Take a Break Outdoors: Popular Summer Mountain Vacations in the U.S.

young group on a mountain vacation looking at snow covered caps

In most of the country, it gets hot and humid during the summer months. What can you do but head for the hills, where the increased elevation means a cool mountain vacation at a resort town or National Park.

More and more ski resorts are creating unique, year-round experiences filled with numerous activities, festivals and concerts. Outdoor adventures like hiking, biking, horseback riding, river rafting, and fishing make for an active break. The U.S. is home to several mountain ranges that attract couples and families for a relaxing retreat in the great outdoors. Take a look at some popular options for your next mountain vacation.

Also read: Why You Should Get Travel Insurance for Domestic Trips

Rocky Mountain Vacations

The Rocky Mountains are probably the best-known range in the U.S. With over 10,000 acres of skiable terrain and dozens of skiing destinations, a Rocky mountain vacation is a skier’s paradise. But, resort towns like Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge are open for guests all four seasons of the year. Summer visitors enjoy golfing, biking and mountain adventures set against spectacular alpine scenery. A full calendar of summer-only events and festivals are hosted in towns like Snowmass and Telluride. Food & wine festivals and music concerts attract couples in search of a romantic escape. Adventurers love the variety offered by a Rocky Mountain vacation whether it’s rafting the Colorado River, biking mountain trails, or soaking in natural hot springs. 

Also read: Where to Travel for the Most Scenic Drives in America

Lake Tahoe

Further west in California is the show-stopper - Lake Tahoe. With unreal blue water in the lake and powder on the mountains, you can ski and swim in one stop during a spring break trip. You’ll find world-class skiing at Squaw Valley and Heavenly Mountain Resort. The lake's calm water makes it ideal for stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. Add on a daytrip to Virginia City, NV to see a perfectly preserved frontier town.

Also read: 6 Reasons to Insure Your Ski Trip

Smoky Mountain Vacations

North Carolina and Tennessee share the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features forests, rivers and waterfalls set amidst the hazy mountain vistas that gave the Park its name. As the school year winds down, many families start to think about a summer trip to Gatlinburg for a Smoky Mountain vacation. Consider booking a cabin or vacation rental for more of the comforts of home. At higher elevations, cooler temperatures allow for backpacking hikes and overnight campouts without the risk of heatstroke and dehydration.

Funky Asheville is another good base for your Smoky Mountain vacation with four Park entrances within an hour’s drive.  Artisan bakeries and Southern-style restaurants have created a culinary scene worth trying. Browse local art galleries for unique pottery and paintings. For a real challenge, climb the 700+ steps to the top of the Chimney Rock State Park’s overlook for a spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Find your spot to relax and leave the stress of office worries behind.


Another destination for a family-oriented mountain vacation is the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and the nearby Pocono Mountains. Summer is a great time for mountain vacations with the extended family since the kids are out of school. But before you book anything, take a look at these tips for a smooth family vacation

Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs ski resort is open for skiers and snow boarders during the winter months. During the summer, fly fishing and zip lines will keep the entire family occupied. Any time of the year is ideal for a night or two at Great Wolf Lodge or Camelback indoor waterpark to swim, slide and float your cares away. While driving along Pennsylvania’s two-lane highways in Amish country, you might come across a horse-drawn buggy. The Amish,  dress simply, eschew motorized transportation & machinery and also make an amazing Shoo-fly pie – seek one out. 

Also read: The Best Ski Resorts and Destinations in the U.S.

New England

Classic New England is home to Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Berkshires spanning western Massachusetts. The region is known for bucolic hills and highlands combined with charming towns and edgy dining options. Massachusetts’ Ramblewild adventure park has a ropes course and zip lines built into the canopy of a sustainable forest.  Stop in at the Norman Rockwell museum in nearby Stockbridge, MA which houses the largest collection of the illustrator’s work.

Adirondack Mountains

Venture into New York State for a visit to Lake Placid. Home to the 1980 Winter Olympics, the bobsled track in the sports complex is still open for rides. Lake Placid specializes in winter sports, but also welcomes summer hikers seeking to scale Whiteface Mountain in nearby Wilmington, NY which is one of the highest peaks in the Adirondack Mountains.

Travel Insurance Can Help Protect Your Vacation

We recommend travel insurance for any vacation, but especially when traveling to a mountainous destination, where there will likely be outdoor activities, you could be in a remote area and especially if family is traveling with you.

Some ways a travel insurance plan can help (here are some more):

  • If an emergency illness or accident occurs, a travel insurance plan from Generali Global Assistance includes coverages, like Emergency Assistance and Transportation that can help save the day.
  • Anytime your itinerary includes a rental car, you should protect your trip with Rental Car Damage coverage to help protect against costs associated with collisions or theft. You can add that coverage to any plans on this site, and it comes included with our Premium plan.
  • If you’ve booked a ski or golf vacation, it’s even more important that your gear arrive on time and in one piece. Our Preferred and Premium travel insurance plans include coverages for sporting equipment, so you don’t miss a day of the action if your equipment is delayed, lost or damaged.


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