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100 Things To Do in Vail in the Summer

There’s no shortage of ways to experience Vail in the summer, whether you’re all about the outdoors or making memories with your family. Ensure your Colorado summer vacation is the best one ever with the help of our bucket list of the best summer activities in Vail.

A family of hikers pauses to look up at the sky as the sun begins to set near the ski chair lift on Vail Mountain in Colorado.

Scenic Vail Hiking Trails

1. See the reflection of surrounding peaks on the surface of a placid alpine lake on the Pitkin or Lost Lake trails.

2. Admire vibrant hues during a wildflower hike along the Shrine Ridge Trail in mid- to late summer.

3. We say you should go chasing waterfalls — at least on treks like the Upper Piney Trail.

4. Challenge yourself to an ascent up Vail Mountain on the Berry Picker Trail.

A group of people ride atop brown horses on a green, grassy trail near Vail, Colorado.

Classic Summer Outdoor Activities

5. Cast a fly-fishing line in the Gold Medal Waters around Vail.

6. Pitch a tent and call Gore Creek Campground your home for the night — and don’t forget the s’mores!

7. Tube down a portion of the beautiful Colorado River on a float trip with Turtle Tubing, or rent a tube and go at your own pace.

8. Saddle up for horseback riding in Vail with outfitters like Vail Stables.

9. Take on a singletrack mountain-biking trail; Golden Gate on Vail Mountain is a top pick for beginners.

10. Pick up a paddle and take a kayaking lesson through Alpine Kayak, or opt for a more leisurely outing on a stand-up paddleboard.

11. Get a clear look at the night sky — including the Milky Way, meteor showers and constellations — while stargazing from Vail Pass or Tennessee Pass.

An adventurer climbs to the top of a rock cliff near Vail, Colorado. In the background are mountains and a scenic river valley.

Exhilarating Adventures in Colorado

12. Enlist a whitewater-rafting guide for a thrilling trip down the Eagle, Colorado or Arkansas rivers.

13. Reach new heights on a rock-climbing adventure with Apex Mountain School.

14. Sign up for a competitive mountain-biking race during the Vail Recreation District Mountain Bike Town Series from late May through August.

15. Use the help of a gentle and intelligent trail companion during a llama-trekking trip from Vail to Aspen (lunch hikes are available too) with Paragon Guides.

16. Zoom through miles of rugged backroads and off-road trails on a Jeep or ATV tour to reach unique alpine landscapes.

17. Get your blood pumping while climbing Mount of the Holy Cross — the closest fourteener (14,000-foot peak) to Vail. Just keep in mind that it’s not for the faint of heart and requires an early start in the morning.

18. Spend a day or more seeking solitude and backpacking in the Eagles Nest Wilderness.

19. Soar above the Vail Valley and Rocky Mountains in a hot-air balloon.

A group, including children hike through a think stand of aspen trees with blue columbine wildflowers dotting the ground below them.

Nature Appreciation

20. Take a free guided nature walk offered by the Vail Nature Center to learn about Vail’s ecology and wildlife.

21. Dip your feet into the cold waters of Gore Creek.

22. Bask in the beauty of Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, from the colorful blooms to the water features and sculptures.

23. Visit the Nature Discovery Center to see exhibits about natural history and local wildlife in a yurt at the top of Vail Mountain, accessible from the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

24. Keep an eye out to spot wildlife around Vail Valley, from bighorn sheep and bald eagles to beavers and elk — just be sure to keep a safe distance.

A person wearing a purple sweater and a white skirt golfs at Vail Golf Club with the Gore Range mountains in the background. Another golfer in blue watches their swing.

Vail Recreation & Sports Venues

25. Watch how far your golf ball can fly against the backdrop of the Gore Range during a round at Vail Golf Club.

26. Watch skateboarders practice their tricks at the Zeke M. Pierce Vail Skatepark in Lionshead Village, or bring your own skateboard to drop in and join them.

27. Work on your serve during private lessons with a pro at the Bill Wright Tennis Center.

28. Try out the fast-growing sport of pickleball at the Golden Peak Pickleball Center.

29. Play a game of sand volleyball at Red Sandstone Park or the Vail Athletic Fields; you can also be a spectator for the King of the Mountain volleyball tournament in June.

A parents in a white T-shirt is holding child in one arms and dancing with other child at a bluegrass concert in Vail, Colorado.

Sounds of Summer

30. Kick off summer in a musical fashion with the SpringFree Bluegrass Festival over Memorial Day weekend.

31. Claim a spot on the lawn of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (known as The Amp) for the free Hot Summer Nights concert series.

