A Traveling Suitcase Blog by Noreen Kompanik
I’d been to Breckenridge, Colorado, a renowned ski resort town years ago. But, it wasn’t until returning on a recent trip this summer that I rediscovered this hidden paradise in the Rocky Mountains. I also came to realize what an incredible destination this is for families. And not just in winter. This magical town oozes fun and frolic year-round. And for those into the outdoors, Breckenridge is a nature-lovers nirvana.
Breckenridge is perched at an impressive 9,600-foot elevation just 80 miles southwest of Denver. Getting around is a piece of cake due to the free downtown trolley. And for those coming outside ski season, gondolas still run practically year-round taking visitors up the mountain for spectacular panoramic views.
The scenery here is breathtaking. Numerous alpine streams converge on the town. Stately conifers line the steep mountain slopes, and bluebird skies provide a stunning contrast to the year-round snow-capped peaks.
Only one small word of caution about the elevation. It’s important to keep hydrated and families may experience a little shortness of breath for a day or two until the body acclimates to the altitude. After all, it’s nearly twice as high as the Mile High City.
Where to Stay in Breckenridge
Accommodations range from hotels to vacation club villas or vacation-home rentals. Villas or vacation homes are perfect for families giving that home-away-from home feel and convenience. And grocery stores are nearby.
Our lodging was The Bogart House, a magnificent 5-bedroom, 5 ½ bath that could accommodate up to 16 guests. The home was spacious and luxurious with spectacular mountains views, gas fireplaces, and an outdoor hot tub. Staying just steps from the heart of Breckenridge, walking to restaurants and activities couldn’t have been more convenient.
We had the opportunity to tour Grand Colorado on Peak 8, a luxury slope-side ski-in-ski-out vacation club resort. Accommodations here range from fully-furnished studios to 4-bedroom villas. The resort and grounds are stunning with killer views. And I’m not sure we’ve ever seen so many hot tubs on one property. It was impressive.
Marriott’s Mountain Valley Lodge is another great four-season family choice. Sporting an alpine-like setting, the vacation club sits on a pristine lake in the heart of picturesque Breckenridge. From studios to two-bedroom villas, the location can’t be beat for families. And the slopes are just a gondola ride away.
Where to Play in Breckenridge
Aside from winter skiing and snowboarding, there’s the thrill of whitewater rafting in nearby Clear Creek, one of Colorado’s most popular rafting destinations. With only Class 1 and 2 rapids, it’s the ideal way to introduce big and little kids to this exciting outdoor adventure. The scenery is spectacular and everyone comes off the trip with big smiles.
Wellness is a way of life in Colorado. And families into hiking and biking will love that Breckenridge has over 50 miles of interconnected trails for year-round adventure. Treks range from easy to difficult. It’s highly recommended to start early as mountain thunderstorms sometimes roll in after lunch.
In summer 2017, Breckenridge Ski Resort launched Epic Discovery, with its mountain of adventures for the entire family. Outdoor activities include zip-lining, alpine slides, challenge courses, rock-climbing walls, interpretive trails, mineshaft maze, tubing, an alpine coaster, and much more. And all this fun at 11,000 feet above sea level!
Where to Dine in Breckenridge
Breckenridge has its share of pizza and burgers that kids love. But with 23 new culinary spots opening in just the past year alone, whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here.
The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern in the heart of town is a fun choice for families. Inside and outdoor dining is available. The menu features modern comfort food with a perfect rustic ambience with, you guessed it, canteens lining the walls. And it’s located in one of Breckenridge’s oldest main street buildings. Food here is really good with plenty of great choices for adults along with a Lil’ Shredders kids menu.
Giampietro is another great stomping ground for food. The Italian pasta and pizza house menu is extensive. Pizzas here are downright amazing, with choices of New York Style or Sicilian Deep Dish.
One of our favorite restaurants in Breckenridge is the casual and elegantly modern Blue River Bistro. This top-notch eating establishment not only serves up tantalizing entrees, but prices were much less than we expected for an award-winning restaurant of this caliber.
Open for lunch and dinner, adults will love the classy chef-inspired entrees and great selection of wines, craft beer, and cocktails. The children’s menu is classic kiddie food but we loved the “mocktails” offering much more than the usual “Shirley Temple” twist.
There’s no doubt that Breckenridge’s nickname as the “Playground of Colorado” is well-deserved. With the wide range of outdoor activities, four distinct seasons, approachable accommodations, majestic scenery, and friendly townsfolk, it’s a perfect family destination any time of the year.