Vail in the Summer, There’s Something for Everyone

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Advisor - Slaveiko Savov
Curated By

Slaveiko Savov

  • Luxury Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • Adventure Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • Group Travel

  • Couples Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Lakeside

  • Mountain

  • Summer

A view of Vail in the Summer.
Curator’s statement

I love visiting Vail in the summer not only because it's cooler and less humid than the east coast, but also this picturesque little town is perfectly situated in the Rockies, providing a myriad of experiences. Think: being surrounded by beautiful nature while having access to top class food, lodgings, world class music festival, and tons of fun activities. Summer in Vail offers all that and everyone is welcome to enjoy!

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Where to stay in Vail, CO

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Things to do in Vail, CO

Two red chairs on a mountain lookout point in Vail.

Fashioned after the charming mountain towns of Europe, Vail lures you in with it’s alpine architecture, top-notch lodging, food, exciting music festivals and, of course, easy access to hiking trails and adventures.

When it comes to activities there is something for everyone in Vail. A great way to familiarize yourself with the town and connect with nature at the same time is to take a leisurely stroll along Gore Creek. It is a mostly paved path that follows the creek from West Vail through Lionshead, with a short detour through Vail Village where you can rejoin the river at the covered bridge and follow it all the way to East Vail and beyond. Another way to access easy hikes is to take the Eagle Banh Gondola to the top of Vail Mountain and experience the alpine meadows and forest in a less strenuous way. At the top you can also discover a great number of kids activities including a Nature Discovery Center, kids zipline, bungee trampoline, mountain coaster and more. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, climb the mountain via the Berry Picker trail (3.2 mi and 2,200ft elevation gain.) More experienced hikers and adventure seekers can venture into the Eagles Nest Wilderness in the search for waterfalls and glacial lakes on the Booth Creek, Deluge Lake and Gore Creek trails. All the trails starting in the Vail valley are just a short drive from town. Due to their popularity and limited parking at the trailheads the town has added convenient free bus service to most of them.

Another thrilling aspect of summers in Vail is the world class music festival Bravo!Vail which runs from late June through August and brings orchestras such as: the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Dallas Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and renowned soloists town. The orchestral concerts are held at the picturesque Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. It is an intimate venue with a section of covered seating as well as lawn where listeners can stretch on blankets, have a picnic, enjoy a glass of wine and some fine music with amazing nature as the backdrop. Concerts range from Pops and movies to staged opera, and classical music’s staples. The orchestral program of the festival is accompanied by an equally impressive chamber music series and children’s events in venues throughout town. On a different note, Vail Jazz runs performances in the town squares and select venues from June through September.

Many outdoor activities organize day trip adventure activities with pick up from Vail. You can enjoy rafting or tubing on the Eagle and the mighty Colorado River (range of rapids classes,) zip lining, hot air ballooning, horseback riding, fishing and many more. Parallel to all the hiking possibilities there is a plethora of mountain biking trails as well, varying in difficulty levels from expert to family-friendly. Alternatively a day at the the pool, spa, golfing or just a stroll through the beautiful Betty Ford Alpine Garden is always and option. If you happen to be there on a Sunday, the farmer’s market is a great experience. It highlights a lot of quality local vendors including restaurants, farmers, ranches, vineyards, artisans and much more. It is a very popular attraction so it might get a bit crowded.

Day Trips

Vail’s location and easy access to I-70 make it very convenient from some day trips like Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs (hot springs, cave and salt amusement park,) Breckenridge hiking trails and some 14ers such as Mt Elbert and Mt Evans (drive to de summit, usually open in summer).

Places to eat & drink in Vail, CO

Two women enjoying a pizza and wine for dinner.

The culinary scene in Vail has grown a lot in the past few years and offers great quality and diversity. These suggestions are just scratching the surface of what’s out there.

Food

Almresi Vail - This place serves tasty Austrian fare in a cozy/rustic decor setting that transports you to the Alps.

Sweet Basil - New American fare and trendy atmosphere on Gore creek's bank. Grab a table overlooking the creek, drink of choice and enjoy some tasty food in a beautiful setting. Great for a date night or just because.

Osaki’s - Really great sushi experience in a place where you would’t expect one. Features hand-selected ingredients including fish from Japan and a nice sake selection. The place is very small and reservation is highly encouraged.

Swiss Chalet - Another traditional European fare done so well you’ll think you’re in Switzerland. Although they offer a variety of dishes, I always come here for the fondue and the raclette. Both feature imported Swiss cheeses and there is a meat fondue option as well.

Garfinkel’s - Casual sports bar at the bottom of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. It has been a Vail staple for the past 30 years. A nice place to get a quick unpretentious bite and a beer.

The Little Diner - Located in Lionshead, this longtime Vail establishment serving nostalgic diner vibes and excellent breakfast options.

Drinks

10th Mountain Whiskey Distillery - Try some locally crafted spirits in industrial setting. Those guys know how to distill!

Two Arrows Coffee I Bar - This is my favorite combination: great coffee and bar with craft cocktails. For coffee they use a local raster, Color, out of Eagle and their cocktails are on point. You can go with something from the menu or request a personalized one,
either way, I think you'll enjoy it!

For that morning of afternoon cup of Joe: Besides Two Arrows, another great option is Unravel Coffee at Gravity House, they roast their own beans and offer a tea selection as well. Yeti’s grind is good as well and is centrally located at the Solaris Complex.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora ’s guide, Fora Favorites: Our Vail Travel Guide.



Advisor - Slaveiko Savov

Travel Advisor

Slaveiko Savov

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Colorado.