Vail vs. Palm Springs for a long weekend, we look at opportunities to wine, dine, relax and get outdoors in these two towns so you can decide for yourself.
Do you have a long weekend? Trying to decide where to spend it? For us the perfect long weekend destination is somewhere to relax, get outdoors, maybe hit a spa and still have plenty of things to do. Add some fantastic bars and restaurants and it’s the perfect spot for a long weekend getaway.
So, we decided to compare two seemingly different destinations to see what they offer for a long weekend getaway: Vail, Colorado and Palm Springs, California.
And you might find they have more in common than you think!
Vail, CO for a Long Weekend
When I think of Vail, Colorado, I think glitz and glamour. Vail is one of those places people go to be seen! But it also has a lot to offer and Vail is a wonderful place to spend a long weekend. You will leave with your batteries recharged no matter what you decide to do.
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Best time to Visit Vail for a Long Weekend
Colorado is known for its great weather and Vail is a great destination for a long weekend year-round. Winter is ski season with peak times around Christmas/New Year and Spring Break. The opening and closing dates of the ski resort varies each year depending on snow fall, but by Christmas the season is usually in full swing and lasts through March. There are several winter festivals including CarniVail in early February and usually some professional ski or snowboarding competitions are held at Vail each year.
Summer at Vail is fantastic with great summer weather, festivals and a range of outdoor activities. The Vail Art Festival is in late June, and there is a series of outdoor concerts every year. The altitude means Vail is never very hot so it can make a great break from the summer heat.
And in the autumn, the aspens are spectacular. Octoberfest happens for two weeks in September. The days are sunny and the nights are cool.
Outdoor Activities in Vail, CO
You probably know Vail is a great choice for skiing in the winter. The ski resort itself is huge, you can easily ski there for a week and find new trails to explore. And the après-ski options are fantastic with a wide range of bars, restaurants and shops right in the village. And if you don’t ski, there are still many things you can do including snow shoeing, dog sledding, snow mobiling, ice skating or a visit to the hot springs!
In the summer golf, hiking, biking, fishing, hot air ballooning, and rafting are but a few of the choices. You can take the gondola to the top to visit the adventure park, go hiking or biking, or just have a meal and enjoy the scenery. For all you golfers, the altitude gives some extra lift to your drives. You might play one of your best rounds ever.
Food, Wine and More in Vail
With a variety of festivals all year round, there is usually something happening. In the summer on the weekends there is a market in Vail Village.
Vail Brewing Co is a craft brewery in Vail and the 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company is the local distillery. There are many fine dining options and the local pub all within easy walking distance in Vail Village, which is a pedestrian zone. A free shuttle runs around Vail making it easy to get anywhere without having to drive.
If you go to Vail, CO for a Long Weekend
Vail is approximately 100 miles west of Denver, up I-70. It is an easy drive or you can take a shuttle from Denver International Airport. There is a free shuttle around Vail, so you can get by without a car.
There is also a small airport in Eagle which is the closest airport to Vail.
Hotels in Vail are plentiful, with a range of accommodation options to suit your needs. Condos, hotels and homes are all available. We had a multi-generational family reunion there in the summer and it was fantastic. Lots for everyone to do and easily accessible.
Palm Springs, CA for a Long Weekend
Glitz and glamour can also describe Palm Springs, a playground for many. Palm Springs is known for its golf courses and wellness resorts. Palm Springs is a great destination for a long weekend.
Best time to Visit Palm Springs for a Long Weekend
Palm Springs is a year-round destination although it can be quite hot in the summer. January to April is peak season in Palm Springs as the day time temperatures are quite pleasant and popular with those seeking to escape cold winters elsewhere. April tends to be the very peak- there are several festivals and the desert wildflowers are in bloom.
June to September usually sees triple digit temperatures, but can provide great hotel deals in Palm Springs. If you are looking for a spa retreat, special offers in the summer can save you some money.
September to December is the shoulder season, not as busy and not as expensive.
Outdoor Activities in Palm Springs, CA
Golf, hiking, and biking are the big draw cards for Palm Springs. There are more than 100 golf courses in the general Palm Springs area including some of the USA’s top-rated golf courses. The Classic Club is known for its Arnold Palmer-designed course that previously hosted the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Indian Wells Golf Resort is one of the top-rated courses to play in California, and there are many others.
Take a trip out to explore the desert, or head to the mountains on the Aerial Tramway (it rotates as well) to explore the mountains.
Try a trip to the mineral springs for a soak or just sit by the pool!
Food, Wine and More in Palm Springs
As you’d expect there is a full range of dining options. For fine dining try the tree-lined patio at Le Vallauris, or experience farm-to-table excellence at Morgan’s in the Desert at La Quinta Resort, or head to the Edge at the Ritz Carlton for dramatic cliff side views.
It is California and there are a full range of wineries in the area. Many have restaurants and you can certainly stop by for a tasting and tour. The De Portola Wine Trail is a series of nine wineries close together in the Temecula Valley, an area known for its rolling hills and great scenery.
There is also a selection of craft breweries and even a distillery to explore.
If you go to Palm Springs for a Long Weekend
Palm Springs is about a 2-hour drive east of Los Angeles. There is an airport in Palm Springs, or the Ontario Airport (about 70 miles) also provides easy access. Of course, there is always LAX and you can drive from there.
So, there you have it Vail vs. Palm Springs for a long Weekend, which would you choose? Palm Springs or Vail for a long weekend?