Learning to ski or snowboard at an early age is the perfect way to help young children instill a love for winter. Exploring the slopes helps kids build self-confidence, meet new friends and develop a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.
Smugglers’ Notch Resort is a favorite winter destination for families for many reasons – from the programs at the Snow Sports University to the slope-side hot-chocolate-and-sing-along bonfires it’s the perfect place to learn to ski. But sadly, winter does come to an end leaving us with the question of where to spend our summer vacation.
Last summer my family was lucky enough to enjoy a complimentary two-day stay at Smugglers’ Notch and get a taste of just what makes it so special. This is a resort that is dedicated to making sure families have a great time and make memories together and it’s an ideal place for a multi-family or multi-generational trip even once the snow has melted.
Obviously you can’t ski in the summer, so just what is there to do at Smugglers’ Notch during the warmer months?
Swim Your Heart Out
Smuggs may be located in the true heart of the Green Mountains, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find lots of fabulous opportunities to get in the water. There are no fewer than eight pools to choose from and four of the swimming areas are actually water playgrounds with slides and rides. My kids loved Notchville Park, with its twister slide, Lily Pad Walk, and Cascade Pool.
Want a more natural swimming experience? Rum Runners’ Hideaway is a mountain reservoir that comes equipped with a giant water trampoline. You can also rent a canoe or paddleboat or hike and picnic along the shore.
Get Active in the Treetops
My family had so much fun on both the Zip Line Canopy Tour
and the Treetop Obstacle Course.
And I loved the confidence that the physical challenges and flying through the trees gave all of us. Both are led by friendly and expert guides and the obstacle course offers a tiered level of experience so that everyone in the family can try the challenge level that’s right for him or her.
Play a Few Rounds of Disc Golf
If you’ve never played before, disc golf involves throwing discs – you might also know then as Frisbee – into baskets set at regular intervals, just like on a traditional golf course. Smuggs has both an 18- and a 9-hole course as well as a pro shop where you can rent discs.
We spent an afternoon on the Brewster Ridge course and with the help of one of the golf shop pros were soon able to attempt some pretty technical woods shots (although I’ll admit a few trees did get whacked in our search for a hole-in-one).
Smuggs offers a variety of disc golf clinics for kids and adults and also has private lessons.
Hop on Your Mountain Bike
My family learned at Smuggs that mountain biking isn’t really the same thing as riding on the road. Luckily, there’s both a track and a new skills park where guests can practice before heading out onto the over 100 miles of single track riding to be found in the surrounding hills.
Sign up for a clinic or lesson and you’ll find the same personal attention as in Smuggs’ legendary ski instruction.
Stay in Airy Comfort
Smuggs has a wide variety of lodging options in five different communities or neighborhoods that line the side of the mountain. We stayed in the North Hill Community in one of the three-bedroom Kestrels condominiums.
There was plenty of room to spread out and play a game or two.
The condo was very well-equipped and had free wifi. We found everything we needed in the kitchen to make our meals. I would have loved to be there on a Monday morning when I could stock the fridge with supplies from Smuggs’ very own farmer’s market.
The screened-in porch was an especially nice feature. I could easily have spent a week hanging out there.
We were so busy exploring other parts of the resort that we didn’t make it over to the neighborhood indoor/outdoor aquatic center, which has its own water playground and volleyball court.
(My fellow Mama Adrienne wrote a post about choosing accommodations at Smuggs that’s a must-read for anyone planning a visit there.)
I love the village setting at Smuggs and the fact that you can ride your bike or walk to many parts of the resort. And any time you don’t feel like walking, make a quick phone call and a shuttle will come and pick you up.
Since we were only at Smuggs for a few days, I’ve only touched on the numerous things there are to do at Smuggs in the summer – the resort offers a daily calendar of family activities that includes everything from llama treks to fishing to geocaching to bonfires and bingo. And of course, you’re in the middle of the mountains so a hike is always an option. They’ve even got you covered on rainy days with the two teen hangouts with video games, pool, and ping-pong for older kids. Want some grownup time? The resort has daycare, programs, and camps for kids aged 6 weeks to 17 years.
Smuggs offers some great summer discounts for families that vacation together as well as free kids programs during the entire month of June.