Book a fabulous Sun Valley vacation home to enjoy some of the most well-known skiing in the United States. Sun Valley has the same rich history of many ski towns, known for celebrity sightings, ski culture, and plenty of other elements, but Sun Valley is also unique in its own right. From traditions and firsts to unique designations, this destination is one that everyone should know about, if they don’t already.
Sun Valley is only on the map because it is the home of the world’s very first chairlift, the remnants of which can still be visited during your stay. The chairs were designed by James Curran, from the Union Pacific Railroad. He installed them in 1936 and the rest is history, as they say. If you’re considering a trip to the area, read on to explore our guide of the best things to see and do while you’re in Sun Valley.
Go to Snow Sports School
Sun Valley introduced the world to skiing and snowboarding, in many ways, helping to teach millions the joy of the winter powder over the decades. Families and individuals alike can visit SnowSports School and take lessons on skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports from some of the best in the industry.
Whether you’ve never been on the slopes before or you just want to brush up your skills, spending a day at snow school is a great plan before you hit the slopes. If nothing else, you might pick up some pointers for dealing with the specific slopes in the Sun Valley region to ensure maximum fun.
Take a Sleigh Ride
When the season is in full swing, who doesn’t love a nice sleigh ride through the hills followed by a cozy night by the fire? During the winter months, Sun Valley offers private sleigh rides that will take you on a ride through some of the most beautiful areas and let you explore in a whole new way. For an authentic mountain experience, this is a must to add to your to-do list on your vacation.
This is an outdoor destination, but it’s not just about skiing and winter sports. Some of the best activities in the area are enjoyed during the summer months. At Sun Valley Lake, families can enjoy paddle boats, water sports, sunbathing, and swimming. Throughout the region, there are also options for horseback riding, including Sun Valley Stables, where visitors can enjoy exploring the mountains on horseback.
The Tennis and Swim Center is great for those who want to get in a little activity during their stay, while plentiful kids’ camps and activities are available to give kids a unique adventure with or without Mom and Dad’s presence. No matter what you and your family want to see and do while you’re in town, Sun Valley truly has something for everyone. There’s fishing, hiking, biking, golfing, and even guided tours and adventures that you can explore.
Speaking of Golf…
Sun Valley is home to the nearly 7,000-yard Trail Creek course, which is a championship course, along with the White Clouds course, designed in a nine-hole, alpine links-style arrangement. The Trail Creek course was designed by the one and only Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the Sun Valley Club offers a public restaurant and bar, along with a 25-acre practice area and a putting course that includes 18 holes for getting that putt just right.
For those who are curious, Trail Creek offers 18 holes with exactly 6,968 yards of ground with a Par 72. It has been named as one of the top 75 resort golf courses on the continent by Golf Digest. Plus, it offers a playful integration with Trail Creek, crossing the water seven times just on the front nine.
Visit Hemingway’s Grave
Ernest Hemingway loved the beauty of the Sun Valley area. He stayed at Sun Valley Resort while writing For Whom the Bell Tolls and ended up moving to the area permanently in 1959. He was buried in Ketchum Cemetery between two spruce trees, and you’ll often find random bottles of liquor left by those paying homage and passing through. For a little bit of literary history during your stay, this is worth the trip.
Dining and Shopping
Throughout Sun Valley and Ketchum, visitors will also find plenty of great local dining and shopping, from unique local shops to winter sports equipment stores. Plus, dining will range from local restaurants and diners to fine dining and upscale cuisine, offering something for just about everyone. Some of the must-visit restaurants in Sun Valley include:
- Sun Valley Club
- Village Station
- Town Square Tavern
- The Kneadery
- Pioneer Saloon
- Trail Creek Cabin
- The Cellar Pub
A quick walk down Main Street in Ketchum will reveal the best shops and spots to check out, including the Sun Valley Museum of Art, Magic Lantern Cinema, and more.
*NOTE: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, select restaurants may be temporarily closed or have limited service available. Always call before arrival to ensure that you will be able to dine so that you are prepared.
Where to Stay in Sun Valley
While you’re visiting the home of the world’s first chairlift, you’ll find plenty of options for accommodations. From luxury resorts to local B&Bs, there are plenty of great tourist spots. Of course, if you’d rather avoid the tourist routine and try something different, consider a private luxury villa. Whether you’re traveling alone, with the family, or even with a group, these villas are available in all shapes and sizes and allow you to enjoy the feeling of home away from home while you’re on vacation.
Sun Valley private luxury villas include premium amenities and accommodations, family-friendly properties, and dedicated concierge service to ensure that guests have what they need 24 hours a day during their stay. Many include washers, dryers, garages, and impressive amenities for entertaining and enjoying your stay. You can even book these rentals for group events, reunions, corporate gatherings, and more.
To check out available holiday rentals, visit Isle Blue.