Vail is a skiing resort town in the Colorado Rockies, situated at the base of mountain ranges.
- Explore and enjoy the best Ski Resorts in Colorado.
Why is Vail so popular?
With more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, Vail is famous for having one of the most extensive vertical drops of any ski area in North America.
The views of the surrounding mountains make it a real stand-out destination when it comes to skiing.
In addition, Vail receives 365 days of sunshine thus making it a preferable destination for skiing and other activities.
This little skiing town is known for its natural beauty and year-round activities that include skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding, hiking, and white water rafting.
We have put together a list of the fun things to do in Vail, Colorado to make your trip memorable.
Things To Do In Vail:
1. Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Entry tickets: Free, but a $5 donation per person is encouraged
Address: 522 S Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657
- It is the world’s highest botanical garden
- Perfect place to spend time with family
The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, Colorado, is a public garden that features a variety of flowers, trees, and other plants.
Enjoy walking through this beautiful garden and learning about the many different plants that are available for you to see.
You can also take advantage of the wonderful events that are offered here.
With its unique location at the foot of Vail Mountain and breathtaking views, the garden has become a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.
In addition to being a great place for family activities, this park offers plenty of recreational opportunities as well.
Whether you just want to walk around and enjoy nature or you’re looking for something more active such as hiking trails or biking trails, you will find it all right here!
2. Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum
Entry tickets: Free, but a donation of $10 is encouraged
Address: 231 S Frontage Rd E, Vail, CO 81657
- Exhibits the history of snow sports
- You can buy cool souvenirs at the gift shop
The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Vail, Colorado is a great place to visit any time of year.
It is a great place to learn about the history of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado, as well as other forms of winter recreation.
The ski museum has many displays that show off the history of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado, including information on how these sports were invented and what kinds of equipment people used.
Some displays tell you about some of the famous people who have been involved with skiing and snowboarding.
Do you need to book in advance to visit the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum?
The museum gets many visitors each day and thus encourages visitors to book a slot in advance to avoid missing space during their visit.
3. Adventure Ridge (Vail)
Entry tickets: From $46 depending on the activities you want to do
Address: 600 W Lionshead Circle, Vail, CO
- Perfect place to fire up an adrenaline rush
- You can watch the golden sunset while tubing
Adventure Ridge is a family-friendly mountain snow park located on top of Eagle Bahn Gondola in Vail, Colorado.
It offers a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors of all ages.
The football stadium-sized snow park offers many different activities to keep guests busy during their stay.
These include tubing, snowboarding, sledding, and more.
In addition to the fun, there are several restaurants on-site that offer great food options for everyone in your group to enjoy!
Adventure Ridge is a great place to go for a day out with your family and friends.
It is certainly one of the top things to do in Vail.
4. Vail Pass Bike Tour
Entry tickets: Self-guided tours: $85 per person, Guided tours: $135 per person
Address: Vail Pass, Colorado 80443, Frisco, CO 80443
- Has knowledgeable and fun guides
- They offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you don’t get what they promised
If you are looking for a fun and exciting bike tour in Vail, then the Vail Pass Bike Tour is the perfect fit for you.
This is a self-guided or guided tour that takes you through some of the most iconic views in the area such as Gore Range and Vail Valley.
You will explore the area by bike, but also get to see some of the most stunning views in all of Colorado.
There are different routes for people who want to compete or just enjoy some bonding time with their friends and family members while exploring Colorado’s front range.
In addition, the organizers can custom-make a bike tour specifically for you based on what you want to see and do!
This is indeed a great way to get out on two wheels and enjoy all that Vail has to offer.
5. Vail Stables
Entry tickets: From $150 for a 1.5-hour ride
Address: 915 Spraddle Creek Rd, Vail, CO 81657
- The best place to live your cowboy/cowgirl experience
- Offers the most breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape
The Vail Stables is a great place to spend time with your family.
It has friendly staff who are always happy to help you find the right horse for your needs.
They also have an awesome selection of trail rides that will take you through breathtaking views of Red and White Mountain, Sawatch Range, and Castle Peak.
In addition, the stables offer several different kinds of riding experiences including trail rides and group lessons.
There are also programs designed for beginners, intermediate riders, and experienced riders looking for a challenge!
Furthermore, there are other interesting activities such as G.O.A.T Yoga and G.O.A.Ts and wine sessions.
