Ultimate Family Guide to Breckenridge Summers

Seasons: Summer

With warm (but not hot) days, incredible views, and tons of activities and events, Breckenridge is sure to be the perfect destination for you and your family this summer. While picking out what to do and keeping all family members happy can be tricky, if you’ve got kiddos in tow, we’ve got you covered. Let this family guide to Breckenridge help you find the best summer adventure for the whole crew.

Things To Do

The lazy days of summer aren’t so lazy in Breckenridge.  There are over 100 things to do and an almost endless line-up of special events and plenty of hiking trails, parks and

Family Friendly Hiking

family hiking
Take in the views and enjoy the scenery on one of Breckenridge’s hiking trails.

For your family’s first day in Breckenridge it’s great to start with the easy stuff. You’ve come for the views and cool mountain air, so grab breakfast then head out for an easy hike to get your bearings.

Use our family hiking  articles to find the best hikes for your family:

Family Friendly Biking

Family Mtn. Biking in Breckenridge.
Discover Breckenridge’s hundreds of miles of Mountain Biking terrain.

Did you know Breckenridge is one of the best places to take kids on a bike ride? There are options for easy, paved rides, and the Town of Breckenridge is continuously expanding and improving its trail system for mountain bikers at every level. Nearly every ski rental shop in town becomes a bike rental shop in the summer, so there are plenty of bikes for every age and ability.

More About Family Friendly Biking

Local’s Tips: If you don’t have a car, ask the shop or your lodging folks how to get a ride to the trailhead –  if it’s too far to ride to).

If your clan isn’t ready for dirt quite yet, jump on the Blue River Rec-Path and ride around town, following the Blue River. Bring a lunch and pull over at any point to take a break and refuel. Remember to always pack-it in and pack-it out.

Visit our biking page for more information on rides of all levels. If you’re a nervous novice, there are places in town who offer mountain bike lessons, including Breck Bike Guides and Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Guided Adventures

Rafting with kids in the Blue River in Colorado
While teens may love the larger rapids that can feel as fast as a roller-coaster ride, there are also slower rapids that are more like a Huck Finn paddle for younger kids

It’s always fun to try new activities and adventures on vacation especially ones you’d never be able to do at home.  In Breckenridge, we make it easy for the whole family to try something new thanks to the variety of guided activities in town.

Guided activities are great because they typically include:

  • All the gear you need for the activity
  • An expert to teach you the activity, keep you safe, take photos and possibly provide lunch or snacks

Guided Family Activities To Try

Summer Dog Sledding

It’s no secret that we love our dogs in Colorado and in Breckenridge, you can see what makes them so hardworking (and loveable) at a dog sledding tour. Yes, even without snow, these dogs love to pull. In the summer, you’ll ride behind the team in a specially equipped cart.

  • Tip: These huskies love attention, so be sure to give them some cuddles after you’re done riding.

Horseback Riding

For even more animal fun, check out the Breckenridge Stables. Here, you can take a horseback riding tour with an equine friend—saddle up and explore the alpine environment in style. They’ve got over 100 horses and experienced wranglers who are prepared to match riders with a horse that best meets their ability. Riders will experience creek crossings, ponds and incredible views of town and the Continental Divide.

Fly Fishing

If finding a fishy friend is more your style, Breckenridge is home to world-class fly fishing and several angling outfitters who’ll help you experience your very own family fish story. It’s all catch and release here, so everyone remains friends at the end.

White Water Rafting

The whole family will love the thrill of whitewater rafting through canyons in areas not easily accessible other than by boat. Breckenridge sits within easy distance of several rivers, each of which offers different experiences and levels of difficulty. Choose from mellow, full-day float trips to high-adrenaline trips during high water season. Our Breckenridge water activities page has all you need to know. If you’re ready to start planning a raft trip, check out these tips for planning a great whitewater outing as well as The Best Kept Secrets of Breckenridge Rafting.

  • Tip: While teens may love the larger rapids that can feel as fast as a roller-coaster ride, there are also slower rapids that are more like a Huck Finn paddle for younger kids. Almost every company has many options depending on skill level (or how much you want to get wet)!

Epic Discovery

A group of people walking along the Breck Expedition Course as part of Epic Discovery in Breckenridge.
Epic Discovery in Breckenridge, Colorado.

The BreckConnect Gondola is free in the summer months, and children of all ages will get a thrill out of the ride alone. It takes off from the middle of town and brings you up to the Base Camp at Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8. Epic Discovery, home to an iconic alpine slide and one of the state’s first mountain coasters, offers interactive exploration “camps” (or zones) to introduce families to our unique mountain setting and have some fun. Pick a few activities or get an unlimited pass for the whole day!

