Summer Escapes: 7 Ski Towns You’ll Love Even Without Snow

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When we think of ski towns, snow-covered slopes and winter sports often come to mind. However, these mountain destinations have so much more to offer when the snow melts. In the summer, ski towns transform into vibrant hubs of outdoor adventure, stunning scenery, and family-friendly activities. From hiking and mountain biking to festivals and dining, these seven ski towns are perfect for a summer getaway that promises a unique blend of both excitement and relaxation. Whether you’re looking for thrilling trails or peaceful lakes, these destinations have something for everyone. Let’s dive into the best ski towns to visit in the summer and discover all the warm-weather fun they have to offer.

Park City, Utah

Park City, Utah, is an amazing summer destination with plenty to offer beyond its famous winter activities. The town transforms into a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, families, and those looking to relax in a beautiful mountain setting.
READ: Skiing Park City with Kids & Best Utah Ski Resorts with Kids

park city in summer

Hiking and mountain biking are top activities in Park City during the summer. The area boasts over 400 miles of trails, including the popular Mid Mountain Trail, offering stunning views and varied terrain suitable for all skill levels. For a family-friendly hike, try the Armstrong Trail, which is shaded and has gentle inclines, making it perfect for kids.

Park City Mountain Resort isn’t just for winter fun. In the summer, it features the Alpine Slide and the Mountain Coaster, providing thrilling rides down the mountainside. Kids will also love the Adventure Zone, which includes a climbing wall, zip line, and mini-golf. Of course, you’ll want to also head over to the Utah Olympic Park for ropes courses, ziplines, and the weekend freestyle ski shows into the pool.

The historic Main Street comes alive in the summer with numerous shops, art galleries, and events. Don’t miss the Park Silly Sunday Market, a lively open-air market with local vendors, food stalls, and live music. For a sweet treat, stop by Java Cow for some delicious ice cream.

Dining in Park City is a highlight, with many restaurants offering outdoor seating to enjoy the pleasant summer weather. High West Distillery & Saloon provides a unique experience with its rustic setting and excellent food. For family-friendly dining, try The Bridge Cafe and Grill, known for its tasty breakfast and lunch options with a view of the mountains.

If it starts heating up, nearby Jordanelle Reservoir is nearby, perfect for boating, paddleboarding, and fishing.  The inflatable obstacle course is always a hit with families!

Park City also hosts a variety of summer events, including the Park City Food & Wine Classic and the Kimball Arts Festival, providing cultural and culinary delights for visitors. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just exploring, Park City in the summer is a fantastic destination for families.

Lake Tahoe, California

Lake Tahoe, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains, is a fantastic summer destination offering a wide range of activities for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking relaxation.
READ: Skiing Palisades Tahoe with Kids & Best California Ski Resorts with Kids

tahoe in summer

One of the top attractions in Tahoe is its crystal-clear lake, perfect for water activities. Spend your days kayaking, paddleboarding, or renting a boat to explore the beautiful shoreline. Sand Harbor is a great spot for families, with sandy beaches, swimming areas, and picnic spots. For a unique experience, try parasailing or take a scenic cruise on the MS Dixie II.

Hiking in Tahoe is a must-do, with numerous trails offering breathtaking views. The Eagle Lake Trail is a family favorite, with a moderate 2-mile round trip leading to a stunning alpine lake. For more experienced hikers, the Mount Tallac Trail provides a challenging trek with rewarding panoramic views of Lake Tahoe. The Tahoe Rim Trail also offers various sections suitable for all skill levels.

tahoe in summer

Mountain biking enthusiasts will love the extensive trail network in Tahoe. The Flume Trail is particularly famous, offering 14 miles of scenic riding with incredible views of the lake. For a family-friendly ride, the Pope-Baldwin Bike Path is a flat, paved trail that winds through beautiful forested areas and along the lake.

Lake Tahoe’s vibrant towns, such as South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City, offer plenty of dining and shopping options. Enjoy a meal with a view at The Beacon Bar & Grill, known for its delicious seafood and lakeside seating. For a casual, family-friendly option, head to Base Camp Pizza Co., offering tasty pizzas and live music in a relaxed atmosphere.

Summer events in Tahoe add to the charm. The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor provides an unforgettable experience with performances set against the stunning backdrop of the lake. Additionally, the Concours d’Elegance Wooden Boat Show showcases beautifully restored classic boats.

For those seeking adventure, Heavenly Mountain Resort offers a summer adventure park with a gondola ride, zip lines, and a mountain coaster. Kids will love the challenge of the ropes course and climbing wall.

If you need to escape the heat, the obvious choice is to hit up one of Tahoe’s numerous beaches, including Kings Beach and Zephyr Cove, which provide perfect spots for sunbathing, swimming, and picnicking.

Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just soaking up the sun on the beach, Lake Tahoe in the summer is an idyllic destination for families. With its stunning natural beauty and huge variety of activities, Tahoe promises an unforgettable summer getaway.

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte, Colorado, is a hidden gem that shines brightly in the summer, offering tons of activities for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and those looking to enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  Known as the wildflower capital of Colorado, Crested Butte really shines in July and August when the wildflowers are in full bloom.
READ: Skiing Crested Butte with Kids & Colorado’s Best Family Ski Resorts

crested butte in summer

Hiking in Crested Butte is spectacular, with trails for all levels. The Snodgrass Mountain Trail offers a moderate hike with stunning views of the surrounding mountains and wildflower meadows, making it a perfect family outing. For a more challenging adventure, the hike to the summit of Mount Crested Butte provides panoramic vistas of the entire valley. The famous Wildflower Festival in July showcases the area’s vibrant blooms, adding even more beauty to your hiking experience.

Mountain biking is one of the top highlights, as Crested Butte is known as the birthplace of mountain biking. The town offers a network of trails that cater to all skill levels. The Lower Loop is great for families, providing a scenic ride through meadows and along the Slate River. Experienced riders will love the 401 Trail, renowned for its exhilarating downhill sections and breathtaking alpine views.

crested butte in summer

Crested Butte Mountain Resort transforms in the summer, offering a range of activities. The Evolution Bike Park features downhill biking trails, while the resort’s Adventure Park includes a bungee trampoline, climbing wall, and mini-golf, perfect for kids. The Silver Queen Express Lift provides a scenic ride to the top, where you can enjoy hiking or simply take in the stunning views.

The town of Crested Butte itself is charming, with historic buildings, unique shops, and fantastic dining options. Elk Avenue, the main street, is lined with colorful Victorian storefronts. Enjoy a meal at Secret Stash, our personal favorite known for its creative pizzas and fun atmosphere. For a more upscale dining experience, try the Wooden Nickel, offering delicious steaks and seafood in a rustic setting.  Of course, a visit to the Tin Cup for ice cream is a must do in summer!

Water activities are plentiful in the nearby Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado’s largest body of water. Spend a day boating, fishing, or paddleboarding, surrounded by stunning landscapes. The Taylor River is also a great spot for fly fishing and whitewater rafting.

Crested Butte’s summer events add to its charm. The Crested Butte Music Festival offers a variety of performances, from classical to bluegrass, set in scenic outdoor venues. The Fourth of July celebration is a big event, featuring a parade, fireworks, and plenty of family-friendly activities.

Whether you’re hiking through wildflower meadows, biking thrilling trails, or enjoying the local culture and cuisine, Crested Butte is a perfect summer destination. Its unique blend of outdoor adventure and small-town charm makes it a fantastic summer getaway.

Jackson, Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming, is a summer paradise offering a wide array of activities for families, outdoor adventurers, and nature lovers. Nestled in the heart of the Teton Range, Jackson is the perfect base for exploring the stunning landscapes and vibrant wildlife of the region.  I spent my summers in college working here as a whitewater rafting guide and it will always hold a special place in my heart!
READ: Learning to Ski at Grand Targhee (on the west side of the Tetons)

jackson in summer

Hiking in and around Jackson is a must-do, with trails that cater to all abilities. The Jenny Lake Loop in Grand Teton National Park is a family favorite, offering a relatively easy 7.6-mile trail around the picturesque lake, with options to shorten the hike by taking a boat shuttle across the lake. For a more challenging adventure, hike to the Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, where you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Teton Range.

Mountain biking is another popular activity in Jackson. The Cache Creek Trail System offers a variety of trails suitable for all skill levels. Families will enjoy the smooth, scenic paths, while more advanced riders can tackle the challenging terrain. For a thrilling downhill experience, head to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort’s bike park, which features downhill trails designed for all levels of riders.

The Snake River is the place to go to cool down and for both relaxation and an adrenaline hit.. Enjoy a scenic float trip through Grand Teton National Park, where you can spot wildlife such as bald eagles and moose. For those seeking a thrill, you absolutely have to go whitewater rafting.  It’s such a blast and the controlled water levels mean that you can get incredible whitewater rapids all summer long.  I’ve been rafting here since I was a kid and it is one of the best day trips for rafting in the Rocky Mountains.  

Jackson’s vibrant town square, with its iconic elk antler arches, is a hub of activity. Stroll through the charming streets, filled with art galleries, boutiques, and Western-themed shops. The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum provides a fascinating look into the area’s rich history. Kids will love the interactive exhibits, making it an educational stop.  While you’re in the area, check out the new Jackson Recreation Center with an incredible climbing area and a fun pool, both perfect for some family fun. 

