Whereas some people eschew offseason in resort towns, those who have taken advantage of the shoulder season know firsthand the beauty. The pace is low-key, the locals are relaxed and cheerful, and hotel rates are reasonable. Plus, there’s no waiting for tables at restaurants (a godsend when you have young kids), and the trails are nearly empty and sublimely peaceful. And so it went during a recent mid-October visit to Crested Butte.

A 3 1/2-hour drive from Vail, this charming spot hits that sweet spot of being far enough away that you feel like you actually “got away” but not so far that the littles (or your spouse) go stir crazy on the trek there. 

Upon arriving in Crested Butte, it’s clear the moniker the “Last Great American Ski Town” fits.