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Family Fun in Beaver Creek

Summer is the perfect time for families to enjoy mountain activities in the Vail Valley.

 

Located between two of the most well-known ski towns in Colorado (Vail and Aspen), who would have thought Beaver Creek Resort in the Vail Valley would be the perfect summertime family escape? From hikes for all ages to a spa day for Mom while the little ones are at one of a variety of day camps, families will not soon tire of the range of summertime activities for everyone to enjoy.

Where to Stay

Beaver Creek lodging options range from hotels on the cheap to fabulous full-service resorts. If you like an intimate hotel, check out The Osprey at Beaver Creek. Formerly known at The Inn at Beaver Creek, The Osprey recently completed a $7 million renovation, outfitting the small Rock Resort hotel into a modern mountain lodge. Curl up with a drink and some tapas in the new lounge or head back to your room, most of which feature a gas-powered fireplace, for your snuggling delight. Rates start at $229.

For the full resort experience, book your stay at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. Complete with an award-winning spa and fitness center, fabulous on-site restaurants and chateau-style luxury, the recently renovated Park Hyatt is an ideal Rocky Mountain escape. Rates start at $139.

Hiking

After the snow melts from Beaver Creek’s top-rated ski slopes, the mountain transforms into a lush layout of hiking trails for skill levels. Whether or not you decide your group needs a guide, be sure to stop by the Beaver Creek Hiking Center in the Beaver Creek Village to learn about trail conditions, pick up a map of current trails, purchase lift tickets or reserve a spot on a group or private tour.

Beaver Creek Hiking Center guides hikes everywhere from within the resort area to a variety of 14,000-foot-plus peaks, known as the 14ers, that surround the Vail Valley. Beginners and families looking for a guided hike should try the Mini Colorado Adventure ($85/adult, $55/child), a three- to four-hour private hike led by an expert guide. If possible, ask for Nick Fickling, whose knowledge of local flora and fauna (as well as captivating life story) is so entertaining that he’ll surely keep your mind off of the high altitude and tiring switchbacks.

Families who would rather hike on their own should not miss Five Senses Trail. Starting at the base of the mountain, the mile-long trail follows along a paved path, taking you by the beautiful Beaver Creek Chapel and past the Flood’s Fishing Ponds. One of three trails that are part of the Hiking Center’s Hike-ology Program, the Five Senses Trail encourages children to explore the flora and fauna of with all their senses. Find a brochure in the Hiking Center where families can record their observations.

Horseback Riding

Only a short Dial-A-Ride from anywhere in the resort, the Beaver Creek Stables is the place to tap in to Colorado’s cowboy roots for a fun and family-friendly way to explore the mountain.

Open daily this summer from June 1 to Sept. 1, families can take a guided one-hour ride for $60 per person. For a longer excursion, try the nearly day-long ride out to Beaver Lake, where you’ll enjoy a lakeside picnic lunch and return to the stables by 3 p.m. ($200 per person, 24-hour advance reservations required).

Next: Summer Activities for Kids and Beaver Creek Rodeo

Summer Specials for Kids

During the warm months, Beaver Creek breaks out a variety of mountain-based kids’ activities that will surely wear the little ones out if hiking all day didn’t do it. The climbing wall, miniature golf course and bungee trampoline cost around $10 each and are a great way to burn off a little extra steam before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

Even better, adults can also participate in the same activities (with the exception of a weight restriction on the bungee trampoline). So putt-putt with the whole family or keep track of each member’s time to conquer the climbing wall.

The Beaver Creek Children’s Museum is open year-round, but during the summer offers special family activities and workshops. Participate in a stargazing workshop. If you’re really lucky, you’ll be around for a visit from everyone’s favorite forest fire spokesman, Smokey the Bear. Call 970-926-5855 for more information.

Families familiar with ski school in the winter will love Beaver Creek’s summertime Kid Day Camp options. Discovery Camp (ages 5 to 7) features activities for youngsters like face-painting and horseback riding along with themed days—such as Martial Arts Day and Creepy-Crawly Day. Adventure Camp (ages 8 to 13) offers a variety of activities for older kids, ranging from archery to canoeing.

