Summer Vacation in the Mountains – “How can I save on my summer vacation?” Is one of the most frequently asked questions of travel editors. One of our favorite responses is to suggest an adventure into the mountains. While tourist groups flock to busy beach destinations, ski resorts remain relatively low-key. And because lodges make the most profit when it snows, prices drop quickly in the summer months. Plus, the local mountains are often very beautiful and offer lots of fun summer activities such as kayaking, hiking, and biking, as well as the gondola and alpine rides.
Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or significant others, you can always find affordable and comfortable ski lodges. Even often with stunning views, and will have easy access to restaurants, shops, and activities in the ski village. From the Rockies to the Green Mountains, ski resorts across North America have provided summer vacations. Here are a few examples, all for under 500 USD.
Discovering a Summer Vacation Experience in the Mountains
The first destination for Summer Vacation in the Mountains is Breckenridge in Colorado. Colorado resorts have some of the best deals, and Breckenridge is following suit with its summer vacation deals. One of the best is the “Summer Kick-Off Special,” which is great for the June holidays.
For example, the mountain view rooms with two queen beds at The Lodge at Breckenridge start at 86.25 USD for a mid-week stay in June. The total of three nights came to 397.20 USD (tax included). This breaks down to 99.30 USD per person for a family of four. And since the lodge is dog friendly, you can bring your dog too.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs with a round-trip airfare (including tax) to Denver, the nearest major airport:
- USD 159 (airfare from Los Angeles using American) + USD 99.03 (hotel) = USD 258.03 per person
- USD 175 (airfare from Houston using Frontier) + USD 99.03 (hotel) = USD 274.03 per person
- USD 294 (airfare from New York using Frontier) + USD 99.03 (hotel) = USD 393.03 per person
Even if you depart from the most expensive cities we mention here, you still have plenty of cash in your budget to pay for a rental car, activities, and meals. And remember, you don’t have to limit yourself to this departure city. Because chances are you will find a plane ticket from your base that fits your budget.
Mammoth Mountain, California
The next destination for Summer Vacation in the Mountains is Mammoth Mountain In California. Mammoth Mountain has released the High Sierra Stay and Bike Package from 76 USD per night, based on double occupancy. This offer is valid from June 20 to September 22 and includes lodging and an all-day bike pass that allows access to over 90 miles of trails and uphill transportation via gondola, shuttle, and chairlift.
In June and July, a three-night stay for a standard room on the slopes of the Mammoth Mountain Inn comes to USD 487.71* (tax included), or USD 243.86 when sharing a room.
Below is a breakdown of the costs with a roundtrip airfare (including tax) to Reno, Sacramento, or San Francisco, the nearest major airports:
- 203 USD (airfare from Phoenix to Reno using US Airways) + 243.86 USD (hotel) = 446.86 USD per person
- 203 USD (airfare from Portland to San Francisco using United) + 243.86 USD (hotel) = $446.86 per person
- 250 USD (airfare from San Diego on United) + 243.86 USD (hotel) = 493.86 USD per person
*Note: a 15 USD booking fee may apply.
The next destination for Summer Vacation in the Mountains is Killington in Vermont. Killington applies East Coasters to a Summer Adventure Package that combines lodging with a day pass at the Pico Mountain Adventure Center and offers activities such as alpine slides, miniature golf, and wall climbing. You can also add mountain biking to it. Rates start at 58 USD per person, per night (based on four people sharing a room), and are available from late June to mid-October.
When we checked out, we found the price for 84.55 USD at the Inn of the Six Mountains. Three nights and a mountain biking adventure ticket for a family of four (two adults and two children), totals 428.28 USD, including taxes and fees. Divide that number by four people and you only have to pay 107.07 USD per person.
Here’s a breakdown of the cost of round-trip airfare (including tax) to Burlington, Vermont, the nearest major airport:
- USD 119 (airfare from Baltimore on AirTran) + USD 107.07 (hotel) = USD 226.07 per person
- USD 210 (airfare from Pittsburgh using US Airways) + USD 107.07 (hotel) = USD 317.07 per person
- USD 255 (airfare from Atlanta using AirTran) + USD 107.07 (hotel) = USD 362.07 per person
Whistler, British Columbia
The next destination for Summer Vacation in the Mountains is Whistler in British Columbia. When considering a mountain vacation, don’t forget Canada. Whistler, for example, has a two-part summer offer. First, save 50 percent off your third night, and then receive up to 20 percent off certain activities like golf, white water rafting, wildlife tours, and even spa treatments. Three-star accommodation rates start at 80 USD per night and must be booked before 30 June.
When we checked, the hotel price at Marketplace Lodge was reduced to 66.67 USD taking into account the price of the third half night. When added together, the three nights total 230 CAD (including taxes and fees), or 115 USD per person (about 114 USD; see XE.com for current exchange rates) if you share with others.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs with a roundtrip airfare (including tax) to Vancouver, the nearest major airport:
- 306 USD (airfare from Boise on United) + 114 USD (hotel) = 420 USD per person
- 322 USD (airfare from San Francisco on Air Canada) + 114 USD (hotel) = 436 USD per person
- 386 USD (airfare from Los Angeles on Air Canada) + 114 USD (hotel) = 500 USD per person
While flying to Vancouver is a bit more expensive than to the other destinations I mentioned, summer savings at ski resorts can make vacations more affordable and within budget.
And, as with any of these mountain destinations, driving can be more cost-effective and comfortable than flying. Depends on where you’re going. Also, if you have some wiggle room in your budget, you can upgrade your accommodation or stay more than three nights and still pay no more than 500 USD per person.
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More Mountain Offers (Summer Vacation in the Mountains)
Still, want more ideas? United Vacations offers 50 USD discounted air and hotel packages for three nights or more, plus 1,000 bonus Mileage Plus miles per reservation for mountain destinations. You can travel until October 31, as long as you book by May 31 and use the promotional code “SUMMER FUN.” Participating mountain resorts include Banff/Lake Louise, Whistler, Lake Tahoe, Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail, and Jackson Hole. Additionally, Delta Vacations has special offers on discounted rooms at Breckenridge and free nights at Fairmont Resorts, which owns properties in Banff, Tremblant, and Whistler. And don’t stop there. Be sure to check your favorite mountain resort website for summer specials.
Know of any other mountain resorts that make great summer destinations? Comment below what makes it so special! Or, feel free to suggest new Escapes destinations under 500 USD, because I’m always looking for fresh ideas.