Dining in Jackson is a treat, with options to satisfy every palate. For a casual, family-friendly meal, head to The Bunnery Bakery & Restaurant, known for its delicious breakfasts and homemade pastries. If you’re in the mood for a hearty steak or burger, try the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, a historic venue with a lively atmosphere (it gets crowded, so go early). For a more refined dining experience, the Snake River Grill offers gourmet dishes in a cozy, rustic setting.  My kids always love a stop at Hand Fire Pizza for some great pizza after a long day of exploring.

jackson in summer

Summer events in Jackson add to its appeal. The Jackson Hole Rodeo is a must-see, offering an authentic Western experience with bull riding, barrel racing, and roping events. The Teton County Fair, held in late July, features rides, games, and local food vendors, making it a fun outing for the whole family. Don’t miss the Jackson Hole Music Festival, which brings together musicians from various genres for performances set against the stunning mountain backdrop.

For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to the National Elk Refuge is a must. Although the elk migrate during the summer, the refuge is home to a variety of other wildlife, including bison, pronghorn, and trumpeter swans. Guided tours offer insights into the animals’ habitats and behaviors.

Exploring nearby Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park is easy from Jackson. Both parks offer stunning scenery, abundant wildlife, and countless opportunities for hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. A day trip to Yellowstone to see the geysers and hot springs is an unforgettable experience for families.

Whether you’re hiking, biking, rafting, or simply soaking in the stunning views, Jackson, Wyoming, is a perfect summer destination.

Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler, Canada, renowned for its winter sports, transforms into an exhilarating summer destination with endless activities for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers. Nestled in the stunning Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Whistler offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty.  While Whistler is known for extreme skiing in the winter, in the summer, Whistler is all about trails, with tons of hiking and some of the best mountain bike trails in North America.
READ: Skiing Whistler with Kids

whistler in summer

Hiking in Whistler is so simple, with a nearly endless supply of trails.. The family-friendly Lost Lake Loop is a great place to start, offering a gentle 3.7-mile trail through lush forests and along the serene lakeshore. For those seeking more of a challenge, the Garibaldi Lake Trail is a 12-mile round trip hike that rewards hikers with breathtaking views of turquoise waters surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The Whistler Train Wreck Trail is another unique hike, leading to a series of colorful, graffiti-covered train cars scattered in the forest.

Mountain biking is one of Whistler’s top summer activities,and is the reason that we’re planning to go there this summer. Whistler Mountain Bike Park is a world-renowned destination for bikers of all skill levels. With over 80 miles of trails, ranging from gentle cruisers to technical descents, there’s something for everyone. The park also offers lessons and camps for kids,so we’re very excited to try those out with our kids..

whistler in summer

The Whistler Village is a vibrant hub, filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Take a leisurely stroll through the pedestrian-friendly streets, exploring unique boutiques and art galleries. The Whistler Farmers’ Market, held every Sunday, features local produce, crafts, and delicious treats, making it a fun outing for the whole family. Kids will love the Whistler Adventure Zone, which offers mini-golf, a bungee trampoline, and a ropes course.

Summer events in Whistler are a highlight of the season. Crankworx Whistler, held in August, is the world’s largest mountain biking festival, featuring thrilling competitions and events for all ages. The Whistler Children’s Festival, also in August, offers a weekend of music, arts, and interactive workshops designed to inspire and entertain young minds. Don’t miss the Whistler Film Festival Summer Cinema Series, where you can watch family-friendly movies under the stars in Whistler Olympic Plaza.

For a unique adventure, take a ride on the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, which connects Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. This engineering marvel offers stunning 360-degree views and access to a network of alpine trails. At the top, enjoy hiking, sightseeing, and dining with breathtaking mountain vistas.

Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy the opportunities to spot bears, eagles, and other wildlife in their natural habitats. Guided bear viewing tours offer a safe and educational way to observe these magnificent creatures.

Banff, Alberta, Canada

Banff, Canada, nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, is an extraordinary summer destination offering a wealth of activities, stunning landscapes, and a charming town brimming with culture. Home to Sunshine VIllage, Lake Louise, and Banff Mount Norquay in the winter, in the summer, Banff is known for its majestic peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife.

banff in summer

Hiking in Banff is a highlight, with trails that cater to all levels. The Johnston Canyon Trail is a family favorite, featuring an easy path that leads to beautiful waterfalls and the mesmerizing Ink Pots. For a more challenging adventure, the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail offers a spectacular 8.7-mile round trip hike with breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and Lake Louise. The Lake Agnes Tea House hike is another must-do, rewarding hikers with stunning lake views and a charming tea house at the top.