Kids can also travel with the camp to off-mountain activities like the Glenwood Caverns and Copper Mountain Go-Karts. For a one-of-a-kind experience for your 8- to 13-year-old, the Five-Star Camp brings kids along on activities like Jeep tours, gold mine tours, river rafting and more.

Beaver Creek Rodeo

If you’re lucky enough to be in the Vail Valley from the end of June until Labor Day, be sure to attend the Beaver Creek Rodeo. Just a free shuttle ride away, the Beaver Creek Rodeo series takes place every Thursday night in the summer, with gates opening at 5 p.m. and events kicking off at 6 p.m.

Watch cowboys and cowgirls compete in Bareback Bronc Riding, Barrel Racing and more. Kids even have a chance to compete in two of their own competitions: the Calf Scramble and Mutton Bustin’. Prizes are awarded to the first five children who snag a ribbon off the tail of a calf in the Calf Scramble. During the Mutton Bustin’ competition, buckaroos ride on the back of a lamb for as long as possible. If you plan to enter one of your little wranglers into an event, be sure to get to there early: Registration fills up quickly!

In addition to the entertaining events, the arena is lined with booths hawking barbecue meats, kettle corn, authentic cowboy hats and more. For kids a little too skittish to enter the arena, a play area featuring a bounce house and mechanical bull offers a safe place to explore cowboy dreams. As I learned, the Rodeo takes place rain or shine. If rain tries to put a damper on your day, fear not, the people putting on the rodeo have enough plastic ponchos on hand to keep you (relatively) dry.

Next: Activities for Parents and Dining

Parental Perks

Beaver Creek is a great place for kids to stave off summertime boredom, but mom and dad will be thrilled with the endless opportunities for them. While the kids spend their days panning for gold and hiking with new day-camp friends, parents should treat themselves to some “me time.”

Dad should be sure to play at least a few holes on the Beaver Creek Resort Golf Course. While June 15 to Sept. 15 tee fees are the highest because of the peak of summer tourism, a round of twilight golf (teeing off after 3 p.m.) is only $100. Or play just nine holes for $105, no tee-time restrictions (prices include a cart and range balls). Dads looking to keep the budget tight but still wanting to have some fun should look at visiting Beaver Creek in the shoulder seasons, when a game of 18 holes costs only $89.

A great spot to find where your inner-peace lies is at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort’s Allegria Spa. With a state-of-the-art fitness center and a list of treatments that include a Sweet Lavender and Honey Milk Bath, a Ginger Peach Cure, a High Altitude Facial and more, there’s something for every mom at Allegria.

If you happen to be a guest of the Park Hyatt, be sure to take advantage of some of the perks of your stay. Use of the Allegria Spa fitness center is complimentary. The fitness center’s Kinesis studio (based around an expensive piece of Italian fitness equipment) offers a workout for a variety of fitness levels. Before a treatment, take advantage of the Aqua Sanitas, a progression of five soothing water therapies.

Date Night or Family Dining

Regardless of whether the kids are in tow, Beaver Creek has some fabulous fine dining choices that are kid-friendly as well. The 8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill serves up the freshest of local cuisine. On the menu, expect mountain meats like elk loin and buffalo steak, as well as a kids’ menu featuring picky kid favorites like macaroni and cheese. Everyone in the family will love watching the food preparation in the open kitchen.

For a meal that makes you believe that you’ve died and gone to heaven, stop by Splendido at the Chateau, a residence club. Chef David Walford delivers a dinner menu of the freshest local ingredients served up in a decadent way. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to taste Walford’s popular off-the-menu special, lobster stuffed with Yukon gold mashed potatoes. An affordable children’s menu means the kids don’t have to stay back at the hotel.

If you’re on a budget, Beaver Creek offers a range of casual dining options perfect for families. With the Beaver Creek Chophouse, Blue Moose Pizza and The Dusty Boot Steakhouse & Saloon, there’s something for every taste located conveniently within the Beaver Creek Village.



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