My travels took me to Beaver Creek, located in the central Rocky Mountains of Colorado, just 120 miles west of Denver and 20 miles east of Vail/Eagle Airport off of Interstate 70. I tend to think of Colorado only as a “Winter Wonderland.” I never realized that this state offers activities for every season. I experienced so many unforgettable firsts on this trip. The picture-perfect views of the Rocky Mountains alone left an everlasting impression on me. My vacations are usually tailored around what I like to do (chill!). However, this trip was definitely a few steps out of my comfort zone.
Beaver Creek Village is a family destination in itself. You’ll find restaurants, bars, art shows, outdoor concerts and even a year-round skating rink! Children will especially love the wall climbing, bungee jump and mini golf course, and will enjoy jumping off and on the Buckaroo Express up to the slopes. A summer day camp in the Beaver Creek Children’s Ski School (upper level Village, 970-754-5464) for ages 5-13 runs early June through Labor Day.
Now, on to my adventures!
First was an open-air Jeep tour (10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily; $95 adults, $80 ages 8-12, $50 ages 7 and younger; www.Novaguides.com), an exciting way to see mountain landscapes. You are taken through remote areas within the White River National Forest up to heights of 12,000 feet, and you get lunch. Our knowledgeable guide told us that entire groves of Aspen trees commonly develop from a single root system. This is where I fell in love with Aspens!
My second adventure was horseback riding at Beaver Creek Stables ($85 per person during summer; www.beavercreekstables.com). I was a little nervous about being so far off the ground on such a large animal, but the wranglers’ instruction put us cautious beginners at ease. We took a two-hour trot all over Beaver Creek Mountain through gorgeous fields of Aspen and wild flowers. This may have been one of the most peaceful natural surroundings I have experienced! Kids as young as 7 can ride.
Even farther off the ground was my ziplining adventure with Zip Adventures Vail, CO ($150 per person; www.zipadventures.com), a 200-foot-high “zip” above Vail Valley. The guides’ first priority is to ensure riders safety, and their second is to make sure that you’re having a blast! Choose six or 12 stations, each higher and more exciting than the last. The package includes all safety gear, water and snacks. What a liberating experience! Wear comfortable clothes and shoes as there is some hiking involved. Anyone 60 to 230 pounds can zip. My daughter hasn’t hit the 60-pound mark, but I am positive that she would be wild about ziplining!
A growing tradition in Beaver Creak is the Beaver Creek Rodeo (970-754-4636), running from 6-8 p.m. Thursday nights during summer. I saw a lot of families in attendance, many with young children. There’s Team Roping, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. Plus, Junior riders can get involved in the Calf Scrambles and some Mutton Bustin’! Wear your cowboy hat and ring those cowbells to get in the spirit!
I loved my accommodations, but there are so many activities and attractions in Beaver Creek that you wind up spending little time at the hotel! Still, all the comforts of home can definitely be found at Beaver Creek Lodge (www.beavercreeklodge.net), located at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. (If you’re there during winter, it’s just three escalator rides to ski slopes.) There are guest suites, and three- and four-bedroom condos available – a fantastic option for large families. Comfy suites also include a kitchenette, essential if you’ve made a trip to the local farmers’ market. And they offer kids some space and moms and dads some privacy.
The lodge’s Rocks Modern Grill serves breakfast or dinner (most guests are out and about during lunch), where the menu features American cuisine crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Executive Chef Mike Spalla grows his own herbs in a garden located on the Rocks Patio. The children’s menu includes Chicken Tenders, but there is also a 5oz filet mignon for those kids with bigger appetites! I highly recommend the Fruit and Berries for breakfast. This mixture of low-fat yogurt, berries and homemade granola is tasty, healthy combination to start off your day.
The lodge also features a gallery showcasing the work of local artists, a small heated indoor/outdoor pool, hot tub, a sauna and steam room. And the staff can arrange babysitting through a local agency. Average nightly rates from November to January range from $202-$872, and rates go down during spring and summer.
My visit to Beaver Creek and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado was exhausting in the best way possible. I basically packed a week’s worth of adventure into just three days. I recommend Beaver Creek for your next family adventure!
This post was written for L.A. Parent and can be found on www.laparent.com. All photos by Tee Burgess.
* We did not receive monetary compensation for this review. All arrangements were handled by L.A. Parent and Beaver Creek PR. The review is in our own words and is our opinion. Your results and opinions may differ.