For many visitors, the cool mountain temperatures and lack of crowds make summer in Park City, Utah, the best season to visit. If your family loves the outdoors, head to Park City for its welcoming small-town vibe and these nine family-friendly activities that you and your kids will love.
One of the easiest ways to explore Park City with kids is also the simplest: Take a hike. Wander the Park City ski resort trails for free in the summer season. Make the trek easier on tiny legs by taking a scenic lift ride to the top of Park City Mountain or Deer Valley Resort to start your hike. For an in-town option, walk on the Rail Trail. This mostly flat, path follows where the Union Pacific Railway once ran and features paved and unpaved portions through Park City. The best start location for this section is White Pine Touring. You can park for free and even rent bikes there. Follow the trail two miles from there to reach a playground that’s a great stopping point for tiny tots.
2. Mountain Biking
Going to school may be the last thing your kids want for their summer vacation—unless it’s mountain biking school. They (and you) can learn to ride on Deer Valley’s famed biking terrain at the school, mastering basics like stance, braking, cornering, and even riding the chairlift. Coaches help them perfect skills in the park before riding the trails, while you get in your own grown-up bike ride.
3. Stand Up Paddleboarding
The best place for kids to paddle in Park City is Deer Valley Resort’s Pebble Beach—located just two minutes from Historic Main Street. No motorized boats are allowed, making its waveless waters a perfect place for newbies to learn. Rent paddleboards fromPark City SUP’s waterside shop and practice your technique. If your kids are really looking to master the sport, send them to a SUP day camp where they’ll perfect their stroke, race, and play games on the boards at Pebble Beach.
Think ziplining is too scary for your kids? Take them to Park City Mountain Resort’s kid-friendly option, the Flying Eagle. Riders sit side-by-side on this two-person zipline that lets kids experience the thrill of a zipline without it being too intense. Kids must be 42" tall to ride, but there’s no weight minimum so it’s perfect for young children. If they loved Flying Eagle, but want more excitement, try the high-flying ZipRider. Riders soar 2,300 feet--reaching speeds of up to 50 mph—on this seated zipline above the alpine coaster with views of the towering Wasatch Mountains. Another option is the zipline rides available at Utah Olympic Park, just one of the many adventures available there (see below).
5. Getting a Rush at the Utah Olympic Park
Whether your kids are into exhilarating adventures or tamer fun, there’s plenty to do at the Utah Olympic Park, the site of ski jumping and bobsledding events at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Thrillseekers will love tubing on the Nordic ski jump landing ramps, free falling off a 65-foot drop tower, or barreling down the bobsled track. Or keep the adventuring riding the ziplines, taking on the ropes course, or watching the Flying Ace All Stars practice as they soar and spin up to 60 feet in the air before splashing down in the pool.
6. Exploring the Swaner Eco Preserve
Wander through wetlands with your little ones atSwaner Preserve and EcoCenter, a 1,200-acre nature preserve and ecocenter with free admission. Take a walk on the Wetland Discovery Trail to learn about the area’s history and ecosystem then climb a four-story tower for views of the preserve. For hands-on fun, hunt for geocaches on the trails using a GPS-enabled device.
7. Ice Skating
Ok, this one is technically indoors, but on a summer day, this is a fun way to cool off. Strap on some hockey or figure rental skates and race around the Olympic-sized skating rink atPark City Ice Arena. Rink is open year-round and welcoming to all—even tiny tots skating for the first time.
8. Riding the Alpine Slide or Coaster
Park City Mountain Resort’s Alpine Slide is one of the world’s longest, making it a must for your visit. Ride a chairlift to the top and choose from four tracks down. Race your kids or spouse on 3,000 feet of twisting, turning concrete track—controlling your own speed to maximize your fun—with views of Park City the whole way down. Kids 48 inches tall and up can drive their own sled, and children must be at least 2 years old to ride along with you. Once you’ve mastered the slide, try the Alpine Coaster. Your cart is automatically towed up the mountain, and you control the speed of your descent. Don’t be shy, take it to the max pace; your cart can’t derail from the tracks as you whizz down through the woods.
9. Summer Adventure Camp
Need a break from the kids for your own outdoor exploration? Send them to camp. Deer Valley’s Summer Adventure Day Camp, which welcomes babies up through 12-year-olds for one, three, and five-day sessions based out of the resort’s Snow Park Lodge. Each age group has their own play area with activities ranging from arts and crafts projects to indoor rock climbing. Outside, kids walk Deer Valley’s popular hiking trails, ride bikes, and join in on scavenger hunts. Camp is in session mid-June to mid-August each year.
Originally written by RootsRated Media for Utah Office of Tourism.