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15 Unique Summer Activities In Vail, CO

Vail Colorado is full of fun summer activities, from endless beautiful mountain terrain for outdoor recreation to the wide variety of restaurants and shops for entertainment. Despite being primarily a ski resort town, the off-season opportunities span a huge range. 

From Spring through Fall, Vail’s visitors enjoy the cool mountain air and uncrowded sights and activities.  It’s a well-known saying among locals that you “come for the winter, but STAY for the summers.”

In this guide for what to do in Vail in Summer, we will cover everything from epic hikes, local shops, and activities for the whole family.

Walk Downtown Vail:

Downtown Vail is very beautiful and mimics a swiss village. The variety of stores ranges from high-end to local shops selling t-shirts. So you are sure to find something when walking downtown Vail!

The stores around town can be a bit expensive, but sometimes you can find a nice deal, especially between seasons.

Hop on the in-town bus to the neighboring village, Lionshead. Generally, the stores don’t differ to much over here, but it can offer a new perspective. And when he weather is nice it can be great to just walk around.

a view of gondolas from the ground during fall which resembles one of the most unique things to do in Vail in Summer

Scenic Gondola Ride:

One of our best things to do in Vail in summer is take a scenic gondola ride. These cable cars are not just meant for winter to get guests up the mountain, they can also serve as a great summer activity.

The cost for a scenic gondola ride during the summer in vail is $30 per person. Guests can access two different gondola’s both in Vail Village on Gondola One and Lionshead Village on the Eagle Bahn gondola.

When on top of Vail mountain, you have the option of hiking around the mountain, downhill mountain biking, dining at one of the restaurants, or just enjoy the view. This one of the best summer activities in Vail for the whole family.

a girl holding a latte from Yeti's Grind Vail which is a must do thing to do in Vail in summer

Yeti’s Grind

Yeti’s Grind is a must visit place when visiting Vail in the summer and especially during winter! This coffee ship is located in the Solaris Shopping Center.

They have specialty coffees, traditional coffee drinks and yummy pastries. Plus many pastry options are gluten free and vegan (for those non gluten-free and vegan tourists, I promise, you won’t even notice).

Yeti’s Grind has free wifi, so if you need a place to work remotely, this is the perfect spot.  They also have the perfect patio looking out to the lush green mountains.

Additionally they validate 1 hour of parking in the Solaris parking garage, so be sure to bring in your parking ticket.

view of the solaris shopping center at sunset which is one of the greatest things to do in vail in summer
Solaris Shopping Center

Lawn Games at Bol:

Once you grab your coffee from Yeti’s Grind, head out to the lawn in front where you can play pingpong, bags/cornhole or soccer.

Bol is located in the Solaris Shopping Center. You can also grab a nice cocktail inside Bol, and despite being a bowling alley, their restaurant fare is excellent.

Vail’s Gore Valley Walk:

Right in the town of Vail, there is a beautiful walk along the Gore Creek. The Vail Gore Valley Trail is a paved path that extends about 8 miles long one way from West Vail to East Vail. The trail navigates through the woods along the beautiful creek. 

Gerald R Ford Ampitheater full at sunset, which is one of the best things to do in vail in summer

Catch a Show at Gerald R. Ford Park Amphitheater:

During the summer months, one of our favorite things to do in Vail in summer is attend a show at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

On Tuesday’s Gerald R. Ford holds free concerts with live music during their local event Hot Summer Nights. Check to see if there is a free local show playing during your visit. You will often find Vail locals enjoying these shows. They also serve local food and craft beer.

There are also also a few larger artists that roll through town, so be sure to check and see if your favorite artist might be in town.

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

If you show up early for a show stop in the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens which is just outside the west entrance. This is the highest botanical garden in the United States at 8,250 feet. Learn about unique plant life and what can survive in such a harsh environment.

view of the Gore Range from the Vail Golf Course
Vail Golf Course

Vail Golf Course:

One of the most stunning Golf Courses in Colorado is the Vail Golf Club. It is a public course and has a stunning view of the Gore Range. During the summer months it can get busy, so be sure to call ahead to set up your tee time.

There is a snack shack located in the middle between the first and last hole. So stock up on snacks and a couple cold beverages to take out on the course with you.

holding a local beer from Vail Brewing Company in front of a fire which is one of the best things to do in vail in summer

Vail Brewing Company:

Vail Brewing Company has a wide variety of refreshing beers. There are two locations, one located in Solaris at Vail and one located in Eagle-Vail. The Eagle-Vail location has a taco truck that is hard to pass up! But, both are great locations.

You might also be interested in checking out some of these other local breweries in the Vail Valley.

Grab a Slice from Vendetta’s:

Vendetta’s is one of the best places to eat in Vail. They make pizza by the slice and it’s super tasty!

Or of course you can purchase a whole pizza or a wide variety of pasta dishes.

They have a patio out back where you can enjoy a view of the ski hill or sit inside where they usually have the doors open for a nice breeze. If you are in town and looking for an easy bite to eat for cheap, check out Vendetta’s!

Check out some of our other favorite local eats in Vail.

Farmer’s Market:

Every Sunday in Vail, Rain or Shine, locals have a farmers market along the Main Street in Vail.

It’s not just farm goods, there are a wide variety of things to choose from such as art, food, clothing, jewelry, organic produce and products etc.

Be sure to come hungry because there are a lot of great street vendors selling delicious food! 

Epic Discovery (previously known as Adventure Ridge):

One of the best things to do in summer for the whole family is play up on the mountain at Epic Discovery. This adventure course is located up the Lionshead Eagle Bahn gondola.

