With dry mountain air, beautiful green mountains, and bright sunshine, Vail, Colorado is a fabulous family travel destination in the summer. Although it’s known as a popular world-class ski destination, Vail has so much to offer for families visiting the area. During my recent trip to Vail Colorado, I had the opportunity to experience some of these fun outdoor summer activities, and can’t wait to return with my family. Here are some great things to do in Vail in summer with kids.
Disclosure: I visited the area at no cost as part of a press trip with the DoubleTree by Hilton Vail. All opinions are my own.
Things to Do in Vail in Summer With Kids
Regardless of what you choose to do, be aware of the mountain weather and altitude that you’ll experience in Vail. Layers are definitely recommended, and you’ll want to bring lots of sunscreen. It’s also important that you drink plenty of water and recognize that your body may react differently to the higher altitude. During our trip, the weather was absolutely beautiful, but I still liked having some light layers, especially as I went up into the mountains.
Vail Mountain Resort Epic Discovery
You absolutely cannot visit Vail in the summer without spending a day at the Vail Mountain Resort. Their Epic Discovery Adventure Pass includes all-day access to the gondola, mountain coaster, adventure courses, and more. The offering depends on the size/ages of your children. It’s a good idea to review the various height restrictions in advance so your kids aren’t disappointed when you arrive.
Despite the height restrictions of some of the attractions, even the littlest kids have activities to enjoy at the mountain. There’s also mini golf right at the base. Most of the activities, however, are a gondola ride up the mountain.
If you don’t want to buy the full Adventure Pass, you can purchase tickets a la carte for the individual activities. Definitely include the alpine coaster, because that was one of my favorite activities. It’s so fun. Kids that are 54 inches and above can control the ride themselves, while kids 38 inches to 54 inches can be a passenger (as long as the driver is 16+ and the passenger is 3+).
For a special experience, add on the zip lining tour. This 3-4 hour tour is appropriate for kids aged 10 and up (weighing at least 75 lbs and accompanied by an adult). With the zip lining tour, you’ll also be able to return the next day to use the Adventure Pass. During my trip, we did the zip lining, and it was so much fun. It’s also stunningly beautiful to see the gorgeous mountains while zip lining.
Whichever option you choose, make sure you wear layers and closed-toed shoes. The weather changes frequently on the top of the mountain, and closed-toed shoes are required for most of the activities.
Read more about my experience at Vail Mountain Resort Epic Discovery here.
I love ski villages in the summer, and Vail Village is definitely something special. Older kids may enjoy visiting the quaint shops and boutiques, while younger kids will love the kids’ amenities. The pirate ship pictured above is a great place for young kids to get out energy while parents relax.
There are also a number of little streams and rivers where kids can splash around. During my July visit, I saw lots of barefoot kids cooling down in the water. Vail Village is also home to a bowling alley and a movie theater so there is plenty to do, even when the weather isn’t cooperating with your summer visit.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
This botanical garden, founded by the former first lady of the US, is the highest botanical garden in the world. It’s filled with gorgeous alpine and mountain plants, as well as rock gardens and streams.
Kids will enjoy the children’s garden, the Vail Nature Center, and the playground. These areas are perfect for kids to explore, and to learn a little more about the mountain environment that they are visiting.
The gardens are definitely a beautiful place to visit in the summer – I enjoyed walking around and taking photos of all of the scenery and plants.
The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is open 365 days per year from dawn to dusk, although the education center has seasonal hours. It’s conveniently located just a short walk from Vail Village.
Learn more about the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens here.
Goat yoga is the newest yoga craze, and kids aged 8 and up can participate at the Vail Stables. Located about one mile from Downtown Vail, Vail Stables is an oasis for those who love animals.
During my trip to Vail, I loved my visit to the stables. The goat yoga class is about one hour, and doesn’t involve too much strenuous yoga. Instead, you’ll do some basis yoga poses while the goats snuggle up against you.
Kids aged 8 and above can do goat yoga, but will need to stay on their mats (which are provided). During our session, I was surrounded by goats. At the end of the hour, you’ll have some time to pose and get some photos that you weren’t able to get during the yoga. It’s definitely an experience you won’t easily forget. Be sure to bring yoga clothes and a water bottle. Once you finish, you may want to have a plastic bag to put your dirty clothes in so they don’t combine with the rest of your clothes in your luggage.
Vail Stables also offers family horseback riding tours for kids aged 10 and up. These tours are either one hour or one and a half hours. You’ll get to see the gorgeous Vail scenery while on your horseback riding tour. It’s a short drive from the center of Vail – our hotel’s shuttle brought us there and back.
Read more about Vail Stables here.
Charter Sports, which has several Vail locations (including one at the DoubleTree by Hilton Vail), offers a Vail Pass bike tour. Families with kids aged 10 and up can rent mountain bikes and participate in the tour. This two hour trip from Vail Pass to Lionshead Village is great for families. You can choose a guide or can use a map and ride on your own. The Charter Sports trip includes transportation to and from the trail.
Colorado Snowsports Museum
Previously known as the Colorado Ski and Snowboarding Museum, the Colorado Snowsports Museum is a popular attraction for families who enjoy various snowsports. It’s open from 10am-6pm, and although there isn’t an admission fee, they do have a suggested donation. I didn’t have a chance to visit during my trip, however.
Whatever you plan to do in Vail in summer with kids, you’ll definitely have a great time outdoors. Consider staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton Vail, where you can get either a room or a suite and enjoy an outdoor pool and other amenities.