In this high tech world of video games and smart phones, spending time together as a family, unplugged, is more important than ever. The Rocky Mountains are a veritable playground for families looking for natural adventures and outside exploits. Collecting leaves in the fall, skiing in winter, picking berries in the spring and music festivals in the summer – the Vail Valley has things to do with kids all year long.
Many of the high adventure activities offered to adults can also be modified for adolescents and youngsters. One of the most popular family activities is horseback riding at the local stables. For younger or less experienced riders, shorter horseback rides for 1-2 hours is recommended; half day and backcountry rides are available at many of the stables as well as pony rides, petting zoo and children’s day camps.
Another exciting quest is a whitewater rafting trip. The trips vary in difficulty and length; float trips for 1/3 day is an ideal introduction, especially with children under 6. Intermediate rafting trips can last for half the day, a full day or even overnight. Local outfitters can assist you in choosing the right trip for your family by not only length and participants experience but the adrenaline level that you are looking for in your rafting trip.
Two activities that allow you to introduce the beauty of the Vail Valley to your kids in a very unique way is Colorado Hot Air Ballooning and guided Jeep Tours. Hot Air Balloon rides usually take off at shortly after sunrise and last 90 minutes to 2 hours. Our featured ballooning vendor, Camelot Balloons is open year round (weather permitting) and offers special pricing for children under 12. Jeep tours are one of the best ways to explore and get to know the backcountry surrounding Vail and Beaver Creek. Vail Jeep tours last between 3 and 4 hours, they can be customized to be either rough and rugged or moderate and calm. The guides will educate the riders on the flora, fauna and history of the area.
In the warmer months of the year Glenwood Caverns has something for every member of the family though they are open throughout the year. They have multiple cave tours for families and for those seeking a more thrilling experience. Their adventure park have exhilarating rides like an alpine coaster, zip ride, roller coaster and canyon swing. Glenwood Caverns host concerts and family fun all summer long on the top of the mountain.
Adventure Ridge on Vail Mountain is guaranteed entertainment for the kiddos in winter and summer. During summer and fall Adventure Ridge has zipline, rope courses, radio flyer swing and summer tubing. You can also enjoy a climbing wall, mini golf and on-mountain dining. Ski season brings the winter activities at Adventure Ridge. While the experienced skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes, children can partake in snow tubing, ski biking, snowshoeing, ziplining and kid’s snowmobiling.
These are just some of the things to do with kids in Vail. The older the kids get and the more skilled they become at outdoor activities, the list grows exponentially of what you can do as a family.