Epic Discovery offers a variety of different mountain activities such as:

  • Ropes Courses
  • Ziplines
  • Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster
  • Tubing Hills
  • Rock Climbing Wall
  • Bungee Trampoline, etc.
  • Mini Golf
  • Vail Nature Center

Guests can purchase an adventure pass which includes unlimited access to all activities but the mountain coaster. The adventure pass only includes 3 rides on the Forest Flyer. Guests can purchase additional rides at the ticket booth.

During the busy summer months, their tickets do sell out, so be sure to purchase them in advance!  

hiking along Booth Creek which is one of the best things to do in vail in summer

Hike Booth Falls:

One of Jake’s and my favorite things to do in Vail in summer is find a hiking adventure. And Booth Falls is one of the best hikes in East Vail.

There is a beautiful hike near Vail that is for all ability levels. It’s best to go in Spring because the mountain runoff will make the falls extra big.

The trail winds through lush forest and meadows along the route. Booth Falls is a 4.5 mile hike roundtrip with 1400 feet in elevation change.

If you want to venture on, you can hike up to Booth Lake. Booth Lake is an additional 5.5 miles roundtrip with 1650 feet in elevation change.

The parking lot has since been closed, so hikers must park in Vail Village and ride the in-town bus to the trailhead. Hikers can catch free East Vail bus at the Vail Transportation Center. There will be at stop at the Booth Falls School, but you can always ask the bus driver where to get off if you need a little help.

If you enjoy this hike, we sure to check out other great Vail hikes.

snow covered mountains behind Piney Lake which is one of the best things to do in vail in summer
Piney Lake

Drive Up To Piney Lake:

Piney Lake is located up Piney Rd which can be a gnarly dirt road. This road is across Hwy 70 on the other side of Vail Village.

Most cars can make it up the road, but it is preferred to have a high clearance vehicle. If you have a small sedan you will just have to take the road slower and dodge large rocks.

The road winds up to Piney Lake which is about 40 minutes from town. You can drive up to this high alpine lake and just enjoy from the edge of Piney Lake or you can hike further up to Upper Piney Falls.

The hike is rated easy but it still 6.9 miles. Check out the in-depth hiking guide for Upper Piney Falls for more information. 

There is also a restaurant and lodging at Piney River Ranch located at the edge of Piney Lake. They might have the best view in Vail, but it is not easy to get to.

Nottingham Lake in the warmer months with green grass on the mountains in Beaver Creek which is one of the best things to do in vail in summer

Nottingham Lake:

A popular thing to do in Vail in summer is float at Nottingham Lake. The Lake and Park is a short 10 minute drive from Vail.

But you get the best of both worlds, because there is a beach with mountain views! The man-made lake is actually warm enough to swim in, making it a popular place to cool-off in the summer.

There is also a paved path around the lake where you can walk or run.

There’s also beach volleyball, charcoal grills, and even an amphitheater with events and concerts. Or you can rent a SUP or paddle boat from Stand Up Paddle


There aren’t any white water rafting trips right through the Vail Valley, but there are a few companies located near Vail where they will take you to the river. Here are a few epic rafting trips north of Vail through the Colorado River.

Some other companies to go through would be Lakota, Timberline Tours, or SAGE Outdoor Adventures.

Visit The Vail Stables:

The Vail Stables offers one of the most scenic horseback riding tours in Vail. Their location is across from Vail Village. It’s best to drive to their location, but could be walked if you don’t have a car.

There are a few different horseback riding tours to choose from. Ranging from a short 1-hour tour to a half-day adventure roaming the mountains.

Vail Stables also offers Vail Yoga (GOGA) and Goat Happy Hour. Goat Yoga is a 1-hour class where guests get to dress the goats and perform yoga poses while the goats jump up and on top the guests.

If you aren’t into yoga and just want to hang out with the goats, no problem! Vail Stables Beer Garden opens at 11am and guests can hang with the local goats and ponies. Do watch your drinks, you don’t get free refills if they knock them over.

What To Wear When Visiting Vail In Summer:

Vail is a high altitude town, so the weather can change on a dime. Always dress in layers.

The base of the mountain starts at 8,022ft (2,445m) and climbs to 11,570 feet (3,527 m) at the top of the mountain. While it might be warm in the heart of Vail Village, it might be 10 degrees colder at the summit.

One minute you might be sitting in the hot sun in just a tank top and short. About 10 minutes later the mountains might throw some heavy clouds with a quick thunderstorm which can change the air temperature drastically. Trust me, it happens all the time!

My personal favorite layer during every season in Vail is my Venustus Heated Vest. I keep this piece of clothing on during most evenings when outdoors in Vail in summer.

Takeaway For Things To Do In Vail In Summer:

Vail is such a quaint beautiful town in the Rocky Mountains. There is a fun activity for everyone to enjoy when staying in Vail! You could easily spend a week in Vail and enjoy all the fun adventures the town has to offer. There is also a great bus system in Vail, with free buses within the town or a $4 ride to Avon. We hope you enjoy!

If you plan to come to Vail in the winter check out our article: Tips For Making Your Ski Vacation At Vail & Beaver Creek Cheaper

Have you been to Vail? What are your favorite things to do?!

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Upper Piney Falls Hike- Vail, CO - tworoamingsouls

Tuesday 11th of April 2023

[…] If you happen to be visiting Vail in the winter, check out these fun things to do beside ski in Vail. Or find some other fun things to do in Vail during summer. […]