One of the hottest winter destinations in all of Colorado, Vail can be easy to overlook when it comes to planning your summer adventure. But as this area offers practically every outdoor favorite you can imagine, you will want to add it to your summer plans.If you have lived in Colorado all your life or even for many years it might be hard to believe but there are unique ways to enjoy some old favorites if you are in the mood. You just have to get a little creative. You can find all of the usual suspects here including camping, hiking, rafting, golfing, summer festivals, farmer’s markets, and so much more.

There is no chance for boredom at this happening mountain destination, but we set out to find three unique ways to enjoy summertime in Vail in the hopes that you have a few weekends spare in your summer schedule. If this is you, give these three completely different adventures a try next time you visit Vail in the summer.

Llama Hikes

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If you are looking for a fun new way to shake up your summer hiking routine, head over to Paragon Guides in Vail. Not only are they uber nice and informative about the area you will be hiking, you will also get the chance to lead your very own llama. It sounds pretty cool, right? Trust us, it will far exceed your expectations and give you a completely different hiking experience than you are used to. You may even find yourself feeling sad to say goodbye to your new four-legged hiking partner. Paragon offers everything from ‘taking a llama to lunch’ on a few hour hike to multiple day treks with the llamas carrying the bulk of your gear, so whether camping is your thing or you are more interested in the backcountry huts you will enjoy a multiple day trip spent exploring the mountains with llamas in tow. We can’t speak highly enough of this great outfit, so if you don’t have a visit planned to the area anytime soon we recommend planning one just for this adventure alone.

Alpine Coaster

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If you have never experienced the thrill of an alpine coaster, the brand new Epic Discovery program at Vail Mountain should be on your summer bucket list. With everything from ziplines and summer tubing to challenging ropes courses and education opportunities, there is plenty to keep you busy all day up on the mountain, no matter your fitness level.

Our favorite activity? TheForest Flyer™. The idea behind an alpine coaster is that you control your own speed. Well, you and gravity, that is. For most first-timers that means applying a heavy dose of brakes, but with a few rides you will feel your confidence grow and maybe, just maybe, you won’t apply the brakes at all by the end of the day. The thrill of flying down the track with the wind in your hair and spectacular views of surrounding mountains are sure to please. Definitely save a full day to spend up on the mountain, as you will find plenty to keep you busy here.

Progressive Dining Tour

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When visiting a place like Vail in the summer it can be hard to choose what you will squeeze into your weekend adventure. Never is this more difficult than when choosing what restaurants you will dine at. And while we certainly wouldn’t shy away from recommending a full stay at any of the restaurants here, our creative solution is to suggest a progressive dining tour of all the best courses. And you really can’t beat the scenery as you stroll from place to place through Vail Village.

To kick off your evening, enjoy a cocktail at La Tour or the perfect margarita at Sweet Basil. After imbibing at one (or both!) of these great spots, Matsuhisu Vail is an impressive choice for a few light dishes. We like the yellowtail jalapeño sashimi and the Miyazaki beef that literally melts in your mouth. After savoring these one-of-a-kind dishes, head right next door to Vail Brewing Company to do a sampling of local beer.

For a nice, riverside cool down and one of the most palate pleasing dishes to be found in Vail, head to Mountain Standard. Located right across from the river, the outdoor dining locale is perfect on a summer’s evening. The rotisserie chicken salad is a nice light dish, and you cannot leave without trying the shrimp and grits. This dish is packed with flavor and will not disappoint (it was one of our favorites!).

If you still have room, we highly recommend finishing your dinner tour at the Burger Bar over at the Four Season Vail. When not previously booked, the back-of-house chef’s table serves up delicious handmade burgers and milkshakes (adult milkshakes also available!) that are to die for. You will have to call the concierge in advance to see if they are available during your visit. If you are lucky enough to snag a spot, you won’t regret it!

The perfect spot for a nightcap after enjoying some of Vail’s best cuisine is Root & Flower. Their handmade cocktails are superb and their wine list extensive.

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