Skier at Snowy Mountain Ski Park.

Ultimate Vail Travel Guide for Beginners

Table of Contents

Declared as Colarodo’s Ski Town, Vail is like no other place on Earth. It boasts over 5,500 acres of terrains, making it the second-largest ski area in the United States and undoubtedly the best mountain destination in the region. With its stunning alpine scenery, abundant snowfall, and world-renowned ski resorts, Vail provides a winter wonderland experience that is unlike any other.

But more than just a ski destination, Vail also features year-round recreational activities and a vibrant cultural scene that makes it a popular destination for both adventure-seekers and those looking for a more relaxed vacation.

If you’re planning a trip to Vail, Colorado, to experience its stunning natural beauty, snow-covered hills, pristine forests, and breathtaking mountain vistas, this ultimate Vail travel guide will help you get started on your adventure.

Best Time To Visit Vail, Colorado
Vail Skiing Slope.

While Vail is picturesque year-round, it is primarily known as a ski town. Snow enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the area to enjoy the best snow powder, particularly between late December and mid-March.

This doesn’t mean that you should sleep on summer. During the summer months, Vail’s ski trails turn into extensive mountain trails for biking and hiking. The town also boasts a thriving cultural scene with festivals and events that take place throughout the year.

If winter sports are not your thing, you can always visit Vail, Colorado, during the off-peak season, when its easier to find lodging and dining options.

Best Places To Stay in Vail

Vail Village has hotels and lodges for tourists to stay in.

Most resorts, hotels, and other lodging options are located in the two main villages, Vail and Lionshead, both of which are conveniently located near Gondolas.

But, if you prefer a more private and secluded setting, consider booking an Airbnb that’s slightly outside of the village and still reachable by the free mountain shuttle. If you’re travelling with a group, you may prefer the convenience and space of a slope-side mountain home.

To help you with your search, we’ve listed in this Vail travel guide some of the best places to stay, relax, unwind, and immerse yourself in the scenic mountain destination:

1. Four Seasons Resort

Four Seasons Resort is an excellent choice if you want a luxurious hotel experience. With a spa, in-house bars and restaurants, including the trendy Remedy cocktail lounge, as well as on-site rentals and ski lessons, you’ll have everything you need for a comfortable stay.

2. Sonnenalp Hotel

Exuding a unique Swiss charm, this boutique hotel is known for its luxurious spa and classic mountain lodge atmosphere. It is located in the heart of Vail village, within walking distance of the best aprés ski spots.

3. Arrabelle at Vail Square

Arrabelle at Vail Square offers old European charm and is conveniently located in the center of the village. The hotel features amenities for relaxation such as the heated pools, hot tubs, 10,000-square-foot spa area.

4. The Sebastian-Vail

The Sebastian-Vail is a luxury property that offers a range of lodging options, from standard hotel rooms to a 12-person penthouse. It also features multiple hot tubs, a game room, a spa, and a bar for guests to enjoy.

Best Things To Do in Vail, Colorado

Snowmobile on a snowy mountain slope.

The most enjoyable Vail experiences are those that you enjoy doing. While skiing and snowboarding are popular among visitors, there are also other numerous thrilling activities to engage in. This Vail travel guide runs down some of the unique activities, and excursions you can do during your visit:

1. Explore the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

Nestled at the highest elevation among botanical gardens in the United States, this stunning destination offers visitors the chance to admire exotic plants and flowers while taking a guided tour or a scenic hike. The gardens also host educational programs for all ages.

2. Learn about the history of snowboarding and skiing.

Whether you’re a fan of winter sports or not, the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum is a must-visit. Discover the evolution of skiing and snowboarding through interactive exhibits and guided tours, offered on Tuesdays and Fridays.

3. Embrace Après ski culture.

Village below a snowy mountain slope during dawn time.

Après ski is a big part of what makes Vail special, offering a range of activities from scenic slopes to lively bars. In addition to the bar and club scenes, après ski also includes live music, comedy shows, scavenger hunts, and yoga.

4. Indulge in culinary delights.

Vail is home to some of the best restaurants, each offering a unique dining experience. From classic American breakfast at The Little Diner Restaurant to traditional cooking techniques at Mountain Standard, and rustic urban dining at Matsuhisa, there’s something for everyone.

5. Take a scenic ride on the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

Experience the breathtaking views of the mountains as you take an 8-minute Eagle Bahn Gondola ride from Lionshead’s pedestrian village to the top of Epic Discovery. This is a great way to start your ski vacation or simply enjoy a scenic ride.

6. Go on a snowmobiling tour.

Discover the beauty of the surrounding mountains with a snowmobiling tour. These tours offer stunning views of the valley and surrounding peaks and come in various lengths, making them suitable for both first-time and experienced riders. With Vail Backcountry Tours, you can enjoy a comfortable and safe tour that showcases the best of the valley.

Getting To Vail, Colorado

Use this Vail travel guide to easily get around the area.

Pink flowers, a steel bridge, and a row of residential houses.

The quickest and most convenient way to reach Vail is to fly to the Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), which is around a 35-40 minute drive from Vail. This airport provides easy access to an interstate highway, avoiding the frequently snow-closed Vail Pass and Eisenhower Tunnel. You can book transportation services to pick you up from the airport if the snow makes it difficult to reach other locations.

If you’re looking for more affordable flights, you can fly into Denver and either rent a car or take the Colorado Mountain Express shuttle. The shuttle runs hourly and costs between $60 to $100. The two-hour drive from Denver will give you a glimpse of the stunning views that await you in Vail.

Key Takeaway

Vail truly lives up to its name as a world-class ski destination. With its vast snow-covered terrain and exceptional skiing trails, this mountain town offers a unique and unforgettable winter sports experience. During warmer seasons, Vail’s unique blend of Coloradan and European alpine scenery also creates a distinctive atmosphere that sets it apart from any other place. No wonder why many people keep coming back to Vail year after year.

Enjoy seamless travel across Vail with Black Mountain Limo!

If you’re planning on staying in Vail, Colorado for an extended period of time and want to make the most of your trip, renting a car is your best bet. Black Mountain Limo offers public transportation services to help you conveniently get to your destination . Our Breckenridge limo services are designed to ensure your safety and comfort as you take in all that Vail, Colorado, has to offer.

About the Author

Worth Parker
Worth Parker

at the University of Colorado—graduated class of '04. Worth moved to Breckenridge in 2005 and has lived in the area since. He has been in the mountain resort passenger transportation industry since 2005 and started Black Mountain Limo in 2016.

He enjoys outdoor activities, including skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and kayaking. Worth has worked as a professional raft guide in the summer for the past 15 years. He currently lives in Frisco with his wife, Jessica, and two daughters—Emerson, five years old, and Coralynn, two years old.

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