The resort is taking their activities to new heights in the summer with the recent introduction of the Alpineer Challenge course. Set near the top of the Colorado SuperChair, the course has 15 different challenges, from lightly swinging logs to rope balancing maneuvers so you can choose your own level of adventure.

This is a one-of-a kind challenge course built just for this location to blend into the local environment and is open to teens and adults.

For even more of a challenge, the breath-taking Expedition zip line tour will have you in awe of the views while you zip above the ski runs of Peak 7 with a private guide. If your kids are younger, there are some great beginner challenge activities (with a cute little zip line) at Kids’ Base Camp, designed just for kids 30-100 lbs.

On some easy hikes, you can take in stunning views and learn about the local history, flowers and animals. All of this makes Epic Discovery at Breckenridge a must-do for anyone visiting the historic mountain town this summer. If you’re planning on a full day, you can bring a lunch or eat at one of the three on-mountain summer restaurants at the top of the gondola. Epic Discovery is open daily starting in mid-June (depending on the lingering snowpack) until early September from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Visit Breckenridge.com as summer approaches for reservations and exact operating dates, hours, ticket prices and more.

  • Tip: The expedition zip tour should be booked in advance and can take up to three hours. Try this one in the morning and explore the rest of Epic Discovery in the afternoon after lunch. If the zip tour isn’t on your to-do-list, get to Epic Discovery right when it opens to avoid crowds and the possibility of afternoon rain showers

Family Activities in Town

Our small town has a lot to offer with 200 retail locations and over 100 bars and restaurants on Main Street.

Everyone in the family will love exploring historic Main Street. You can stay on foot or try the free Main Street trolley. Younger kids will enjoy the ride, and it has multiple stops on Breckenridge’s main artery. This is a great way to get a little shopping in and see where you want to take the family for lunch or dinner. Throughout Main Street, you’ll find small intimate pocket parks that are perfect for any, “I don’t wanna shop” breakdown. Our favorite park is Blue River Plaza, right in the center of Breckenridge, has a unique playground that sits right on the bank of the Blue River.

Find more to do with your family:

Tip: If you’re a bigger family, try to make reservations when possible or plan to eat early. Many restaurants have outdoor seating in the summer, so an early dinner is another great way to enjoy the perfect weather- plus Happy Hour for the adults! 

You’ll also want to check out the Breckenridge Creative Arts District – or BreckCreate for short – for afternoon crafts, music and more. This is such a cool town amenity, developed by the Town of Breckenridge to support and promote arts, culture and creative experiences throughout Breckenridge. There is programming for kids and families, and many classes are free or at a reduced price. We love the free family concerts and performances in the summer at the Riverwalk Center. Cartwheels on the grass anyone?

  • Tip: Many of the free BreckCreate classes are first come, first served, so check out the schedule in advance so you know what is on your must-do list, then plan around it!

Rainy Day Activities

Country Boy Mine Tour
The Country Boy Mine Tour is a great walk through Breckenridge’s mining past.

It’s hard to believe, but there are some days that are less sunny than others in Breckenridge (though the sun shines more than 300 days a year here). If you’re in the mood for a less physical day or want to spend some time exercising your brain, there are plenty of options in Breckenridge. For kids 10-years-old and younger, the Mountain Top Children’s Museum has hands-on exhibits that rotate throughout the year, letting kids use their imagination while learning.

  • Tip: Rain showers typically occur in the afternoon around 2 or 3 p.m. in the summer. Try to plan your outdoor activities in the morning if possible, but if the forecast calls for rain, don’t worry! Showers are usually quick and the skies clear up within minutes. Just make sure you pack that rain jacket to be safe!

Did you know that Breckenridge miners uncovered the largest piece of crystallized wire gold ever found in Colorado? It weighed 13.5 pounds and got the nickname Tom’s Baby from miner Tom Groves who carried his find wrapped like a baby. Want to learn more facts about Breckenridge’s gold rush history? Check out Breckenridge Heritage Alliance for museums and tours like a guided adventure through the Country Boy Mine. Not only will you learn about the mine, families can also try panning for gold—there are even some burros to meet.

If your interests are a bit more artistic, head to the Breckenridge Arts District which offers a wide variety of interactive arts workshops, classes and events. You could spend an afternoon playing with clay, improving your photography or even learning about glass blowing. Breckenridge also has a world-class recreation center, complete with an indoor pool, slides and hot tubs. Once you’re done swimming, be sure to try indoor rock-climbing wall or the new tennis center.

Getting Around

The Main Street Trolley is a free transportation shuttle that services downtown Breckenridge.

