My family just returned from a magical week in Breckenridge. I planned the entire trip based upon TripAdvisor reviews, so I thought I would return the favor by posting a report. Hopefully this report will be useful to other families traveling to Breck. We are a reasonably active family of 4: 30-something parents, a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.
Day 1: flew into Denver and drove to Breckenridge. I had booked a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo at Crystal Peak Lodge. We were beyond thrilled when we arrived at this beautiful place. This is a new property and the room was spacious, beautifully decorated, and immaculately clean. The unit had stainless steel appliances, granite everywhere, a washer/dryer, fireplace, and a fabulous view. Crystal Peak is up in the mountains, so you must drive or take the free shuttle into town. It's a steep trek, so walking really isn't an option. We arrived around dinnertime, so we drove into town and had dinner at My Thai. This is a small restaurant with limited seating, but we had some of the best Thai food we've ever eaten.
Day 2: took a nice long walk along the Blue River in the morning and then treated the kids to a donut from Daylight Donuts. We enjoyed the Kingdom Days festivities in the early afternoon. Later in the afternoon, we drove to Leadville where I had booked a horseback ride/"weenie roast" with Mega Mountain Magic. I chose this company because they offered to let my 4 year old ride in a horse-drawn wagon (with an adult), rather than missing all the fun. I had a hard time finding anyone else who could accommodate him. We are true amateurs at horseback riding, so I really can't compare this experience to anything else, but we did enjoy a relaxing and scenic ride on gentle, calm horses. After the ride, we roasted hot dogs and s'mores over an open fire. It was a very memorable experience for my kids.
Day 3: took a day trip to Vail. We started our day at the 10:30 (free) fly-fishing clinic at Gore Creek Outfitters. This was a fun learning experience. After that, we took the wild, bumpy ride to Piney River Ranch for a bbq lunch and canoeing in their amazingly scenic lake. This place is gorgeous, but the ride there is not for the faint of heart. If you don't have 4-wheel drive, be careful. After this adventure, we drove back to town and walked around the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, which we really enjoyed. We drove back to Breck and had a very good dinner at Kenosha Steakhouse.
Day 4: we started our day at Peak 8 Fun Park (which is within walking distance from Crystal Peak). This place is FUN! We rode up the ski lift and down the alpine slides. My kids did the bungee trampoline, the rock wall, and panned for gemstones before we got rained out. It's not cheap to go here, but we felt it was worth the money. Later that afternoon, we went to the Riverwalk Center and saw "Peter and the Wolf" performed by the National Repertory Orchestra (or something like that). It was very enjoyable and I understand that they will offer children's productions throughout the summer. After the show, they had a cute "instrument petting zoo" for the kids to try out the various instruments. We took our time walking around Main Street, doing a little window shopping, and then had a great dinner at Motherloaded Tavern - this was probably our favorite meal in Breck.
Day 5: drove to Frisco and rented bikes at a shop next to Wal-Mart. My 7-year-old rode a trail-a-bike with her dad while I pulled the 4-year-old in a Burley trailer. We did the 15 mile ride from Frisco to Dillon. We were told that this was voted one of the top 10 most beautiful bike rides in America and I can see why. The scenery was really breathtaking. Despite my fears prior to our trip, we were not at all bothered by the altitude in Breck EXCEPT on this bike ride. It was nothing serious, but my husband and I were huffing and puffing more than usual. I highly recommend this ride. After the great workout, we had a delicious lunch at Jersey Boys in Dillon. We recovered in our condo that afternoon, and then had a really wonderful dinner at Taddeo's (Italian food) that evening. We went back to Dillon after dinner to see a movie.
Day 6: hiked McCullough Gulch in the morning. This was a super hike (we even saw SNOW! a novelty for us Phoenix folk!), however, it did prove a little too difficult for the kids. We made it about halfway, but did not make it to what we understand are some spectacular waterfalls and a glacial lake. Maybe when the kids are a little older! We had a great lunch at Mi Zuppa afterwards. It rained that afternoon, so we headed over to the Mountain Top Children's Museum. This is a really small "museum" and upon entering, I wondered if my kids would even like it. Well, after two hours, they didn't want to leave, so it ended up being the perfect rainy afternoon activity. I would recommend this place for kids 2-9. We had another great dinner at Rasta Pasta that evening and then splurged at the Crepe Stand on Main Street. We really are pretty picky eaters, but we just did not have a bad meal in Breck. I did, however, carefully choose our restaurants based on TripAdvisor reviews and was not steered wrong once!
Day 7: rented a paddleboat at Lake Dillon (at the Frisco Marina). This was a fun and relaxing way to explore the lake. Later that afternoon, we drove to Keystone for a chuckwagon dinner/wagon ride. This was a really fantastic experience. We were taken on a fairly luxurious wagon to Soda Creek. The scenery was amazing. At the campsite they had activities for the kids such as roping (plastic) bulls and horseshoe toss. There was cowboy music and an open fire. Now, understand that the atmosphere, fun wagon ride, and activities are better than the food, which was fine, but certainly not the highlight of the evening. I would strongly recommend doing a chuckwagon dinner, either in Keystone or with some other company in the Breck area. It just seems like the Colorado thing to do and we loved it.
Day 8: had a delicious breakfast at Blue Moose Restaurant and then drove back to Denver and flew home.
This was a fantastic family vacation and I thank everyone on TripAdvisor for the great advice. I look forward to returning to Breckenridge someday and hope everyone else heading that way has a great time!