25 things to do in Vail in summer

Published Date: July 1, 2023

A person hiking with their dog in a flower field, one of the many things to do in Vail in summer.
If you love the activities that make Vail, Colorado, a famous winter destination, you’ll love all of the things to do in Vail in summer as well. Vail is a resort town with plenty to offer solo adventures, couples and families who are eager to enjoy Colorado’s hiking trails, scenic mountain views and food scene. From golf and garden exploring to fly fishing and white water rafting, our guide offers 25 top activities to enjoy during your trip to Vail this summer.

1. Wander the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

A bush of flowers at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, one of the best places to enjoy the things to do in Vail in summer.
Topping our list is one of the most popular things to do in Vail. As the world’s highest-altitude botanical garden at 8,200 feet, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are bursting with color during the summer months. More than 120,000 visitors wander this idyllic spot every year. If you have a green thumb, you can even do some drop-in volunteer gardening on Mondays and Thursdays. 

2. Visit the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame

The Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame is a must-see attraction for anyone who loves winter sports like skiing and snowboarding. The museum showcases the history and culture of snowsports in the state, from early pioneers to modern champions. You can explore exhibits featuring artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and videos that tell the stories of the people and places that shaped Colorado's snowsports scene. 

3. Sample 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits

10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co. is a distillery that produces a variety of spirits, such as bourbon, rye, vodka and gin, using local ingredients and water from the Rocky Mountains. The distillery is named after the 10th Mountain Division, a group of ski soldiers who trained in Colorado during World War II and fought in the Alps and Apennines. In the summer, visitors can enjoy tours and tastings at the distillery, as well as live music and events. 

4. Try new sports at Vail Ski Resort

Vail Ski Resort is one of the most popular ski destinations in Colorado — and the entire country. In summer, Vail Ski Resort has a scenic gondola, mountaintop yoga, hiking, fly fishing, golf and bike hauls. 

5. Sip some brews at Vail Brewing Company

Vail Brewing Company is a craft brewery with two taprooms — one in Eagle-Vail and one in Vail Village. Customers can enjoy the beers on tap or take them home in cans and growlers. The brewery hosts live music, food trucks and other events throughout the year.

6. Explore Lionshead Village

Homes in the Lionshead Village, one of the best places to enjoy the things to do in Vail in summer.
Scenic Lionshead Village offers a variety of lodging options — from luxury hotels to cozy condos — as well as shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. To keep vacation costs low, visitors can take advantage of the free shuttle service that connects Lionshead Village with Vail Village and other nearby attractions. 

7. Enjoy outdoor concerts at The Amp

Fittingly located next door to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is home to all kinds of outdoor entertainment, from the popular Hot Summer Nights weekly concert series to chorale, theater and classical music performances. “The Amp,” as it’s affectionately known, offers both a covered seating area and grassy hillside, the latter providing beautiful views of the surrounding hills.

8. Taste summer’s bounty at the Vail Farmers Market

If you are looking for a fun and delicious way to hang out in Vail in the summer, you should check out the Vail Farmers Market. For more than two decades, the Sunday market features dozens of tents full of local food and artisan products. You can taste delicious treats made in Colorado and browse through a variety of handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings and clothing.

9. Play outside at Piney River Ranch

Kayaks floating at the Piney River Ranch, one of the best places to enjoy the things to do in Vail in summer.
Piney River Ranch is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy the natural beauty of summer in Vail. The ranch offers hiking, fishing, canoeing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. The ranch is located at the edge of Piney Lake, which reflects the majestic peaks of the Gore Range. The ranch also has a lodge and cabins for guests who want to stay overnight and experience the tranquility of the wilderness.

10. Play a round of golf surrounded by mountains 

The award-winning Vail Golf Club is an 18-hole, par 71 course surrounded by incredible vistas of the Gore Range. With tree-lined fairways and challenging bunkers and ponds, this course will test your skill. The best part? Because of Vail’s high altitude, your ball will fly about 10% farther! 

11. Have an adventure at Epic Discovery

A true mountain playground for daredevils of all ages, Epic Discovery is home to the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster that weaves its way 3,400 feet down the mountain. You’ll also find zip lines for kids and adults, a climbing wall, a bungee trampoline and an aerial adventure course and summer inner tubing on a special course. 

12. Get your blood pumping at Vail Nordic Center

Vail Nordic Center is a popular destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and it offers a variety of activities in the summer. You can enjoy hiking, biking, disc golf and yoga on the scenic trails and fields of the center. The center has a pro shop that rents and sells equipment, clothing and accessories for your outdoor adventures.

13. Ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola

The Eagle Bahn Gondola is a scenic ride that takes you from Lionshead Village to the top of Eagle's Nest in Vail, Colorado. In the summer, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and the valley below, as well as access to various activities such as hiking, biking and zip lining. The gondola operates daily from late June to early September and on weekends in May and October. The ride takes about 15 minutes each way and can accommodate up to 10 people per cabin.

14. Take a self-guided art walk at Vail Village

Vail Village is a charming Bavarian-style ski village, making it a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Discover the incredible 55 works of public art that are spread throughout town. To see them all, you’ll want to stop by the welcome center to pick up a free map. Guided tours are also available during the summer. 

