Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Skip to content

10 Tips for Planning the Perfect Vail, Colorado Summer Vacation

When it comes to summer vacations, you have two choices. You can head to the same-old location you may have always visited, so much so that you (and even your kids) are starting to yawn at the thought. Or you can discover Vail, Colorado.

Like other areas of Colorado, Vail has become a must-visit hotspot where you can discover just the right adventure to suit your – and even your entire family’s – personality and tastes.

This includes tastes that range from horseback riding to golf course hopping, from hiking up a mountain to lounging in a hot tub. All in the heart of one of the best mountain towns in Colorado. Check out these 10 tips for planning the perfect Vail summer vacation.

Infographic of 10 planning tips for Vail, Colorado, show people deciding how to spend their vacation: Showcasing fashion, lodging in a just-for-you getaway, enjoying family fun time, flying or driving with ease, getting a natural high, ditching the car, savoring couples delights, grabbing an adventure, exploring delicious food and making memories.


1. Showcase Your Fashion Sense

When you head to your typical summer vacation spot, you get to show off a limited wardrobe such as your bathing suit, your shorts…you get the idea. In Vail, you get to show off a greater spectrum of your fashion savvy, thanks to the mountain’s variable weather conditions.

The summer weather in Vail can hit the mid-70s during the day, and then dip to the 40s during the night. That means you can don your rugged hiking hoodie for a morning trek, the comfy-chic sundress for lunch, your favorite athleisure wear for dinner, and that cozy wrap you love to pack for an evening gazing at the stars.

Tip: Bring easy-to-pack layers for the greatest versatility and comfort.

2. Get a Natural High

With an elevation of 8,150 feet, Vail lives up to its name as a mountain village. You get a natural high from the altitude, along with the views. To be prepared for the stunning panoramic views, make sure you pack your chargers.

Hiker standing on top of mountain other mountain ridges in Vail. The light is a bit foggy as the sun starts to rise.That phone camera is going to get quite a workout.

To prepare yourself for the altitude, take the following precautions to avoid altitude sickness.

  • Give your body a day to adjust before strenuous activity.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a must.
  • Don’t climb more than 1,600 feet in a single day.
  • Get plenty of calories but opt for lighter foods if possible.

Tip: Don’t schedule a 100-mile mountain bike ride on your first day in town.


3. Fly or Drive with Ease

Getting to Vail is another treat, especially compared to the hassle of traveling to other destinations. No need to go through customs, dig out your kids’ passports, or review how many Danish Krones make up a dollar.

If you’re driving to Vail, you’ll eventually want to make friends with Interstate 70, which brings you right to the town. Vail is located less than 100 miles from Denver and, depending on where you’re coming from, you have several options – some of which take you through scenic mountainous byways. (Enter dreamy sigh here.)

Flying to Vail lands you at Eagle Airport (EGE), which you can easily access from the major hubs of Denver or Dallas/Ft. Worth. Daily flights are the norm, so you can plan your trip for whatever day suits you best.

Tip: The busiest travel days for driving are Fridays and Sundays. You may want to select different days so you can keep on gazing in awe instead of honking angrily.


4. Ditch the Car in Vail

Speaking of honking angrily – once you get to Vail, ditch the car altogether. Thanks to free bus service, rental bikes and that calorie-burning activity called walking, you can get around Vail without a car at all. Not only that, but you don’t have to worry about your kids spilling cherry soda on a rental car’s light beige upholstery.

Tip: Grab a local area map at the start of your journey at the Vail Village or Lionshead Welcome Centers. And bring your walking shoes!

5. Lodge in a Just-for-You Getaway

Overhead image of woman floating in an aqua-marine-colored pool in Vail surrounded by balconies of hotel rooms and green grasses and trees.

While many summer vacations give you the option of an over-booked hotel on the beach or a private rental with no air conditioning 10 miles from the beach, Vail gives you a plethora of lodging options at the base of the mountain. You can pretty much find every type of lodging, along with an equally vast array of amenities.

Got a family in tow? Try renting a condo. Just the two of you? A luxury mountain resort hotel sounds dreamy. You’ll find dozens of options in Vail Village and Lionshead, the two villages nestled at the base of Vail Mountain. Whether you’re the type who likes the alpine vibe or the sleek-and-chic modern feel, you’re apt to find a place to stay that you simply won’t want to leave.

