28 Ski Resorts That Make Great Summer Destinations
Even after the snowmaking machines are turned off for the summer, many of the nation's best ski resorts remain open and become meccas for hiking, mountain biking, and zip lining. Frugal travelers will appreciate the off-season rates with accommodations starting at under $100 per night in many places. Here are some of the best resorts to enjoy before the snow flies.
Location: Brian Head, Utah
Price range: $69-$300 per night
Located between Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks in Utah, Brian Head reopens for its summer season in late June. By purchasing a $49 all-day activities pass, visitors can sample diverse activities like archery, zip lining, tubing, trampolining, and scenic lift rides. Or explore the resort's mountain bike trails for a day for $39.
Location: Lake Tahoe, California and Nevada
Price range: $80-$180 per night
This resort straddling the border between California and Nevada offers visitors one-day adventure passes for $84, allowing them to take advantage of its gondola rides, suspended-ropes courses, tubing, and climbing wall. At Heavenly, there is also zip lining starting at $69 for one zip, plus typically scenic hiking absolutely free.
Location: Lake Tahoe, California
Price range: $170-$215 per night
One of many ski resorts in the Tahoe area that remain open for summer, the Northstar resort is home to Northern California's largest mountain bike park and acres of scenic summer hiking accessible via chairlift, as well the Beerfest & Bluegrass festival offering the region's best microbrews and roots performers in July.
Location: Kirkwood, California
Price range: $109-$329 per night
Once the snow melts, this remote resort 35 miles south of Lake Tahoe begins bursting with colorful wildflowers and varied outdoor activities, including lift-accessed hiking and mountain biking. The area near Kirkwood is also home to three alpine lakes with boat and kayak rentals as well as fly-fishing outfitters located nearby.
Location: Jeffersonville, Vermont
Price range: $279-$575 per night
It isn't cheap to stay at this famous northern Vermont destination, but guests at Smugglers' Notch can still find great value by adding an activities package onto their lodging reservation. For an extra $25 to $100, the stay includes unlimited use of the resort's family fun zone and outdoor water playgrounds, plus access to daily guided hikes and adult- or kid-oriented adventures.
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Price range: $279-$409 per night
As much a golf resort as a ski resort, the Grand Geneva boasts two championship courses as well as an all-season waterpark and horse stables where a 45-minute ride costs $35 per person. The ski chalet has an adventure center where guests can rent mountain bikes (starting at $15 for two hours) and purchase trail passes starting at $10.
Location: Richmond, Vermont
Price range: $93-$267 per night
The slopeside lodging and dining options at Bolton Valley are surrounded by more than 5,000 acres of scenic Vermont wilderness perfect for hiking at this small resort near Burlington. Don't miss the Hop Jam on Aug. 19, featuring a roster of rare craft beers and rising musical artists.
Location: Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Price range: $109-$400 per night
The mountains around Steamboat Springs are home to more than 150 natural springs, making it easy to take a soak after enduring a long day's hike. There's also a bike park at Steamboat with more than 50 miles of trails, and a newly added mountain coaster that winds through the hills descending about 400 vertical feet.
Location: Breckenridge, Colorado
Price range: $130-$305 per night
To one side of the Breckenridge Ski Resort lies one of Colorado's most picturesque mountain towns with a rich mining history, and to the other lies a plethora of warm-weather recreation including zip-line courses, tubing, mini-golf, gemstone panning, mountainous roller coasters, and off-roading tours. The Colorado Scenic Chair lift provides panoramic views and access to trails for pedestrians and mountain bikes.
Location: Big Sky, Montana
Price range: $166-$913
There isn't much you can't do at this resort area within driving distance from Yellowstone. Guests can zip line, mountain bike, and hike through this wildlife-rich stretch of Montana's Rocky Mountains in between paintball and fly-fishing excursions. Don't miss the Lone Peak Expedition, a guided lift and vehicle ride to an 11,166-foot summit that's worth the somewhat steep $89 admission per person.
Location: Teton Village, Wyoming
Price range: $200-$1,600 per night
It's hard to beat a mountain backdrop like the jagged Grand Tetons at anytime of year. In summer, this high-end (and perpetually crowded) resort near Jackson continues its scenic aerial tram service for hikers and mountain bikers while offering new activities in the form of paragliding and family-friendly adventure courses.
Location: Wilmington, N.Y.
Price range: $148-$550 per night
The Olympic Museum is open year-round at this upstate New York resort, but its most unique offering must be the guided summer bobsled experience for $75 per adult, occurring daily except for select weekends. Other activities include mountain biking, hiking, and gondola rides. Plan your trip to Whiteface for autumn, when the prices go down as the Adirondacks are set ablaze with fall color.
Location: Keystone, Colorado
Price range: $99-$370 per night
Children's activities and outdoor markets occur almost daily throughout summer here. Keystone provides numerous recreational opportunities, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, fitness classes, tubing, and even touring the area on off-roading ATVs.
Location: Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Price range: $129-$469 per night
An hour north of Vancouver, Whistler Blackcomb boasts all the beauty of the northern Cascades' evergreen peaks and turquoise lakes in summer, best viewed from its record-holding Peak 2 Peak Gondola (admission $54 for a single day). Also try booking a spot at one of the mountaintop summer feasts, served on Whistler Mountain twice every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Location: Killington, Vermont
Price range: $72-$347 per night
Come summertime, the largest ski area in the Eastern U.S. is a mountain biker's paradise with 45 miles of wooded trails accessible from the all-year gondola. There's also an 18-hole golf course situated at an elevation of 2,000 feet and an onsite adventure center with family-friendly activities like disc golf, mountain roller coasters, and ATV tours.
