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A young child balances on one foot on a stone at a playground in Vail. Her parent watches behind and people chat in the background. It is a sunny summer day

At-A-Glance

Summer
Season:

Summer

Months:

June - Sept

Vail Parks & Playgrounds

Vail is a Rocky Mountain playground, filled with wildflower-lined trails, powdery slopes, rushing rivers and storybook villages for visitors of all ages to explore and play. Children will especially love all the playgrounds and parks in Vail — filled with water features, funky jungle gyms and colorful art and murals — many found just a short walk from your family-friendly hotel.

Vail Village Parks & Playgrounds

The heartbeat of town is Vail Village, with its charming pedestrian-friendly streets and Tyrolean-style architecture. The village is filled luxurious places to stay, MICHELIN-recognized restaurants and iconic boutiques, but it’s also perfect for families, with parks and playgrounds all around.

A large pirate-ship-shaped playground in Vail., Colorado. There are laughing and playing children all over the playground, with parents and guardians looking after them. Beyond the park are groves of dark green pine trees under a mostly cloudy blue sky.

Ford Park/Playground Ford Park

With multiple slides, unique climbing features, swings and sneaky fort hideouts, the playground at Ford Park will keep your kids busy for hours. Feeling sporty? Take advantage of the basketball court and grassy open space to run around or kick a ball. Then, head to the covered picnic tables for some afternoon snacking. Ford Park is also home to a rainbow of high-elevation flora at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the stunning outdoor concert venue at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (aka The Amp) and Gore Creek’s cascading water; so you can spend an entire day exploring the campus.

Pirate Ship Park

Located at the base of Gondola One, Pirate Ship Park will light up your kids’ imaginations. Before you know it, they’ll be shouting “ahoy!” from the crow’s nest and walking the plank on the life-size pirate ship. Here, they can giggle on swings, ascend climbing nets and battle the wrenched green sea monster from the bow. The best part? You can see them from the sun-soaked deck at Los Amigos, so you can watch them play while sipping a margarita and snacking on tortilla chips.

The Children’s Fountain

Right next to the chocolate-coated wonderland of Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory, the pool at The Children’s Fountain has three spraying fountains and several bronze sculptures showcasing children at play. The water is the perfect wading depth, shallow enough to keep shorts dry, but deep enough to cool down on a hot summer day. Afterward, you’ll likely need to towel off and stop into the sweetshop to satisfy some ice-cream cravings and stock up on yummy gummies for the walk back to the hotel.

Lionshead Village Parks & Playgrounds

A quieter side to Vail, Lionshead Village’s charming cobblestone streets are lined with cozy fire pits and lively plazas perfect for families. Little ones will love the outdoor ice-skating rink and the Eagle Bahn Gondola, which whisks you up to the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster and the Nature Discovery Center’s children’s programs. But there are also tons of playgrounds and parks throughout Lionshead where they can get all their energy out.

a young child kicks a ball on a small grassy field in Lionshead Village in Vail. His family is walking toward him smiling

Sunbird Park

Sunbird Park features three giant bird’s-nest-shaped play areas (often referred to as “onions” by little ones) with connecting bridges and swooping slides. During the summer, be sure to pack some swimsuits, because the youngsters can also hop in puddles and cool off in the jumping fountains. If you’re staying at the nearby Arrabelle at Vail Square, this will be your go-to spot for letting the kiddos run round and get their energy out.

Cloud Park

Tucked between the stone patio at Vendetta’s and The Lodge at Vail, Cloud Park features big white clouds for kids to climb on, under and around. Then they can make their own music ring through the air with the park’s interactive hanging chimes.

Zeke M. Pierce Skatepark

Grab your skateboard and head to the Lionshead Parking Structure, where in between garages you’ll see an atrium filled with banks and handrails. The Zeke M. Pierce Skatepark was designed with input from local skaters and constructed by one of the world’s top park builders. During your water break, look up to see four colorful mosaic murals, created by artist Valerie Theberge. Helmets are required and safety equipment is recommended.