Mountain biking in Banff is incredible, with numerous trails and paths to explore. The Tunnel Mountain Trail is perfect for beginners, offering scenic views and a manageable climb. More advanced riders will enjoy the Spray River Loop, which provides a mix of challenging terrain and beautiful scenery. Bike rentals are available in town, making it easy to hit the trails.

The lakes around Banff are perfect for water activities. Lake Louise and Moraine Lake are iconic spots for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The vivid turquoise waters surrounded by towering peaks create an unforgettable experience. For a more relaxed day, visit Johnson Lake or Two Jack Lake, ideal for swimming, picnicking, and paddleboarding.

banff in summer

Banff’s vibrant town center offers plenty of dining and shopping options. Enjoy a meal at the Park Distillery, which serves delicious campfire-inspired cuisine and house-made spirits. For a family-friendly option, head to the Old Spaghetti Factory, known for its hearty Italian dishes and fun atmosphere. The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel also offers several dining options with stunning views and a touch of luxury.

Summer events in Banff add to the town’s lively atmosphere. The Banff Summer Arts Festival features a variety of performances, including music, theater, and dance, set against the stunning backdrop of the Rockies. Canada Day celebrations on July 1st include a parade, live music, and fireworks, making it a fun and festive day for the whole family. The Banff Marathon in June is another exciting event, offering races for all levels and a chance to run through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Banff National Park is a paradise. Keep an eye out for elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional bear. The Banff Gondola offers a ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, where you can enjoy panoramic views and spot wildlife from above. Guided wildlife tours are also available, providing insights into the animals’ habitats and behaviors.

Banff’s hot springs are a must-visit for relaxation. The Banff Upper Hot Springs offer a soothing soak with stunning mountain views, perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure. The historic site is open year-round and provides a unique way to experience the natural thermal waters.

The nearby Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, linking Banff and Jasper National Parks. Along the way, you’ll encounter breathtaking vistas, glaciers, and pristine lakes. Don’t miss the Athabasca Glacier and Peyto Lake, both offering incredible photo opportunities and easy access points.

Killington, Vermont

Killington, Vermont, is a hidden gem that comes alive in the summer, offering a perfect blend of outdoor activities, scenic beauty, and family-friendly fun. Known for its winter sports, Killington transforms into a summer playground that caters to adventure seekers and those looking to relax in nature.
READ: Best Family Ski Resorts in Vermont

killington in summer

Hiking in Killington is a must, with trails for all skill levels. The Thundering Falls Trail is a family favorite, featuring a short, accessible boardwalk that leads to a stunning waterfall. For a more challenging hike, the Bucklin Trail takes you to the summit of Killington Peak, offering panoramic views of the Green Mountains. The Appalachian and Long Trails also pass through the area, providing endless opportunities for scenic day hikes or longer backpacking trips.

Mountain biking is another highlight, with Killington Bike Park offering over 30 miles of trails across three mountain areas. The park caters to all levels, from gentle beginner trails to challenging downhill runs. Families can enjoy the beginner-friendly Snowshed trails, while experienced riders can tackle the more advanced terrain on Ramshead and Killington Peak. Bike rentals and lessons are available, making it easy for everyone to get in on the action.

The Killington Adventure Center is a hub of summer activities. The Beast Mountain Coaster is a thrilling ride that winds through the woods, offering twists and turns for an exhilarating experience. The center also features a zip line, a jump tower, and the Skye Ropes Course, providing fun and challenges for kids and adults alike. Don’t miss the scenic gondola ride to the top of Killington Peak, where you can enjoy hiking, dining, and breathtaking views.

The charming town of Killington offers a variety of dining and shopping options. The Foundry at Summit Pond is a great spot for a family meal, offering a diverse menu and beautiful views of the pond. For a casual bite, head to Casey’s Caboose, known for its burgers and fun railroad-themed decor. The Peak Lodge at the top of the gondola also offers a unique dining experience with panoramic mountain views.

Summer events in Killington add to its vibrant atmosphere. The Killington Wine Festival in July is a highlight, featuring tastings, food pairings, and live music. The Killington Cooler in August offers a weekend of craft beer, music, and outdoor activities. The Vermont JerkFest & Reggae Festival brings Caribbean flavors and rhythms to the mountains, making it a fun outing for the whole family.

Killington’s location also makes it a perfect base for exploring the region. Take a scenic drive through the Green Mountains, visit nearby Woodstock with its quaint shops and historic sites, or explore the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site in Plymouth.

Written by Jessica Averett

Hi, I'm Jessica! After meeting my husband on a chairlift, we now live in the mountains of Utah with our 5 kids. As a former ski instructor and mom, I'm here to help you make your family ski trips as easy, and FUN, as possible!