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Summit County Lodging & Travel Guide

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Why You Should Visit Summit County

Summit in Every Season

Finding the Best Lodging in Summit County

5 Reasons You Should Stay Overnight in Breckenridge



Colorado’s Playground: Why You Should Visit Summit County Right Now

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Summit County secured its place on the map in 1859 when prospectors discovered gold and silver in the surrounding hills. But today, its riches are in the form of stunning scenery, outdoor recreation, arts and culture, and year-round fun.

The same mountains that gold-rush adventurers scaled are preserved for hiking, skiing, fishing, biking, and more. In 1961, Breckenridge Ski Area opened, followed by Keystone in 1970, and Summit County quickly transformed into “Colorado’s Playground.”

“There's a magical quality to Breckenridge,” says Jennifer Manske Fenske, Denver-area author and president of Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children.

With three young girls, vacations can be hectic and more work than staying home. But when we all walk down Main Street in Breck, worries fade away as the girls run down to the banks of the Blue River. We're just more relaxed there,” Fenske says.

Here are a few more reasons to fall in love with Summit County year-round:

Breckenridge

The pulse of Summit County is in Breckenridge. Many visitors, like the Fenskes, choose to stay here and use the town as a home base while they explore the surrounding areas.VailResorts_BRK3184_Bob_Winsett_Comp.jpg

At the foot of the mountain, historic Main Street sits at 9,600 feet elevation and bustles with coffee shops, quirky boutiques, a vast array of dining, and the scenic Riverwalk.

The town offers a rotating calendar of skiing, bike and beer festivals, art shows, parades and music performances.

In the summer, Breckenridge Resort offers a fun park complete with a mountain rollercoaster, scenic gondola rides, gemstone panning, rock climbing, miniature golf, guided hikes, lift-serviced mountain bike trails, and more.

Don’t miss 4th of July Week when Main Street ignites with fireworks, a parade, mountain bike races, trail runs, and kids’ activities.

Dillon

The surface of Lake Dillon glimmers like blue diamonds.

In the background are the snow-capped peaks that define the Rockies. On the surrounding shore is the town of Dillon, a full-service community that helps define Summit County.

Dillon is unrivaled for family activities, with boating on Lake Dillon (and a full-service marina), free nature nights, golf, Friday Farmers’ Markets and weekend concerts at the open-air Lake Dillon Amphitheater.

Enjoy the fresh air and the aroma of evergreens while taking scenic walks, in-line skating or bike rides along the more than 25 miles of paved recreation path that circles the lake.

If shopping is on your agenda, the Outlets at Silverthorne, just outside of Dillon, are a must-visit. Unlike other outlet malls, this place offers traditional brands as well as outdoors and sports outlet shops for hikers, skiers, cyclists, anglers, and more.

With three separate shopping villages and hundreds of brands, it’s the ultimate in retail therapy!

Frisco

Life is hardly sleepy in this small Summit County outpost. Frisco’s Main Street offers shopping and dining, as well as ski shops, fly-fishing outfitters and nature guides.

With three scenic rivers and hundreds of miles of hiking/snowshoeing trails nearby, outdoor enthusiasts never get bored. Don’t miss a stop at the Frisco Historic Park & Museum, which includes mining artifacts, a log chapel and authentic schoolhouse.


VailResorts_Golf1001_Leisa_Gibson_Comp.jpgLike to golf? Just minutes from Breckenridge and Frisco, Keystone Resort has two award-winning golf courses.

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., The Ranch Golf Course follows the links style of a traditional Scottish course on the front nine, while the back nine presents a rolling mountain valley layout.

Or, elevate your game by taking on the River Course, which is a par-71 course that winds around the Snake River for the front nine and dips into a pine forest for the back nine.

The Keystone Adventure Center offers events and family adventures, such as the Horse-Drawn Wagon Ride & Dinner, offered from June to September.

You will take a horse-drawn (hay-free) wagon to an authentic homestead for dinner and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.

At the end of the day, it’s a short drive back to your hotel or vacation rental in Breckenridge. Whether you stay for a weekend, a week, or longer, you’ll never get bored!

 



Summit in Every Season

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Summit County serves up some of the best skiing and riding in North America, but that’s only the beginning. Spring, summer, and fall have plenty to offer vacationers, too, from outdoor recreation to seasonal festivals, shopping, arts, music, and amazing dining.

We asked locals, frequent visitors, and Summit County experts to share some of their favorite attractions and activities, and we compiled this year-round guide to the best that Summit County has to offer.

Spring

Beginning in March, it’s Spring Fever in Summit County.

You’ll savor warming temperatures, buttery snow, and plenty of sunshine on the patios at the resorts and in town.
VailResorts_BRK5550_Diana_Sabreen-1_Comp.jpgBreckenridge Ski Resort’s annual “Spring Fever” month-long festival ends ski season with a bang.

Concerts, a scavenger hunt, and snowboarding exhibitions are scheduled; special lodging packages are available.

The events conclude mid-April with the grueling three-stage Imperial Challenge, in which participants bike and hike from town all the way up Peak 8 (13,000 feet), then ski or board down to the finish line.

When the resorts close (but the snow hasn’t fully melted), you can still get some exercise and have fun indoors.

Summit County has two spectacular indoor public recreation centers: one in Breckenridge (880 Airport Rd.; 970-453-1734), the other in Silverthorne (430 Rainbow Dr.; 970-262-7370).

The Breckenridge center has climbing walls and tennis courts; both have gyms, lap pools, childcare services, and various classes for adults and children.


