It’s no secret that ski resorts can provide amazing vacation destinations in the winter, but they are also crazy expensive during this time. What many people don’t know is that most ski resorts and villages offer plenty of activities all year round, including during the summer months, and often at a fraction of the price.
Several years ago, my family and I had our first ski resort adventure which, ironically, didn’t involve skiing at all. Our summer trip took us just outside Montreal to the skiing village of Mont Tremblant where we stayed for several days, hiking, learning about raptors and experiencing our first ropes course. And, it was all surprisingly affordable. After our time in Mont Tremblant, we were sold on the non-traditional summer ski resort vacation and knew that we would eventually return.
Fast forward to summer 2020, our family was longing for another outdoor adventure. Knowing that Canada was closed to tourists, we set our sights on Colorado and more specifically, Vail.
Known for amazing skiing and A-list resorts, we had never given Vail much thought because of the expense and the fact that we don’t ski. But after doing a little research on flights, hotels and rental cars, we were able to pull together a 4-day vacation all within our budget.
And let me tell, the vacation in Vail did not disappoint. After pulling into the little mountain town last August, I was immediately awestruck by its beauty and then continued to be captivated and entertained by all Vail had to offer.
Similar to Mont Tremblant, Vail is surround by mountains and offers plenty of outdoor activities to keep you and your family busy, including:
5 Reasons to Make Vail Your Summer Vacation Destination
Hiking, Biking and Nature – Hiking is a must when you are in Vail and it’s a low cost way to take in the beauty of the mountain, not to mention the extended views of the Rockies. Vail mountain and the nearby area offer miles and miles of trails at all difficulties and elevations, and all are surrounded by a forest of pine, spruce and gorgeous aspen trees. And although wildlife can be ever elusive, it’s not uncommon to see deer, beaver, marmot or the occasional bear (at least they’ve been spotted from atop the gondala!). If you are all hiked out or just really adventurous, take the scenic gondola up Vail mountain (extra cost), bike down and then stop for a outdoor cocktail in Vail Village to celebrate your accomplishment.
White Water Rafting – If you’re looking to augment your Vail adventure with a little fun on the water, try white water rafting. Several companies are based within about an hour of Vail and offer 1/2 day rafting adventures at all levels on the Colorado River, Gore Creek and Eagle River. We booked through Sage Outdoor Adventures and thought the guides provided great service and a super fun and safe experience.
Resorts and Hotels – Although Vail may seem quaint, there are plenty of hotels, resorts and Air B&B type accommodations to fit just about any budget – and many are located in or within walking distance of Vail Village. But if you have the money and want to splurge try the Four Seasons. It’s set on the edge of Vail Village and is in a perfect location in between Vail and Lionshead. Note: Summer rates for the Four Seasons were significantly lower than Winter rates – still expensive but much more affordable.
Restaurants – Vail offers a true culinary adventure beyond the mountain and slopes. There are numerous restaurants throughout the Village and nearby Lionshead boasting a variety of cuisines to suit any taste. From traditional Alpine fare to authentic Italian to gelato and chocolate, you won’t have any trouble finding a fabulous meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Our favorite is La Bottega, where we shamelessly dined three times!
Vail Village and Shopping – Aside from restaurants, the charming and picturesque Vail Village offers a European/Swiss Alps feel with pedestrian friendly streets full of incredible shopping for all budgets. Although many of the shops are geared toward tourists, they do have a few boutique clothing/specialty stores for women, men and children. And if you’re not in the mood to shop, the Village is a great place to just have a latte or gelato and watch the world (and plenty of people) go by.
So if you’re looking to have some outdoor fun, why not give Vail a try?
Happy travels everyone!