32. Check the lineup of live-music acts at the intimate Shakedown Bar for an entertaining night out.

33. Celebrate classical music while listening to acclaimed orchestras during the Bravo! Vail Music Festival.

34. Sing along to big names during The Amp Summer Concerts, known for bringing in acts like The Beach Boys, Norah Jones, Robert Plant and more.

35. Dance the night away to live tunes and DJs at the high-energy Bridge Street Bar.

A person lays face down on a massage table with round, pink rocks on their back as a pair of hands massages them at a spa in Vail.

Wellness & Relaxation

36. Find tranquility with ultra-luxe spa treatments, including The Spa at Grand Hyatt Vail’s detoxifying Alpine Transformation Wrap with massage or a Hydrafacial at RockResorts Spa at The Arrabelle.

37. Recharge with a Mountain Top Yoga class on the Mid-Vail Deck via Gondola One.

38. Try oxygen therapy for an energy boost at the Sonnenalp Spa or Recovery Lab in The Ritz-Carlton Club, Vail.

39. Soak up the sun or cool off at enticing hotel pools like the Highline Vail’s backyard space or the creekside Antlers at Vail.

40. Pick a quiet spot next to Gore Creek, in a park or under a tree for an outdoor meditation session that clears your mind and connects you with your surroundings.

41. Spend time in the Himalayan salt lounges at Aquarian Uprising or The Hythe’s Well & Being Spa to reap the benefits of halotherapy.

Two dancers perform a complicated lift in a grassy field near Vail, Colorado, with mountains in the background.

Can’t-Miss Summer Events in Vail

42. Laugh until your stomach hurts during the three-day Vail Comedy Festival in May, featuring a lineup of more than 30 comedians.

43. Stop by the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show on Sundays to shop produce, artisan items and more from dozens of vendors.

44. Get to know breweries from across Colorado, enjoy live music and sample from food trucks during the Vail Craft Beer Classic in June.

45. Watch world-class performers take the stage over the course of two weeks in July and August for the Vail Dance Festival.

46. Cheer on the competitors of the June GoPro Mountain Games in events like biking, kayaking, running and climbing (or explore Vail as if you’re a GoPro athlete).

47. Celebrate the Fourth of July with a parade, family entertainment, a concert and a fireworks display — all part of Vail America Days.

48. Sip hundreds of wines from around the world in between live music, wine dinners and more during August’s Vail Wine Classic.

A waitress in Bavarian garb brings plates piled with food to a family dining at an outside table in Vail, Colorado.

Where to Fill Your Plate or Cup

49. Savor some of the best dining in Vail at MICHELIN Guide-recommended restaurants Sweet Basil and Osaki’s.

50. Use a picnic concierge to curate and set up a stylish spread in a location of your choice.

51. Enjoy a unique signature cocktail, like The Gardener at Matsuhisa — a spicy and citrusy libation with gin or tequila.

52. Indulge in Bavarian-inspired cuisine — think fondue and schnitzel — at Alpenrose Vail, Almresi, Swiss Chalet and more.

53. Sip a beverage among frolicking goats during Happy G.O.A.T. Hours at Vail Stables.

54. Stop by the Vail Brewing Company’s Vail Village tasting room to try the latest creations and pick up growlers or crowlers.

55. Feast on the bounty of the summer season at a farm-to-table supper hosted by the Vail Farmers’ Market.

56. Sample 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co.’s award-winning lineup of offerings, including bourbon, potato vodka and moonshine.

57. Let someone else do the cooking when you hire a private chef for your vacation rental through a Vail concierge service.

58. Kick back with a craft beer and people-watch from the spacious patio at classic hangout Garfinkel’s.

59. Eat the classic Swiss hot dog at The Blü Cow, which piles two pork and veal brats on a French baguette, along with curry spice, arugula, chopped onions, parsley and spicy brown mustard.

60. Wake up with a freshly roasted coffee from cozy shops like Loaded Joe’s, Yeti’s Grind and Two Arrows Coffee Bar

61. Transport to France with happy hour on the lovely La Tour Restaurant patio, reminiscent of a Parisian bistro.

62. Take a self-guided culinary walking tour that highlights wild game meats such as venison, elk and fowl on menus around town.

63. Fill up before a busy day with a hearty breakfast at The Little Diner.

64. Arrange a wine-tasting class at Root & Flower with themes such as New World vs. Old World, Champagne and natural wine.

Colorful murals line the walls of a walkway in Vail, Colorado, as part of the Art in Public Places initiative. Snowcapped mountains are in the background.

Arts Experiences

65. Admire the sculptures, colorful murals and other pieces around town that are part of Vail’s Art in Public Places program.

