If you thought you needed to don your skis to take advantage of some of our country’s favorite mountain towns, think again.
Off-season travel is one of the best ways to hack your summer vacation. Visiting cities like Aspen, Park City, and Stowe during summer is an underutilized way to score major deals at hotels and resorts eager to draw guests. You’ll dodge crowds, travel light (or, at least lighter) and enjoy an unconventional array of attractions and sights, without any of the high season frills or price tags.
Blissful temperatures make Aspen, Colorado a key summertime destination, thanks to its spectacular mountain ranges (the highest peaks are snow-capped even in the warmest months) and lush valleys blanketed by wildflowers. Instead of hitting the frosty slopes, go camping, white-water rafting, and fly-fishing on the Frying Pan or Roaring Fork River. Resorts, such as The Little Nell and St. Regis Aspen, help transform the city into a summer playground. Colorado residents, for example, looking for a semi-staycation, can take advantage of The Little Nell’s 40 percent-off rates this summer.
Vermont’s favorite ski town may be swarmed with well-heeled ski bunnies during the winter, but its verdant forests are just as appealing in the summer. Leave your jackets at home and head to the picturesque town square, full of quintessential New England storefronts (the general store, the post office) and a white church spire towering overhead. The oldest long-distance trail in the country, The Long Trail, is best enjoyed when the ice and snow have melted. The trail winds across the Green Mountain ridges, allowing you to summit Vermont’s highest peaks.
Park City, Utah
What could be better than balmy summer weather that extends straight through October? Try hotel and resort rates as much as 80 percent lower than usual. Of course, the world-famous snow sports spot plays host to many outdoor activities in the summer, too. Resorts offer prime mountain biking trails and (often) free gondola rides for an atypical panoramic of the Wasatch Mountains. Festivals are also a huge draw: attend the Park City Food & Wine Classic, the Deer Valley Music Festival, and the Canyons Resort Summer Film Series, and you won’t even miss your snowboard.
Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure.Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.