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Avant Ski's 8 Best Mountain Summer Vacations

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

Mountain vacations are especially wonderful in the summer. With warm weather, longer days and comfortable temperatures, conditions are perfect for hiking, biking, trail running, fly fishing, rafting or just relaxing with stunning vistas. Our list of summer mountain vacations is for anyone looking for adventure and relaxation.

Our team shares our best mountain destinations complete with our favorite activities, events and places to eat across North America and Europe. Many luxury resorts have more reasonable rates during the summer, and some even offer promos like stay 3 nights get the fourth free. We share our hotel partners where you will receive VIP perks when you book your summer mountain vacation with us.

Summary of 8 Ideal Mountain Towns for Summer Adventures

* Click the resort name to jump to that section

  1. Jackson Hole – Authentic Cowboy Town & Gateway to National Parks

  2. Telluride – Unwind in the San Juans

  3. Park City/Deer Valley — Outdoor Adventuring with the Family

  4. Stowe The Best of Summer in New England

  5. Banff — The Mountains Meet the Lakes

  6. Chamonix – Big Mountain Adventure, French Edition

  7. Zermatt — Charming Village at the Foot of The Matterhorn

  8. Big Sky – Bigger than Big Adventure

Avant Ski is Here to Plan Your Ultimate Summer Adventure

Avant Ski and our partners at Fora have unparalleled access to top hotels along with killer perks including room upgrades, free breakfast and resort credits. We can also help with navigating national parks, finding the best hikes, mountain biking trails and more.

1) Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Tetons on a beautiful afternoon in Jackson Hole.

Jackson Hole is the launchpad for exploring Wyoming's natural wonders including Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, The National Elk Refuge and more. One of the best summer mountain towns in the US, this authentic cowboy town has activities for adventurers, recreationists, hardcore climbers and everyone in between. For scenic hikes that challenge all abilities, head to Teton Village and take the Cirque Trail or treat yourself to a scenic tram ride and enjoy the stunning views from the top of Rendezvous Mountain. Whether exploring bucket-list national parks or just taking in the town, Jackson Hole is sure to please. Don’t miss the local Rodeo which runs all summer long.

Nearby National Parks: Grand Teton National Park (~10 miles away), Yellowstone National Park (~60 miles away)

Top dining: Start your day at Persephone Bakery. Head to Snake River Grill for fine, New American dining. Go to Pinky G’s for pizza. Relax with a drink at Handle Bar.

Where to Stay: In town, the Amangani Jackson Hole offers luxury with stunning views of the Grand Tetons and elegantly designed suites and villas. The historic Wort Hotel, in the heart of downtown, pairs classic western charm with modern amenities. In Teton Village, Hotel Terra is an eco-firendly boutique with a rooftop hot tub and mountain inspired rooms. The Four Resort and Residences has luxurious, spacious rooms with private balconies overlooking Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

2) Telluride, Colorado

Stroll down Main Street, Telluride while staring up at the San Juan Mountains. Courtesy of Visit Telluride.

Located in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is one of the best outdoor towns to roll in and unwind. This unhurried corner of Colorado features locally-owned shops, cafes, and restaurants along with scenic and challenging trails. The historic downtown is a gateway to world class hiking, biking and fly fishing. The real attraction is the beauty of the town and surrounding San Juan Mountains. Fun fact, the San Juans have the highest concentration of 13,000 and 14,000 peaks in the lower 48. Take a leisurely float down the San Miguel river, try standup paddle boarding, or get the adrenaline flowing at the via ferrata.

Events: Bluegrass festival in June; Telluride Jazz festival in August; the Telluride Film Festival Labor Day weekend

Hiking: For an iconic hike, try the Bridal Veil Falls trail to uncover the tallest free falling waterfall in Colorado. Start at the end of Colorado Ave in town. For more experienced hikers, try the Sneffels Highline Trail, a 13-mile loop takes you through high alpine meadows, past alpine lakes, and offers breathtaking views of Mt. Sneffels and the San Juan Mountains.

Dining: The Butcher and the Baker for the best brunch in town; local favorite for pizza at Brown Dog Pizza, The New Sheridan Chop House for steaks and seafood, 221 South Oak for fine dining with local ingredients

Hotels: In Mountain Village, the Auberge Madeline Hotel is luxurious with stunning mountain views, dining with outdoor fire pits, a beautiful spa and outdoor pool. In town, The New Sheridan Hotel is a historic landmark with a blend of old world charm and modern comforts.

3) Park City/Deer Valley, Utah

Founder, Alli Widman and family along Bloods Lake Trail last summer.