66. Sign up for a workshop to create your own art as part of the Town of Vail Art Series hosted by the Alpine Arts Center.

67. Pop into art galleries that feature paintings, mixed media, photography, fine jewelry and more to pick out a one-of-a-kind work.

68. Join the free Vail Village Art Walks on Wednesday mornings to learn the backstory of the town and art pieces featured throughout.

A couple shopping in Vail.

Quintessential Vail

69. Cross the historic Covered Bridge, which marks the entrance to Vail Village.

70. Pick out a wearable Vail-centric souvenir from specialty jewelry store The Golden Bear.

71. Snap amazing photos and selfies of Vail’s breathtaking scenery and your adventures, then share them to Instagram.

72. Treat yourself or loved ones to a luxurious shopping day at high-end stores like Karats, Kemo Sabe, Luca Bruno and Skipper & Scout.

73. Explore all of the Bavarian-influenced architecture of Vail Village and Lionshead Village, from farmhouse-style buildings to über-charming streets.

74. Hop aboard the free bus service to get around town.

75. Visit the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame to get a glimpse into Vail’s wintertime claim to fame.

76. See and be seen on Pepi’s iconic outdoor deck for lunch, dinner or drinks.

A gondola with glass windows near Vail, Colorado, travels up a cable while offering scenic mountain views to travelers.

Exploring Around Vail

77. Take a scenic gondola ride on Gondola One or Eagle Bahn Gondola to reach the top of Vail Mountain and its spectacular views.

78. Meet up for a Vail History Walking Tour, offered by the Colorado Snowsports Museum on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to hear stories about the town’s past and people.

79. Explore dog-friendly Vail with your pup, including off-leash areas in Bighorn Park and Stephens Park, outdoor patios and hotels that welcome four-legged friends and more.

80. Use Vail as your homebase to cruise the Top of the Rockies scenic byway.

81. Take a leisurely stroll along the paved, pedestrian-only Village Streamwalk portion of the Vail Recreation Path.

82. Cover more ground sightseeing on a Vail Segway tour.

83. Bike all or portions of the 12-mile Gore Valley Trail, which links West Vail to East Vail and beyond, and winds through open space, residential streets and the core village areas.

Two young children smile and splash around a water fountain area in Vail Village in Colorado.

Summer Family Activities in Vail

84. Get an Adventure Pass to experience all of the Epic Discovery activities at the top of Eagle Bahn Gondola, including a mountain coaster, kids’ zipline, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, tubing and mini golf.

85. Spend an afternoon at Donovan Park, where you can spread a blanket out in the grass for a picnic, shoot some hoops on the basketball court or climb the wooden play structures.

86. Splash around in the Vail Village Children’s Fountain on a hot summer day.

87. Cool off with Sundae’s made-from-scratch ice cream in a variety of classic and seasonal flavors.

88. Gather the crew at Solaris Plaza to hang out and play free lawn sports on the large turf area.

89. Burn off energy climbing the unique structures at Vail’s Pirate Ship Park, Sunbird Park and Cloud Park playgrounds.

90. Drop into the Vail Public Library for free, all-ages programming, ranging from arts and crafts to special events and story times.

91. Work together to find clues and solve riddles that will free you from Escape Room Vail’s themed spaces.

92. Encourage your kiddo’s creative side at Imagination Station, a hands-on children’s museum with interactive exhibits, art and science projects, and virtual-reality experiences.

93. Don your cowboy boots for an authentic Western outing at Piney River Ranch or 4 Eagle Ranch, complete with horseback riding, wagon rides, fishing and more.

94. Check out the Vail Recreation District’s assortment of summer day camps that facilitate adventure and learning for kids of all ages.

95. Reserve a lane at DECA + BOL for a friendly bowling competition.

96. Make your little one’s Willy Wonka dreams come true at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory, which boasts hundreds of types of sweet treats.

The sandstone condos of Antlers at Vail in Vail, Colorado, are hidden behind tall trees. A green slope and blue sky create a beautiful backdrop.

Unforgettable Stays

97. Camp in style at Piney River Ranch or 4 Eagle Ranch, which offer glamping experiences with all the comforts of home.

98. Splurge on a luxurious stay at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences, whose attentive concierge team can arrange a plethora of activities while you enjoy the upscale amenities.

99. Appreciate a bit of living Vail history with a stay at a family-run hotel that will make you feel like you’re in a European alpine village.

100. Watch sunset over the Gore Range from the remote Eiseman Hut, part of the 10th Mountain Division Huts system.

More Ideas to Plan the Ultimate Vail Summer Vacation