Vail, Colorado: The most perfect vacation spot ever except for one MAJOR problem

“Why don’t we live here?” I literally uttered this phrase every single day we were in Vail. And now that I’m home and I look out the window and the only view I have is of our weird neighbor who vacuums her front lawn and plants fake flowers in her yard (I kid you not), I’m still questioning why on earth we’re not living in Vail. Or at least Colorado.

I already miss the mountains, the hiking, and the crisp morning air. I think the only thing I don’t miss are the exorbitant prices and the gas station chain called the Kum & Go. WHO the heck named it that?!!!!  

So in case you’re an idiot like me and don’t live in Vail, you absolutely need to visit it sometime to understand what I’m talking about. It is magical. And there are like a thousand things to do there. But in case you don’t feel like doing all that annoying research and planning, I did it for you. You’re welcome! 


So there are two amazing hikes we did while we were in Vail, and they were both INCREDIBLE.

Hanging Lake hike

It was like walking into a postcard! The most important thing I’m going to tell you about this hike is that you NEED RESERVATIONS and try to get a time slot that is early in the morning. Yes, I know you’re on vacation and you want to sleep in, but this hike is in Glenwood Springs where they have flash floods so they will literally evacuate the trail if it rains which tends to happen more in the afternoon. And you are required to drive a vehicle to the trail in case this happens.

You can’t go in the lake, but I watched a woman wade in and I was about to start yelling at her until I realized she was a ranger who was getting water samples. That would have been mortifying!

The hike is a constant incline, so it’s not easy, but I also wouldn’t say it’s crazy hard. Just take it slowly, and drink plenty of water.

Once you get to the lake on top of the mountain (crazy, right?!), be sure to hike a few minutes farther to Spouting Rock—two gorgeous waterfalls!!!

I yelled “Echo!!!” into this and it did not echo back, but it did look at me like I was crazy.

I stood here for like five minutes looking stupid so my hubby could take a picture of me “drinking” the waterfall.

Booth Falls hike

This is a popular hike I found on the All Trails app, which is an awesome app if you don’t have it. It literally tells you how long and how hard hikes are with tons of reviews from real people. This was a gorgeous hike through woods and meadows with a decent incline. The falls are about 2+ miles in, and they are beautiful.

This is where I sang The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music and my hubby considered divorcing me.

This is me telling my hubby to go look off in the distance so I can pretend to get a candid picture.

One step back, and we would have fallen to our death. Fun times!

It’s not an easy hike, but kids can absolutely do it. Just go slow and be VERY careful when you get to the falls. You’re above them and you don’t want anyone to go kersplat. And if you can see the falls but not well enough, hike up the path a bit further. The view gets better!

P.S. You are not allowed to drive to this hike because there is literally zero parking. You must be dropped off for it.

P.P.S. If you need new hiking shoes, I just bought new ones and they were absolutely perfect in every way. I even rolled my ankle once and these totally protected it and it didn’t get hurt at all. And they came with pink shoelaces! (I am an Amazon Affiliate and can earn from qualifying purchases) 


Holy crap, are electric bikes AWESOME!!! Not cheap at all, but an incredible way to travel long distances in Colorado where there are a crapload of hills. Ours were $125 each, but you get them for the entire day, so start early to get your money’s worth! Basically you still have to pedal, but like super easy pedaling, and the bikes can go over 20 mph!

What you can’t see in this picture is my throbbing crotch and tush. And not for good reasons.

We road our bikes from Vail all the way to Beaver Creek. AHH-MAYZING!!!! It was 13 miles of riding between the mountains along a gorgeous river. A short part of it is next to the road, but most of it was on a bike path. We went to Beaver Creek, had a little lunch at Blue Mosse Pizza, walked around a little, and then went home.

Don’t forget to bring something to pad your butt!!! That was my only complaint… for days. That seat was not made for lady parts.


Me putting my paddle down to take a picture. I conveniently forgot to ever pick it back up again.

I lovvvve kayaking, and this one did not disappoint. It was through Adventure Paddle Tours in Frisco, so a bit of a drive from Vail. At first I was annoyed they make you rent a double, but then I was like, oh wait, so I can just sit back and relax while my hubby paddles?! Again, go early in the morning before the wind picks up. The trip was verrrryyyyy lowkey. And Frisco is super cute, so we stuck around for lunch at a Highside Brewing and grabbed coffee at Abbey’s Coffee next door after and they were both GREAT!  


Oh my Gawwwwd is the food delicious in Vail, but be prepared to spend a pretty penny in the top places. We’ll be eating ramen and Kraft mac & cheese for the next few months, which I don’t really consider to be a sacrifice. There are a few restaurants I HIGHLY recommend.


Our favorite place to sit is at the bar. So much action to watch!

I’m giving this one my top vote. The bar is gorrrrgeous, the bartenders were super fun to chat with, and the food was beyond delicious. I went out on a limb and ordered the crispy duck and it was to die for. I also ordered the cheapest bottle of wine on the menu because I had a small heart attack when I saw the prices, and it was delicious.

