15 reasons why we love Summit County | SummitDaily.com

15 reasons why we love Summit County

There are plenty of ways to discover free music in Summit County in the summer.
Hugh Carey / hcarey@summitdaily.com

There are innumerable reasons why we love Summit County in the summer, from the abundance of recreational opportunities to the fact that we don’t stick to our leather seats in the car. Although skiing dominates tourism in the winter, summers have only been getting busier and busier, as Front Rangers and visitors flock to the High Country to escape the heat or vacation in the mountains. Towns and resorts have made efforts in recent years to up their game when it comes to events and offerings, and weekends continue to bring in the crowds.

It’s easy to see why people are drawn to the county this time of year. Here is our list of the top things we love about in Summit County in the summer, starting with a few must-dos, and ending with staff favorites.

Free live music outdoors

There is no shortage of live music in Summit County from the National Repertory Orchestra, Breckenridge Music Festival, shows at the Riverwalk Center, Barkley Ballroom, and on and on. But really, what could be better than listening to music outside — especially when it’s free?

While one of our favorite locations, the Dillon Amphitheatre, is currently under construction, we applaud the town for continuing its Summer Concert Series at the Town Park.

The town of Frisco hosts free music in the Historic Park Gazebo every Thursday through Aug. 17.


Oh so many festivals

From music to art to food, there seems to be some sort of festival on both sides of the county almost every weekend. Although the infamous Colorado BBQ Challenge held in Frisco every year has already passed this summer, it’s a must to experience at least once, so start planning now for next year. In Breckenridge, the annual Breckenridge International Festival of Arts (BIFA), is coming up. The festival runs for 10 straight days and includes work and performances by artists from around the world. This year’s festival runs Aug. 11-20.

For music lovers, Copper Mountain Resort is hosting a weekend of free performances and guitar workshops from Aug. 11–13. Although its annual festival focused around bacon has already happened this summer, Keystone Resort will host several more upcoming festivals, including Bluegrass & Beer this weekend, and Mountain Town Music, Aug. 18–19. And don’t forget the multiple Oktoberfests throughout the county just around the corner.


Tiki bars

No matter what side of Lake Dillon you’re on, you can easily be waterside with a Rum Runner in hand. Stop by after sailing or just watch the boats go by while taking in the views.

Pug Ryan’s Lakeside Tiki Bar: 150 Marina Drive, Dillon

Island Grill: 49 Marina Road, Frisco


Just get outside

This one is just a given. The possibilities are endless in Summit County for recreational opportunities, whether you are embarking on your own adventure or heading out with a local business for a guided hike, fly-fishing tour or rafting session. Right now the wildflowers are also popping off — check out this guide for some great wildflower hikes nearby.

Lake Dillon

Need we say more? Not only are we surrounded by incredible scenery, we have this great lake in the county for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, pontooning, sailing — and the list goes on. While swimming and water-contact sports such as water skiing and scuba diving are prohibited, there are water activities ideal for everyone.

Frisco Bay Marina: 267 Marina Road, Frisco 970-668-4334

Dillon Marina: 150 Marina Drive, Dillon 970-468-5100


Outdoor happy hours

Is there anything better than a craft brew or cocktail in the sunshine after a long day of adventure? Some of our favorite craft breweries to sit outside include Broken Compass (68 Continental Court, Breckenridge) and Outer Range Brewing Company (182 Lusher Court, Frisco) because we love to take our dogs everywhere. The deck and happy hour specials at Blue River Bistro (305 N. Main St., Breckenridge) are hard to beat (2 for 1 martinis anyone?), and the relatively new RMU Tavern (114 S. Main St., Breckenridge) always has a rowdy crowd spilling out the door and onto their deck facing Main Street. Prost (313 Main St., Frisco) is a Frisco locals’ favorite, and Pug Ryan’s Brewing Company (04 Village Place, Dillon) has a great deck close to Lake Dillon.


From the Summit Daily staff:

I love summer, and I love Summit County. I love watching the sun set (or rise) on Lake Dillon, looking for wildflowers while hiking with my girls, running along the Blue River, eating on patios at local restaurants, reading in a hammock, driving with the windows down, going to the Frisco BBQ and outdoor concerts, and drinking wine on the deck. I especially love hosting visitors during the summer. It’s awesome to see Summit County through their eyes and to be reminded how lucky I am to call this place home. What’s not to love about summer in Summit County?!” — Meg Boyer, publisher

“As a former Midwesterner, the thing I love most about Summit County is the weather — tons of sunshine and no humidity. I even love the mid-afternoon thunderstorms during monsoon season. I love that I can be on miles and miles of incredible mountain biking trails right out my back door. And I especially love all of the free outdoor music the towns offer. I think the only thing I don’t love about a Summit County summer is how short it is.” — Heather Jarvis, digital engagement editor

“My favorite day so far in Summit County, early morning spring ski lap off a 14er, then a quick paddle on the Blue River’s spring runoff in a kayak in early afternoon, and head home to drop off the car and grab the mountain bike for a quick exercise around Soda Spring’s loop trail then pedal to Arapahoe Café’s burger night to call it a day. All wearing the same shorts.” — Hugh Carey, Photographer

You can’t beat mountain biking in Summit. Seriously, this place has a little something for everyone on two human-powered wheels: mellow climbs up and over mine tailings at French Gulch in Breckenridge, the Tour de Trash loop (more fun than it sounds) in Dillon,  boulders and Fuzzy Carl at the Keystone Bike Park. Best part is, the uphill pedaling around here is only as hard as you make it, and that’s a blessing in Rockies.” — Phil Lindeman, sports editor

Because every time I start thinking of some distant, outdoorsy adventure, I always ask myself, “Why drive?” Because mountain people care more about how they live than city folk. Because Summit County is a postcard year-round, but especially in the summer. Because all the chips bags are extra poofy at altitude. Because 80 degrees is ALWAYS better than 100 degrees. Because there’s always a storm rolling in, and I love the rain.” — Eli Pace, reporter

What’s not to love about Summit summers? Getting up early and enjoying the solitude of the lake while you drop a line in the water; the crunch of dirt and pine needles under your boots on the trail; the smell of barbecue and fresh-cut grass. It feels like being a little kid out playing all day and relaxing long into the evening. It’s just what summer is supposed to be.” — Susan Gilmore, copy editor

Summit in summer. Not only does it satisfy the alliteration-seeking wordsmith in me, it’s also the best time of the year in the mountains. The temperature is perfect and it stays light into the evening, creating the perfect opportunity to savor a craft beer or cocktail on a deck as the sun sets. The mountains return to green and blue hues, accented by snow tucked away into steep crevices, and when you catch a glimpse of them from across the sky-mirrored Lake Dillon, you can’t help but pause and take a deep, refreshing breath.” — Jessica Smith, assistant editor

The mountain vistas of Breckenridge when I run up and down Boreas Pass beyond the Baker’s Tank and Aspen Grove trailheads at dusk are a bit of a hidden gem everyone should experience at least once. Overnight camping and driving past the Boreas Pass gate when open after May are pretty popular, but I don’t think the feeling compares to the burnt sunsets and crisp evening air at just the right time of night on a descent back to town.” — Kevin Fixler, reporter

I love the view coming up over the hill from Silverthorne to Frisco with the dramatic mountains jutting up from the lake. So beautiful!” — Emma Simmins, advertising sales manager 

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