When the windshield of our truck filled with a view of Blue Mountain Resort I couldn’t help but be surprised by the stark contrast from our last view of Blue – it was February, it was nighttime when we arrived and the mountain was lit up so brightly you could see slope after slope of skiers and snowboarders. But on this trip, it was broad daylight, the mountain was green and you could see a handful of mountain bikers making their descent.
From the backseat, without looking up from his iPod, my seven year old son asks “So when are we skiing?”
My husband and I looked at each other and smiled but before we could answer our eleven year old daughter playing the big sister roll perfectly says “Seriously? It’s July!” then looked towards me and asks “But honestly, mom, what are we going to do?”
My answer was… “Everything!”
Ever since our very first family ski vacation at Blue Mountain (2 1/2 hours north of Toronto) my kids talk constantly about how much fun they had learning to ski, how awesome Blue Mountain Resort is and how they can’t wait to go back and ski again.
But as much as there is to do in Blue Mountain in the winter months, there is just as much to do in the “green season” which is why I couldn’t wait to spend part of our #90daysofsummer in Blue Mountain, even if my kids didn’t truly believe that there was plenty to do besides ski.
In fact there’s so much to do, you can customize your Blue Mountain vacation to suit your family – from hanging out at the beach, to culinary tourism with kids, to relaxing by the pool or even spending a few kid-free hours all on your own!
For the Relaxers
We were so excited to head back to the Westin where our suite came equipped with a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a large living room, two bathrooms and a lovely balcony overlooking Blue Mountain Village. This is the perfect set-up for families looking to relax since there’s lots of space for everyone especially for me, an early riser who likes to take my coffee out onto the balcony in the morning without waking up any of the kids. The kitchen is perfect for leisurely breakfasts and snacks so you don’t have to head out the door first thing morning to feed hungry children.
The Westin pool is also a fantastic spot to spend a day relaxing. While the kids swim you can supervise with your feet up from the comfort of a pool-side lounging chair.
When you feel like you need to get out for a bit, Cascade Putting Course in Blue Mountain Village is a perfect for all ages activity, then spend some time strolling through the shops and stopping for ice cream.
One of our family’s favourite ways to relax in the heart of the village is to stop for ice cream then find ourselves a few Muskoka chairs located right in the heart of everything – especially the live music every single night and often family friendly outdoor movies. There’s also a water feature the kids use as a splash pad so make sure you let them wear their bathing suits and bring a towel.
To take your relaxing to the next level, Blue Mountain also has their own private beach! (See below!)
For the Adventurers
While we didn’t hit the mountain biking trails ourselves, we had tons of fun watching the bikers head up the mountain in the gondola and come down on their bikes. The trails are open to kids starting at 8 years old so if your kids are adventure seekers like ours, be sure to come prepared to bike! And by prepared, all you need is to visit the Activity Central Building in the village and they’ll get you all set up with equipment rentals, assessment, lessons and guided rides.
If you’re looking for an outdoor challenge, the Woodlot Low Ropes and Timber Challenge High Ropes courses are excellent family activities. We stuck to the Woodlot course since two of our kids are under the minimum age of 10 years old required to brave the Timber course – but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a challenge! Working your way through the course gives families an opportunity to build confidence, strength and team work – and the expressions on the kids’ faces once they’ve completed the course are worth every single minute!
For the Foodies
To say we ate well (and a lot!) is an understatement. Be sure to try the Saganaki appetizer at Tholos, which is pan-fried Greek cheese flambéed at your table, followed by the Beef Souvlaki (with a Hera Mojito). Firehall Pizza Co is a Blue Mountain family vacation must and our absolute favourite menu items are the delicious Arancini Balls and the Little Italy Meatballs to start followed by the largest plate of Chicken Parmesan you’ll ever see – so big I usually share with one of the kids. Of course the pizzas are always a hit too!
My taste buds get super excited the closer we get to our reservation time at Oliver and Bonacini located very conveniently in the Westin. Besides the delicious breakfast buffet and fabulous lunch and dinner entrees, the kids are always welcome with a menu just for them.
If you’re looking at making a few stops along the Apple Pie Trail, be sure to visit The Pottery in the Blue Mountain Inn. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for any meal and the Apple Gallette made with local apples is delicious!
Of course, our Blue Mountain family vacation would not be complete, without Beaver Tails at least once (which I maybe let my kids eat for lunch – shhh…. Don’t tell anyone!).
For the Beachgoers
I had absolutely no idea Blue Mountain had their own private beach on Georgian Bay just a short 10 minute drive or shuttle bus ride away. The beach is a perfect place to spend the day complete with everything you need including towels, beach toys, beach chairs, a snack shack for food and beverages as well as canoe, kayak and paddle board rentals.
For the Nature Seekers
Our family loves to hike and Blue Mountain’s four hiking trails along the Niagara Escarpment do not disappoint. Choose the hiking trail with a difficulty level suitable for your family, head up the mountain then enjoy a leisurely Gondola ride down (tip: the gondola ride down the mountain is free!). Or join one of the free Columbia guided hikes that leave from the Columbia Sportswear store most mornings at 10:30am.
For the Rainy Days
I often don’t mind a rainy day during our family vacations. It gives families a little bit of time to slow down, play some board games and spend some quiet time together. In Blue Mountain, you can choose a quiet crafty activity like painting pottery at Crock-A-Doodle or you can keep the fun going at Plunge! Aquatic Centre.
Plunge! is a great place to spend a lightly rainy day, because you can swim inside, or head outside and if the weather (ie: lightening) requires them to shut down the pool for an extended period of time, they provide you with a pass to come back another day.
For the Kids… (actually, for the moms)
Just a quick FYI to let you know that Blue Mountain has summer camps – either single days or whole weeks. If you’re looking for a little quiet time to hang out on the beach or by the pool sipping a beverage and reading a book, then I highly suggest you tell your kids you’ve found a super amazing camp that’s perfect for them (and for you!). Depending on the camp, the kids can do a lot of the activities mentioned above and all you have to do is drop them off.
For The Decide-On-The-Fly’ers
Every day there’s something new to do at Blue Mountain so if you don’t want to plan every moment of your family vacation, just decide on the fly by stopping at the Activity Centre and seeing what’s happening that day.
No matter how you spend your vacation time during the summer at Blue Mountain, you’ll be happy you spent even a few days of your #90daysofsummer enjoying everything it has to offer… even if your son (like mine) is disappointed they can’t ski.
Many thanks to Blue Mountain Resort for giving our family the opportunity to experience the green season at Blue!