These 10 Ski Resorts Are Even More Fun in the Summer

With alpine coasters, high-flying zip lines, and giant water parks, these ski resorts offer plenty of family fun in the summer.
Vail Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain (Photo: Jack Affleck)
Vail Epic Discovery at Vail Mountain (Photo: Jack Affleck)

It used to be that visiting a ski resort was the kind of thing you only did in the winter. And who could blame you for thinking that was still the case? Many ski destinations still don’t exactly scream summer vacation. But in recent years, some of North America’s most family-friendly ski resorts have upped their summer vacation game. In fact, there’s so much to do that it might be even more fun to visit these ski resorts during summer than it is during ski season.

With summer offerings that include everything from alpine coasters and high-flying zip lines to music festivals, fireworks, and even giant water parks, the best summer ski resorts have everything you need for a fun family vacation, no skis required.

The Best Summer Ski Resorts in the U.S. and Canada

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1. Vail Mountain

Vail, Colorado

Forest Flyer coaster at Vail Mountain in Colorado (Photo: Jack Affleck)
Vail’s Forest Flyer coaster is a 3,400-foot thrill ride worthy of Disney World (Photo: Jack Affleck)

Two hours west of Denver, Colorado’s Vail Mountain and its pedestrian villages are a dream destination for families in the summer months (mid-June through early September). Board a gondola to visit the mountain-top playground Epic Discovery and zip around on the Forest Flyer coaster, a 3,400-foot alpine thrill ride worthy of Disney World. Play a round of mini golf or do some summer tubing (yup, an inflatable tube on a track). Younger kids can get air on the bungee trampolines and feel like spiders on the climbing walls, while hiking, biking, ATV/UTV rentals, and fly fishing are great choices for older children and teens.

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Grab a bite to eat at Chasing Rabbits, which has a cinema, arcade, speakeasy, and library lounge in addition to its restaurant, all under one roof. Stay at the incomparable Antlers at Vail for spacious condo-style accommodations with an outdoor pool and hot tubs overlooking gorgeous Gore Creek. 

2. Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Jeffersonville, Vermont

Pools at Smugglers' Notch Resort in Vermont (Photo: Smugglers' Notch)
With eight different pools, Smugglers’ Notch Resort in Vermont is fun all summer long (Photo: Smugglers’ Notch)

Affectionately known as “Smuggs,” Vermont’s Smugglers’ Notch ski resort is a gorgeous four-season vacation destination with a wide variety of kid-friendly activities during the summer (mid-June through early September). For the water lovers in your group there are eight different pools and four waterslides at the resort’s water park, while the fireworks displays, magic shows, and county fairs are a hit with all ages.

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Indoors you’ll find bounce houses, climbing walls, warrior courses, and mini golf for when the weather isn’t cooperating. Outside, you can enjoy everything from pickle ball and a llama trek to farmer’s markets, disc golf, and zip line canopy tour. Smuggs even hosts summer camps that are literally guaranteed to be a good time—if your child participates in a summer camp program for at least two days and doesn’t have fun, Smuggler’s Notch will refund the cost. 

3. Boyne Mountain Resort

Boyne Falls, Michigan

Boyne Mountain Splasher (Photo: Boyne Mountain)
Avalanche Bay at Boyne Mountain is Michigan’s largest indoor water park (Photo: Boyne Mountain)

When you visit the Boyne Mountain ski resort during summer, your family can zip line through the trees, paddle board and play at the beach, test your toss at disc golf, and swim indoors or out at one of the top family vacation destinations in the Midwest. Located in the peaks of Northern Michigan, Boyne Mountain is also home to Michigan’s largest indoor water park, Avalanche Bay, and the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge, Skybridge Michigan, connecting the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge.

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Older kids can get their daily dose of adrenaline with paintball games or wakeboard camps. Parents will be pleased with the options for tennis, fishing, horseback riding, and being pampered at The Spa at Boyne Mountain, the largest spa facility in Michigan. The resort’s on-site lodging puts you in the middle of the action.

4. Blue Mountain Resort

Blue Mountains, Ontario, Canada

Live music, bike skills camps, a tree fort canopy climb, high and low ropes courses, an alpine slide, a swimming pool, and a thrilling triple zip line highlight the kid-friendly vacation experiences at Canada’s Blue Mountain ski resort during the summer. Purchase Play All Day tickets and get access to mountain biking, hiking, gondola rides, a private beach, and a putting course, too.

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You can also peddle water trikes across the pond, speed down the Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, or take a mountaintop Segway tour for unmatched views. And when it’s time to settle in for the night, stay in the on-site lodging that includes both private resort homes and hotel-style accommodations.

5. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

Teton Village, Wyoming

Family hiking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (Photo: Jackson Hole)
With Jackson Hole’s Aerial Tram, high altitude hiking is just a 12-minute ride away (Photo: Jackson Hole)

Your ticket to sensational summer views of the Tetons and Jackson Hole Valley is available via the Aerial Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. One of the most popular activities in Jackson Hole, it’s a 12-minute skyward ride providing access to trails and opportunities to explore Bridger-Teton National Forest and Grand Teton National Park.

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Get stoked for cycling at Jackson Hole Bike Park, which has exhilarating jumps, tabletops, and corners for novices to more experienced downhill bikers. You can book your own private biking guide or sign your kids up for youth bike camps to enhance their skills and safety. The resort even offers adaptive off-road recumbents and handcycles so that people of every ability who want to ride can feel the exhilaration. 