Tip: Leave your schedule open a few extra days after you expect your Vail vacation to end, just in case you want to extend your stay.


6. Explore Delicious

From signature crepes to hearty burritos, you’re going to find a literal smorgasbord of foods to love in Vail. Whether you’re in the mood for a high-end dining experience or are looking for a casual spot with a kids’ menu, dozens of restaurants are at your service.

Locally sourced ingredients are a highlight at some, while others focus on specialty cuisine from around the world. How does authentic Wienerschnitzel sound, paired with German beer in a stein?

Tip: Due to the extreme popularity of some of Vail’s restaurants, it’s a wise idea to make dining reservations. At the very least, call ahead to make sure the restaurant you want is open on the day you want, and that they have a seat for you.


7. Enjoy Family Fun Time

You know how you’re always trying to get your kids away from the video screen and into the great outdoors? Once they taste the outdoor activities Vail has to offer, you may have a tough time getting them back inside.

Family sitting in field under a chair lift on a wildflower-carpeted mountain side as the sun sets behind them in Vail.One of the biggest draws for families is the mountain coaster. And yes, it’s what it sounds like. A coaster that follows the natural contours of the mountain to take the whole gang on a thrilling ride through Mother Nature.

If the mountain coaster isn’t a good fit for your family, you’ll find plenty of other outdoor activities that are. Kid-friendly bike rides, scenic gondola rides, wildflower hikes, playgrounds and water features, and Vail’s Nature Discovery Center can be checked off the list. And those are just a few of your family fun options.

Tip: Explore all of Vail’s family fun options and be prepared to wear out the little ones!



How about date night every night? That’s the way things roll in Vail. These mountain villages have sensational night life, whether you’re a fan of dancing to live music or kicking back and enjoying a hand-crafted cocktail.

And you don’t have to wait until nighttime to savor meaningful time together. Daytime activities for couples abound. Scenic strolls, cultural events and exploring the Vail art scene should be on your list, as well as outdoor summer concerts, a luxurious spa day, and all the golfing you can handle.

Tip: Check out the full slate of Vail activities for you and your special someone.


9. Grab an Adventure (or six)

Person mountain biking on a trail in Vail. The trail cuts through a verdant green meadow and heads toward a forest of evergreen trees.

What to do in Vail if you’re the adventuresome type? A better question might be: where to start?! Vail is the epitome of outdoor adventure, and you’ll never be at a loss for something exciting to do any time of the year.

The summer adventure options are downright enthralling, ranging from kayaking to rock climbing, mountain biking to fishing. Off-road adventures are another option, taking you in open-air jeeps to extreme heights where you’ll find remote trails begging you to explore.

Tip: Take a gander at additional outdoor activities in Vail.


10. Make Memories

The best thing about this reason for visiting Vail is there is absolutely no effort involved. Simply setting foot in this mountain village will give you memories that last a lifetime. And why not?

In addition to the breathtaking mountain views, the town has several claims to fame for summer visitors:

  • Vail enjoys nearly 300 days of sunshine a year with little to no humidity.
  • It’s home to the very first gondola in the U.S. Today, you can take scenic rides on Gondola One in Vail Village and the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead.
  • Hiking is the #1 activity enjoyed by summer visitors. There are more than 23 miles of paved recreational path in Vail and nearly 200 miles of hiking trails throughout Eagle County.
  • The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens are the world’s highest botanical gardens at 8,200 feet.
  • Vail is the summer home to four of the world’s greatest orchestras for performances in July: The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.

Tip: Ride the gondola. You’re going to love the gondola.


What are You Waiting For? Start Packing!

Now that you have a good idea of everything Vail has to offer, all that’s left to do is pick your lodging, make your reservation, and start packing! Oh yeah, you’ll also want to iron out your travel plans for driving or flying. And if you fly, remember you don’t have to bother with a rental car once you get here, thanks to Vail’s free bus system.

And don’t forget to bring lots of layers, drink plenty of water, and bring an appetite for having more fun than you knew existed. A summer mountain vacation promises to be unlike any other you’ve experienced, especially when you plan it in the gorgeous mountain town of Vail.Infographic of 10 things to do in Vail, Colorado