Ultimate Guide to Summer Activities in Mountain Towns like Vail, Beaver Creek, and more
Welcome to the ultimate guide for an unforgettable summer in the stunning mountain towns of Vail, Beaver Creek, Edwards, Eagle, Wolcott, and Avon. These mountain destinations nestled amidst the breathtaking landscapes of the High Rockies in Colorado, offer a plethora of activities and experiences to make your summer getaway truly an escape to remember.
Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, elopement, family vacation, or a fun-filled adventure with friends; this guide will hopefully serve as your go-to resource for discovering insider recommendations for the best summer activities, local shopping, restaurants and bars, and hidden gems in the area. From thrilling outdoor adventures to leisurely pursuits, exquisite dining, and cultural explorations, get ready to immerse yourself in the mountain town’s pace of life, panoramic beauty, and excitement of Vail and nearby Colorado mountain towns.
Scroll down to see all of our suggestions for a fun summer in the mountains.
Here is our insider’s guide to local Vail activities:
For outdoor adventure seekers:
Hiking Trails near Vail
Vail offers miles of scenic hiking trails for all ability levels. Explore the wildflowers, catch a glimpse of wildlife, and enjoy the amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
Some of the local favorite trails include:
Shrine Pass (Easy):
The Shrine Pass trailhead is about half an hour east of Vail, off I-70 (Exit 190). The early summer wildflowers are unlike anything you’ve ever seen and the views of the surrounding mountains and open meadows will make the hills feel alive.
Booth Falls (Moderate):
Booth Falls is a moderate hike in East Vail that takes you through beautiful aspen groves to an impressive alpine waterfall.
Berry Picker (Difficult):
Sometimes you get what you pay for and Berry Picker is worth the work to see the views on Vail Mountain. This is a difficult, yet absolutely beautiful hike. Start either from Vail Village or Lionshead Village then the trail climbs just under four miles to Eagle’s Nest at the top of the mountain. *For a fee you can take the Eagle Bahn Gondola up the mountain and for a much easier jaunt, take the trail down.
Piney River Ranch
Drive up to Piney River Ranch and rent a canoe ($30). Then have lunch and take a hike! Open 9 am-4 pm.
Mountain Horseback Riding
Unique activity combo:
Experience Goat Yoga and a Walk-Up Bar at Vail Stables
Hummer, Jeep, and ATV Tours
Let an experienced guide drive you through the beautiful Colorado high country in a comfortable four-wheel drive Jeep or Hummer. If you want to take the wheel, try an exciting ATV adventure! Race through the hills on four-wheelers and explore the historic Camp Hale area, four different mountain ranges, and the Continental Divide.
Contact Lakota Guides to book your off-road adventure.
Head to the Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs
Iron Mountain Hot Springs is a true gem, only an hour’s drive from Vail in the historic Glenwood Springs. The springs are alongside the beautiful Colorado River and surrounded by Rocky Mountain views that soothe and inspire.
Iron Mountain’s 16 geothermal soaking pools give guests a pure soaking experience and the freshwater family pool is cool and ideal for all ages. Thoughtful amenities are built-in throughout the resort with towel tree sculptures at each soaking pool, changing rooms stocked with complimentary shower products, and a restaurant that serves food and drinks.
Restaurants and Nightlife Recommendations
Vail has world-class dining options, from upscale dinners to happy hours and brunch.
- Matsuhisa is the sister restaurant to Nobu Sushi Restaurant in Manhattan.
- Sweet Basil Ree Drummond’s, aka the Pioneer Woman, favorite restaurant in Vail.
- The Restaurant at Chasing Rabbits
- Up the Creek
- Mountain Standard
- Splendido at the Chateau in Beaver Creek
- Beano’s Cabin at Beaver Creek Ski Resort
Casual, Family-Friendly Restaurants:
- Deca + Bol’s food and cocktails are as great as their bowling alley!
- Blue Moose Pizza
- Up the Creek
- The Red Lion
- Pepi’s Bar and Grill
More laid back activities in & around Vail
Do you love to enjoy the mountains at a more leisurely pace? This list is for you:
Tennis and Pickleball
Golden Peak Pickleball Center in Vail has six dedicated pickleball courts for the fastest-growing sport in America right now. Picklers can find the incredible facility between Vail Village and Ford Theatre.
Call Golden Peak Pickleball Center at (970) 390-2952
The Vail Tennis Center is a slice of heaven encompassing eight Har-Tru clay courts backed up against the Gore Range. Open daily in the summer, the center includes a full-service pro shop that rents rackets and courts, offers private lessons, and provides clinics for all ages. Throughout summer, the Vail Recreation District (VRD) runs morning, evening, and weekend play for men, women, and mixed doubles. They also offer week-long junior camps.
Call the tennis center at 970-479-2294 for more information.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is an internationally acclaimed botanical garden known for its alpine horticulture, education, and conservation. Situated at 8,200’ (2,700 m), it is the highest-elevation botanical garden in the world. This is a perfect low-impact summer afternoon activity within walking distance of Vail Village.
Did you know that you’re a better golfer when you’re in Colorado? It’s true! You should be prepared for the ball to travel farther than usual since the air is thinner here.
Some popular golf courses in the area include the Vail Golf Club, Club at Cordillera, Beaver Creek Golf Club, Red Sky Golf Club, and Arrowhead Golf Club.
Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the higher-elevation sun.
Get the cart! You’re probably not going to want to walk if you’re not fully acclimated to the altitude. With stunning mountain views and challenging courses, playing golf in Vail can be a memorable addition to any summer vacation.
Schedule tee times ASAP since during the summer months, it books up fast at some of the popular courses.
Professionals can help improve your technique or teach the basics in gold medal fly fishing waters in the area. Comprehensive fly fishing schools are offered, as well as group and private guided wading and float trips.
For more information visit Gore Creek Fly Fisherman.
We have more local insider tips and valuable information for you before you visit the mountains.
We hope you’ve found our insider’s guide helpful! We know there is more than hiking, bowling, shopping, horseback riding, tennis, fly fishing, Hummer/Jeep/ATV tours, hot springs, dining, and nightlife.
Tell us what other activities you’d like to see in this guide in the comments!