When are Vail Stables open?
The stables are open from May to September of every year.
Owing to the high number of visitors during the season, they encourage you to book your spot early in advance before the season begins.
6. Walking Mountains Science Center
Entry tickets: Free but some activities attract a fee
Address: 318 Walking Mountains Ln, Avon, CO 81620
- The ideal place to walk and unwind
- Attracts visitors of all ages
The Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, Colorado is a family-friendly science center with lots of interactive exhibits and fun hands-on activities.
It is only about 12 minutes away from Vail, hence why it’s one of the best things to do near Vail.
The center has an awesome collection of animals from around the world accented by dinosaurs, fossils, and some space-themed exhibits.
It also has a very nice indoor toddler play area and an indoor kid’s area with several interactive activities for children.
This science center has special events throughout the year that allow you to learn more about science and nature.
The Walking Mountains Science Center is a great place to visit when you are looking for something fun to do near Vail.
7. Vail Brewing Company
Entry tickets: Free entry
Address: 41290 US-6 B-2 & B-3, Vail, CO 81657
- It is a dog-friendly venue
- Serves the best craft beer and other drinks in Vail
The Vail Brewing Company is located in the heart of Vail, Colorado with its origin in nearby Avon.
It produces a variety of beers including ales and lagers for the Colorado market, as well as seasonal beers that are available for purchase throughout the year.
The space itself is beautiful, with large windows overlooking the mountain range.
The décor is clean and modern with touches of reclaimed wood and metal accents throughout.
It also has a large outdoor patio where you can hang out with friends or family during the summer months.
This is also the designated area for dogs as long as they are on a leash.
8. Camelot Balloons
Entry tickets: Shared flights are $395 per person.
Address: Blackhawk Road, Vail, CO
- Get the most breathtaking views of Colorado on this ride
- They are the only hot-air balloon ride providers in Vail
- The minimum flight time is 1 hour
Camelot Balloons offer the best balloon rides in Vail, Colorado.
With years and years of experience, they certainly know how to make your experience memorable.
The views are absolutely incredible!
You will get to see some of the best views of Vail Village and Aspen Valley from above!
The balloon rides are fun and exciting, but they are also safe and educational.
Your ride starts early in the morning just after sunrise.
You will get the most view of sunrise from up in the air as well as breathtaking views of the landscape below you and beyond.
In addition to the thrill, you will be given drinks during your flight as well as a post-flight brunch.
All participants are given certificates upon completion of the flight.
Camelot Balloons remain one of the coolest things to do in Vail.
9. La Tour Restaurant & Bar
Address: 122 E Meadow Dr, Vail, CO 81657
- It is a French restaurant that serves dinner
- The venue has both indoor and outdoor seating with intimate decor
If you’re looking for a great dinner in Vail, check out La Tour Restaurant & Bar.
Located at the base of Vail Mountain just steps from the slopes, this restaurant has been a favorite with locals and visitors for years.
It is a great place to eat, drink and be merry.
The decor is upscale and the staff is friendly.
They have an extensive wine list as well as a full bar that serves some of the best margaritas in Vail.
If you’re looking for a place with good food that caters to everyone from kids to adults and everyone in between, then La Tour is your place.
What days is La Tour Restaurant & Bar open?
This restaurant serves dinner only and is therefore open daily from 5 pm to 9 pm.
10. Alpenrose Vail
Address: 100 E Meadow Dr STE 25, Vail, CO 81657
- This is a German-Austrian restaurant
- It was established in 1974
Alpenrose Vail is an authentic German restaurant that serves authentic German cuisine and beer.
When you think of Germany, what comes to mind?
Probably sausages and beer, right?
If so, then you need to try out the food at Alpenrose Vail.
They have a variety of dishes to choose from including schnitzel, bratwurst, spaetzle, and more.
In addition to German cuisine, the restaurant also serves Austrian and Swiss dishes such as Kässpätzle and goulash.
The atmosphere is great and relaxing and the staff is always friendly and helpful.
Their service is also top-notch!
You can tell that they take pride in their work by the way they treat their customers.
The food is delicious too!
Alpenrose Vail is one of the top places to eat in Vail.
Note: The restaurant is currently closed in preparation for winter and will reopen on 17th November 2022.
