13 Best Things to do in Vail, Colorado (2023)

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Are you wondering what the best things to do in Vail, Colorado are? You’re in the right place!

Vail in Colorado is an outdoor lovers’ paradise. With a stunning view of the Rocky Mountains, Vail offers plenty of activities to explore and experience – from skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking, and camping to exploring the town’s quaint shops and restaurants.

I lived in Denver for three years and visited Vail often; it’s one of my favorite mountain towns in Colorado. Though I’ve visited more than 30 different towns and cities around Colorado, Vail is truly in my top 5. 

Whether you’re looking for an adventure or a more relaxed weekend getaway, you’ll find something incredible here – so keep reading to learn more about the best things to do in Vail.

🚗 Don’t forget to book your Colorado rental car! Click here to check rates.

Things to do in Vail

Go ziplining with Epic Discovery

Ziplining at Epic Discovery is an awesome summer activity for families with kids! You can soar above the treetops while experiencing stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. 

The park also offers rock wall climbing and a mountain coaster that will keep you entertained for hours. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you won’t regret taking time to stop here.

Ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola

Gondolas swinging over a snowy mountain range.
Editorial credit: Jonas Tufvesson / Shutterstock.com

Riding the Eagle Bahn Gondola is an absolute must if you’re visiting Vail! This cable car will take you from Lionshead Village up to 10,000 feet.

Once you reach the top of the mountain, you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains while snapping pictures and taking in all that Mother Nature has to offer. My piece of advice… don’t forget your camera – you’ll want to capture these views!

Horseback ride in the summer

A line of people riding horses walking along a small path in the mountains.

Horseback riding in Vail is one of the best things to do during the summer months. It’s a great chance to bond and explore the stunning landscape, but keep in mind that if you are going with children, they should be around the age of 6 and above. 

You’ll find multiple stables around Vail that offer guided tours ranging from beginner to advanced levels. One of the best is Vail Stables, which is for ages six and up for $10 admission.

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    Visit Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical garden worldwide

    Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a hidden gem in Vail that shouldn’t be missed. It’s the highest botanical garden in the world, making it a truly unique experience for visitors. Located at 8,200 feet above sea level, you can explore varied gardens and learn more about the environment of the area.

    Founded in 1985, this is a great place to take a leisurely stroll or attend an event such as guided hikes and workshops. There’s something for everyone here!

    Shop and dine in Lionshead & Vail Villages

    A small square in front of a large brick building with stores on the bottom floor.

    Lionshead and Vail Villages are the perfect places to add a little extra to your trip. Centrally located, these villages offer travelers a taste of Scandinavian architecture and an alpine atmosphere. 

    You’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants dotting the streets, from boutique stores to trendy eateries. If you’re looking for souvenirs or gifts, they have that too! Our favorite time of day to visit these villages is in the evening because it looks magical when the sun goes down and all the buildings get lit up.

    Learn at the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame

    Visiting the Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame is a great way to learn all about snow sports history in an engaging and exciting way. Whether you’re interested in skiing, snowboarding, or any other type of snow sport, this museum has something for you. 

    The interactive exhibits are also sure to keep visitors entertained and informed. Tour the facility and learn all about the early days of skiing from its innovators and champions. Plus, be sure to stop by the gift shop to get some souvenirs.

    Enjoy the outdoors in winter at the Vail Nordic Center

    Two people in snow gear snowshowing across a mountain.

    Visiting the Vail Nordic Center in winter is a must for any traveler who wants to get outdoors and enjoy some snowshoeing. With rental gear available, you can enjoy a day out on the trails without having to worry about bringing your own equipment. 

    And after a long day of trekking through the snow, pop into the on-site restaurant for some tasty food and drinks to warm up. The perfect way to end an adventure!

    Mountain bike in the summer

    A small mountain biking path through an aspen tree covered mountain.

    Mountain biking in Vail is the perfect way to explore the Colorado outdoors. Start your adventure by taking the gondola up and riding down on a rented mountain bike. You’ll be able to take in all of the breathtaking views from up high while having an exhilarating ride back down! 