This former and possibly future Olympic site is the perfect mix of stunning scenery with a vibrant town filled with summer activities in the mountains. Park City is easy to reach from almost anywhere, just a 30-minute drive from downtown Salt Lake City. There is a vast network of trails in the area, perfect for hiking, trail running and mountain biking. Deer Valley’s Twilight Ride Series provides lift service for mountain biking every Tuesday and Thursday evening. The Utah Olympic Park offers a Zipline, Ropes Course and Olympic museum. On weekends, you can catch Olympians and National Team skiers and snowboarders perform acrobatic feats as they soar up to 60 feet in the air before landing in the Park’s Olympic Freestyle Pool. Anything is possible here — golf courses abound, try stand up paddle boarding or fly fishing.

Top Hikes: Near Guardsman's Pass, the Bloods Lake Trail takes you to an alpine lake surrounded by mountain peaks. For a challenging hike with panoramic views, try hiking Bald Mountain at Deer Valley, steep but very rewarding. The Mid Mountain Trail spans ~22 miles and is accessible from Deer Valley Resort, Park City Resort and Canyons Village.

Dining: Start your day with coffee and breakfast at Aussie-inspired Five5eeds. Have ice cream at Java Cow. Riverhorse on Main is a Park City Institution for fine dining. Indulge in craft, brown-spirit based cocktails with tasty bites at High West Distillery & Saloon.

Hotels: At Deer Valley, the Montage Deer Valley and St. Regis Deer Valley offer luxurious accommodations on the mountain. In Park City, we love the Pendry Park City and Waldorf Astoria in Canyons Village.

4) Stowe, Vermont

Enjoy a chill summer evening at Spruce Peak with views of Mt. Mansfield. Courtesy of the Lodge at Spruce Peak.

Make Stowe your summer base for exploring the best of northern Vermont. Visitors can enjoy the Stowe Farmers Markets, stroll through the picturesque town, rip through top-notch biking trails on Cady Hill and hike the many trails of Mount Mansfield, sections of the Long Trail and Catamount Trail. For a quick weekend escape, we suggest an unhurried itinerary: check out the scenic gondola ride (free with next season’s Epic Pass) at Stowe Mountain Resort before enjoying a leisurely lunch on Mountain Road. Bring your clubs and try out the multiple golf courses in the area, or head to one of the sports shops on Mountain Road to rent a bike and explore town on two wheels.

Top Hikes: Sterling Pond Trail (1 mile out and back), Stowe Pinnacle (3.3 miles out and back), Mount Mansfield Chin via the Long Trail (2.4 miles out and back)

Dining: For local beers and great food, check out the backyard at Idletyme Brewing Company or always buzzing Doc Ponds. Plate is the go-to for seasonally inspired cuisine and great cocktails in the Village. Piecasso Pizzeria is perfect for pizza for the whole family.

Breweries: Breweries in town include Von Trapp Brewery, Stowe Cider and the award-winning Alchemist. Up just north of Stowe you'll find Lost Nation Brewery with unique beers and great food.

Hotels: The Lodge at Spruce Peak is our pick for on-mountain fun with a big resort setting. Closer to town you'll find Top Notch Resort with its terrific spa and restaurants. For a boutique hotel experience, try Edson Hill in a beautiful secluded setting.

5) Banff, Alberta Canada

Banff National Park provides varied summer outdoor activities with postcard views

Though Banff is best known for being a world-class winter escape, summer just may be the best time to visit Canada's first and finest national park. Gorgeous scenery featuring mountains and lakes — Lake Louise and Lake Minnewanka — combined with limitless opportunity for hiking, biking and water sports have avid adventurers returning to the Alberta-British Columbia border year after year. Take the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulpher Mountain and take a hike while soaking in views of six mountain ranges. Stroll around the town of Banff and enjoy shops and local restaurants. Feel on top of the world while discovering Mt Norquay's Via ferrata, featuring four breathtaking routes above the cliffs. Make sure to head up to Lake Louise with plenty of time to stop at scenic waterfalls or even tackle on one of the many challenging trails along the way. Hosted trail walks and guided hikes are readily available. Paddlers will love the waterways and lakes that dot the area. Stick the landing at the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for some rest and relaxation.

Dining: Take the Banff Gondola to Sky Bistro to enjoy local ingredients with panoramic views. Hike up to Whitehorn Bistro and be rewarded with a sit-down meal with views. For fine dining with an outstanding wine list, try the Post Hotel Dining Room. In town, head to The Bison for regional, seasonal cuisine.

Hotels: For lakefront luxury, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is iconic. Known as Canada's Castle in the Rocks, the Fairmont Banff Springs has been welcoming guests for the past 130 years. For a delightful oasis with an outstanding food and wine program, check out the Post Hotel in Lake Louise.

