Colorado Escapist: A Summit County summer survival guide for kids and parents
10 adventures for mom and dad
In an average month, I’m all about getting out and finding a new adventure, but with family in town this July I’ve been entertaining my mom. Even though family can change your everyday exercise routine, a visit shouldn’t be a bore. Here’s a quick guidebook to showing mom and dad the time of their lives:
1. Fat-bike tour to Breckenridge Distillery with Ridden in Breckenridge
2. Downhill bike ride from Vail Pass to Frisco
3. Pedego electronic bikes in downtown Breckenridge
4. Haunted history tour in Breckenridge
5. Music, food and libation festivals all summer long at Keystone
6. Go-kart racing outside of Center Village in Copper
7. Happy hour cocktails on the Modis deck in Breckenridge
8. Leisurely hike to Rainbow Lake outside of Frisco
9. Scenic gondola ride to the top of Keystone Resort
10. Anything in the great outdoors we call home!
It’s that time of the year again, when parents from all across the country decide they want to escape the hot, humid weather where they live and show up at your door for a visit.
Like me, I’m sure you love your parents, but my parents, especially my mom, can be high maintenance. You want to spend time with them, but you know that their visit might disrupt your normal biking, hiking, rock climbing and road biking schedule. Instead of going on an epic adventure, you could end up eating and drinking for the entire visit.
Luckily, living in Summit County gives you multiple options to entertain the entire Fam-Damn-ly. Your toughest decision is simply deciding what to do. Here is your Summit County guide to surviving family time.
Keystone is festival central. If paying $85 per person to taste wine at something like the recent Keystone Wine and Jazz fest is your thing, don’t worry — there are plenty of events remaining this summer, such as Bluegrass and Beer from Aug. 1-2. Just about all of these festivals include free live music and vendor booths, with a paid admission. After browsing the festival, grab yourself a drink at one of the many local hot spots to mix and mingle with other fun people.
You can also take the River Run Gondola to the top of the mountain (bring last year’s season ski pass or you’ll be out $20) and check out a view of Lake Dillon, the Gore Range, the Tenmile Range and the Continental Divide that will blow anyone’s mind. Nothing says summer in the Rockies like getting a photo on top of a big snow pile, and then grabbing a margarita at Mountain House.
Save your Thursday activities for shops, restaurants and parks on Main Street Frisco. If you time it right, hit up the free concerts in the historic park (near Second Ave. and Main Street) at 5 p.m.
A perfect day in Frisco starts out with a hearty black truffle scramble at Bread and Salt, followed by a comfortable walk along the bike path and old mining trails to Rainbow Lake. When the afternoon rain arrives, stop by the Escape Room and challenge your mind. If you’re in the mood to bike and want the poor man’s bike shuttle, hop on the bus to Copper with your bike and get the thrill of downhill ride from Copper back to Frisco on the Tenmile Canyon recpath, all with no fee.
Copper is a one-stop shop for multiple adventures. No matter how old you might think you are, you will get a laugh out of going in circles on the go-kart track in Center Village. No need to rent kids for this high-octane adventure — it will turn anyone, even your parents, into Mario Andretti. If high-speed turns aren’t enough, get in touch with your inner ninja on the brand-new Wrecktangle obstacle course.
The best day to spend browsing Copper is Friday. Take a leisurely day to play tourist with the all-day adventure pass ($59-$69), then hit up some more free music at Brews and Tunes, held every Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Burning Stones Plaza at Center Village.
Known for dozens of free hikes and historical tours, I personally like to take the family to the best happy hours around town when I’m in Breckenridge. The best part about drinking early is that one cocktail is usually plenty, and then everyone is ready for bed at 8 p.m.
If you want to get the best rates at Summit County bars, take advantage of the happy hours. (Browse the Summit Daily for happy hour ads, or download the happy-hour finder app, I’m Not At Work.) One place close to my heart is the deck at Modis with my favorite craft cocktail, the P.L.D. (Poor Life Decisions).
Parents love to get a little adrenaline in the mountains, but instead of sending them whitewater kayaking down Tenmile Creek, why not intrigue them with daytime Breckenridge Haunted Tour? Learn about the eerie, the unexplained and the creepy as your stroll the historic streets of town. It can be a little cheesy, but it’s sure to create a few laughs and stories.
Pedego, also known as pedal-assisted bikes, is another great option in Breckenridge. When my mom came to visit, this was the single most fun activity we did the entire time. They aren’t allowed on trails and some bike paths, but we still had a great time cruising around town with a little motorized assistance.
If you’re working during the day, send your parents to an art class at Breck Create, or maybe suggest a guided tour of local mining history with the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. From the Main Street welcome center to Breckenridge Backstage Theatre, it is impossible to be bored in Breck.
Vail Pass to Copper
While the idea of sharing epic singletrack thrills at the Keystone Bike Park sounds enticing, I feel like that is a bad idea — the sort of bad idea that could land casual bikers in the ER.
However, a safer alternative to mountain biking is a downhill bike adventure from Vail Pass to Copper and on to Frisco. It’s good for a little adrenaline, not to mention amazing views and fresh air, and a few local outfitters offer a free shuttle to the top of the pass with bike rental.
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