Sweet Basil

In case you’re wondering, I did NOT put ice in my wine. It’s sangria!!

Sweet Basil pretty much ties with Vintage for first place. Phenomenal meal. I had the pork chop and wished I had a bigger stomach to fit it all in. I couldn’t eat another bite. Oh wait, there’s sticky toffee pudding cake?!!!! I knew I wore an elastic waistband for a reason!! You guys, I have never had a better dessert in my life. That is not an exaggeration. Even my hubby who barely eats desserts was in heaven.

Mountain Standard

This place is the happening place to go. It’s right on the river and feels so dark and cozy. I highly recommend getting the pimento dip appetizer!

This is why I could never be a food blogger—waiting to eat because you have to take pictures first!!

I HIGHLY recommend the margarita!

Bully Ranch

Sit outside on their gorgeous patio if you can. And their fried chicken sandwich was to die for. Clearly I was inhaling it too fast to remember to take any pictures. 


Now most bloggers would include a crapload of pictures of their hotel with lots of pretty images of a white fluffy bed and multiple breakfast entrees ordered through room service. A. I am NOT “most bloggers,” and B. we couldn’t afford the room service where we stayed. I took one picture in the hotel. Just one. Here it is. 

There are soooo many things to do in Vail, you will hardly spend any time in your hotel room, so all I recommend is that you stay somewhere comfortable and convenient. And they say you don’t need a car, but we liked having one. We used it to grab groceries at Safeway, to go to Hanging Lake, and to drive to Frisco. Can you do Vail without a car and just walk everywhere? Absolutely. But if you want to venture places, it’s nice to have one. FYI, we rented our car through Fox and it was a nightmare. NIGHT-MARE. But it was like half the price as the other places. I told my hubby never again, but we’ll see. Sometimes you get what you pay for and I’d rather save my money for margaritas and sticky toffee pudding cake.

Alrighty then, I’m sure you’re still wondering what the MAJOR problem is with Vail. The problem is that you will literally want to move there. Like my hubby and I have talked about it at least once a day since we left. So while you’re strolling around Vail, you have to do one VERY important thing. Stop by any of the realtors and take a peek at the listing sheets. It’ll quickly show you that a 96 square foot basement studio apartment with bars on the windows goes for 2.6 million. I’m exaggerating. But only a little.

If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it! And share it with your spouse so you can convince them to go to Vail on vacation. Thank you!!

There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Jennifer Stewart at 7:47 pm

    Heh. I have been living this problem (albeit with Breckenridge, not Vail) since 2010. Colorado is my SOUL STATE. I am actually here again right now for literally the 8th time so far this year. I have beggared our family to get us here As Often As Possible. I just put a down payment on a cute condo here in town, finally. Best part is, I can rent it out year round when we aren’t here, and it will all but pay for itself! Food for thought? 🙂 (Also, I am dying laughing that you mentioned Frisco is “a bit of a drive” from Vail, but not Glenwood Springs??)

  2. Laura at 8:01 pm

    Love this post! I lived in Beaver Creek briefly in my 20’s and it was a game-changing experience. Your post makes me want to go back for a visit for sure!

  3. Suzanne Bessette-Smith at 8:51 pm

    Went to Vail (doing a driving trip in CO) last fall; tried to do Hanging Lake hike; had reservations. We got cancelled due to flooding and roads out. Nevertheless, agree that Vail and the area was great to visit. Would happily go back.

  4. Ginger Rode at 10:41 pm

    Colorado is amazing – and yes very expensive to live here!! But I really like the guy photo bombing your dinner picture from Sweet Basil!! I totally waved back at him!!

  5. Jules at 6:24 am

    I’m a native upstate New Yorker and we moved to CO in the 80’s. I have loved living here and I agree with you on all points. I’m sad to say I haven’t been to Hanging Lake yet but I’ve been attempting to rectify this for the past two years (canceled due to fires/flooding). I’m feeling lucky with my reservation this year and hope to get some cool snaps like you did. Loved this post 🙂

  6. Kelli Carlin-Auger at 11:06 am

    You need to come visit us in Ketchikan, AK! If the sun is shining when you visit, you will love it here too! We have all of the activities you love!

  7. Christin Harding at 12:10 pm

    I’m going to 2nd the above post from Kelli about Alaska (visited last March and literally am planning to go back again shortly) but if you want the amazing views and hikes and waterfalls, come to Wisconsin. We don’t have mountains (and I get the appeal-I’ve relatives in CO and visited regularly growing up) but we have bluffs and rock formations that will take your breath away, more lakes than Minnesota, (for realz) color that CO has NEVER seen, and the cost is about 1/10th what you’ll find in Vail.

  8. Suzie at 9:27 pm

    We are headed there for my bday in sept (kid free). Writing down all your suggestions although we will only be there 3 nights. What hotel is this? Would you recommend?

  9. Maria at 12:35 pm

    Hi there! I agree with you 100%. I actually do live in Vail and is my paradise… I love the atmosphere here and that most of the people are very active and happy to be here. Great article!