Vail, Colorado: The Ultimate Summer Vacation Destination for Families

Photo courtesy of VLMDAC & Jack Affleck

If you are looking for the perfect summer family vacation destination look no further! The Vail Valley is the place for fun and adventure with the entire family. From recreation and activities to cultural events and festivals, there is so much to do the options are literally endless. So endless in fact, I had a hard time narrowing down the list for this blog post! For that reason alone, Beaver Creek, Avon and day trip destinations like Glenwood Springs did not make the cut. I’ll tell you more about those in a future post. For now, it’s all things Vail!


Epic Discovery

Accessed via a ride up the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead, this one-of-a-kind mountain top amusement park has tons of adventure to offer. Families can zip, fly, tour and tube their way through Vail’s newest summer experience. Almost all activities have adult and kids versions starting with Summer Tubing and Marmot Mini Tubing. There’s also the Golden Eagle (adult) and Little Eagle (kids) Ziplines, and Gore Range/ Holy Cross (adult) and Pine Cone (kids) adventure courses. The Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster can be ridden by an adult with a small child, or bigger kids and adults can go on their own. There’s also a climbing wall, rebound trampoline, 4×4 tours, disc golf, hiking, mountain biking and lawn games. If you have all day, don’t miss the epic Game Creek Zipline Tour with nearly 2 miles of ziplining and aerial bridges. Make a day of it by grabbing lunch on the huge deck at Eagle’s Nest, or stay for food, drinks and free live music on Fridays and Saturdays.


4 Eagle Ranch

Looking for something to do with a more of a western flavor? Try a day or evening at 4 Eagle Ranch. Located west of Vail in Wolcott, it is a quintessential Colorado ranch. During the day, you can go horseback riding, or if you are feeling really adventurous, a cattle drive. There are also jeep tours, ATV tours and Zip Adventures featuring 6 different zip lines crossing high above Alkali Creek. On Tuesday evenings, 4 Eagle Ranch hosts Western Family Nights. This includes dinner, live music, horse drawn wagon rides, lawn games, a mechanical bull and marshmallows around the campfire. There are also pony rides and horseback rides for an additional cost. Wednesday evenings, there is a free 4 Eagle Ranch Rodeo.


Hiking, Biking, Rafting & more

If “the family that plays together, stays together” is your motto, we’ll help you pack your vacation full of mountain recreation. We are happy to recommend hiking trails, mountain biking trails and road biking routes. We can also book any number of tours or guided activities for you and your family – whitewater rafting, biking, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) on rivers or lakes, jeeping, fly fishing, rock climbing, sporting clays, llama trekking, etc.


Kid Camps

Do the kiddos want to have adventures on their own? Then, a day or two at any of Vail’s day camps is sure to keep them entertained. Pre-Kamp Vail (for the pre-schoolers) and Camp Vail (5-12 yrs) are offered daily and have a variety of different activities on any given day. There are also specialty camps like Camp Eco Fun, Extreme Camp Vail (think rafting or rock climbing) and Mad Scientists. At the local Vail Stables, kids can get their equestrian feet wet at Pony or Horse Camp. Budding artists can check out the Alpine Arts Summer Camp. There are also lots of sports camps throughout the summer – soccer, volleyball, mountain biking, hockey, baseball, tennis and more.


For the Little Tykes

Families with kids 8 and older can do most of the activities we’ve already talked about, but families with younger kids still have lots of options. My cousin and his wife stayed in Vail last summer with their two young daughters – ages 3 and 4 ½ years – and were impressed with all that was available for the younger set. There are a variety of different themed parks throughout town, so kids (and their parents) don’t get bored going to the same one each day. Things like riding the gondola or the free in-town bus become adventures, too. The Vail Library, right next door, has story hours, free Bravo! Music festival concerts geared to kids and a great playroom with puzzles, books, games and more. How about a program at the Vail Nature Center like an Evening Beaver Pond Tour, S’mores and More or Stories in the Sky (stargazing)? My cousin’s girls loved those! Another favorite of theirs, was Imagination Station, across the street from Lodge at Lionshead. It has games, art projects, musical instruments, costumes and more to help spark creative play.

Speaking of Lionshead, it hosts the Vail Free Family Fun Fest every Saturday through August. Try your hand at the Balloon Toss of Death, Blue Moose Pizza Throw and more!

Last, but not least, there are tons of cultural events all summer long. Free concerts? You bet! Hot Summer Nights Concerts are every Tuesday at Ford Amphitheater. Genres vary, but the bands are always fun and the atmosphere family-friendly on the huge lawn. Vail Bluegrass takes place on select Wednesdays in July in Lionshead’s Vail Square. Jazz at Vail Square is every Thursday night in the same location. The Bravo! Vail Music Festival has a few free family concerts during its 6 week run and also has free roaming music and events at the Vail Chapel and Vail Library, which I mentioned above.

It will take more than one Vail family vacation to squeeze everything in, so we suggest making this trip an annual affair. You know what they say? Local’s come for the winters, but stay for the summers. Stay here once, and you’ll soon see what all of the fuss is about!


Family-Friendly Accommodations in Vail

While you can always stay in Vail hotels like Lodge at Vail or the Marriott, your family might prefer a spacious condo in a scenic location along Gore Creek. Lodge at Lionshead is quiet, yet convenient to Epic Discovery, hiking, biking and more. We have a great big back yard for kids, and our outdoor pool and hot tubs are beloved by all guests. Your family will have plenty of room to spread out in our Gold 2 Bedrooms, Platinum 2 Bedrooms, or our Platinum 3 Bedroom condos. Plus, you’ll have a kitchen and outdoor grill for leisurely meals in. Two to four night minimum stay is required depending on your dates. You can check out rates and availability right here on our website.