Local’s tip – the best way to explore Breckenridge’s quaint historic streets is with boots and bikes, leave the car at home. Breckenridge’s easy walkability and redesigned pathways and sidewalks make it easy to get around with a stroller, wagon or a handholding child.  When your ki’s pint-sized legs get tired, hop on the Breck Free Ride. The Breck Free Ride is a community-wide free transit system complete with an easy app and routes designed to get you to where you want to be. Plus, the majority major of lodges offer complimentary shuttles to get around town with ease.  If your place has a pool there’s usually a free shuttle too.

Fun ways to get around town

  • Don’t miss out; the BreckConnect Gondola is free to ride in the winter and summer.
  • Try two wheels. Did you know that Breckenridge’s bike lanes were awarded the highest level as a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists? Rent a bike and check it out!
  • Breckenridge’s Trolley loops up and down Main Street. It’s a perfect way to get from Point A to Point B as well as a great activity for all truck loving kids.

Local Tip: Direct shuttles leave nearby airports almost hourly to Breckenridge.

Where To Stay

The Residence Inn pool area is considered to have one of the best views of any pool in Breckenridge.
The Residence Inn pool area is considered to have one of the best views of any pool in Breckenridge.

One of the best things about Breckenridge is its size.  No matter where you stay you’ll be able to walk to town or a bus stop that’ll take you to town.  Instead of foucsing on location, we reccomend choosing your place to stay based on amenities, room count and decor.  Search Lodging in Breckenridge.

A few articles to help you decide:

Dining

Fatty's Pizzeria Exterior Shot
Fatty’s has long been known for having some of the best pizza in town.

Finding a family-friendly spot for eating out in Breckenridge can have its challenges, especially since many restaurants in town don’t take reservations. The best way avoid hangry kids is to head to dinner early. Places like Fatty’s Pizzeria, Downstairs at Eric’s and Mi Casa are family-friendly staples in town with large enough tables for a party of six or more. If you can make a 6 p.m. dinner, you will increase your chances for a shorter wait time.  Another tip: If your family is bigger than six, think about splitting up into two tables; that will help the restaurant seat you faster as well.  Other strategies include hitting up happy hour for pre-dinner snacks, arriving at least an hour earlier than you’d normally eat, or visiting one of the off the beaten path restaurants.

Shopping

A mother and daughter checking out while shopping.
There are numerous boutique shops dotted throughout Breckenridge.

No trip to Breckenridge is complete without a day to explore Main Street. It’s just shy of a mile long, perfect for a light afternoon or evening stroll through the hub of town. I recently rode the free Main Street trolley with a two-year-old for an entirely new perspective of our main thoroughfare with all his wonder and giggles. With many stops along Main Street, the trolley is easy to catch, is an entertaining ride for wide-eyed toddlers, and is a sneaky way for parents and grandparents to save their legs for skiing. This is a must for any visitor (and even us locals), and with the longer spring days, there is plenty of time to explore.

Here are some key stops on Main Street for families.

Go Early: Since other families had the same idea you did to come to Breckenridge for Spring Break, try going earlier in the day to some of these places to avoid wait times.

  • Ready Paint Fire! – More than just a paint-your-own pottery studio, Ready, Paint, Fire! is a place to create all kinds of art projects on pottery, canvas, with mosaic or glass. I love the Breck-specific options for a unique spin on local souvenirs. They also serve beer, wine, and other snacks Tip: If pottery is your choice, make sure to allow for a 48-hour turnaround on the kiln.
  • Downstairs at Eric’s Arcade – The Mayor’s popular sports bar is also home to a mini-arcade. My family loves to come here to play vintage Ms. Pack-Man and Galaga, just a few of the 25 games located just outside the restaurant.
  • Mountain Top Children’s Museum – With mountain-themed play areas and exhibits, young kids will absolutely love this place: They even have a ‘bear cave’ filled with stuffed teddy bears! It is fun, affordable, and just for children 10 and under.
  • Fuzzywigs Candy Factory – With more than 400 varieties of candy from store-made fudge to nostalgic hard-to-find sweets, you and your kiddos will love this little candy store tucked away on Main Street, just across from the Breckenridge Welcome Center. And since you are burning so many calories with all the outdoor adventures you are having, go ahead and splurge!

Of course, there is way more to be done, but this family guide can be your starting point to planning your ultimate Breckenridge summer family adventure. Learn more about what to do in the summer in Breckenridge by checking out summer activities.

By Breck Editorial

The Breckenridge Tourism Office works to enhance and promote the unique character and experience of Breckenridge as a world-renowned destination resort and to represent, serve and perpetuate the common interest and character of its membership and community.

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