Photo credit: Jack Affleck for Vail Resorts)

10. Vail Village Art

More than 55 impressive works of public art make Vail Village even prettier. To explore on your own, pick up a free map of Vail’s public art collection at the Vail Village and Lionshead Welcome Centers. Or download an ART in Vail map before you go.

On Wednesdays in Vail in summertime, attend a free 1-hour Art Walk to learn more about the town's galleries and public works. You'll see paintings, sculptures, murals, playground art, and more during this walking art show.

Just one example of the beautiful works of public art in Vail Village
Just one example of the beautiful works of public art in Vail Village (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

11. Bicycling Vail

If you want a scenic way to explore the town of Vail, then a bike ride makes a fun summer activity. Paved bike trails and mountain trails abound.

Rent a cruiser or mountain bike from Vail Sports. These local outfitters offer several locations from which to get your gear including one in Vail Village. 

Serious mountain bikers can tackle Vail's peaks on two wheels. For an exhilarating downhill mountain biking experience, sign up for a guided downhill mountain bike excursion from Vail Mountain into scenic Frisco via our partner, Viator.

Explore Vail by bicycle in summertime
Vail by bicycle (Photo credit: Jack Affleck)

12. Vail Segway Tour

A Segway tour is a great way for the whole family (ages 12+) to explore the beauty of Vail in summer together. Roll on two wheels along pretty paved paths, taking in vistas framed by the Rocky Mountains.

After a brief equipment and safety lesson, your small group will set off on a 12-mile journey through Vail. Sign up for a 2-hour small group guided Segway tour with Vail Segway Tours via our partner, GetYourGuide.

Vail Segway Tours
Vail Segway Tours (Photo credit: Vail Segway Tour, GetYourGuide)

13. Scavenger Hunt at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Hike or bike over to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens for some lovely scents and scenes. The world's highest botanical garden bursts with flowers in summer.

If traveling with kids, then the playful Children's Garden is a must-do. Be sure to pick up Treasure Hunt cards at the Education Center for a self-guided scavenger hunt. The cards lead families from letterbox to letterbox in this beautiful garden with clues that will please any mini sleuth.

Can you spy with your little eye the decorated letter box at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens? ~ 14 Things to Do in Vail in Summer
Can you spy with your little eye the decorated letter box at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens? (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

14. Spice Rub Class at Four Seasons Vail

You don't need to be a Four Seasons hotel guest to enjoy the flavors of this upscale resort. Contact the Four Season Residences & Resort Vail‘s concierge to book a group Spice Rub Class. Learn how to make the perfect barbecue rub in the hotel's kitchen with Chef Marcus Stewart.

The chef will guide you in crafting your own spice rub to take home as a flavorful souvenir of Vail. Choose to make a spicy, citrusy, All-American, or exotic spice blend. You get a chance to taste your creation on some delicious cuts of meat, too!

Spice Rub Class at Four Seasons Vail
Spice Rub Class at Four Seasons Vail (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

15. Wine Tasting at Root & Flower

No matter the time of year, an Art of Wine Tasting wine class at Root & Flower in Vail is always a good idea. Learn the art of pairing foods with the right wines while sipping some delicious vintages and nibbling on tasty bites.

Other classes at this tasting room include Champagne vs. the World (focusing on sparkling wines), Top Shelf Liquor Tasting, and Whiskeys of the World. Even if you don't want to take a class, be sure to stop by to taste some local wines and spirits during your stay.

Art of Tasting class at Root & Flower in Vail, CO
Art of Tasting class at Root & Flower (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

16. Whitewater Rafting the Colorado River

Whitewater rafting tours abound in Vail in summer. Shoot rapids on the Colorado River with Numbers Extreme Whitewater Rafting. They promise a white-knuckle adventure for experienced rafters or fearless beginners.

For something less intense, choose Browns Canyon Half-Day Whitewater Rafting. It's suitable for most rafters, including kids.

