Sure, snow-capped mountain towns are hot tickets during the winter. But, we’re letting you in on a little secret: these picturesque destinations are just as fun during the summer months, too. Once the snow melts, these vacation hot spots pack in the family fun with activities ranging from horseback riding to zip lines to serene hikes that’ll have you finding your zen in no time. Read on for six mountain towns—plus, six itineraries—for your next summer vacation.

photo: Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth, California

PLAY
Mammoth shines in the summer. Try your hand at rock climbing or horseback riding. If being on wheels is more your style, bike the town loop, a paved multi-use path perfect for beginner cyclists—do all or part of the seven-mile loop. For thrill-seekers, grab an adventure pass to access a ropes course, bungee trampoline, climbing wall, junior zip line and much more. Whatever your interest, you’ll find it in Mammoth.

EAT
Mammoth’s Rock ‘N’ Bowl is a great family dining spot. Expect an arcade, bowling, a full kid-friendly menu (think pizza, salads and burgers). If you're staying near the Village, try out Burgers for you guessed it...delicious burgers, Toomey's (try their pancakes!), Mexican fare at Gomez's or hop over to the super kid-friendly Brewery. You'll love how welcoming Mammoth restaurants are to kids—expect high chairs, crayons and kids menus. 

STAY
Stay mountainside right near the Village at The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth. The gondola is steps away and all suite-style rooms include gas fireplaces, kitchens or kitchenettes, and are dog-friendly to boot. Book now to save up to 15% off your summer stay.  

 

photo: Breckenridge Tourism Office / Liam Doran

Breckenridge, Colorado

PLAY
Lace up those sneakers or put on a helmet because Breckenridge is the perfect summer destination to hike or bike with your crew. For little riders, head to the Rec Path, a seven-mile section in the Town of Breckenridge that’s paved and follows the Blue River. For an easy 1.2 mile hike, check out the Iowa Hill Mine Trail loop where you’ll encounter an abandoned mining site with historical artifacts—who said vacations can’t be educational, too? Other summer family events include the WAVE (great time is late May or June before the costs and crowds pick up), Gold Panning Championship (Jun. 14-16), Summer Beer Fest (July 13) and Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts (Aug. 9-18).

Good to know: Ditch the car and take advantage of the Breck Free Ride to get around town.

EAT
Fuel up at the Sunday Farmer’s market on Main Street and then spend the day walking around town. If it’s nice out (which it likely will be—after all, it’s summer!) head to one of the town’s patios for a laid-back meal. Quandary Grille with mountain and pond views or The Motherloaded Tavern. Other dining options include Columbine for hearty pancakes and American favorites for breakfast, Breckenridge Brewery for brews and views of the Tenmile range, and Fatty’s for pizza on the cozy deck. For happy hour head to Breckenridge Distillery and Broken Compass. Broken Compass doesn’t offer food but you’re welcome to bring in your own and set up a picnic. And, if picnicking is your jam, grab lunch at Duggans Deli and head to one of the many parks in town—Carter Park or Riverwalk Lawn are two local favorites.

photo: Residence Inn Breckenridge

STAY
Reserve a suite at Residence Inn Breckenridge. The hotel offers a complimentary breakfast buffet and a free shuttle that’ll take you directly to the lifts. Book in advance and get up to 15% off your stay.

 

photo: Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, California

PLAY
Fresh mountain air and crisp lake water will have you wishing every weekend was spent in North Lake Tahoe. Enjoy live music right on the beach and lake at the summer concert series, Concerts at Commons Beach; practice your bike riding at Northstar California Bike Park; and stroll historic downtown Truckee.

EAT
For epic views of the Lake and a kid-friendly atmosphere, we love Sunnyside Restaurant (slightly south of Tahoe City), Moe’s Original Bar B Que (Tahoe City) or Hacienda del Lago (Tahoe City). In Truckee, dine in an old train and stuff yourself with amazing diner food at Jax on the Trax or grab a delicious sandwich at casual Full Belly Deli. Top it all off with the nightly Marshmology experience each evening at The Ritz-Carlton.

 

photo: The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

STAY Located mid-mountain at Northstar California, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is an idyllic spot to vacation this summer. The Ritz-Carlton features poolside cabanas and a children’s program with interactive games, crafts and chances to connect with the mountain. Reserve a room or suite and save up to 15% off.

 

 

photo: Vail Resorts

Vail, Colorado

PLAY
Vail’s Epic Discovery (also available at Breckenridge and Heavenly Resort in South Lake Tahoe) makes family adventures accessible to all. The on-mountain summer adventure features activities like zip lines, rock climbing walls, alpine coasters, wildlife trail exploration, summer tubing, a new bear cub play zone for the littlest ones and much more. Bring your sense of adventure—adrenaline fans welcome—to this aptly named, epic summer experience. Bonus: kids 12 and under ride free on the scenic gondola!

EAT
Take the gondola to the 10th, an on-mountain dining experience. Open for lunch Fri.-Sun., June through Labor Day weekend, you can enjoy lunch on the sunny patio with picturesque views of the mountains. For off-mountain eats, head to The Little Diner for breakfast or lunch, a full service diner with delicious diner fare like omelets, breakfast burritos, burgers and sandwiches. Or, spring for a European type experience at Swiss Chalet Restaurant, which specializes in authentic Schnitzel and fondues.

STAY
There’s no shortage of places to rest your head in Vail. Choose from The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Hotel Talisa or The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. No matter your family’s style or budget, you’ll find a comfortable place to relax. Plus, book in advance and save up to 15% off. Click here for the details.

 

photo: Deer Valley Resort

Deer Valley, Utah

PLAY
From late June to early Sept. take in the sights and sounds of the mountains. The Deer Valley Resort’s Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater offers a packed schedule of musical performances with three different concert series running this summer (check it all out here). For adventure-seeking families, try out SUP, horseback riding or even a guided fly fishing session (for those eight years old and up).

EAT
You’ll work up an appetite after your outdoor and musical adventures. Grab food at Deer Valley Grocery Cafe or Silver Lake Snack Shack; for dinner head to The Brass Tag for pizzas, burgers and seafood. Check out the kids menu here.

photo: The St. Regis Deer Valley

STAY
Located in a private community, you’ll stay in the lap of luxury at The St. Regis Deer Valley. The St. Regis offers 66 spacious suites (perfect for family travel!) and a split-level infinity pool. Convenience and luxury in one! Book now and save up to 15% off your summer stay.

 

photo: Jeremy Swanson and Aspen Snowmass

Aspen, Colorado

PLAY
From hiking to biking, there’s no shortage of things to do in Aspen during the summer. Ride the Elk Camp Gondola or Elk Camp Chairlift to access stunning views and trails for all ages. If music is more your style, check out Aspen Music Festival & School’s summer concert series running June 27-August 18, which features classical music. And, don’t forget to stop at Aspen Recreation Center where you’ll find an indoor pool with a two-story waterslide, rock climbing tower and many more drop-in activities.

EAT
Chances are your kids rise early so take advantage and head to the Saturday farmer’s market (it opens at 8:30 a.m.—perfect for families!) to nosh on everything Colorado-made. Find fruits, veggies, bread and even a food court and live music. For a casual slice, grab a pie at New York Pizza or beeline it to Poppycock’s if you’re in the mood for a hearty breakfast or lunch—they’re famous for their oatmeal buttermilk pancakes!

photo: The St. Regis Aspen Resort

STAY
Three options greet families in the Aspen area. Choose from Element Basalt, The Westin Snowmass or The St. Regis Aspen Resort. Book your stay now at any of these locations and grab up to 15% off!

— Erin Lem

 

 

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