As the ski resorts start to wind down, I find myself daydreaming about riding bikes, trail running, roasting marshmallows on a camp fire, summer concerts and cultural events, and building sand castles with my kids — yes, we have sandy beaches at 9,000 feet in Summit County! As much as my family and I love to ski and play in the snow, there’s something about trading in those ski boots and snowsuits for flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt. Plus, I think life is just easier and fun in the summer, especially with kids!
As a former stay-at-home mom of two kids (now ages 5 and 7), I've taken advantage of pretty much every baby and kid friendly activity that's offered in Summit County. One of the many perks to living in a resort community is that there's no shortage of awesome things to do over the summer. Here is a list of our favorites that we look forward to enjoying as a family every summer.
I highly recommend Keystone Resort's weekly Wild West Night at the Keystone Stables on Monday nights. Not only are the horse stables located in a beautiful setting, but you and your family can play horseshoes, try your hand at lassoing, make S'mores around a huge campfire, and watch a classic Western-themed movie on a big screen, all for free. Also, your kids can enjoy pony rides for $5, and you have the option to purchase food and cold beverages. It's a program not to be missed and don't forget your camera!
I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the beach at Keystone Lake! If you are looking for a way to spend a leisurely sunny afternoon with your kids, then check it out. There's a sandy beach well equipped with sand toys and some tables and chairs. Your kids will get a kick out of feeding the enormous trout in the lake, while you relax and soak up the sun. Not only does the Adventure Center, located next to the lake, rent paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, and bikes, but the Center also has an indoor arcade, food, and beverages for purchase. If you happen to stop by the lake on a Sunday, you may catch a small farmers' market.
Breckenridge has a lot to offer, but our personal favorite things to do in Breck usually revolve around the art and culture events. BreckCreate has an impressive art program which features kid-friendly activities. I'm looking forward to the upcoming public art celebration called Wave: Light + Sound, and I definitely plan to take my kids to The Pool installation scheduled on June 2nd.
Also, you will not be disappointed by the performances at the Backstage Theater in Breckenridge. Every summer the theater hosts a Student Theatrical Enrichment Program, a children's theatre workshop that started in 1979! The Backstage has a notable history that started in 1974 in a Breckenridge bar named Singin' Sadie's Saloon. Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr., a student theatrical performance begins on April 29th. You will be impressed with the level of talent in Summit County!
While in Breckenridge, if your little ones are in need of a little excitement and exploration then I recommend taking a gondola ride. It’s a scenic quiet ride, free of cost, and you can fit your whole family inside. My kids love keeping an eye open for moose, fox and hares while soaring over Cucumber Gulch. Once you reach the top to the base of Peak 8, you may choose to ride down or exit to experience the Breck Flyer Zip Line, Gold Runner Coaster, Alpine Super Slide and more at the Peak 8 Fun Park.
Once you get to know Breck a little more, you’ll discover that the town takes pride in its history, which is filled with interesting stories and characters. If you have a train-lover in the family be sure to take them to the Highline Train Park to see Engine #9 and to play at the train-themed playground. And if you have an animal-lover in the family I suggest stopping in at the Edwin Carter Discovery Center, housed in Carter’s original 1868 cabin, to discover more about Rocky Mountain wildlife.
Be sure to stop and discover the town of Frisco in the summer! It is the quintessential mountain town! The Frisco Adventure Park summer amenities are endless for your active children. In particular, we had a lot of fun running in the Mountain Goat Kids Trail Running Series. It was the first time my kids participated in a 'fun run' and it was amazing to see them strive to make it to the finish line. Plus pizza was served at the Day Lodge afterwards! The park also includes biking, skating, disc golf, and hiking and biking trails around the peninsula; you may also purchase food and beverages in the Day Lodge.
Frisco’s Main Street is a mountain gem. Definitely spend some time walking the sidewalks off Main Street and be sure to treat your kids to some ice cream or candy at Foote’s Rest Sweet Shoppe and Eatery. The atmosphere is super family friendly — imagine roasted marshmallows, delicious homemade ice cream, live acoustics playing and cold drinks — and the original building dates back to the 1870’s!
The Frisco Bay Marina and Frisco’s sandy beach, located on the shores of the Dillon Reservoir is another hot spot for families. It’s a full service marina offering boat and board rentals and fishing pole rentals, too. Plus, there’s a small playground nearby and a waterside restaurant for a dining option. The Sixth Annual Frisco Bay Marina Kids Sandcastle Competition will return this summer on August 20. Last year, the Copper Mountain Avalanche Rescue Dogs Mason and Race made an appearance as celebrity judges!
If you happen to be visiting Summit County for an extended stay and you’re looking for an action-packed sports summer camp, then check out Woodward at Copper Mountain. If trampolines and foam pits fit your little one’s flavor, then sign-up for a fully-coached one-hour, intro session to hone their free-style skills.
If you can’t keep your mind off skiing, Copper Mountain is running an amazing deal in May for families for the 2016-17 ski season — Kids Ski Free with the purchase of an Adult pass! Copper always has something going on in the summer too, like fireworks and bonfires on Saturdays!
If you enjoy live music and farmer's markets then the town of Dillon is where you need to bring your family, and don't forget your camera! The Dillon Amphitheater and Marina Park offers the most amazing views over Lake Dillon to the Ten Mile and Gore Mountain Ranges. Be sure to bring your kids' hula-hoops, a blanket, and a picnic to Dillon’s Free Friday Concert Series or Sunset at the Summit Concert Series. The Marina Park is not to be missed, it’s one of the best playgrounds in Summit and right next to the amphitheater. You also do not want to miss shopping for Colorado-made products and kid’s activities at Dillon's Friday Farmer's Market.
There is a lot going on in the town of Silverthorne these days! We love Silverthorne for its scenic landscape and wildlife, and the town's Rec Center and Rainbow Park playground rock! Plus, the town breaks ground soon for their brand new Performing Arts Center.
If hiking and fishing are on your agenda, then my recommendation is to take the family to Willow Creek/Willowbrook Trailhead and then take your kids to Trent Park Pond in Silverthorne to catch rainbow trout. We love the Willow Creek trail because it takes you on natural bridges, past waterfalls and wildflowers, and the kids will have fun climbing rocks. It’s not a loop, so we just turn around whenever we’re ready to head back.
That’s the end of my tour of family-friendly activities in Summit County. Whether you’re a local, seasonal visitor or vacationer, I invite you to comment on your favorite summer activity in Summit County, "Colorado’s Playground."
Thanks for reading!