Seeking a truly relaxing ride? Book the Lower Browns Canyon Midwater Float Trip, for which Viator says you can, “Pick up a paddle if you like, or simply relax and enjoy this fun and mellow river ride.”

White water rafting the Colorado River in Vail in summer
White water rafting the Colorado River (Photo credit: Jack Affleck)

17. Hot Air Ballooning in the Rockies

For the most uplifting way to take in Vail's stunning scenery, go hot air ballooning in the Colorado Rockies. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful location than Vail to experience a balloon ride.

Camelot Balloons has piloted hot air balloon rides in Vail for more than 30 years. They offer group and private flights.

Camelot Hot Air Balloon in the Colorado Rockies
Camelot Hot Air Balloon (Photo credit: Camelot Hot Air Balloon)

18. Fly Fishing

Ever since I saw A River Runs Through It, I have wanted to try fly fishing. Although Brad Pitt won't be joining you, you'll still take in some incredible scenery and learn this elegant sport from knowledgeable instructors when you book with Minturn Anglers Fly Fishing.

Even kids can try fly fishing in Vail in summer
Even kids can try fly fishing in Vail (Photo credit: Jack Affleck)

19. Horseback Riding

Saddle up with Vail Stables to hit the horseback trails during your Vail summer vacation. This stable promises their horses are gentle, and the photo ops are plentiful. Horseback ride trail options vary from 1.5-hour experiences to half-day rides.

Kids must be 5+ for trail rides. Pony rides are available for younger children, too.

Vail in summer is especially beautiful when viewed from the saddle of a horse
Vail is especially beautiful when viewed from the saddle of a horse (Photo credit: Jack Affleck)

20. Vail Spas

Vail tends to attract a high-class crowd. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that spas are plentiful here, dahhhling. Choose from massages, body treatments, facials, and salon services.

From day spas to wellness retreat centers, there's a spa to suit your needs in Vail. Take a look at the best spas in Vail according to TripAdvisor.

I adored my massage at Bloom Spa at The Sebastian. Plan to spend some time after your Bloom treatment soaking in The Sebastian's mountain-view swimming pool or one of four hot tubs.

The Sebastian's outdoor pool in Vail in summer
Spa-goers can take a dip in The Sebastian's outdoor pool (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

21. Golfing in Vail

Choose from 17 golf courses in the Vail area during summer months. Vail Golf Club is the only course within Vail proper. It's known as Vail Valley's “most walkable” course and is open to the public. The course offers a full-service pro shop, driving range, and Grill on the Gore Restaurant.

Nestled into Beaver Creek Mountain, Beaver Creek Golf Club at Breckenridge ranks well among golfers. It's known for its narrow, challenging fairways and pretty mountain views.

The par-3 EagleVail Golf Club in nearby Avon is a good choice for beginners. It's a more affordable option, too.

Vail Golf Club
Vail Golf Club (Photo from Vail Golf Club's Facebook page)

22. Outdoor Concerts and Festivals

Vail hosts a number of outdoor concerts and festivals to celebrate the sunny days of summer. Take a look at upcoming Vail events.

Hot Summer Nights is an annual live music concert series held at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, just to the west of the Betty Ford Gardens. Buy tickets in advance. Spread out a blanket and picnic basket and then jam out at 6:30 pm on Tuesdays throughout the summer.

Also held at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, the Vail International Dance Festival draws dance lovers to the Colorado Mountains. The 2-week festival features a variety of performances of dance genres and combinations from ballet and modern to hip hop, Afro-jazz, and beyond.

Fans of the Bravo series, Top Chef, have likely longed to attend the renowned Taste of Vail food and wine festival. Cooking seminars, wine dinners, and tasting events tempt foodies at this annual event.

Goat Yoga with Vail Stables
Goat Yoga with Vail Stables (Photo from Vail Stables Facebook page)

23. Mountain Top Yoga and Goat Yoga

With gorgeous scenery and fresh mountain air, there's no place better to get your Zen on than a yoga session in Vail.

