There is no doubt that ski resorts are designed for winter fun. But when the snow melts and the spring flowers appear, there’s a magical transition from winter wonderlands to summer playgrounds.
Ski trails turn into hiking and biking trails. Meadows become ideal settings for summer fairs and festivals. Ice-skating rinks become fishing ponds and ski programs become summer camps. Best of all, lodging usually is discounted with great off-season rates.
Adventurous families can soar to new heights at Smugglers’ Notch Zip Line Canopy Tour. This 2 1/2 to 3 hour tour takes riders through mature stands of hemlock, white birch, and sugar maple. This is best suited for kids ages 8 and older. We experienced it first-hand this winter — what a ride! On hot summer days resort guests can cool off at one of the 8 pools outdoor pools or get their thrills on the 140-foot waterslide at Notchville Park.
The resort offers all-day kids camps at the Summer Fun University which provides activities that challenge, educate and inspire kids ages 3 to 17. Unlike many other resort camps, Smuggs’ breaks children up into small groups based on age allowing for programing that is tailored around the kids’ specific interests and goals. Special Interest Camps allow kids ages 9 to 17 to narrow their focus on a specific summer sport or hobbies like skateboarding or tennis.
Trapp Family Lodge
After the last snowflake disappears, the hills of Vermont once again claim their status as the “Green Mountains.” The Nordic ski trails at the Trapp Family Lodge become hiking and walking trails and families can even enjoy a guided Trapp Family History Hike.
Beginning May 15, miles of mountain bike trails open all over the property. Bring your own bike, or rent from their fleet children’s cruisers up to full suspension bikes. The Kids Club and Activity Center keeps kids busy with weekly activities like harp lessons, sing-a-longs, and arts & crafts. Families can take in some of the breathtaking views from the outdoor heated pools or explore a local swimming hole. Sound of Music fans shouldn’t miss the von Trapp History Tour – our family loved it.
Okemo Mountain Resort
Adrenaline junkies are going to love the new Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster at Okemo. Unlike the parking lot view of amusement park rides, this one features a really picturesque scene. Sled-like cars carry two riders in comfort but can be handled easily by one. The drivers, riding in front, are in control of the speed and this gives them a unique hands-on experience. Fair warning: drivers must be at least 48” tall to operate the sled, and passengers must be more than 36” tall to ride the coaster.
Okemo also has two pool complexes designed for families. Think spiral slides, splash pools, fountain features and basketball nets. The fun doesn’t stop there. This summer, Okemo introduces a four-hole family fun course, offering beginner golfers the chance to tee it up without the pressure of championship course play. With holes that are only 60 to 100 yards each, families can enjoy a condensed, fun round of golf at an affordable hourly rate.
Stowe, Sugarbush & Pico
There are lots of ways to traverse a ski mountain after the snow is gone. At Stowe, families enjoy stunning views while on the Gondola skyride up to the peak of Vermont’s highest mountain, or take a thrilling ride down on the alpine slide.
If your not descending one of the 25-mountain bike trails at Sugarbush you can zip across them on them on their 800’ zipline. At Pico Mountain little cowboys and cowgirls can ride through the trails and meadows on horseback. There are even pony rides for the littlest ones in your group.
If you are looking to get outside and play this summer there is no better place than the Green Mountains of Vermont. For more information on other ways to explore Vermont while you are here, check out FindandGoSeek.net, Vermont’s Insider Guide to Kid Friendly Fun.
Photos courtesy of: Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Trapp Family Lodge, Okemo Mountain Resort and Stowe Mountain Resort
Dana Freeman is the founder of FindandGoSeek.net, a hyperlocal destination for families to discover what to do and see in their local communities. She’s also the Editorial Director, aka Miss Magpie, of northern Vermont’s Find&GoSeek. As a compulsive fun seeker, Miss Magpie, is out there taking copious notes on what her family encounters.