15. Catch a sunrise or sunset at Bighorn Park

Bighorn Park is a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in the summer, perfect for hiking, biking, fishing and camping. The park is home to a large herd of bighorn sheep, which can be seen grazing on the grassy slopes or climbing the rocky cliffs. The park also has stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, especially at sunrise and sunset.

16. Make friends with a llama

A person leads a troupe of llamas and hikers through a valley, one of the best places to enjoy the things to do in Vail in summer.
Yes, really. Paragon Guides offers unique guided hikes with a llama to carry your gear and a picnic lunch. Gentle and curious creatures, llamas turn an ordinary hike into a memorable adventure. Kids are welcome, and you can choose from a variety of hiking trails to fit your group’s abilities and preferences. 

17. Explore the Vail Nature Center 

The Vail Nature Center is located on a 7-acre 1940s homestead between a mountain meadow and the banks of Gore Creek. Explore the many trails on your own, or sign up for a birding tour, wildflower viewing, stargazing excursion or nature tour. The center also offers fun and educational programs for kids. 

18. Go whitewater rafting

Cool off on a hot summer day with an exhilarating ride down the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers. Local outfitters offer a range of rafting options, from kid-friendly introductory trips to technical rafting experiences with rapids up to Class IV. Looking for something a little more relaxing? Opt for a low-key float trip through Browns Canyon, where your guide will do all the paddling. 

19. Sample wines from around the world 

Root & Flower is a chic wine bar that’s perfectly suited for a pre-dinner happy hour or a nightcap after a day of adventures. The menu features 50 wines by the glass, as well as a hand-picked selection of bottles from all over the world. And be sure to check out the bar’s wine tasting classes. 

20. Enjoy tubing in Vail

Relish in the thrill of tubing in Vail while being surrounded by the greenery and beauty of the Colorado mountains. Eagle's Nest Tubing is a 550-foot tubing hill that is accessed by the Adventure Bahn carpet at Adventure Ridge. It’s open from June to October, but it requires a scenic gondola lift ticket to access.

21. Fly through the sky on a zip line

A person flys throught the sky on a zip line, one of the best things to do in Vail in summer.
Soar through the air and enjoy the scenic views of Colorado. If you are looking for a zip line adventure in Vail, you have plenty of options to choose from in the summer. You can zip line over the Colorado River, through the alpine forests or across the Rocky Mountains. Tours vary in length, difficulty and price, but they all guarantee a memorable and exciting experience. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you can find a zip line tour that suits your level of adventure and budget.

22. Bike Vail’s trails

Two cyclists bike through Vail’s trails , one of the best things to do in Vail in summer.
Vail offers many trails and paths for cyclists of all levels and abilities. You can enjoy the fresh air and stunning views as you pedal along the paved and dirt roads or cruise through downtown Vail. Whether you want to challenge yourself with steep climbs and descents, or relax and enjoy the scenery at a leisurely pace, there is a route for you in Vail.

23. See Vail on horseback

Horseback riding in Vail is a great way to enjoy the scenic beauty of summer in the Rocky Mountains. Whether you are a beginner or an expert rider, you can find a trail that suits your skill level and preferences. You can choose from half-day, full-day or overnight trips, and explore the alpine meadows, aspen forests and wildflower fields with your friendly steed.

24. Spend the day fly fishing

Vail is a popular destination for fly fishing enthusiasts, as it offers a variety of rivers and streams to explore. Some of the best spots for fly fishing in Vail are Eagle River, Gore Creek and the Colorado River. You will need a fishing license, which you can buy online or at local shops. Enjoy the scenic views and the fresh mountain air that make Vail a perfect place for fly fishing. 

25. See it all with a hot air balloon ride

If you’re looking for one of the most thrilling things to do in Vail in summer, consider taking a hot air balloon ride. A hot air balloon ride is a great way to experience the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains from a bird's-eye view. You can soar over the lush green valleys and sparkling rivers, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the clear blue sky.Vail, Colorado, is a nature lover's dream. Although the town is famous for its winter sports scene, there are plenty of things to do in Vail in summer as well. If you could see yourself in this year-round paradise, skip the vacation rentals and consider investing in a second home in Vail.

FAQ: Things to do in Vail in summer

Is Vail worth visiting in summer?

Yes, Vail is a great destination for summer activities like hiking, fishing and camping.

How do you spend a summer day in Vail?

There are many activities to enjoy in the warm weather, such as hiking, biking, golfing, fishing, rafting and zip lining. You can also explore charming jVail Village with its shops, restaurants and art galleries.

What is the best summer month to visit Vail?

The best summer month to visit Vail depends on your preferences and activities. Some people prefer June, when the weather is mild and the wildflowers are blooming. Others like July, when the town hosts many festivals and events. August is also a good option, as the temperatures are cooler and the crowds are smaller.

What is Vail best known for?

Vail is a popular ski resort town in Colorado. It is best known for its vast terrain, diverse trails and scenic views. Vail attracts skiers and snowboarders of all levels and abilities, as well as hikers, bikers and fly fishers.

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Jen Lyons

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