11. Sage Outdoor Adventures
Entry tickets: From $99
Address: 41466 US-6, Vail, CO 81657
- Perfect for an exciting family experience
- Has excellent staff and equipment
Sage Outdoor Adventures offers you over 6000 acres to explore at Sage Ranch.
It is a popular spot for snowmobilers who have access to over 100 miles of well-maintained snowmobile trails.
If you are looking forward to seeing the Continental Drive and seven mountain ranges, exploring Sage Ranch on a snowmobile is your best chance.
Apart from snowmobiling, Sage Outdoor Adventures also offers other thrilling activities such as skeet shooting, rafting, fishing, and horseback riding.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you will be in the safe hands of expert guides.
Wondering if your children will be allowed to drive?
Children are allowed to drive on their own as long as they are 16 years and above and have a valid permit to drive.
In addition, children below 18 must be accompanied by legal guardians.
12. Timberline Tours
Entry tickets: Adults (13 & older): $115, Youths (7 to 12): $95, Children (4-6): $55
Address: 1432 Chambers Ave, Eagle, CO 81631
- This is the largest outfitter in the area
- Offers rafting and jeep tours
If you’re looking for a great way to explore the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Timberline Tours is the perfect way to do it.
This company offers many different tours that are sure to delight even the pickiest traveler.
The best part about taking these tours is that they’re completely customizable.
Their staff members are experienced, hence there’s no need to worry about being put at risk because they’ll have all of the skills necessary to ensure your safety at all times.
During the tour, you will come across scenic views of the Rocky Mountains vista, wildlife, wildflowers, as well as historic sites.
With whitewater rafting, you have many options to choose from such as Gore Canyon, Dinosaur discovery, Browns Canyon, and Pine Creek and the Numbers.
13. Minturn Anglers
Entry tickets: Half-Day Float Trip: $500 for one person, $550 for 2 people, Full-Day Float Trip: $700 for one person, $750 for 2 people
Address: 106 N Main St, Minturn, CO 81645
- Ideal place for guided fly fishing
- They have patient and knowledgeable guides
Minturn Anglers is a full-service fly fishing outfitter that offers guided fly fishing trips and tours to Rocky Mountain National Park and the surrounding area.
In addition, they offer a variety of different types of trips including guided, half-day, and full-day excursions.
Trips are such as fly fishing, fly fishing float trips and overnight float trips.
They also offer guests a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to the type of trip they would like to take.
One trip is geared toward beginners and another one is aimed at more experienced anglers.
If you are looking for a great way to spend some time with your family or friends, then Minturn Anglers offers an excellent solution.
14. Craniologie Vail
Address: 225 Wall St Ste 102a, Vail, CO 81657
- It is a sporting goods shop
- Praised for its wide variety of products
- It is also loved for its great customer care
Craniologie Vail is the go-to sporting goods store in town.
Located in the heart of Vail Village, it is your one-stop shop for all your outdoor and athletic needs.
Whether you’re a snowboarder, skier, biker, or hiker, they have everything you need to keep active outside.
They also carry a large selection of ski and snowboard gear so you can hit the slopes with confidence.
The store features a wide selection of skiing apparel, boots, helmets, and goggles for men and women.
It also carries a full line of ski jackets and pants for kids.
If you want to go skiing or biking in Vail but don’t want to pack heavily, Craniologie Vail will take care of everything you need to make your skiing trip comfortable.
15. AVA Rafting & Zipline
Entry tickets: Half-Day Ziplining – Adult (13+): $99 – $114, Children (6-12): $89 – $104
Half-Day Rafting – Adult (13+): $69 – $79, Children (2-12): $51.75 – $59.25
Address: 116 Huron Rd, Breckenridge, CO 80424
- Offers thrilling activities like horseback riding and ziplining
- Great place to enjoy alone or with family
AVA Rafting & Zipline is a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Colorado and also experience a fun new activity.
Whether you are visiting Vail or live here, this adventure will give you a whole new perspective on the area.
This adventure center has everything from zip lining and rafting to horseback riding and fly fishing.
The staff is friendly, experienced, and helpful at all times.
In addition, guests have many options to choose from such as a full-day whitewater rafting trip or a half-day zipline tour through the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park.
AVA Rafting & Ziplining is definitely one of the most thrilling things to do in Vail.
16. Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater
Entry tickets: Depends on the event taking place
Address: 2271 N Frontage Rd W C, Vail, CO 81657
- It features an outdoor venue
- You can attend a concert or have a picnic day
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is a beautiful location for any event.
