10 Cool Resorts for Summer Family Mountain Vacations
From Vermont to California, possibilities abound for families seeking fresh air and outdoor fun
Mountain resorts are ideal for summer family vacations. These scenic destinations offer a wealth of exciting outdoor adventures for adults and kids of all ages. Mountain destinations are also perfect choices for family road trips, since many are located within easy driving distance of major cities.
Family mountain vacations offer the cooler temperatures of mountain destinations for escaping from the summer heat, as well as the opportunity to relax and enjoy nature together. Mountain getaways feature a wide range of activities including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking and swimming. Many resorts offer special programs for kids. Given current travel conditions, it’s important to double check to see which programs and amenities are available this year.
Here are 10 great resorts to consider for your next family mountain vacation:
Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont
Nestled in northern Vermont, Smugglers’ Notch Resort offers a wealth of amenities, activities and family programs. Families can stay in condominium-style locations in one of the resort’s five communities. Lodging accommodations range from 1- to 5-bedroom residences featuring woodland or mountain views. Some Smugglers’ Notch communities have indoor and outdoor heated pools, exercise facilities and game rooms.
Summer activities at Smugglers’ Notch include visits to the farmers’ market, scavenger hunts and poolside fun. Family members of all ages can escape the summer heat in one of Smugglers’ Notch’s eight swimming pools, four waterslides and two freshwater reservoirs featured in the resort’s water playgrounds. The resort’s FunZone 2.0 Family Fun Complex also features an arcade, mini golf and game area, laser tag, a climbing wall, a warrior obstacle course and a “self-rappelling leap of faith” jump.
Smugglers’ Summer Fun University offers kids’ programs for children ages 6 weeks to 17 years old, where participants can enjoy outdoor activities, games and swimming. Families can also enjoy the Vermont County Fair with games, food, music and races on the Village Green.
High Peaks Resort, New York
Located in Lake Placid within Upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountain region, High Peaks Resort is a great vacation option for families. There are plenty of lake-based activities at this property, plus families can also enjoy exploring the Adirondack Park’s six million acres of wilderness. The park is America’s largest National Historic Landmark and entry is free of charge.
Families can choose from various accommodations at High Peaks Resort including hotel-style rooms at The Resort, the Lake House and the Waterfront Collection. Lodging amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, a day spa, an on-site fitness center, and lounge areas. The resort offers dining at three restaurants, where guests can dine while taking in the scenic views of Adirondack Park. Families can bring up to two dogs to High Peaks’ three pre-friendly hotels, which provide mats, bowls and cushioned dog beds for their four-legged guests.
High Peaks Resort guests also have private access to Mirror Lake, where they can enjoy complimentary use of boats, pedal boards and paddle boards. Along with watersports, families staying at High Peaks Resort can also take part in mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding and camping.
Skytop Lodge, Pennsylvania
Located in northeastern Pennsylvania’ Pocono Mountains, Skytop Lodge has been a popular destination for family-friendly escapes since 1928. Set on 5,500 acres, Skytop Lodge is home to a wide range of activities and experiences designed for family members of all ages.
The Inn at Skytop Lodge offers a variety of accommodations for family stays including their Grand Suite, Inn King and Inn Double room options. Rooms with fireplaces, private balconies and built-in Jacuzzis are also available for families to enjoy at The Inn at Skytop Lodge. Family reunions are encouraged at Skytop Lodge, with special discounts and all-inclusive packages for larger family gatherings.
Skytop Lodge offers a wealth of on-property activities including fishing, boating, golfing, indoor and outdoor pools, and rock climbing. Resort guests also have access to private hiking, paintball, Archery Tag, tennis, kayak tours, lawn bowling, rifle shooting and axe throwing.
The Treetop Adventure Course features obstacles and zip lines. The private Skytop Lake beach is open for resort guests and homeowners to relax by the water or enjoy lakeside activities. During normal summer seasons, a Kid’s Camp is available with lunch and activities.
Massanutten Resort, Virginia
Set in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Resort is located within an easy two- to three-hour drive from Washington D.C., Baltimore and Richmond. Families enjoy exploring this four-season, 6,000-acre resort featuring scenic mountain views and a wide variety of activities for guests of all ages.