Donovan Park/Playground

Donovan Park, just west of Lionshead in Cascade Village, has several towering wood playground structures with twisting slides, climbing ropes, swings and bridges. The park is home to the Donovan Pavilion (a popular Vail wedding venue), athletic fields, covered picnic areas and a basketball court for those feeling a bit competitive. If you’re heading east out of Lionshead, this park is the perfect end point on the recreational bike path along the tranquil banks of Gore Creek.

West Vail Parks & Playgrounds

With sweeping views of Vail Mountain and the Gore Range, West Vail is a perfect homebase for your family adventures. After grabbing lunch at nearby restaurants like Westside Cafe or May Palace, you can check out the meandering Davos North Trail or explore the aspen-covered pathways in White River National Forest. And of course, the kids can uncover their own adventures at these parks and playgrounds.

Large, multicolor stick figure statues make up the equipment at Red Sandstone Park playground on a sunny day. a picnic table is in the foreground

Stephens Park

Want to bring Fido along for your Vail family vacation? Stephens Park is the best place to let him run free while the kids play on the nearby jungle gym. Farther west in the Matterhorn area, you’ll find this off-leash dog park set along the burbling Gore Greek. Nearby picnic tables make it a perfect place to sit in the sun and snack while Rover (and the kids) get their zoomies out. Pups must remain under voice control and be sure to pick up after your pet when they do their business. More dog-friendly Vail offerings

Red Sandstone Park

Just off North Frontage Road, Red Sandstone Park looks right out of a Keith Herring painting, featuring towering forts, curvy slides, swings and tall, colorful statues of boxy stick figures who “hold up” the equipment. Hoping to play a few sets of volleyball? Grab some friends and a ball to bump, set and spike at the sand courts just beyond the children’s play area.

Ellefson Park

In West Vail in the Davos neighborhood, Ellefson Park is a small, quiet playground that will make any tot happy. Breezy swings, slides, large grassy fields and picnic tables make this park an ideal getaway on a sunny summer afternoon. When the snow starts falling in winter, bring a few sleds to slide down the small hills along the park’s edge.

Buffehr Creek Park

In West Vail, along North Frontage Road near City Market, this small playground has a beautiful picnic area with charcoal grills. Kids can scamper around on the playsets, slide down the winding blue slide and swing across the monkey bars surrounded by lush green trees and lawns.

East Vail Parks & Playgrounds

Just a few miles east of Vail Village along the free bus route, East Vail is nestled beneath the East Vail Chutes and surrounded by soaring mountain scenery. In winter, families can slide along snowy trails on cross-country skis at the Vail Nordic Center. Summer brings treks on the Bighorn Creek, Deluge Lake and Two Elk trails, showcasing clear alpine lakes and verdant forests. Or head to Vail Racquet Club for fitness, pools and tennis facilities.

A person rides a bike down a paved path along a grassy park by a lake in East Vail

Bighorn Park

Bighorn Park is another dog-friendly park that has a large pond families can stroll around. The multiple-structure playground has soaring slides, crow’s nests and mini ropes courses that are entertaining for all ages. Covered picnic tables and large grassy fields make it a great place to gather a group and relax in nature.

Booth Creek Park

Near Vail Mountain School, Booth Creek Park is another children’s favorite. Kids traverse the large climbing structure and discover secret nooks to hide out in. Or they can make their own music and perform for the parents on the playset’s instrument area. Meanwhile, adults can watch from the covered picnic shelter’s comfortable Adirondack chairs.

Bringing Your Dog Along?

Your furry friends are allowed on leashes in all town parks, except for Ford Park or within 100 feet of an athletic field. An “off-leash” program has been established at Bighorn Park in East Vail and Stephens Park in West Vail, where dogs may be off their leash and controlled by voice command, except for the playground areas.

In town, dogs must be on a leash in Vail Village, Lionshead Mall, on all bike paths and in all the town parks except for Bighorn and Stephens parks. Please remember to always clean up after your dog. Dog waste left in the environment transmits bacteria such as E. coli into Gore Creek. Pet-pickup bags are provided throughout town for your convenience, but it’s best to bring your own so you’re never without one.

Also, never leave a dog unattended, especially inside a vehicle. During the warmer months, the temperature can rapidly increase, threatening the health and safety of your animal. Even with the windows down, the temperature can be up to 20 degrees hotter In a car than the outside. Please leave your pet at home rather than risk a dangerous and regrettable circumstance.

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