5 Mountain Towns With Summer Fun Your Family Won’t Want to Miss
Who says you have to wait to set your eyes on breathtaking mountain views until winter and frigid temps arrive? I, for one, can’t go that long without seeing those beautiful ridgelines. Can you?
While those snow-capped mountains set the right tone for avid ski lovers in the colder months, with an endless number of things to do year-round, they make an equally perfect backdrop for a cool, breezy summer getaway.
Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these five mountain town destinations that are summertime favorites, and a few of my favorite things to do while visiting!
Set your sights on the Great Smoky Mountains straddling the North Carolina and Tennessee border. The views will surely take your breath away. But that’s not all that will have your travel tribe jumping out of their seats ready to explore. With perfect summer weather, you can enjoy venturing to this beautiful area of the country without your little ones complaining of heat and humidity.
- Clingman’s Dome. The highest mountain in the Smokies, this steep climb into the sky (don’t worry, it’s driveable) will make a lasting impression. And it’ll give you and your littles a whole new perspective of the world.
- Dollywood. Can you go to the Smokies without a trip to Dollywood? Definitely not. And you wouldn’t want to! With more than 40 incredible theme park rides and 35 acres of fantastic water attractions, this must-do is sure to give your littles the thrill of a lifetime. Not to mention, keep you cool on those sunny summer days.
- Anakeesta. Immerse yourself in nature at this unique mountain theme park. What does that mean exactly? Picture ziplining through the gorgeous treetops, strolling 40-60 feet about the forest floor, and playing in the treehouse playground. However you choose to spend your time, your mini-mes are sure to beg for more.
- Great Smoky Mountain National Park. A trip to America’s most visited park is sure to please. With opportunities to horse ride, hike, fish, and dive right into history, this natural attraction has something for everyone in your travel tribe.
Where to Stay: There are plenty of sweet resorts to rest your head. Each one offers spacious suites to comfortably sleep your entire travel tribe! Take your pick from Wyndham Smoky Mountains to Wyndham Vacation Resorts Great Smokies Lodge, and even Margaritaville Island Hotel at Pigeon Forge for a unique tropical experience set in the mountains.
Set upon the high desert mesa of Northern New Mexico, and placed squarely at the feet of Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it’s no wonder this destination is known as the “Land of Enchantment.” Though the weather is hot and dry in the summer, it’s one of the most popular times to visit this incredible area.
- Taos Pueblo. Learn and explore the life of the Red Willow people at this living Native American community located at the base of the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. Let history come to life right in front of your kiddos’ eyes as they learn about a way of life entirely different than their own!
- Carson National Forest. The world is your playground at this northern New Mexico national forest. Though it’s worth a visit during any time of the year, summer holds a boatload full of fun adventures for your whole family. Come here to enjoy the great outdoors by way of hiking, horseback riding, fishing, hunting, camping, and more!
- Wild Earth Llama Adventures. Want to create a memory your littles will never forget? Explore New Mexico’s pristine wilderness with a llama trek! These gentle, sure-footed furry friends carry your packs, so you don’t have to. Sign up for a multi-day hike or a gourmet lunch date, and get to exploring seldom-visited areas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Where to Stay: Wyndham Taos, set on the grounds of Nicolai Fechin’s famed estate, is the perfect home-away-from-home! One-bedroom suites offer a cozy respite after a day full of exploring. Not to mention, the kids will love the two seasonal outdoor pools – one having been designed specifically with them in mind!
East of Salt Lake City and near ski slope resorts, Park City makes for an unforgettable winter getaway destination. But its bustling tourist industry and endless number of outdoor adventures tell us that summer months won’t disappoint!
- Mountain Biking. With more than 450 miles of Gold Level trails, these gentle rolling hills are a surefire way to enjoy some outdoor family time.
- SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding). Take your sunny summer day out on the Ponds at Deer Valley. Rent a SUP and venture out on your own on these gentle waters or sign the whole family up for lessons where you’re sure to cool off and have a good time!