Massanutten Resort’s accommodations range from 1- to 4-bedroom condominiums featuring full or partial kitchens, whirlpool tubs, fireplaces and decks. Families can also choose to stay in spacious rooms at the resort’s hotels. Special packages combining multi-night stays and activities are available as well.
Massanutten offers multiple on-property dining options including the Campfire Grill, a casual themed dining venue that’s perfect for family meals and celebrations. The resort caters to family reunions and special family events with private or semi-private dining spaces accommodating 10-200 guests.
Favorite activities during the summer months include:
- Enjoying hours of cool fun and thrills at Massanutten’s massive Indoor/Outdoor WaterPark
- Playing golf at the resort’s two 18-hole courses
- Riding mountain bikes at Massanutten’s Mountain Bike Park Resort
- Getting an adrenaline rush zip-lining at the Family Adventure Park
- Trying out an Escape Room experience
- Relaxing at the spa.
Guests also have access to James E. Lambert Park, which has a half-mile walking or jogging trail, tennis courts, shuffleboard and a kids’ playground. Other summer activities include the resort’s Summer Jam festival, with kids’ activities, food trucks, fireworks and live music.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia
Located in the Appalachian Mountain Range, Snowshoe Mountain Resort gives families access to 11,000 acres of activities and spectacular mountain vistas with on-property elevations reaching over 4,800 feet. Mountaintop village activities and lakeside fun make Snowshoe an awesome destination for families seeking an adventure-filled summer mountain getaway.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort offers accommodations for all sizes of family events ranging from large family reunions to smaller family groups. Lodging options include on-property hotels, condominiums, resort homes and townhomes.
Families can indulge in a variety of tastes and treats at on-site dining options in nearby Snowshoe Village. The resort offers special deals and vacation packages with discounts for longer stays and on-site activities. Snowshoe’s Summer Fun Pass includes free access to activities like scenic lift rides, a climbing wall, swimming, paddling and more.
Families can play golf at the resort’s Gary Player-designed 18-hole golf course, enjoy guided horseback riding, go on e-bike and Segway tours, take a scenic chairlift ride or jump into cool 4-seat Polaris RZRs for an exciting off-road adventure.
Families also enjoy riding the Ballhooter Lift to Shaver’s Lake, where they can play at the beach and access paddleboats, canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The lake is a popular destination for family picnics and dining at The Boathouse restaurant.
Boyne Mountain Resort, Michigan
Located in Northern Michigan, Boyne Mountain Resort offers a Midwest mountain adventure for the whole family. Established in 1947, the resort features 415 acres of terrain, 60 trails and a summit elevation of 1,120 feet.
Boyne Mountain has a variety of lodging options including lodges built for small families or couples, mountainside cabins, villas and condominiums. The resort is a good choice for families wishing to bring pets, as pets are allowed in select accommodations and on some trails as well. Boyne Mountain offers special deals and packages with discounts on golf and waterpark activities.
Opportunities for family fun at Boyne Mountain include an 18-hole mountain disc golf course, zip-line rides and tours, Segway tours and beach activities at Deer Lake. The resort is home to Avalanche Bay, the largest indoor waterpark in Michigan. Boyne Mountain’s Fritz’s Adventure Camp is a kids’ camp available for children ages 4-13 with activities including outdoor games, visits to the waterpark and time for free play. Families can also enjoy on-site tennis, scenic chairlift rides, fishing, movie nights and hayrides.
Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies, Colorado
Award-winning Snow Mountain Ranch is a popular spot for family fun in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Set on 5,000 scenic acres, Snow Mountain Ranch offers a wide range of activities and adventures for all age groups, making the property an excellent choice for both family and multigenerational vacations. With its ability to handle large groups, the ranch caters to family reunions as well.
Family vacationers can choose from a variety of affordable accommodations including:
- 2- to 5-bedroom cabins with kitchen facilities
- Massive reunion cabins
- Lodge rooms
- RV sites
- Yurts and tent sites
Snow Mountain Ranch offers facilities to accommodate groups of over 15 people, with both spaces for gathering and individual private spaces. Various meal plan options are available for families and groups. There are buffet-style meals, to-go options and traditional table service dining.
