10 fun things to do in Vail in the summer

Published Date: January 5, 2023

Vail in Autumn
Since opening its first ski resort in the 1960s, Vail has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of America’s preeminent ski destinations. But when the snow melts, this Colorado mountain town remains a wonderful place to visit — especially in summer. There are so many things to do in Vail in summer, it’s hard to narrow our list down to 10. But here goes! 

1. Have an adventure at Epic Discovery

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

2. Make friends with a llama

Yes, really. Paragon Guides offers unique guided hikes with a llama to carry your gear and 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 difficulty preferences. 

3. Explore the Vail Nature Center 

Located on a seven-acre 1940s homestead between a mountain meadow and the banks of Gore Creek, the Vail Nature Center is a perfect home base for exploring the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains. 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. 

4. Play a round of golf surrounded by the mountains 

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

5. Wander the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens 

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 a year wander this idyllic spot. If you have a green thumb, you can even do some drop-in volunteer gardening on Mondays and Thursdays. 

6. Enjoy outdoor concerts 

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 called, offers both a covered seating area and grassy hillside, the latter providing beautiful views of the surrounding hills. 

7. Go whitewater rafting

Cool off on a hot summer day with an exhilarating ride down the Colorado and Arkansas Rivers. Local outfitters offer a wide 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). 

8.Take a self-guided art walk 

Vail Village is a charming Bavarian-style ski village and a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Discover an 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 in summer. 

9. Learn about the history of snowsports

Vail’s Colorado Snowsports Museum helps you get your ski and snowboarding fix in the off season. See the evolution of ski gear with a visual showcase dating back to the 1800s, learn about the history of snowboarding and get to know all of Colorado’s 26 active ski areas in an interactive exhibit. 

10. Sample wines from around the world 

Located in the heart of Vail Village, 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 wine tasting classes. 

Find your second home in Vail 

When you own a vacation home in Colorado, you can enjoy all four seasons in style. And when you co-own a Pacaso, you can leave all your home’s maintenance and management to us. Simply arrive, unpack and enjoy everything Vail has to offer. 

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Jen Lyons

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