- Hot Air Balloon Rides. There’s no better way to see the beautiful mountains than from the air! Book your unforgettable adventure with local guiding companies, Skywalker Balloon Company or Park City Balloon Adventures, and float high into the sky where you can overlook the Cottonwood Canyons and the Uinta Mountains.
- Silly Sunday Market. This eco-friendly, open-air market and street festival is all about bringing the community together. Don’t miss this fun opportunity to see all the silliness. With vendors dressed in costumes, unique products and mouth-watering food, this attraction is one for the whole family!
Where to Stay: Wyndham Park City in a Two-Bedroom Deluxe suite. It puts you just a mere 30 minutes from the stunning Wasatch Mountain State Park. You can even take the Park City trolley to Historic Main Street to grab a bite to eat! Though, you can’t miss an opportunity returning to the resort to jump in the outdoor pool or soak in one of the two hot tubs.
4. Estes Park, Colorado
This northern Colorado town and base for Rocky Mountain National Park is truly every outdoor enthusiast’s summer dream thanks to the following must-dos during the warmer months.
- Rocky Mountain National Park. With hundreds of miles of trails and scenic views to see, this park will have you feeling on top of the world. Venture out for a day of fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching (it’s home to bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and more!). Or, sign up for a ranger-led program and learn more about the park, its wildlife, and flowers. When your tired kiddos can’t keep up anymore, hop in the car and cruise through lowland meadows, aspen groves, and rivers.
- Fly Fishing. Calling all avid fly fishers and spin casters! Wade out into the Big Thompson River, Lake Estes, or Fall River and catch yourself a trout. Never fly fished before? Don’t worry. Every trip is sure to catch a fish.
- Rock Climbing. Get your adrenaline pumping with the climb of a lifetime. With more than 1,200 routes, experienced rock climbers are sure to appreciate the unique, challenging terrain of some routes while beginners will be grateful for the cracks, edges, and slabs of others. A half day fun rock climb with Colorado Mountain School is the perfect activity for first-time climbers and experts, with a minimum age requirement of 6.
- Off Roading. Nothing’s off limits when you strap into a 4×4. Whether you head out in a rugged rock climber or fun Jeep, at a slow or fast pace, with a guide or on your own, you’re sure to see incredible views firsthand that others only dream about.
While the Ozarks of Missouri may not technically be considered mountains (especially when you ask our friends in the Midwest), these large mountain-like hills give visitors an outstanding view all summer long. Not to mention, it’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, especially for watersports.
- Top of The Rock. With world-class opportunities and attractions like the Lost Canyon and Nature Trail, Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum, incredible dining, and unforgettable golfing, Top of The Rock is one stop the whole family will love.
- Table Rock State Park. The outdoor adventures at this Missouri State Park are nearly endless. With miles of trails to walk, areas to picnic, and a marina help you get out on the water, you could easily spend your whole Branson trip at this one attraction. Give water-skiing a try, let the kiddos tube behind the boat, or get a different perspective of the lake and head out for a dive!
- Silver Dollar City. You can’t take the family to Branson without a visit to Silver Dollar City. This 1880’s theme park offers not only more than 40 thrilling rides, but also a glimpse into an entirely different time in our history. Just be sure you come with an appetite because the smell of kettle corn throughout the park will have you snacking all day!
Where to Stay: Branson offers a great selection of resorts to serve as your spacious vacation retreat! From Wyndham Mountain Vista to Wyndham Branson at the Meadows, and WorldMark Branson, you’ll be situated in the perfect spot to make the quick drive to Table Rock Lake and explore the abundant nature that exists in the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World.”
The best part of summer is the chance to break free from routine. When the kids are out of school, and the weather warms up, it’s no wonder we get a little antsy to hit the road and explore a new destination.
So, this summer, head to the mountains. Take freedom to a whole new level as you get one with nature and breathe in the fresh air. And after you’ve taken in all the sights, had all the fun, and made all the memories, you’ll be ready to settle back into your groove!
Do you and your family of travel lovers have a favorite mountain town summer destination? We’d love to hear some of your favorite places to explore! Get connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we can all feel inspired to travel.