Take in the beauty of your surroundings with a Mountain Top Yoga seminar. Classes run every Saturday in summer from 10 to 11 am on the Mid-Vail Deck. Buy your Mountain Top Yoga tickets at Lionshead and Vail Village Ticket Offices.

For a truly memorable experience, sign up for Goat Yoga (or Goga) with Vail Stables. Ages 8+ can do downward dog, child's pose, and other yoga positions with easygoing and playful goat yogis. You're sure to get not only exercise but also a few giggles!

Old Town Hot Springs in nearby Steamboat Springs, CO
Old Town Hot Springs in nearby Steamboat Springs (Photo from Old Town Hot Springs Facebook page)

24. Hot Springs

Vail is blessed with an abundance of hot springs. Nature's hot tubs, hot springs are formed when, “Subsurface magma heats groundwater, creating steam and hot water,” according to NPR.

Many resorts and spas have harnessed this heated water for visitors' soaking pleasure. A little over 1.5 hours from Vail, Old Town Hot Springs is a good choice for families with its plentiful geothermal pools, two waterslides, zero-entry children's pool, and more.

You can also visit Vail's more rugged hot springs in nature. South Canyon Hot Springs, nicknamed Hippie Hot Springs, offers a free soaking experience among red bluffs in the Glenwood Springs area.

Read about more Vail hot springs recommended by Think Vail.

An array of delicious breakfast dishes at Vintage
An array of delicious breakfast dishes at Vintage (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

25. Vail's Culinary Scene

Oh, the food…THE FOOD in Vail! You could come to Vail solely to eat and leave happy. To sample a variety of Vail's best bites. up for the Vail Village Food and Walking Tour. Below are some of my personal favorite things to eat in Vail, no matter the season.

Vintage

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially in Vail. Vintage delights diners with its daily Champagne Brunch. Their outdoor patio is particularly inviting in summer.

You really can't go wrong here but I especially recommend the Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus. It's served with two poached eggs, woodland mushrooms, caramelized onions, and white truffle hollandaise. Wash it all down with one of their zippy Bloody Marys or a glass of bubbly.

French Toast for a crowd topped with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries at The Sebastian
French Toast for a crowd topped with mascarpone cheese and fresh berries at The Sebastian (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The Sebastian

For an equally delicious start to your day, head to The Sebastian. If you're feeling savory, then order the Huevos Rancheros.

For a sweet treat, indulge in their French Toast. It's prepared with orange brioche stuffed with mascarpone cheese and topped with fresh fruit.

Mojitos at The Sebastian's Frost Bar are perfect for summer in Vail
Mojitos at The Sebastian's Frost Bar are perfect for summer in Vail (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Frost

The swanky Sebastian hotel also offers a hip happy hour at their bar, Frost. Choose from flatbreads, burgers, and appetizers like truffle fries and empanadas. Kids are welcome here and can order off their own menu.

The real draw is Frost's Design Your Own Mojito Bar. Select your own mint, fruit, and juices. These drinks are as refreshing as they are pretty.

Nobu Taco served in a lettuce wrap at Matsuhisa
Nobu Taco served in a lettuce wrap at Matsuhisa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Matsuhisa

Matsuhisa will knock your chopsticks off with their first-class Japanese cuisine. Sushi lovers will be in heaven here.

There are plenty of cooked dishes to choose from as well. For example, order Broiled Black Cod with Miso or Filet Mignon with Wasabi Pepper.

I fell in love with the Nobu Tacos, filled with your choice of lobster, tuna, or crab. They were so good that I got a second order. For gluten-sensitive diners like me, they're happy to make them with lettuce wraps.

Pavlova topped with ice cream and fresh berries at Mountain Standard at Vail Ski Resort
Pavlova topped with ice cream and fresh berries at Mountain Standard (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Mountain Standard

Offering upscale cuisine in a casual setting, Mountain Standard serves lots of delicious options including a raw bar. A big hit is their Southern Pimento Cheese served with grilled bread. My favorite was their Shrimp and Grits with creole butter, piquillo peppers, and pancetta. Be sure to save room for dessert!

