With all the smoke and heat hitting our beautiful state this summer, you may be looking for a cool getaway. Luckily, Colorado’s diversity means that there are tons of mountain towns we can run to for escape from sweltering temps….Crested Butte, Steamboat, Durango, Telluride – all of these are awesome in summer.

But, what if you live on the Front Range and want to stay a little closer to home? Everyone knows that the Vail Valley boasts some of the best skiing around, but I wasn’t sure what it was like in summer until a few weeks ago when I headed that way for a week with Outside Adventure Film School.  Before that, I had always considered Vail too fancy for me. Granted, I had only really been there in winter when it’s usually full of folks who seem to just live in a different, much more lucrative, world than I do.

When I went in early June, I was pleasantly surprised because I discovered that Vail is relatively laid back in summer. I think a huge part of my conversion revolves around where I stayed. The Antlers at Vail is more than a hotel – it really is a home away from home. These suites are totally family-friendly with fully stocked kitchens, large living areas, and decks that overlook the river. (I loved being lulled to sleep by the river while lying in my very comfortable bed). The staff is incredible; they were totally down to earth and were extremely attentive and responsive to requests. They didn’t seem rattled by anything and they went above and beyond to find answers and to make guests feel comfortable.

Another HUGE bonus: You can bring Fido, too! Many of the rooms at the Antlers are dog-friendly so you don’t have to leave your pooch at home. A jar of dog bones sits on the front desk showing that not only are dogs allowed, but also they are very welcome; a huge bonus for someone like me who hates leaving my pup in the truck or even worse – at home.

Additional bonuses: on-site pool and sweet outdoor hot tubs, full fitness room & sauna, business center & covered and heated indoor parking (awesome for winter!). The Antlers is located right on the bike path and just a  few minutes out of the center of town, which means you have  easy access to all the fun stuff, while also providing a quiet respite when you’re done living it up.

Not that I needed another reason to love the Antlers, but they’re green practices sealed the deal. They are a leader in enviro practices. They’ve converted their fireplaces to gas, amped up recycling, adopted a section of highway to keep clean and replaced those tiny wasteful bottles of shampoo and conditioner with bigger, refillable ones. The list goes on…Check it out here: http://www.antlersvail.com/about-antlers/green-efforts/.

So, if you want a luxurious basecamp for adventure that you can feel good about and that won’t break the bank, head to the Antlers – summer or winter – and explore Vail.