Remember the days when ski areas in summer were like temporary ghost towns, with just a chairlift swinging in the breeze as a reminder of good times past? Those days are long gone, as resorts now promote hiking and biking trails, scenic gondola rides, and kids’ activity centers to draw visitors in search of outdoor fun and cooler temps. And they continue to up the ante with live entertainment, mountain bike parks, zip lines—even stuff for the family dog. 

Who needs winter? Here are six resorts to check out this summer for family fun (all also offer kids’ daycare and camps, but we’ve focused on activities you can do together).

1. Mont Tremblant

Tremblant QUE family vista

Mont Tremblant provides beautiful vistas and a host of summertime activities for the whole family. Photo Courtesy of Mont Tremblant.

The Scene:

Tremblant’s pedestrian village stays vibrant all summer, with a wealth of activities and play areas, evening entertainment, and outdoor dining. A Euro flavor sets it apart from the typical cookie-cutter base area, as do the beckoning shores of adjacent Lac Tremblant, where you can swim at the beach club or rent boats to cruise or sail the 7.5-mile-long lake.

Kid Cool Factor:

The Skyline Luge takes the alpine slide concept one better, letting you steer (and brake) a three-wheeled low-rider cart down a twisty, 1.5-kilometer paved track. Even little ones (under six) can go as long as they ride with an adult. Kids over seven can pilot their own mini motor boats—replicas of Mississippi River steam boats—around the small Mirror Lake from the Captain’s Harbor (younger kids can go with an adult). Ride the gondola to the top of Mont Tremblant for the twice-a-day birds of prey show, which lets you get eye to eye with trained raptors. The daily free family entertainment includes crafts workshops, treasure hunts, pirate storytelling and the twice-a-week Crazy Parade, a carnival-like event with music, dancing, games and small-gift handouts—it doesn’t start until 9 p.m., though, so it’s best suited for older kids.

Close-By:

For kids eight and older, and adults, the Diable Via Ferrata at nearby Mont-Tremblant National Park is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Based on climbing routes in the Alps, a via ferrata course lets you rock-climb with the aid of built-in handles, steps and bridges while you’re safely attached to a steel cable. 

Dog-Friendly:

Dogs are welcome in the base village but not on the mountain itself. The Westin has two pet-friendly rooms for dogs under 40 pounds, and amenities include use of a Westin Heavenly dog bed as well as food and water bowls. The Fairmont Tremblant accepts dogs under 50 pounds for $25 extra per night; four-legged guests are greeted with a bed, food and water bowls, and biscuits at check-in.

2. Stowe

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The Stowe Attractions Park is a top destination for kids of all ages. Photo Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Resort.

The Scene:

Summer at Stowe has ramped up along with the resort’s improvements to the Spruce Peak base area, which include the large Stowe Mountain Lodge and a performing arts center. Within a few miles of each other, you also get Vermont’s highest peak, the charming town of Stowe, and a range of activities, outdoors and in. 

Kid Cool Factor:

Summit Mount Mansfield one of two ways—the 4.5-mile Auto Toll Road (opens May 18), which has been around for over 150 years, or the Gondola Skyride (opens June 22). From the top of each, short hiking trails lead to the Chin, and the top of the peak. In addition to a bungee tramp and a climbing wall, the base area’s Attractions Park includes an inflatable obstacle course, where your hyperactive tykes can burn off some energy by racing each other. The spa at the Stowe Mountain Lodge offers mini-facials, massages and mani-pedis for kids 12 and under as well as the 30-minute kids’ Chillax Session. 

Close-By:

About 45 minutes south of Stowe, Rock of Ages, in Graniteville (of course), offers tours of its 600-foot-deep granite quarry (once a setting for a Star Trek movie) and the chance to sandblast a take-home rock souvenir. There’s even a granite-bowling lane to try out. 

Dog-Friendly:

In addition to letting dogs stay ($50 per visit for dogs 100 pounds and under), Stowe Mountain Lodge also permits them on any of the hotel’s guided hikes. And, through mid-June, pooches can dine with their owners on the hotel’s patio Fridays to Sundays, noon to 6 p.m. The Burgers, Brews and Biscuits event, which helps benefit the North Country Animal Rescue League includes a dog menu with choices like ground salmon, brown rice and peas, as well as snickerpoodle cookies.

3. Beaver Creek

BVC1561 Sandra Spines rodeo calf scramble

The calf scramble at the weekly Beaver Creek Rodeo is a favorite for kids and their onlooking parents. Photo Courtesy of Beaver Creek Resort.

The Scene:

Family-oriented Beaver Creek doesn’t slack during the summer, maintaining a busy schedule of activities, live music and chairlift rides. The base area has favorite features like a bungee tramp, mini golf and panning for gems. And, just like in winter, the resort serves up its famous fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies every day at 3 p.m.

Kid Cool Factor:

Hiking is a popular activity at the resort, with a dedicated hiking center open in summer. The kid-oriented Hike-ology program has three self-guided trails, from 1- to 1.5-miles long, that highlight the natural environment through interactive features and games. Summer ice skating? Sure—the resort’s rink stays open all summer. Get out of the sun for a few hours at the Children’s Museum, where the hands-on exhibits include a fossil dig, science lab, toy construction vehicles and a do-it-yourself theater. Plus, it’s free! 