Gore Creek in Vail in summer
Gore Creek in Vail (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Book Your Summer Vail Vacation

Hungry for a visit to Vail Ski Resort yet? This stylish yet laid-back town lures travelers seeking outdoor adventures year-round. You can see why Vail is especially worthy of a visit in summer. Book your discounted Vail vacation package via TripAdvisor or Travelocity now!

Keystone Wagon Ride Dinner in Colorado
Keystone Wagon Ride Dinner, one of many fun things to do at Keystone Ski Resort in summer (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Explore More Vacation Ideas

If you liked this story, then I bet you will enjoy learning about Vail's partner ski resort, Keystone in summer.

For more outdoorsy vacation ideas, read about these nature vacations for families.

Adventures and discounted resort rates abound in Arizona in summer. Discover fun things to do in Scottsdale in summertime.

For even more nature play, take a look at the 20 best national parks for kids in the U.S.

25 Things to Do in Vail, Colorado in summer

Save These Vail Summer Activities

For future reference, be sure to save this list of the best things to do in summer in Vail, Colorado. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. We hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Would you like to visit Vail in summer? Which of these Vail summer activities appeals to you most? Let us know in the comments below!

Thank you to Vail Resorts for hosting my summer visit. All opinions are mine, as always!  

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Tanya Raedeke says

    We have not been to Vail in a while, but hope to make it up there again soon, especially now that we are Colorado residents. We have spent so much time in other parts of the Centennial state – most recently southwest Colorado. So many great places to explore here, and your helpful article has reminded me to move Vail towards the top of the list!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Oh good, Tanya! I love Colorado, too, and think Vail is one of the most beautiful and exciting destinations you can choose!

  2. reem zeyad says

    Hi Colleen, I enjoy reading your article, Its really amazing article about Vail which is great destination that you let us discover its beauty through telling us about lots of things to do such as visiting mountain, fishing, try hot balloon , food, drinks, animals and nature . Also your photos are professional, Thanks for such interesting blog

  3. Wow. There is something for everybody at Vail. I would love to take the Spice Rub class and the wine tasting.

  4. Wow there is still so much to do! I have never been out that way but would love to!

  5. This looks like so much fun. Who knew there were things to do in Vail in the summer? I’d start with one of those hikes with llamas. Fun!

  6. Love the mountain resorts and towns in the summer. When it warms up in Denver, we prefer to head into the mountains to hike and spend the day because it is much cooler!

  7. So fun! I wish this was closer to me as I’d love to go. So many fun activities even though it’s not winter.

  8. I’ve never thought about Vail off season. Thanks for letting me know there is something to do in Vail besides skiing

  9. valmg @ Mom Knows It All says

    I have always wanted to go to Vail, I’ve heard it’s beautiful for years. That alpine coaster looks like a blast, I know I’d be up for giving it a try.

  10. Danielle says

    I would love to go zip lining. It’s actually on my bucket list. And that coaster looks super fun! I’d probably be the only one in the family doing these, but it’s just more fun for me!

  11. Vail is amazing. I think I would love it more in the summer.

  12. TColeman says

    I had no idea that there was so much to do in the off-season. I am going to have to make sure to book a trip.

  13. So much to see and do in Vail … I’ll make it a priority when I get to travel to Colorado!

  14. I love Vail in the summer time. I have not been in years. I much prefer it to winter time. These are some great ideas that I will have to try the next time I return.

  15. I would have never thought about going to a ski resort off season. It seems like there is plenty of adrenaline rushes to go around regardless of the time of year. It looks like a lot of fun, and wine tasting is always good, no matter when or where.

  16. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    That is so beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever been to a ski resort in the off season. It’s really a completely different world with warm air and all that green!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      This was my second time visiting a ski resort in summer and I’ve loved it both times. It’s such a great nature-focused vacation!

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