Snow Mountain Ranch features a wealth of activities for families including zip-lining, archery lessons, horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, mini golf, craft activities, tennis and swimming. The destination also offers summer day camps from early June through mid-August for children ages 3-17 to enjoy hiking, archery, games, nature activities and crafts. The summer tubing hill gives guests a unique take on the originally winter-based activity, and overnight guests can access a free session included with their stay.
Keystone Resort, Colorado
Nestled in the Rocky Mountains just a short drive from Denver, Colorado’s Keystone Resort has been catering to families since 1970. The resort offers summer festivals, spectacular mountain views and lots of outdoor activities for families with kids of all ages.
Family-friendly lodging includes full-service hotels, condominiums in River Run Village and private homes. From June through early September, families can take advantage of Keystone’s Adventure Pass, which offers free activities and discounts for families booking two or more nights.
On-site dining options range from quick cafe-style breakfasts and lunches to sumptuous four-course dinners at Keystone’s restaurants. Keystone Resort’s Wagon Ride Dinner is a unique dining experience aboard a horse-drawn wagon, allowing guests to learn about the history of the Keystone Valley on the way to their dinner destination.
Families can find their adventure through mountain activities at Keystone Resort including:
- Scenic gondola rides
- Hiking in their 2.3-mile long Dercum Summit Hiking Trail
- Guided horseback rides through Soda Creek Valley with Keystone Stables
- Mountain biking
- Mountaintop yoga is available on-site for a relaxing experience
Keystone’s Lakeside Village also provides guests with access to paddle boats, kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards at the resort’s five-acre lake.
Big Sky Resort, Montana
Located just an hour from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort is a great home base for summer family adventures. Set in the Northern Rockies of Montana, it is surrounded by millions of acres of pristine national forest, national park and other wilderness lands. Big Sky Resort is an ideal destination for a family road trip. It’s also easily accessible by air, with nearby Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport offering direct flights from 30 cities during the summer months.
Big Sky Resort offers numerous options for mountainside lodging. Family accommodations include penthouses featuring up to four bedrooms, private homes and hotels located just minutes from the resort. Newly remodeled rooms at slopeside Huntley Lodge in the resort’s Mountain Village are available for families this summer. The Summit Hotel, also offering slopeside accommodations, is being transformed as well.
Families can enjoy Big Sky’s two zip-line tours, hiking and mountain biking for all levels of ability, mini golf and the Adventure Mountain’s Gemstone Mining and Marble Run for kids. The resort’s award-winning 18-home Big Sky Golf Course was designed by Arnold Palmer and offers scenic views.
Other activities include pedal boating, canoeing and paddle boating on Lake Levinsky, horseback riding and rock climbing. The resort offers access to Montana’s highest scenic overlook set at 11,166 feet, showcasing views of three states with no hike required.
Big Bear Mountain Resort, California
Located within easy driving distance of Southern California’s major cities, Big Bear Mountain Resort at Big Bear Lake pairs Snow Summit and Bear Mountain’s 8,000- foot peaks with family fun and summer adventures.
Big Bear Mountain Resort offers a variety of amenities and activities for all ages and interests. The resort’s hotels, motels, condos, townhomes and cabins offer lodging options to fit any family vacation budget. Groups of 15 people or more receive discounts on resort activities. Special events during the summer months include the Big Bear Farmers Market, a fishing tournament and mountain biking events.
At Big Bear Mountain Resort, families can enjoy trails at Summit Bike Park, scenic chairlift rides, 60 miles of scenic hiking trails and golfing at the 9-hole Bear Mountain Golf Course. Amenities at the resort’s Snow Summit base area include a 30-foot climbing wall, zip-line, Euro Bungee trampoline and a summer tube park.
An Adventure Day Pass provides families with unlimited access to the resort’s Summit Basecamp activities. The new Big Bear Alpine Zoo offers families an opportunity to experience wildlife at the sanctuary and rehabilitation facility for wild animals.
By Gina Musso
Header Photo Credit: Massanutten Resort