Mountain towns offer fresh air, music under the stars and active pursuits for all ages.
Here are five to consider for your next family vacation:
Check into a guest room or one of 25 private residences within the Arabelle at Vail Square and you’ll be perfectly located to enjoy a high altitude stay in one of the country’s most popular and family-friendly resorts. Hop on to the Eagle Bahn gondola just outside the hotel to access mountain top hiking, biking, snow sports, Adventure Ridge family activities, music, dining and jaw dropping sunsets. During the summer, Fly fish Gore Creek or cool off on a kayak or raft trip. Coming soon: a 1200-foot zip line.
Sun Valley, ID.
Adjacent to the vast expanse of Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, this vibrant high altitude enclave serves as an ideal base camp for exploring the beauty of the Sawtooth Range and the nearby mountain lakes and trails. Then return to town where activities from horseback riding, mountain biking, fly fishing, tennis, golf and shopping will keep your clan engaged. When planning, check dates for outdoor summer concerts, plus art and music festivals. Don’t miss the weekly ice skating shows at the Sun Valley Lodge featuring world-class figure skaters and Olympic medalists.
Contact: 1-800-786-8259; www.sunvalley.com.
Learn how cider is made. Hop aboard a dogcart, (a sled on wheels), and take part in sled dog training. Consider bungee jumping, canoeing, the alpine slide and carriage rides during a summer visit to this storied New England playground. You’ll also find hot air ballooning, mountain biking, mini-golf, zip lines and swimming available for family fun in the 200 year old village that is also home to Mt. Mansfield, the state’s highest peak. Lodging options, from quaint bed and breakfasts to more modern hotels, abound.
Contact: 1-877-GOSTOWE.com; GoStowe.com.
Just 80 miles from the Grand Canyon and close to seven other parks and monuments, this college town offers a long list of options for family travelers. At 7,000 feet, you’ll enjoy hiking and biking amidst Ponderosa Pines, comfortable in the cool mountain air. Tap into the history that combines the nostalgia of Route 66, the historic “Mother Road” that bisects the town, as well as the rich legacy of the old west and the Native American culture. Don’t miss a tour and exhibits at the Lowell Observatory, the astronomy research center where Pluto was discovered.
Contact: Lowell.edu; www.FlagstaffArizona.org.
Brevard, North Carolina.
Visit this Blue Ridge Mountain wonderland for lively music festivals, kayaking, biking and the chance to check out more than 200 waterfalls in the region. Notably, the Brevard Music Center offers a wide range of concerts throughout the summer, offering performances that include mountain songs, classical and opera. Many are held outside and are free. A portion of the film The Hunger Games showcased the beautiful landscape and waterfalls in the nearby DuPont State Forest.
Contact: 1-800-648-4523; www.visitwaterfalls.com.