Fun Things To Do In Vail Colorado – Summer hikes in Vail usually have a good score with beautiful mountain views. Photo credit: City of Vail/ Jack Affleck
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Fun Things To Do In Vail Colorado
Vail Colorado summer vacations offer endless outdoor activities. From climbing or boating or river cruises to exploring the sights on foot or on horseback, there’s adventure around every corner. While Vail may be best known for its ski slopes, the area has much more to offer during the summer. With warm sunny days, cool nights, clear skies and a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, summer is the perfect season to enjoy outdoor adventures and nature at its best. As a family of Vail-area locals ranging in age from eight to 50, we’re excited to share some of our favorite things to do during the summer months.
Things To Do With Kids On A Vail Colorado Summer Vacation
There really is something for everyone of all ages atop Vail Mountain at Vail Resort’s epic discovery. Soaring gently through the air up the mountain on the Eagle Bahn Gondola as you look out over the green slopes and past the trees, surrounded by mountain peaks, is peaceful, relaxing and breathtaking.
When you reach the top of Mount Vail, the hardest decision is what to do first. From hurtling down the mountain on the Alpine Coaster Forest Flyer or tube slide or flying through the air on a zip line, to testing your skills on one of the ropes courses, there’s something for kids and adults of all ages. I recommend taking a break from the excitement and challenge to relax at the Nature Discovery Center while viewing the animal exhibits.
The view from the top of Mount Vail is always amazing. But in my opinion autumn is the most beautiful. If you can do it in mid to late September, you can get golden aspen leaves as far as the eye can see.
This is our top pick for things to do with kids in Vail because you won’t find many other natural settings that combine animal and nature education with unique challenges and just plain fun.
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Rifle Falls State Park has three waterfalls with a mile loop behind the falls and limestone caves perfect for exploring. Photo credit: Liana Moore
Western Colorado is home to some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the country. There are tours for children and adults of all ages and abilities. Our family even managed to hunt a couple that entertained the little ones in hidden caves and waterfalls.
If you live in Vail, you might want to stay close and do some serious mountain hiking. You can also choose to take the gondola up and take a leisurely stroll around the top of Vail Mountain. Or maybe stroll through the beautiful Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical garden in the country, if you’re more into it.
Vail Valley offers a lot of jumping at different levels. I think it’s worth going to Glenwood Canyon, about 45 minutes west of Vail, to hike to the famous Hanging Lake. Or, if you have kids, a drive to Rifle Falls State Park for an easy hike to the top of the falls might be just the ticket.
Day Trip Ideas During A Getaway In Vail, Colorado
I think there is no better way to relax, enjoy nature and de-stress than hiking. Plus, there’s no better time than now to get your kids out into nature. If Vail hadn’t made Epic Discovery last summer and failed to create a unique blend of nature, education, adventure and fun, we might have made this the best choice for kids in Vail.
Vail is full of great parks for kids. One of our favorites is Sunbird Park in the town of Lionshead. Photo credit: Liana Moore
Visit your local park! Every city has a park, and there are more than Vail’s. But I say these are special. Not only do they live in a no-nonsense outdoor environment, they also encourage imaginative play and activity. Plus, it’s one of those FREE things kids will enjoy just as much as the expensive activities.
Vail’s Sunbird Park, known as Nest Park by local kids, has been named one of the most beautiful parks in the world by Travel + Leisure. Located in Lionshead, it has a rope bridge, slides, climbing wall and amusement park to keep kids active and entertained.
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In Vail Village, the Pirate Ship Park is a favorite. The centerpiece is a large multi-level pirate ship with stairs leading up to the eagle’s nest on top. From rowboats on the ground floor to boat lanes above, this structure inspires all kinds of imaginative play. Swings and access to the river are a plus.
From someone who was crazy about horses as a kid, horseback riding is a special way to explore the mountains and local flora and fauna during your Vail Colorado summer vacation. It is a real experience to call the beautiful and gentle animals with the funny shepherds who guide you through the mountains. My daughter, one of her friends and I had a great summer at Beaver Creek Stables. We felt like we were on the road at times. But then we came around the bend to see the beautiful mountains and ski slopes.
Horseback riding is one of those things that should be done in the summer, but can be done better in the fall. The aspens turn golden, the dust settles and the air whispers. A good time to enjoy driving with the family.
Whether it’s down a mountain or on a bike path with a flowing river, biking is sure to be a favorite summer activity in Vail Colorado. Photo credit: City of Vail/ Jack Affleck
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For the more adventurous, get your heart pumping with a mountain bike ride then up Vail Mountain. Don’t want to work hard on climbing? For an additional fee, you can lift your bike into the gondola and simply ride down. There are many additional trails scattered throughout the Vail Valley that can be considered some of the best mountain bike trails in Colorado.
For a fun ride, cycle the Vail Bike Trail. Hit the river on the way and stop for a picnic or ice cream at Lionshead or Vail Village.
Piney Lake with Gore Mountain as a backdrop, perfect for horseback riding, canoeing or glamping. Photo credit: Liana Moore
The water is calm. Our favorite place to hike is Piney Lake, a few miles up a dirt road from Vail at Piney River Ranch. The farm rents canoes, not rowboats, so bring your own if you must. The views of the Gore Range on the lake are unavoidable.
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Archery hire in Nottingham Lake on Avon. Therefore, this may be a better option for visitors who cannot bring their own equipment. Here you will find other water sports and small beaches.
Local outfitters offer rafting for all abilities. There are age restrictions on most tours, so check before you go. Our family loves going on a Father’s Day Colorado River Cruise offered by Timberline Tours. This floats easily so kids can walk.
Vail Valley offers excellent gold medal fishing waters. Many local workers will provide the necessary equipment and take you to secret fishing spots on Gore Creek or other nearby waterways.
On Sundays, the Vail Farmers Market offers not only produce, but also art, music, food and more. Brightly colored vendors line the cobblestones, offering visitors the chance to take home holiday souvenirs.
Top Things To Do In Vail, Colorado
The Colorado Rockies have natural hot mineral springs. Bathing in hot water is not only fun, but the natural minerals in the water also have health benefits. Many of these hot springs have a history dating back to the 19th century. There’s even a historic Hot Springs Loop in Colorado. Head west to Glenwood Springs for great burial options!
Vail Pass has a steep cycle path up to Vail Valley. Photo credit: VLMDAC/ Jack Affleck
Some of the bike rental companies in Vail will rent you a bike and give you a ride to the top of Vail Pass on your bike. You then drive along the river, through the golf course and back to Vail Village. Talk about an adrenaline rush!
Children of all ages enjoy splashing in the Vail Children’s Fountain. Photo credit: City of Vail/ Jack Affleck
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All the kids will have hours of fun at the Children’s Fountain in Vail Village. It’s the perfect place to cool off on a hot day. The sound of joy and laughter does not stop. But keep in mind that there is a pastry shop located right in front of the fountain. It will be attractive
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