The Best Family Summer Vacations at Cool Mountain Resorts

Emerald Bay State Park, Lake Tahoe
Jason Todd/Getty Images

When the summer heat starts to become too much to handle, and you're looking for a a break from the hot sun, why not take the family on a summer vacation to cooler climate? Here is our list of mountain resorts found in the east and west, where you and the kids can enjoy family adventures, like hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, and learning more about the natural rhythms that come with the outdoors. Several of the resorts even have kids adventure camps, so your children will have lots of fun while you play a round of golf, go fly fishing, get pampered in a spa or attend an outdoor concert.

All of these mountain resorts offer a variety of family-friendly packages each and every year. Here's just a sampling of some of the packages you and your children can enjoy at these amazing destinations.

Vermont: Smugglers' Notch Fun Fests Entertain the Family

The single-price FamilyFest packages at Smugglers' Notch in Vermont's Green Mountains are loaded with a mix of togetherness and age-specific activities. During the daytime, take a hike or play Aqua-Volleyball, while your 16-year-old is introduced to kayaking or a high-ropes adventure course. The younger crowds will have their own entertainment too, including arts and crafts for 5-year-olds and a Creek Peak or Forest Explanation wilderness journey for preteens and teens. Prices and length of packages vary throughout the summer, and accommodations can be in one- and two-bedroom units.

Colorado: Summer Festivals at Keystone

Keystone Resort, high in the heart of Colorado's Rockies, has festivals almost weekly during the summer. It's easy to wrap a visit around one of these special events, which are designed to be a mix of staying active and relaxing. Book directly with Keystone Resort and you'll get an Adventure Passport that includes a variety of free activities from bike and paddle-boat rentals to a gold panning session. For details, visit Keystone Resort.​

Colorado: Communing With Mother Nature at Winter Park

Take the family rafting on the Colorado River and explore the surrounding national forest while mountain biking on the 600+ miles of trails in the Fraser, Colorado area –– a scenic one-hour drive from Denver just over the Continental Divide. The Family Mountain Adventure package at Winter Park Resort includes four nights' lodging in a two-bedroom condo, a raft trip on the Colorado River, bike rentals and an all-day pass for resort activities, which includes rides on the Zephyr Express chairlift and the alpine slide, mini-golf, the Human Maze, the Leaps & Bounds Bungee and more. For details visit Winter Park Resort.

California/Nevada: It's Heavenly Above Lake Tahoe

When riding up the gondola at Heavenly Resort, Lake Tahoe is on display below. While walking down hiking trails threading the ski slopes you'll see sailboats and motorboats dotting the lake too. Take the kids for a paddleboat cruise, go hot air ballooning, soak in the hot springs, or just relax on the beach and help the kids build sand castles. Here, where California and Nevada meet, lodging choices range from comfortable condominiums to rooms in hotels with casinos. Two-night lodging packages are available in a variety of different accommodation types, including a cruise for two on the Lake Tahoe Queen.

In the evening you can attend one of the jazz, bluegrass, or other concerts at the Valhalla Summer Art & Music Festival. Or, take a picnic dinner, sit on the shore of Lake Tahoe and introduce your older kids to a Shakespearean play.

Montana: Explore Big Sky Country

One entrance to Yellowstone National Park is just about an hour away from Big Sky Resort in Montana, so take a little time from enjoying all the activities that the resort has to offer to head over to the park and visit Old Faithful instead. You can ride a zip line, take a gondola ride, and hike or mountain bike downhill on trails. You'll also have the opportunity to take a whitewater rafting trip or go horseback riding. Kids Camp may be free if you book through Big Sky Central Reservations.

Colorado: Aspen and Snowmass Offer Free Family Fun

Many travelers think of Aspen as Glitter Gulch and neighboring Snowmass as an upscale family-friendly resort, and there's some truth to those impressions. But in the summertime, lodging prices are lower and the entertainment ranges from free weekday activities that include scavenger hunts and cooking classes, as well as storytelling and a juggling workshop. Kids activities at both Camp Aspen and Camp Snowmass stretch from mountainboarding and skateboarding to paintball and mountain biking. For more information about family entertainment, visit Aspen/Snowmass.

Utah: Kids Love Deer Valley's Summer Adventure Camp

Kids that attend the Deer Valley Summer Adventure Camp will have great fun taking part in age-appropriate mountain environment excursions, including day trips and alpine hikes. At this resort, located on the edge of Park City, Utah, summer packages typically include a chairlift ride to the peak where many hiking and biking trails start. Accommodations are available in standard rooms and suites, as well as the posh condos in Deer Valley and units at the luxe Stein Eriksen Lodge. For summer rates visit Deer Valley.

New Hampshire: Action-Packed Days at Waterville Valley

The Adventure Pass packages at New Hampshire's Waterville Valley are a passport to unlimited summer fun. Available in two different versions, the Adventure Day Pass grants access to unlimited use of the climbing wall, disc golf rentals, lift access, two hour mountain bike rentals, and discounts on bikes and boats. Meanwhile, the Season Adventure Pass offers all of that, and more, on a completely unlimited basis all summer long.

Vermont: Killington Offers Summer Adventures for the Entire Family

The Killington Summer Adventures packages let you and the kids go mountain biking or hiking on the slopes and various trails, challenge the climbing wall, take the alpine slides and enjoy other activities together. Packages include 2-nights lodging and a two-day Adventure Center pass. (A single-night package is available for a slightly higher price.) For details visit Killington.

Michigan: Wakeboarding in Boyne Country

Wrap a family vacation around one of the wakeboard or junior golf camps, or just enjoy a range of activities like riding a zipline or going mountain biking. That's just a small taste of the options for the entire family at Fritz's Adventure Camp for kids at Boyne Mountain. Per-night rates for hotel rooms and condos are available and guests gain access to the biking and hiking trails, tennis courts, 18-hole disc golf course, chairlift rides, and other activities.

California: Skate and Swim at Squaw Valley's High Camp

Squaw Valley USA's High Camp Bath & Tennis Club, a short cable-car ride from the resort's base area, has both an ice rink and a large freeform swimming pool surrounded by mountain peaks. At this California resort, you and the kids can tackle the climbing wall, go hiking or mountain biking then cool off while boating on nearby Lake Tahoe.

More Adventure Travel Family Vacations Articles

You can find the best companies for family adventure travel vacations, tips on planning a family adventure travel trip and a lot more at Family Vacation Adventures.

Was this page helpful?