For more high-altitude fun, go up high on the resort’s aerial adventure course, get some air on the bungee trampoline, or ascend to the top of the climbing wall. Or get your adrenaline going on the Via Ferrata, a guided climbing experience across bridges, up ladders, and through the scenic Casper Bowl. Alpine hikes, paragliding, or simply dining out on The Deck at Piste are fun ways to enjoy the ski resort during summer, too, while fly fishing, yoga, and water spray parks are more low-key. Summer accommodations range from standard hotels to lakeside lodging inside the national park.

6. Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort

Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Summer hiking in Whistler, British Columbia (Photo: Tourism Whistler:Mike Crane)
Alpine hiking is one of many family activities offered in Whistler, British Columbia, during summer (Photo: Tourism Whistler:Mike Crane)

Bear viewing tours, multimedia night walks, and spinning in a human gyroscope are all on the agenda this summer in Whistler, British Columbia. The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort boasts a Family Adventure Zone with an inflatable hamster ball two humans can roll around in, a bouncy castle, a ropes course, bungee trampoline, and a rock climbing wall. The high point of your summer may just be the 360-degree views inside the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride, where you’ll drink in views of volcanoes, glaciers, and rainforests between Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb.

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Test your bravery on the breathtaking CloudRaker Skybridge. Savor alpine hiking with wildflowers in bloom. Picnic in lakeside parks, or kayak, canoe, or standup paddleboard in the fresh mountain water. The Whistler Children’s Festival kicks off the summer season with internationally acclaimed children’s performers, dance parties, science shows and circus acts. 

7. Jay Peak Resort

Jay, Vermont

Scenic summit at Jay Peak Resort in Vermont (Photo: Jay Peak)
Jay Peak Resort’s scenic summit offers panoramic views of the Vermont mountains (Photo: Jay Peak)

There’s only one indoor water park in Vermont, but the 60,000-square-foot Pump House Waterpark ranks among the best indoor water parks in the whole country. You’ll find it at Jay Peak Resort, a four-season destination that shines especially bright for families in the summer. The resort’s water park even has a retractable roof to let the summer sunshine in.

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Jay Peak’s Summer Music Series draws guests from around the northeast and over the border. Your teen might enjoy meeting new friends, including some from Canada, at events. The golf course is gorgeous here, as are the panoramic views from the aerial tram. Hike, bike, play disc golf, or hit the spa when the mood strikes, and if the weather turns rainy there’s an indoor climbing gym and a movie theater to help pass the time. Half-day and full-day childcare is available for guests staying at the resort (and even for those staying off property, too).

8. Winter Park Resort

Winter Park, Colorado

Summer fun in Winter Park, Colorado (Photo: Winter Park)
Families enjoy mountain biking in Winter Park, Colorado (Photo: Winter Park)

Summer is a sensational time to visit Winter Park. It’s home to the longest alpine slide in Colorado (only reachable by gondola), which you can ride over and over again with an Unlimited Activities Day Pass. The day pass also includes mini golf, a climbing wall, and two ropes courses perfect for kids ages two to 14. 

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This ski resort just 75 miles from Denver also offers a number of guided outdoors activities during the summer—think hikes, astronomy, e-bike tours, even high-peaks painting. At the Aerial Adventure Course, activities include rock climbing, paintball, and a ropes course. You can also raft the canyon-encompassed Upper Colorado River with MAD Adventures (choose a gentle family float or more adventurous whitewater excursions) or show off your tricks and jumps at Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park. And summer lodging specials make it more affordable to stay slopeside.

9. Chestnut Mountain Resort

Galena, Illinois

Segway rides at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Illinois (Photo: Chestnut Mountain Resort)
Explore 220 acres of mountain terrain on Segways at Chestnut Mountain Resort in Illinois (Photo: Chestnut Mountain Resort)

At Chestnut Mountain Resort, summer excitement includes flying high on the Soaring Eagle zip line, a two-seater thrill ride with killer views of the Mississippi River Valley. You can also race down the mountain’s 2,050-foot alpine slide, savor scenic views on a Mississippi River cruise, and glide across 220 rolling acres of picturesque mountain terrain on Segways.

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Other activities at this Midwest ski resort during the summer include testing your downhill biking prowess on six trails, putting through 18 holes of mini golf, and tossing discs on the nine-hole disc golf course. At the end of the day, kick back at the indoor pool, sauna, and whirlpool, then settle in for the night at the resort’s 100-room slopeside lodge.

10. Club Med Quebec Charlevoix

Quebec, Canada

Club Med Quebec Charlevoix is a picturesque four-season resort with views overlooking the St. Lawrence River (Photo: Club Med)
Club Med Quebec Charlevoix overlooks the St. Lawrence River (Photo: Club Med)

The first Club Med mountain resort in North America is located in Charlevoix, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 90 minutes from Quebec City. An all-inclusive family resort where most of the food, drinks, and childcare costs are included, Club Med Charlevoix also serves up an array of summer activities, such as downhill biking and guided hikes. Kids love the circus acrobatics and ping-pong tournaments. Parents can participate in yoga, water aerobics, and evening entertainment.

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Nearby white sand beaches beg for summer lounging, sand castle building, and children’s giggles. The stunning natural landscape offers opportunities to kayak past fjords and whale watch from June through October.

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Cortney Fries
Cortney Fries is a seasoned travel journalist, with her writing and expertise appearing in Redbook, MSN, Parents, FamilyVacationist, Family Vacation Critic, Chicago Parent, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and several AAA magazines. Exploring the outdoors, learning, and trying new things are her favorite activities, best accompanied by family and friends. When she’s not hiking, sleeping in an ice hotel, or soaking up different cultures, she can be found cooking and creating with her husband and two children in the Chicago area.