How big is the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater?
This amphitheater has seats for 1,260 people and can accommodate 2,560 people in total since visitors can sit in the outdoor area covered in grass.
It also features a large stage that can be used for concerts or plays, as well as an outdoor plaza that’s perfect for outdoor activities.
You will not only enjoy a concert or event here but also the breathtaking views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains.
If you are not interested in any event, you can use the grounds as a picnic site.
Bring your food and drinks and enjoy a picnic on the grassy grounds as you take in the views.
It is rated one of the best things to do in Vail.
17. Vail Ski Resort
Entry tickets: 1 Day Price – Adults: $113 – $159, Children (5-12): $78 – $110
Address: Vail, CO 81657
- It is the country’s third-largest single-mountain ski resort
- You will be treated to beautiful views
Vail Ski Resort is one of the most famous ski resorts in the United States.
It is located in Vail, Colorado and it has various slopes for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports.
The resort offers several things to visitors like ski lessons, group rates, rentals, and more.
This famous resort experiences 365 days of sunshine, thus making it the premier skiing destination, not only in Colorado but also in the United States.
What is Vail ski resort known for?
Vail Ski Resort is renowned for its extensive grounds which include 5,000 acres of skiable grounds.
It is thus the largest skiing venue in the State of Colorado.
In addition, it is famous for its terrain including back bowls and slopes.
Its terrain is the dream ground for any skier.
18. Vail Nature Center
Entry tickets: Free
Address: 601 Vail Valley Dr, Vail, CO 81657
- The perfect place to visit with children
- It is a historical nature preserve
The Vail Nature Center is a great place to visit with children in Vail, Colorado.
It is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the environment and educating its visitors about nature.
In addition, there’s a nature trail where you can walk through woods and view animals and plants in their natural habitat.
The nature center sits inside a historical home from the 1940s on 7 acres of land covered in trees and greenery.
Its location along the banks of Gore Creek creates a tranquil ambiance perfect for unwinding.
Apart from learning more about nature, visitors also have access to fly fishing, stargazing, and art classes.
If you are a hiker, Vail Nature Center is a must-visit as it offers scenic hiking trails.
19. Upper Piney Lake Trail
Entry tickets: Free
Address: Colorado 80423
- It is a moderately-challenging trail
- One of the best places to enjoy non-skiing activities in Vail
Upper Piney Lake Trail offers a great hike with a little bit of everything: beautiful scenery, and the opportunity to see wildlife as well as enjoy some of the best views in Vail.
How long is the Piney Lake Hike?
The trail is approximately 5.9 miles long with an elevation gain of 1,640 feet for the entire hike.
This trail begins at the end of the Red Sandstone Road along Piney Lake and ends at Piney River Falls.
The trail is best known for its beautiful views of Piney Lake and the surrounding mountainous landscape.
This scenic trail passes through forested areas with some open meadows and grassy areas where you can see wildlife such as deer and elk.
You will also see many plants along the way that you may recognize from your local park or garden center.
Apart from hiking, visitors can also enjoy horseback riding, picnicking, and camping.
20. Deluge Lake Trail
Entry tickets: Free
Address: White River National Forest, Vail, CO 81657
- This is considered a challenging hike
- It offers breathtaking views
Another non-skiing activity to enjoy in Vail is Deluge Lake Trail.
The 9.0-mile trail, to and back, is one of the most challenging trails that lead to Deluge Lake.
However, it is also the best trail to follow if you want to enjoy breathtaking views.
Your hike begins at Gore Creek Campground and passes through aspens, pine trees, meadows, wildflowers, and wildlife.
The route makes for one of the most beautiful fall views.
At the end of the trail, you will find the turquoise waters of Deluge Lake waiting for you.
The lake is surrounded by a beautiful hilly landscape and creates a spectacular view that acts as a reward for your hiking efforts.
You can spend some time here before starting your journey back to the starting point.
21. Gore Creek Campground
Entry tickets: $26 Camping fee
Address: White River National Forest, Vail, CO 81657
- You will find scenic rivers as well as unique wildlife
- It allows both foot and horse hiking
Gore Creek Campground is one of the most popular campgrounds in the White River National Forest.
This is due to its location near Vail, Colorado, and the Gore Creek Trail that runs through it.
