Typically considered winter destinations, mountain towns are most famous for their snowy slopes, remote cabins and hot chocolate. It’s not hard to see why we think of them as cold weather spots, but those looking for a warm weather getaway should give these towns a second look.
Instead of taking the typical summer trip to a crowded beach, consider a vacation that might be a bit easier on your wallet. The same places that charge a premium for slope side accommodations in the colder months usually offer great deals in the summer—and there’s no shortage of things to do.
This summer, ditch the beach and head to one of these mountain towns for an unbelievable getaway.
This once-obscure adventure travel mecca is a must-visit mountain town for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, rock climbing—you name it, you’ll likely find it in Bend. Head up into the Cascades for some incredible mountain biking (almost 300 miles of singletrack) or dip your paddle into the Deschutes River for a wild and refreshing ride. After your adventures, check out one of the many summer events, concerts or festivals or enjoy the thriving food and drink scene. Whatever you’re into, it’s a safe bet Bend is the ideal summer setting.
The “Star City of the South” is best known as the recreational and cultural gateway to the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the many museums and award-winning wineries to Dixie Caverns and popular craft breweries, there is no shortage of things to do in town. Venture farther outdoors to experience top-tier fishing, paddling and biking among the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains.
Far more famous for its winter offerings, Park City a gem in the summer too, with more to do than you could possibly fit into a vacation. Take to the mountain for adventures on the Alpine Slide, one of the longest in the world, ride the Alpine Coaster for a rush or take to the air on Park City’s zip lines. Check out the mountains on bike or on foot and then head to the public Park City Golf Club and play the back nine. Watch Olympic hopefuls train at Utah Olympic Park and then enjoy one of the many arts and music festivals happening all summer long. There’s an endless list of things to do, the only challenge is narrowing it down.
This mountain town set beside the Canadian Rockies is best known for luxury accommodation and snowy slopes, but summer in Banff is a treat as well. Easy access to Banff National Park (and the outdoor adventures within) is a major draw for travelers, meanwhile in town you’ll find shops, fine dining and several spas to help you recover from your day out on the water or up in the mountains.
Finding adventure in this classic western town is as easy as stepping out your front door. With its proximity to National parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone, access to the National Elk Refuge and it’s placement among practically endless public lands, there’s no shortage of trails, waters and wildlife to discover. Paddle the Snake River, which has sections calm enough for kids and others exciting enough for adrenaline junkies or head out on a wildlife safari, Jackson Hole is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. When you’re ready for a break, check out some of the art galleries in town, watch a live outdoor concert in Teton Village or experience some Wild West nightlife at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.
Looking for a low key getaway with some outdoor access? The charming mountain town of Stowe is a great fit. Hike the scenic Moss Glen Falls to a beautiful waterfall with swimming holes or wade in local rivers and fly fish, if you’re new to the sport there are clinics and outfitters available. In town, stop by Stowe Cider for a delicious drink, head to the West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park for a dose of culture or stop into one of the many spas for a relaxing afternoon.
From off-roading to disc golf and absolutely everything in between, this mountain town known for its winter offerings has even more for outdoor enthusiasts in the warmer months. Adventure seekers can enjoy a thrill atop an ATV riding old mining roads, try their hand at outdoor rock climbing in the Adventure Park or fit in some disc golf at one of the two courses in town. Arguably the most prominent summer activity, though, is biking and Crested Butte has a whole week dedicated to mountain biking. When you’re worn out, check out the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, stroll the annual arts festival or wind down with a yoga class.
This far-out mountain town is unlike any other place on earth—and that’s the appeal. Bordered on three sides by the towering red peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is one of the few places that retains its native culture, thriving art scene and connection to the great outdoors. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb the tallest mountain in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, or if you’re a skilled paddler, take on the Taos box section of the Rio Grande.
Host to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Games and set in the Adirondacks, Lake Placid has a rich athletic history and offers a ton to do, especially in the summer months. The Olympic Center is open over the summer, offering bobsled and luge rides with a professional, hiking is the most popular summer activity, with trails for every skill level and the many nearby waterways are perfect for paddling—whether that be by canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Top athletes come to Lake Placid to train in the summer, but there are plenty of opportunities to relax too.