Location: Newry, Maine
Price range: $65-$159 per night
This western Maine resort recently partnered with L.L. Bean to provide outdoor discovery courses on archery, kayaking, and paddle-board yoga starting at $25 from June 5 to Aug. 17. Sunday River also offers summer lodging packages themed around specific events, including the River Rock Festival July 7-9 and a bicycling tour across Maine on June 15.
Location: Timberline Lodge, Oregon
Price range: $141-$276 per night
A landmark within Mount Hood National Forest, this publicly owned lodge is popular and pricey, perhaps because it served as the exterior setting of the Overlook Hotel in the classic horror movie "The Shining." Visitors to Timberline can ascend on a chairlift to the peak of Mount Hood before hiking or mountain biking their way back down. Even in July, visitors can still find some snow at the Palmer Snowfield.
Location: Bartlett, New Hampshire
Price range: $99-$150 per night It's hard to beat the Nor'Easter Mountain Coaster ride through the White Mountains of Bartlett at Attitash, a ski village that transforms for summer into a hotspot for horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, and other recreational activities geared toward families as well as thrill-seekers.
Location: McGaheysville, Virginia
Price range: $85-$205 per night Surrounded by 6,000 acres of lush Appalachian wilderness, this four-season resort offers enough to fill weeks with varied recreational activities. Kayak down the Shenandoah River, and go hiking or horseback riding through the forest trails. Once you've worked up a sweat, visit the waterpark to take a slide or just bob in the wave pool.
Location: Aspen, Colorado
Price range: $99-$440 per night
Colorado's prototypical ritzy mountain resort town isn't cheap in any season, but summer does bring its share of more affordable accommodation options, such as the St. Moritz Lodge, where lodge rooms start at $123. Like other resort areas, mountain biking, hiking, and disc golf are popular here in the summer. Ballooning and paragliding are options, too, winter or summer. The Aspen Music Festival also runs an eight-week summer season that includes more than 400 classical music events.
Location: Park City, Utah
Price range: $165-$325 per night
In summer, Utah's Wasatch Mountains are home to lift-accessed hiking and mountain biking, children's adventure camps, and outdoor music and dining at Deer Valley. The inclusive resort in the former mining town of Park City also offers fly-fishing or horseback riding excursions, as well as several acclaimed onsite restaurants.
Location: Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Price range: $88-$343 per night
This famous French-Canadian resort in the Laurentian Mountains boasts the most varied skiable terrain in Eastern North America, and all of it is just as beautiful in summer, when Mont-Tremblant becomes a playground for hiking, canoeing, fishing, zip lining and more. There are many events to enjoy in the car-free pedestrian village throughout summer, most notably the parades and music to celebrate Canada Day and the gourmet festival Tremblant Gourmand Sept. 14-17.
Location: Whitefish, Montana
Price range: $159-$229 per night
You can't miss taking a drive and a hike (or several) through Glacier National Park while staying at Whitefish, just 35 miles from the park's west entrance. Closer to the resort, guests can swing between treetops at an aerial adventure park, bike 30 miles of trails, or visit the Summit Nature Center to learn about the uniquely rugged northern Rockies.
Location: Mammoth Lakes, California
Price range: $119-$377 per night
The resorts around the Mammoth Lakes ski area all but shut down in summer, which makes it all the more enticing to explore the alpine Twin Lakes where Tamarack Lodge is located. Adults can take advantage of the resort's bike and boat rentals, while families can visit the Mammoth Adventure Center nearby for more bike trails, plus climbing walls and zip lines.
Location: Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Price range: $90-$220 per night
This resort village with a population of 69 is an uncrowded escape in summer and the perfect place to explore the boulder-strewn terrain of the southern Rockies while sampling New Mexican cuisine at the town's dozen or so restaurants. Don't miss the free group hikes, many of which depart at night for views of the starry sky and moonlit landscape.
Location: Sandy, Utah
Price range: $140-$360 per night
Less than 30 miles from Salt Lake City lies this Wasatch Mountain ski and summer resort, offering a fishing pond and enough slopeside thrills to rival any amusement park, with its zip line, mountain coaster, climbing wall, and ropes course all accessible with the purchase of a $49 all-day activities pass. The Snowbird resort also arranges fly-fishing or whitewater rafting excursions.
Location: Enumclaw, Washington
Price range: $67-$200 per night
There are many views of Mount Rainier, but perhaps none is better than the one from the Mount Rainier gondola at Crystal Mountain ($22). This resort area within the national park makes a great home base for hiking, horseback riding, and free interpretive walks to learn more about the animals you might spot around the area's glacier-fed streams.
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
Price range: $113-$539 per night
This far-north resort made up of several smaller lodges puts on two notable festivals in summer, the Northwest Winefest July 15-16 and the summer concert series Festival at Sandpoint on Aug. 3-6. Take a scenic lift ride to the summit for the full-service bar and restaurants of the Sky House, before making your way back down by foot or rental bike.
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