Mountain vacations offer fresh air and beautiful vistas, but they are only two of the benefits of visiting destinations featuring high peaks.


Getting to the top and celebrating requires a mountain to climb. From mild hills to lung-challenging high altitudes, accomplishing a hike to the peak of a peak provides a sense of accomplishment and comradery. For all but the gentlest trails, and for anything requiring climbing equipment like ropes and carabiners, enlist an experienced guide. Trained mountaineers enforce safety precautions and decide if weather conditions are favorable for a climb.

Downhill Skiing

From the bunny slopes to the black diamonds, downhill skiing at a mountain ski resort destination provides thrills, views, and bracing winter air. Some destinations cater to specific skill levels, so for reunions that may involve attendees of different ages and abilities, avoid mountain ski retreats that serve only expert skiers. Stick to the family resorts with a wide variety of terrain to offer, plus lessons for novices and activities for kids.

Bobsledding or Alpine Slides

Some bobsledding courses switch sleds to wheeled carts in the summer for the boldest thrill seekers who can handle high speeds. A rollicking ride down a mountain slide is a blast for all ages on a milder alpine slide. These slides differ from bobsled courses as they use carts with a hand control in the center to keep things from getting too scary. Some alpine slides even allow parents to position young children on their laps.

Mountain Biking

Gather mountain bikers together for a tour of America’s mountain bike trails. Mountain terrain provides a physical challenge and beautiful vistas. While mountain bikes work fine in the flats or on pavement, they are designed to handle the changing curves, bumps, and gravel found on many mountain routes. A guide for novices and appropriate safety equipment are both musts.

Hot Air Ballooning

While ballooning may not absolutely require a mountain, soaring over hills and taking in the bird’s eye view can be a breathtaking and beautiful experience. Check the credentials, safety precautions, and restrictions of any operator.

Mountain activities provide many options for groups of adults or families with kids. A mountain vacation is a terrific choice for a group of active, outdoorsy people or families with kids who need some fresh air, wide-open spaces, and physical activity.