Summer

When it comes to beating the summer heat, nothing’s better than the crisp mountain air of the Rockies.

The same high-altitude towns that draw crowds in the winter beckon visitors in the summer with bike and beer festivals, art shows, 4th of July parades, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and more.

Plus, most of the ski resorts offer summer amusement in the form of mountain roller coasters, alpine slides, zip lines and fine dining.

Lodging is easy to find (and less expensive) in the summertime, and an intricate network of free shuttle buses and bike trails make it easy to move around each town.


VailResorts_BRK6633_Bob_Winsett_Comp.jpgHiking is a huge draw in summertime, and there are plenty of trails for every ability level. Julia Vandenoever, a top Colorado photographer, vacations in Summit County every year.

“We are working on helping my son, age 4, to hike more, so we look for hikes that are attainable and not too hard like Carter Park and Hoosier Pass Loop,” Vandenoever says.

“I want him to feel successful, like he’s conquering a mountain.” Be sure to bring your camera to capture gorgeous mountain landscapes.

Those up for a challenge won’t be disappointed either.

“When we go to Summit County, I try to hit my favorite hike near Breckenridge: the Class-3 West Ridge of Quandary Peak,” says Jonathan Fenske, a children’s book author and illustrator from Denver.

“It's a beautiful fourteener and one that grows on you each time you climb it.

Fall


VailResorts_BRK3697_Dmitry_Zaltsman_Comp.jpgFall is a magical time in Summit County. Beautiful aspen groves ignite with color, the days are still warm, sunshine abounds, and the promise of a great ski season has everyone smiling.

Strolling Main Street Breckenridge, treat yourself to some coffee and early-season sales at the clothing boutiques.

Need to warm your hands?

“Stopping at Kava Cafe is a must-do for our family when we visit Breckenridge. The kids scrap over the last morsels of hot mini-donuts, fried up while you wait,” says Jennifer Manske Fenske, president of Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children.

Every October, Breckenridge hosts the Craft Spirits Festival.

Nicknamed the “Still on the Hill,” this unique festival features small-batch distillers, artisan spirit seminars, fine local cuisine and of course, plenty of sampling.

There’s poker runs, pub crawls, walking tours, parties and hangover brunches. What more do you need? More info: breckenridgecraftspiritsfestival.com

Winter


VailResorts_Adodds_20120215_Pow_00148_Comp.jpgNo matter what the calendar says, winter officially begins when the resorts open and people rush to grab first tracks. Summit County offers literally thousands of acres of skiable terrain across several resorts.

Many families love to stay in Breckenridge and hit all the area resorts in one vacation.

“Breckenridge was a fantastic location when planning a trip for multiple people,” says Jessica Hulse, who recently stayed here with her husband, two sons, and two other families with children.

“We chose to ski at both Keystone and Breckenridge and had easy access to both from our rental house. When we weren't skiing, we made good use of the adventure park in Frisco for tubing.

Breckenridge also has fun family nighttime activities and we all made it to the ice castle to explore and ride the slide,” she says.

And towns like Breckenridge offer a rotating menu of season kick-offs, holiday festivals, snow-sculpting contests, tubing, Breckenridge’s famous Ullr Fest, starlight dinners, ice-skating, and so much more.

When you’re not on the slopes, enjoy fine dining, spas, live music and après skiing options all over town.



5 Reasons You Should Stay Overnight in Breckenridge

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More snow, less gas.

Spend more time skiing and less time in traffic.

Beat the crowds.

It’s easy to grab first chair when you’re staying close to the lifts!

First Tracks Fridays.

If you stay Thursday night at an official Breckenridge property, you’ll get access to the slopes a full hour before the resort opens on Fridays. (more info: /lodging/first-tracks-fridays.aspx)

Night life.

Breckenridge heats up when the sun goes down. You won’t want to miss all the fun après action and fine dining in town.

Location.

Breckenridge is a perfect home base for exploring all of Summit County.

 



Finding the Best Lodging in Summit County

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Breckenridge offers a variety of lodging, from ski-in/ski-out properties and luxury hotel rooms to family-friendly condos, private homes and more.

We have hotels and condos next to the slopes, in town, and along the free shuttle route.

Your first step in finding your perfect place is to decide: Hotel or condo?

Each has its advantages. Most hotels and many condos offer daily housekeeping, concierge and room service.

To help you decide which is right for you, ask yourself a few questions:

 

How much time will you spend at your lodging location?

Do you plan to relax and linger in your king-size bed, watch movies with the whole family, and spread out?

Or will the majority of your time be spent on the slopes and in town?

If it’s the latter, you might prefer a hotel room with a welcoming bed and all the essentials for a good night’s rest. If you plan to linger and spread out, look at the various condo and townhomes that are available.


How big is your party?

If you’re traveling alone or with your sweetheart, you might prefer a well-appointed, romantic hotel room with ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes.

But if your group is large, a condo or townhome might suit you better. Condos come in all sizes and price ranges to accommodate any group.

Most even include ski storage closets and clothes washers and dryers – an essential for many families with children.

Do you want your own kitchen?

If you don’t want to lift a finger your whole vacation, a hotel with room service might be the perfect fit.

But if you like to prepare meals, or enjoy breakfast in your pajamas before hitting the slopes, choose a condo with a fully stocked kitchen.

What about location?

Many guests choose a property based on its location alone.

Take a look at the resort map and pinpoint where you want to be….steps from the gondola? Close to the ski school? In the same hotel as your favorite restaurants and bars?

Anything is possible.

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