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~Toadally~ Cool Vail Summer Activities for Families

by Mommy Frog on July 8, 2019 Vail

If epic and skiing and snowboarding come to mind when you think of Vail, Colorado, you aren’t alone. However, winter skiing is only one part of what makes Vail a great vacation destination. Did you know that Vail makes a frogtastic family summer vacation spot, too? There’s so much to do with outdoor activities, adventures, arts experiences and ways to relax and kick back. You can even go tubing down a 550-foot hill without the snow! Because summer is the off-season at Vail, it’s also great time to save some money with hoppin’ deals on lodging so you can enjoy a luxury vacation for less! Hop along as we explore our favorite Vail summer activities for families.

Vail Summer Activities for Families

Vail Summer Activities at Epic Discovery

Vail Resort’s Epic Discovery is an adventure park located at the top of the gondola. It has a variety of exciting family activities during summer. The Adventure Pass provides unlimited all-day access to different activities (depending on the height of the participants):

Adventure Pass activities include:

  • Gore Range Adventure Course (must be 54 inches tall)
  • Holy Cross Adventure Course (must be 54 inches tall)
  • Scenic Gondola Ride
  • Eagle's Nest Tubing
  • Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster (driver must be 54-84 inches tall and at least 16 years old; tadpoles 38-54 inches can ride along)
  • Paramount Peak Climbing Wall (must be 36 inches tall and at least 3 years old)
  • Bungee Trampoline
  • Little Eagle Kids Zipline (ages 3 and up)
  • Pine Cone Kids Adventure Course
  • Marmot Mini Kids Tubing
  • Gore Creek Mini Golf

Preschool-age tadpoles can try the Scout Sampler for ages 3-4. This pass provides an introduction to the Epic Discovery experience. The Scout Sampler is valid for three total uses on your choice of the activities below:

  • Little Eagle Kids Zipline
  • Pine Cone Kids Adventure Course
  • Marmot Mini Kids Tubing
  • Bungee Trampoline
  • Paramount Peak Climbing Wall
  • Gore Creek Mini Golf

Other activities at Epic Discovery include:

  • Game Creek Zipline Tour (ages 10 and up)
  • Golden Eagle Zipline (adults only)
  • Bear Cub Play Zone (ages 3 and up)
  • Mountaintop Truck Tour (ages 4 and up)

Go Mountain Biking

Vail Summer Activities - Mountain Biking Credit: Chris McLennan, Vail Resorts

Mountain biking is one of the most popular Vail summer activities. If you enjoy exploring the mountain on two wheels, you can rent mountain bikes and explore some of Vail’s 17 bike trails with breathtaking views.

Go Hiking

Vail Summer Activities - Hiking Credit: Jack Affleck, Vail Resorts

Breathe in that fresh mountain air on a hike. Vail has eight hiking trails. Berrypicker is best for beginners and takes hikers from Lionhead Village to the top of mountain. If that still sounds like too much, you can always ride the gondola up and hike down Berrypicker. Another nice spot to hike is the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, which has bragging rights for being the highest botanical garden in the United States. That also means you should take steps to prevent altitude sickness.

You can also enjoy exhibits and educational programs for tadpoles and adults while at the gardens. Pick up a Treasure Hunt card at the Education Center and send your treasure-seeking tadpoles on a self-guided scavenger hunt. There are even more advanced multi-day hiking expeditions with llamas in the Vail area — hey, they make great hiking companions because they’ll carry your gear!

Get Competitive

In August, your family can compete in some adventure games. The Vail Kids Adventure Games allow competitive kids ages 6-14 to participate in an obstacle adventure race. In teams of two, the kids compete on bike, in water and on foot (or flippers, as the case may be) through a 2.5-4 mile adventure course from Mountain Plaza through Vail Mountain, Gore Creek and Vail Village. The course contains man-made and natural obstacles. Also in August is the Keen Family Mud Run, which the whole family can jump in and do together. The event promises some “cool” ways to rinse off.

Go Kayaking or Rafting

No matter what skill level you are, you can chart your own path at Vail via kayak or whitewater rafting trip. Whitewater Park is in the center of the village, and you can book Class I to Class V river trips on the Eagle, Colorado or Arkansas Rivers through several companies. 

Enjoy Arts and Musical Entertainment

During the summer, your visit may occur during the Vail Jazz Festival, the Summer Bluegrass Series, the 3-day Arts Festival, Moe’s Original Bar B Que Hot Summer Nights free concert series, dance festivals and more. Look over the Vail summer activities schedule to find out the entertainment options during your stay. On Sundays, be sure to check out the Vail Farmer’s Market & Art Show for some fun food tasting (free samples!) and entertainment. The tadpoles can jump in the bouncy castle while you enjoy some jazz and treats.