It is a perfect venue for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy some quiet time in the mountains.
Located along Gore Creek, this campground is surrounded by trees and offers good shade.
Camping here allows you to explore White National Forest renowned for its iconic spots such as 11 ski resorts, Hanging Lake, and Maroon Bells.
Gore Creek Campground also has endless hiking trails spread out across the 2.3 million acres of White River National Forest.
22. Booth Falls Trailhead
Entry tickets: Free
Address: 3035 Booth Falls Rd, Vail, CO 81657
- It is a moderate hiking trail
- The trail leads to a lake and a waterfall
Booth Falls Trailhead in Vail, Colorado will take you to this beautiful waterfall.
The hike to the falls is about 2 miles long and it is a great family hike.
If you love exploring the outdoors as a family, this is certainly one of the fun things to do in Vail, Colorado with children.
It starts off with a small incline and then continues along a wooden path until you reach the base of the falls.
You can end your hike here and set up a picnic by the waterfall or choose to continue to the end of the trail.
At the top, you will enjoy the breathtaking views of the Gore Mountain Range and the lake.
How long is the Booth Falls Trailhead?
The trailhead is 8.9 miles long for a round-trip and will take you across a rugged landscape covered in leaves and berries, as well as aspen.
It has a 3,000-foot elevation gain.
23. Vail Scenic Gondola
Entry tickets: $50 per person, Free after 3.30 pm
Address: 699 I-70 Frontage Rd, Vail, CO 81657
- Ideal for both adults and children
- It is also called Eagle Bahn Gondola
The Vail Scenic Gondola is a great way to get up and down the mountain in Vail.
It offers you an amazing view of the town, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
You can enjoy this ride all year long, but it’s especially nice during the winter months.
The views are stunning as you glide through the gondola.
How long is the scenic gondola ride in Vail?
Additionally, the whole ride lasts about fifteen minutes and takes you 10,000 feet up the mountain.
You’ll also have plenty of time to take pictures with your friends or family before heading back down.
And if you’re looking for top things to do in Vail on your next trip, consider taking the Vail Scenic Gondola.
24. Piney River Ranch
Entry tickets: Depends on the activity
Address: 700 Red Sandstone Rd, Vail, CO 81657
- It is a family-friendly destination
- This is a private ranch
The Piney River Ranch is a world-class destination for outdoor adventures, and it’s one of the best places to visit in Vail.
It is famous for outdoor adventures such as hiking, horseback riding, glamping, and cabin lodging.
The ranch also offers grounds for intimate and celebratory events such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.
When is the Pine River Ranch open?
The ranch opens seasonally every year from 21st June through to the last Saturday of September.
It is a summer destination.
The property has a variety of activities to suit all ages and interests, including horseback riding, hiking trails through meadows full of wildflowers, and mountain biking.
There are also playgrounds for kids.
Wondering what other cities & places you would enjoy in Colorado? We do recommend to check out what to do in Fort Collins, fun things to do in Denver, and don’t forget to explore best things to do in Boulder.
25. Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show
Entry tickets: Free
Address: E Meadow Dr, Vail, CO 81657
- The market has been running for the past 21 years
- You will explore local produce and taste fresh local food
Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show is a one-of-a-kind event that takes place every Sunday in summer in Vail, Colorado.
The market features local farmers, artisans, and food vendors who sell their goods at the market.
It also features artists who showcase their talent in various mediums.
The market offers a variety of locally grown produce, baked goods, and specialty foods from more than 30 vendors.
There are also a variety of activities for kids to enjoy including pony rides, face painting, balloon animals, and games.
This is also a great opportunity for you to meet and mingle with locals as well as other travelers.
26. 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits
Entry tickets: Free
Address: 227 Bridge St, Vail, CO 81657
- A boutique distillery that offers craft beer
- Highly praised for its ambiance and friendly staff
The 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits is the premier distillery in Vail, Colorado, and attracts both locals and travelers.
It produces several different types of whiskey, including bourbon, brandy, and moonshine.
You can sample some of these favorites in the tasting room while enjoying friendly service from knowledgeable staff members.
The owners understand that Vail is an outdoors town and thus have tried to blend in with the outdoors.
Guests are offered seating in a cozy lounge that overlooks Gore Creek.
Apart from craft beer, you will also be served whiskey merchandise, apparel, as well as cigars.