Top Ten Mountain Resorts for Summer Fun

Mountain resorts have long been ski and snowboard stalwarts. But don’t discount these vacation spots as summer playgrounds. Here, our ten favorite mountain resorts that offer year-round fun.
By Stephanie Hoyt
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Mountain biking, Deer Valley Resort, Park City, Utah
Mountain biking trails abound at Deer Valley Resort, Utah. Don’t worry, they’re not all this extreme!  (Deer Valley Resort)

If you're like most American families, summer vacation usually means you're heading to the beach, amusement park, or maybe even a big-city adventure. But don't overlook the fun waiting to be had at four-season mountain resorts from coast to coast. After the snow melts and skiing is no longer an option, these resorts transform into family-friendly summer playgrounds. From kid camps to watersports to hiking to spas, there is something to do for every member of your family. And whether or not you choose to stay at the resort, most activities can still be enjoyed by non-guests. These top ten mountain resort destinations were selected not only for their plethora of activities, but also for their convenient locations throughout the country and plentiful, affordable lodging nearby.

10. Whiteface-Lake Placid, New York
As a two-time host to the Winter Olympics, Lake Placid in the beautiful Adirondacks is undeniably a cold-weather sports playground. But, located just two and a half hours from Albany and five hours from New York City or Boston, Whiteface-Lake Placid is the perfect summer getaway for a family that can't get enough of winter. Climb into a wheeled bobsled with a professional driver and brakeman, and shoot down the actual track used in the 1980 Olympic Games. Or, take a 26-story glass elevator to the top of the 120-meter ski jump and see first-hand the view from the top. This is an active summer practice facility, so families can watch ski jumpers and freestylers perfecting their amazing moves. Has dad always wanted to be a biathlete? He can fire a real, competition-style .22-caliber rifle at the same target=s used at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Mom love figure skating? She can attend a weekly ice show at the Olympic Center, where internationally competitive figure skaters perform their programs. Hiking families will love the guided 3.2-mile nature hike up Bear Den Mountain, complete with a picnic lunch at the top and priceless views, or the guided trek through the Adirondack woods to gorgeous Stag Brook Falls. And Whiteface also offers a mountain bike park with 27 diverse trails that range from expert-only downhillers to winding cross-country paths—something for every ability and riding style.
See our skisnowboard guide to Whiteface-Lake Placid

9. Seven Springs Resort, Pennsylvania
Located within 200 miles of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C., Seven Springs is the largest four-season resort in Pennsylvania and among the best for families. In addition to its mountain bike park, Seven Springs also boasts other adventure-packed activities such as a 50-foot Alpine Tower, a 24-foot rock wall, an alpine slide, and paintball. The resort's Adventure Day Camp, for children ages two through ten, provides supervised activities such as swimming, fishing, team games, paddleboating, and hiking, for just $35 per day. There are also children's golf, tennis, and soccer camps held throughout the summer. Families looking to bond with each other can go bowling at the resort's main lodge, enjoy a mountaintop campfire or picnic together, play a round of mini-golf or disc golf, or play in the mountaintop lake. A fun daytrip is to nearby Idlewild, the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania, featuring seven fun theme areas such as a waterpark, Story Book Forest, and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Or check out Ohiopyle State Park, where more than 14 miles of the Youghiogheny River run, offering some of the best whitewater rafting, biking, and hiking in the eastern United States.
See our skisnowboard guide to Seven Springs

8. Massanutten Resort, Virginia
Just two hours from Washington, D.C., Massanutten Resort seems like a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten is the perfect summer getaway for urban families. With both indoor and outdoor waterparks, kids of all ages can beat the summer heat. There's a simulated pipeline for surfing (lessons are available), slides of all kinds, a rapids excursion, a wave pool, and much more. The resort also offers more than 80 classes and activities a week for both kids and parents. Dad can join a digital photography workshop, mom can try a scuba lesson, your teen can participate in a tennis clinic, and your five-year-old can learn to scrapbook. For golf enthusiasts, Massanutten has two 18-hole courses, a family course, daily lessons for all ages, and a golf simulator. Not to be missed is a trip to Shenandoah National Park, just minutes from the resort. The park has more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Skyline Drive, the park's only public road, offers breathtaking views and many overlooks along the way.

7. Boyne Country, Michigan
Midwesterners need not despair, for tucked into the northern reaches of Michigan is a mountain-lover’s paradise. About a four-hour drive from Detroit and six hours from Chicago and Cleveland, Boyne Country is home to two fun-filled destinations—Boyne Mountain Resort and Boyne Highlands Resort. Camps for kids abound at these resorts. Ages five through twelve can join an adventure camp to develop and promote an active lifestyle. There are also junior golf and tennis camps held throughout the summer for five- to eighteen-year-old kids. While the kids are at camp, parents can get pampered at the resort's Solace Spa, which was named one of the "Best Spas in the World" by Spa Magazine. The spa holds a family spa night every third Tuesday of the month for ages six and up. With nearly 10,000 acres to explore, both resorts offer extensive trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. There are also multiple zip-line adventures to experience and Michigan's largest indoor waterpark, Avalanche Bay. At nearby Deer Lake, families can swim, kayak, sail, jet ski, or even rent a pontoon boat for the day.

6. Deer Valley Resort, Utah
Deer Valley Resort is located in the historic mining town of Park City, Utah, about 30 miles east of Salt Lake City. If you're a music-loving family, Deer Valley will provide you with an unforgettable summer vacation. The Deer Valley Music Festival encompasses a month-long celebration of music from July 17 to August 14, featuring performances by the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera with themes ranging from swing to Disney to Broadway to Led Zeppelin. Throughout the summer, Deer Valley Resort's Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater will host musical guests OneRepublic, B.B. King, Michael McDonald, Wynonna, and Earth Wind & Fire, just to name a few. But music isn't the only thing Deer Valley has to offer. Deer Valley's Summer Adventure Camp is a state-licensed children's center for kids two months to twelve years of age. With differently themed weeks, entertainment and performances, outdoor activities, a rock-climbing wall, and a full supply of craft projects, games, puzzles, videos, and books, your kids won't want to leave. With plentiful mountain bike trails and lessons for both kids and adults, families can enjoy the panoramic views of Deer Valley. Or, take a horseback ride through the mountains. For a fun daytrip, Utah Olympic Park offers summer bobsled rides, the world's steepest zip-lines, a stainless-steel alpine slide, a freestyle show of skiers and snowboarders performing acrobatic feats before landing in a splash pool, and guided tours of the park that hosted the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
See our skisnowboard guide to Deer Valley

Published: 15 Jun 2010 | Last Updated: 13 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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