Visit a Museum or Nature Center

Vail Ski Museum

When you are longing for the ski season, you can visit the The Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s on the upper lever of the Vail Village parking structure. The museum is free — we love free stuff! You can take a guided tour on select days.

Nature centers are a great way to learn about the area. The Vail Nature Center is housed on a 1940s homestead between a mountain meadow and the banks of Gore Creek. You can hike its trails and explore exhibits. There are programs for hiking, birding, taking beaver pond tours, stargazing, viewing wildflowers, enjoying campfires with s’mores (sign me up!) and taking creekside nature tours. Tadpoles ages 6-13 can take Art in Nature classes. Donations are accepted. There’s a Nature Discovery Center at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola at Vail Mountain. The Walking Mountains Science Center is located in Avon and has a variety of family programs, as well.

Take Mountaintop Yoga or Do Yoga with Furry Friends

On select summer days, you can start your day at Mid-Vale with a mountaintop yoga class. Ohmmmmm-my-gosh, can you believe the views? Or try goat yoga (GoGa?) at Vail Stables for a good laugh. Yes! That’s a thing. Humans ages 8 and up can do yoga with goats. Maybe leave those Lululemon yoga clothes home for this one and wear some older workout clothes that can withstand a little nibbling. Spectators can enjoy a beverage from the saloon while they watch you bump heads and get walked on by goats while you hold your pose. This will really test your ability to focus. Visualizing this happening makes us so hoppy! They have horseback riding at the stable, too (for ages 5 and up).

Try Your Hand at Fly Fishing

Vail Summer Activities - Fly Fishing

It’s not every day that you can stand in a creek and learn to fly fish. So hop to it and give fly fishing a try! We frogs are always hoppy to hang out in a mountain creek. And did someone say "fly?" Yum! Gore Creek Fly Fisherman has several locations based out of Vail, Beaver Creek Village and Avon.

Relax at the Spa

All of that hiking, ziplining and rafting (and being walked on by goats?) is bound to take a toll on your muscles. You can relax and unwind at the spa. Even if you are just looking to relax and restore, you can renew your spirit at one of Vail’s spas. Here’s a hop tip: If you stay at one of the spa hotels, you might get access to the spa facilities without booking treatments.

Explore Vail Village

Vail Gelato Shop in Lionshead

It’s toadally fun to explore the Vail Villages with shopping and restaurants without cold toes and ski boots! The tadpoles will flip for the Pirate Ship Park with three deck levels, climbing nets, slides and more above Vail Village. Older kids who bring their skateboards and helmets can show off some new skills at the FREE skatepark at Lionshead Village. Parents will love shopping, dining and drinks. On Saturday afternoons during the summer, hop on over to the Vail Family Fun Fest in Lionshead Village for arts and crafts, a science tent, group games, fun contests and more!

Enjoy Mountainside Lodging in Summer

Vail Summer Activities - Mountainside Lodging

There are some advantages to visiting during Vail and nearby Beaver Creek during the summer off-season. Besides the many Vail summer activities, you can access some great hotels near the villages without breaking the bank. You can spread out in an affordable condo with a full kitchen, washer and dryer within walking distance of Vail Village at Manor Vail Lodge (as low as $262 a night). It has a pool for the tadpoles to splash around in, as well.

If you are looking for a heated pool, fitness facilities and a spa, then you can get affordable luxury in the heart of Vail Village at The Lodge at Vail (as low as $235 a night). The Arrabelle at Vail Square (as low as $306 a night) is just steps from the gondola, putting you close to the action. Your stay at this luxury hotel comes with complimentary GoPro use so you can record all  of your adventures and relive it over and over, and show it off to your friends. Some breakfast is included, and the on-site spa has 11 treatment rooms plus a steam room, whirlpool and sauna. Some standard rooms accommodate five. This hotel has a pool, as well.

Just down the road from Vail is Beaver Creek. During the ski season, the lodging can be quite pricey, but in the summer you can get a jump on some great lodging deals. For example, you can get a private home with four to five bedrooms at Bachelor Gulch Village (as low as $288 a night) just 15 minutes from Vail. Guests can use the outdoor pool and hot tub at the The Ritz-Carlton, which is a short walk away.

If you are flying to Colorado, you’ll need a car rental. How nice it is to drive through Colorado without icy roads or deep snow to worry about? Get a hoppin’ deal on a car rental through Undercover Tourist.

With so many awesome Vail summer activities to try (and hopping deals to make it affordable), the summer months are a great time to visit Vail, Colorado. Do you have any favorite Vail summer activities? Please share them in the comments section below.

Related: Awesome Family-Friendly Summer Activities in Lake Tahoe

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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