Close-By:

Check out bull riding, barrel racing, team roping and more at the weekly Beaver Creek Rodeo, Thursday nights from June 27 through August 15. Kids can sign up for the calf scramble and mutton bustin’. A free shuttle runs from the resort to the rodeo grounds in Avon. 

Dog-Friendly:

Beaver Creek recently started to welcome dogs; before, dogs had such a low profile that many thought the resort didn’t even allow them. After registering your pooch at the entrance gate, you can bring him to the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, where dogs up to 75 pounds can stay for a $50 one-time fee. They’ll get the use of a bed plus food and water bowls, and home-baked dog treats.

4. Squaw Valley

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Enjoying the scenic trails with the family at Squaw Valley. Photo Courtesy of Matt Palmer.

The Scene:

Squaw takes on a mellower vibe in summer, replacing the amped-up urgency of skiers gunning for first tracks on a powder day with scenic tram rides, outdoor dining and a mid-mountain pool/hot tub scene. But there’s still plenty going on. For instance, in July and August Tuesdays morph into Bluesdays, with free live blues music, lodging, shopping, food and drink specials. And free outdoor movies show every Thursday beginning in late June and going through August.

Kid Cool Factor:

The base village has mini golf, a ropes course and more, but definitely head up the tram (opens June 14), too, to High Camp. Here, at mid-mountain, kids can hang at the pool, lap the roller rink, play disc golf or tennis, geocache, play paintball (ages 10 and up) or ride the child-size zip line. Last summer they added a second, bigger zip line that adults can ride, too. Active families can also hike up Shirley Canyon to High Camp and then ride the tram down (or vice versa).

Close-By:

A paved, fairly-level bike path runs about seven miles from Squaw to Lake Tahoe. Rent bikes (and maybe a kids’ trailer) in the base village and pedal along this scenic route that follows the Truckee River.

Dog-Friendly:

Peaks and Paws, August 24-25, is a weekend-long party for dogs and their owners, with activities like the Mutt Strutt fun run, guided hikes and a tennis-ball fetching contest plus live music, beer and wine tasting, and pet-themed exhibits. Proceeds support the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe. Leashed dogs are allowed on the tram all summer.

5. Whistler Blackcomb

Creekside Whistler single-track

A mountain biker explores the singletrack around Creekside in Whistler. Photo by Steve Rogers/Tourism Whistler.

The Scene:

Whistler Blackcomb doesn’t skip a beat when it transitions to summer. The base village is a hub of activity as hikers, mountain bikers and even summer skiers head up the mountains. The Peak 2 Peak gondola, the highest lift of its kind, soars overhead between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. On Friday through Sunday evenings, BBQ dinners and live entertainment at the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler are popular among families.

Kid Cool Factor:

Whistler’s lift-served bike park is legendary among mountain bikers. Kids 6 to 12 can learn to nimbly zoom down trails through all-day lessons, with a max of four per group. The Nintendo Family Adventure Zone at Blackcomb’s base (opens June 15) adds a ride-in gyroscope, electric go karts, horseback rides, and a climbing web to more standard activities like mini golf and a bouncy house. Experience the novelty of mid-summer skiing on Blackcomb’s Horstman Glacier, which stays open until July 28, while watching future X Gamers hone their skills in the training camps held there.

Close-By:

Ride a bike four kilometers on the paved Valley Trail from Whistler Village to Meadow Park, on the River of Golden Dreams, where kids can cool down under the spray features at the free water park.

Dog-Friendly:

More than half of Whistler’s hotels are pet-friendly, and four local parks have off-leash areas. Fido will also want to check out the off-leash beaches: Canine Cove at Lost Lake and Barking Bay at Rainbow Park.

6. Big Sky 

Big Sky Dax Schieffer, Mtn Village Plaza

The Giant Swing in the Mountain Village Plaza at Big Sky can launch little ones some 30 feet into the air. Photo Courtesy of Big Sky Resort.

The Scene:

Big Sky Resort provides perhaps the quintessential Western summer vacation, with rugged peaks, ranches, close-at-hand outdoor recreation and the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park an hour’s drive away. Get a taste of the local scene at the free Thursday evening concerts at Town Center Park, with music from national acts.

Kid Cool Factor:

The resort has a variety of base-area and on-mountain activities, including zip lines, chairlift rides, paintball, archery, disc golf and a climbing wall. The Giant Swing at the base area sends you some 30 feet into the air. And the tandem zip line lets kids zoom along in pairs. Adventurous kids should check out the Lone Peak tram expeditions, a guided trip to the summit for awe-inspiring views into three states and maybe a goat sighting or two. 

Close-By:

Going to Montana and not getting on a horse just doesn’t seem right. Find your mounts and hit the trails at Cedar Mountain Corrals, which operates out of adjacent Moonlight Basin resort or Jakes Horses, just a few miles from the resort.

Dog-Friendly:

The Huntley Lodge has pet-friendly rooms, for $25 extra per night, per dog. Camp Big Sky’s Dog Days of Summer takes place August 10 at the community park, with agility courses, a dog-diving competition and a trail run for dogs and their owners.