Vail on a Budget

Summer vacations are more than just an entry on a to-do list or multiple line items on a bank statement, they are a time to hang out, relax and have fun. At the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa, we believe the words free, affordable, fun and awesome can be used in the same sentence to describe your next summer vacation in Vail. Families looking for an affordable way to visit Vail can take advantage of the following free or moderately priced activities on property and off property.

Free Activities at Vail Cascade


  • Hit the pool for dive-in movie nights at the hotel’s heated infinity-edge swimming pool (floaties included!)
  • Stargaze by the hotel’s outdoor fire pit and enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate
  • Unleash your inner competitor with RC boat races in the hotel’s outdoor pool
  • Make good on your New Year’s resolution and hit the 78,000-sq. ft Aria fitness club for a game of basketball or racquetball
  • Soak and relax in one of three outdoor hot tubs overlooking Gore Creek
  • Borrow board games from the front desk for game time in-room or in the hotel’s library (i.e. memory, chess, sorry, operation, Monopoly, etc.)

Moderately Priced

  • Cascade KidVenture 1-2 hour day craft camps ($10-25)
  • Rent an indoor tennis court for a round of family tennis ($30 per hour)
  • Check out the Aria fitness schedule for classes and yoga (cost varies by class) 

Free Activities in Vail

On the move in Vail

  • Splash around in the Children’s Fountain located in front of Fuzzywig’s Candy Factory in the heart of Vail Village. Children of all ages can be found splashing around.
  • Head over to Lionshead to enjoy a myriad of free, family activities at The Lionshead Family Saturday Afternoon Club.
  • Learn to fish with complimentary daily casting clinics with Gore Creek Fly Fisherman in Vail Village along the Gore Creek Promenade.
  • Join Vail Sports for free ‘Fun Rides.’ These one-hour guided rides travel through Lionshead Village, Vail Village, and Golden Peak. Bring a bike or rent one.
  • Join Walking Mountains Science Center on a free guided nature walk, daily Monday-Saturday.
  • Head to the LionsHead parking structure and try out Vail’s free skatepark, which features a half-pipe, pyramid, multiple ramps, transitions, rails and banks, plus a street course area.
  • Hiking around Vail and atop Vail Mountain is always free!
  • Explore the Vail Recreation Path, a 15 mile stretch that is surrounded by 350,000 acres of forest.
  • Burn off some energy at one of Vail’s town parks, including Ford Park, Pirateship Park, Donovan Park, or Bighorn Park. The bonus, each is different!
  • Enjoy a free hour long walking tour of Vail’s public art collection.
  • Children 12 and under can ride the Eagle Bahn gondola to the top of Vail Mountain and Adventure Ridge for free with a paying adult (max. 3 children per adult). 

Mountain top music and culture

  • Enjoy one of the many incredible events happening throughout the summer, many of which are free to attend: Teva Mountain Games, Vail America Days, Vail Arts Festival, Vail Farmer’s Market, Vail Antique Show, Colorado Grand just to name a few!
  • Check out the many free sports tournaments taking place at the Ford Park and Vail Athletic Fields, including some of the nation’s best soccer and lacrosse teams and players.
  • Enjoy the Bud Light Hot Summer Nights concert series with shows ranging from rock to country to bluegrass to funk and beyond. 
  • Check out the free Blue Creek Children’s Theater Company’s ‘Family Saturday Afternoon Club,’ an afternoon of kid’s fun, crafts and interactive projects.

Sites and Sights

  • Enjoy the highest botanical gardens in the world at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Take in a tour or attend an educational program.
  • Visit the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum to learn about the history of Vail, skiing and the 10th Mountain Division with interactive exhibits and more!
  • Stop by the Vail Nature Center, a seven acres forest, meadow and stream to explore or take in one of the many educational programs offered.


Parking at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures are free all summer. The Vail Cascade has a free shuttle service that runs from the hotel to Lionshead and Vail Village. In town, the Vail bus system is free, so leave your car at home and tour Vail via its free bus system, one of the largest free transit system in the nation.

So head up to the mountains and Vail Cascade this summer!

To post a comment, type your comment and select Post Comment at the bottom of the form; after being approved your comment will appear directly underneath the post you replied to.