    With many rental shops around town, it’s easy to find one that can fit you with a mountain bike and gear suited to your needs. Plus, with Vail’s extensive trail network, there’s something for everyone – from novice riders to expert bikers. 

    Have a drink at Vail Brewing Company

    The Vail Brewing Company is a must-visit for travelers looking to experience the unique culture of Vail. This craft brewery has something for everyone. Vail Brewing Company offers a variety of drinks that are sure to satisfy any palate. 

    But it doesn’t stop there – they also host lots of fun events throughout the year, like live music and more. Make sure to check out their calendar for all the exciting upcoming happenings!

    Ski or snowboard at Vail Ski Resort

    View overlooking a small town with multiple large resorts.

    Obviously, this list of things to do in Vail would not be complete without including skiing or snowboarding!

    Vail Ski Resort is one of the most well-known ski destinations in Colorado and draws visitors from all over the world. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Vail has something for everyone – from short runs for beginners to longer runs for the more advanced. 

    The resort also offers plenty of lessons, so even if it’s your first time skiing or snowboarding, you can get up to speed quickly and safely. Enjoy beautiful views while out on the slopes, and make sure to take breaks throughout the day to soak in all that Vail has to offer.

    Hike to Deluge Lake

    Vail is home to some of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado, and Deluge Lake is one of the best. This 9-mile out-and-back trail is considered hard in difficulty, but the stunning views make it well worth it. 

    A full hike out and back to Deluge Lake typically takes about 6 hours, but you can always spend more time exploring the area and taking breaks for photographs. With its high elevation (there’s also a 3,444-foot elevation gain), hikers will need to come prepared with plenty of water and snacks! 

    For those looking for a unique experience with amazing views that challenge them physically and mentally, Deluge Lake is definitely worth checking out.

    If Deluge Lake isn’t your vibe, don’t worry; there are also lots of other hikes out in Vail. Consider hiking to Booth Falls, enjoying the Berrypicker Trail, or even challenging yourself on the hike to Gore Lake (it’s 12.1 miles)!

    Seek thrills with white water rafting

    A person in a life vest with an oar in their hand as they white water raft.

    White water rafting in Vail is an exciting way to explore the area and test your mettle! From class I rapids that are perfect for beginners to class V rapids that will make even the most experienced rafter have a blast, there’s something here for everyone. 

    A great place to start your adventure would be with Timberline Tours. Their experienced guides provide all the necessary equipment and safety gear, allowing you to focus on having a good time in a beautiful setting.

    They even have an option with wine tasting! So grab your paddle and get ready for some heart-pounding fun!

    Go ice skating

    People skating on a circular ice skating rink in a small plaza.
    Editorial credit: Margaret.Wiktor / Shutterstock.com

    Ice skating is a great winter activity for travelers in Vail Village. There are quite a few different ice skating rinks here with options to fit any age and skill level.

    Whether you want to take it easy and go for a leisurely skate around the rink or challenge yourself to some tricks and jumps that will make your friends jealous, Vail has the perfect rink for you! 

    What better way to get out and enjoy the beauty of Vail in winter than by going out in the evening, having fun ice skating, and then warming up with a hot cocoa in one of the many local restaurants in Vail Village? Sounds like a good time to me!

    🚗 Don’t forget to book your Colorado rental car! Click here to check rates.

    Final Thoughts: Vail Colorado things to do

    Visiting Vail is an experience like no other. The breathtaking views, the fresh air, and all the things to do make it a destination like no other. Come explore all the fun things that await you in this mountain town! 

    Truly, no matter what you choose to do during your time in Vail, you’ll truly have the best time. Vail is one of those places that I repeatedly bring family and friends who come out to Colorado for the first time because I love it so much.

    I hope you enjoyed this post about all of the best things to do in Vail, Colorado.

    Watch our vlog about our first day of our southwest road trip when we visited Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, Glenwood Springs, & Maroon Bells!

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