6) Chamonix, France

Chamonix shines in the summer with bright flowers, colorful buildings and a distinct alpine backdrop

For those looking for a big-mountain adventure, Chamonix should be on your list. Just below Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc at 15,777’, you’ll find activities including an extraordinary cable car ride to the Aiguille du Midi, a tour of the Mer de Glace glacier or hire a mountain guide for your own curated adventure. Treat yourself to a stay at a stately hotel in town and don’t miss the incredible French alpine cuisine. Chamonix makes a great stand-alone vacation spot or add it as a stop on a grand tour of the region. Visit the nearby charming towns of Cluses, Sallanches or Annecy in the Haute Savoie, or extend your trip by heading down to the coast and exploring the famous riviera destinations of Monaco, Nice, and points east towards Cannes.

Bucket List Adventure: For the ultimate adventure, take off on the Haute Route for a multi-day hut-to-hut journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. This storied hike will lead you into the heart of the Alps for what could be a week long journey you’ll never forget.

Dining: Start the morning with a coffee and croissant from Patisserie Richard. For a great meal in a sharp dining room with a view, check out the Restaurant at Auberg du Bois Prin. La Fine Bouche treats visitors to classic French alpine cuisine. With one Michelin star, Restaurant Albert 1er is the place to cap your trip off.

Hotels: In the center of Chamonix, the stately Grand Hotel des Alpes and well appointed Hotel Mont-Blanc put you in the center of all the action with 5-star luxury. On the northern side of town, Hotel le Castel is sure to charm with its boutique feel. For a change of scenery, look north toward Argentière at the Chalet Grand Montets.

7) Zermatt, Switzerland

Take in amazing Matterhorn views while hiking around Zermatt. Courtesy of

Zermatt is exactly what you think it is and yet it will still surprise you every time. Idyllic, iconic, impossibly beautiful, all wrapped up in a wonderfully car-free village in the shadow of one of the most recognizable mountains in the world. Once in Zermatt you can spend mornings exploring the slopes of the Matterhorn via an expansive lift network and a well-marked system of hiking and biking trails. Afternoons can be enjoyed with a drink in hand on one of the many mountain restaurant decks such as the proudly family-run Bergrestaurant Blatten or Adler Hitta. Take in the mountain views from the decks or get lost in town wandering between chalets and shops.

Must-do experiences: No summer trip to Zermatt would be complete without taking a few ski runs. For a unique experience, take a trip up to the Klein Matterhorn for summer skiing. Here you will find world class skiing and maybe even catch a glimpse of your favorite pro skiers during one of the many world cup training sessions on the glacier.

Dining: On-mountain dining in Zermatt is a specialty, don't miss an afternoon walk to Chez Vrony or Restaurant Zum See for local flavors with expansive mountain views. Amongst the chalets in the town of Zermatt, you can enjoy acclaimed newcomer Potato Fine Food Restaurant or the classic Le Gitan and its wood fired grill. For pizza that can rival Zermatt's neighbors to the south, try the ever-popular Grampi’s.

Hotels: Alpine modern hotels such as The Backstage Hotel and The Omnia are deservingly popular luxury choices in Zermatt. Cervo Mountain Resort is the pick for those looking for a mountain-side resort with plenty of dining options and easy mountain access. For a classic grand European hotel in the center of town, the Mont Cervin Palace is a must.

8) Big Sky, Montana

Take a scenic lift ride with Big Sky's Lone Peak in the background. Courtesy of Big Sky Resort.

Big Sky, Montana will impress you with pristine rivers, rugged mountains and miles upon miles of big open country to explore. From world class golf to fly fishing in blue-ribbon trout rivers, and horseback riding, you'll find your perfect adventure in this region. Take a scenic lift ride or try the tram ride to the top of Lone Peak. Families will love Adventure Mountain with activities including a climbing wall, bungee trampoline, gemstone mining and ziplines. For those looking for a thrill, be sure to save time for an white water rafting on the Gallatin River. The western entrance to Yellowstone National Park is less than an hour away.

Nearby National Parks: Yellowstone National Park

Top Hikes: For a moderate hike follow the trail to Beehive Basin to an alpine lake, enjoying wildflowers and panoramic views along the way. Families may want to try the hike to Ouesel Falls, this mellow trail starts near Big Sky Town Center and goes to a beautiful waterfall.

Dining: Head to Ousel & Spur for your pizza fix. For a more refined experience, head to Horn & Cantle. Take a quick drive out of town for the area's best BBQ and live music at Riverhouse BBQ.

Hotels: Conveniently located in town center, The Wilson Hotel offers modern suites with great access to restaurants and shops. Opened for winter of 2021 Montage Big Sky blends seamlessly into its mountain environment with a modern design composed of neutral earth tones. Complete with a private golf course, bowling alley and 11,000 square foot spa.


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