Ever find that vacations can be more stressful than regular life? Driving in traffic, dealing with hotel reservations, trying to navigate the crowded grocery store while dealing with the kids’ hyperactivity and constant question. Well, we want to make vacations relaxing again, so we are giving you a prepopulated guide to planning that family vacation this summer! Tag a day on either end for extra leisure time, or pick and choose your favorite activities from the list below for a shorter trip. Either way, make time with the family special, and leave the planning of your Colorado mountain trip to us. From Winter Park Resort, to the iconic Rocky Mountain National Park, to the charming Fraser Valley in between, our itinerary makes the most of the time you spend here.
The following would ideally be built for a Tues- Sat schedule, but can be adjusted to whatever you’d like!
Morning: Alpine Slide and Adventure Activities at the Base
We know once the kids see the Alpine Slide, the climbing wall, and the Leaps and Bounds Bungee, it is going to be hard to make them wait for adventures to start, so why not get to them your first morning? Activities start at 10 am, and then you can avoid the afternoon line for the slide.
Midday: Lunch with Coca-Cola or at Doc’s
If you start your morning with activities, your best deal is the Coca-Cola Adventure 4-pack. A family of 4 gets 4 adventure day tickets, lunch (hot dogs, chips, and drinks), and $20 toward a WPR retail shop.
Or just get the Full Day Adventure Tickets and find a spot like Doc’s to grab grub. Have the kids end the morning with a race through the Human Maze or teeing up on the putting course and then find a table on Doc’s patio. It won’t be hard to wrangle the little ones, as Doc’s is just beside the Human Maze exit. Plus with its family friendly environment and Kid’s menu, it’ll be a great place to refuel.
Afternoon: Horseback Riding
There are a few different options for horseback riding in the valley!
If your kids are still buzzing off their vacation excitement, opt for the Sombrero Stables 3 hour ride with dinner. The tour starts at 3pm, and you’ll ride out to the chuckwagon or a steak dinner. If you have kiddos under 10, Sombrero Stables is also a great option, as they have shorter rides for children as young as 2.
If you’re looking for something a bit shorter, why not take an intro ride at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. The 1.5 hour ride is great for a child’s intro. Riders must be 10 years or older.
Evening: Dinner in Downtown Winter Park
If you aren’t enjoying dinner via horseback, stop at one of the many delicious stops in town. We recommend the Foundry. Grab dinner and then get your bowl on or wind down the night with a movie. Get some early shut eye though! Tomorrow will be better enjoyed, well rested.
Morning: Sharky’s and Rocky Mountain National Park
After spending the first night getting acclimated to the elevation, and (hopefully) getting a good night’s rest Day 2 starts with a bang! First, though, get some grub! Stop at Sharky’s to take breakfast on the road. We recommend ordering ahead, so you can just stop in and pick up so you can hop on the road and start your road trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Before you go though, make sure to check conditions to be sure there isn’t any crazy weather, and note that there is an entrance fee for the park.
The drive is about an hour, but you do get to enjoy a scenic drive! And if the kid’s get restless, here are some of our ‘Lil Rippers activities that you can print for some entertainment on the ride.
You should have an idea of what you want to do before visiting the park, as summer is one of the busiest times of the year. Here is the RMNP Plan Your Visit tool but we also have some suggestions (courtesy of the Winter Park Chamber)
First stop, Kawuneeche Visitor Center to get info on the park and have the kids ask questions about wildlife, the National Parks, etc! Then spend the morning on a short hike, like Coyote Valley Trail! This hike is a one-mile loop, that starts just 5 miles north of the Visitor Center.
Midday: Picnic Lunch
Sharky’s might be filling, but you’ll have worked up an appetite with your busy morning! The Coyote Valley Trail has a picnic area at the trailhead, so stop and rest with your lunch while you take in the sights!
Afternoon: Trail Ridge Road
There are countless trails you could hop back on after eating, but for a different type of adventure, we highly recommend driving on Trail Ridge Road, number 20 on Buzzfeed’s Colorado Places that Will Literally Take Your Breath Away.
This drive can take anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours depending on where you stop and how much time you spend with the wildlife!
Evening: Village Activity
Head back to Winter Park Resort Village a little before 4pm to get your seat for Campfire Singalong. You and the kids can enjoy a local musician playing classic favs for a few hours on a Wednesday night. Plus don’t forget the s’mores supplies! Put that Village fire pit to work while you kick back!
Not following our midweek schedule- check out our full event calendar HERE.
Morning: Breakfast at Goodys and Ute Trail Hike
Nothing beats a good Crepe to get the day going, especially when you have a mid-morning hiking adventure planned! Stop into Goodys and enjoy something sweet or savory in a local’s favorite breakfast spot.
Once you’ve enjoyed a full belly, lace up your hiking shoes! Right at the base of the resort, you’ll find access to the Ute Trail that will take you all the way up to Sunspot! The scenic views are great for little ones who have never seen the mountains or seasoned little hikers looking for a nature adventure. Some kids may find this trail tiring, but there are bathrooms (and ice cream!) at the top to help keep a crew of happy campers. Plus, you can ride the chair lift back down for free if it’s too strenuous.
Want to get up to Sunspot but don’t want to hike? Try the Scenic Chairlift.
Midday: Break at Sunspot
You’ve earned a break! Relax at Sunspot with that rewarding ice cream you motivated the kids with, or make it a full lunch break. Relax on the outdoor patio with the best view of the Fraser Valley. The full summer menu is amazing, and includes a full wine menu. Plus, once at the top, there are plenty of places for great family photo ops, too! Check out the platform to the Left of the Zephyr for great views of Mary Jane!
Afternoon: Go to Town
After a little nap or pool time at your rental, go explore Downtown Winter Park. You can take the Free Local Shuttle from outside the Zephyr Mountain Lodge at Winter Park Resort (pick up map local) at about 45 after the hour and take it to Copper Creek Square. At Cooper Creek, you’ll find family friendly places to eat, and the kids will find Imaginations – a store filled with toys and games that you can use to fill some downtime. From there you can peruse restaurants and shops up and down 40.
You can skip the stores, and instead enjoy a leisurely bike ride or a walk along the Fraser River Trail. Leave right from the base of the resort, and take the paved trail all the way to Downtown Winter Park. It is a gorgeous path that follows the Fraser River, giving the kids opportunities to play in the water, or if you bring your fishing gear, you can cast a line!
Evening: Highnote Thursdays at Hideaway Park
You can catch the shuttle from the Fraser River Trail or from your stop at Cooper Creek and take it to Hideaway Park (just a few stops down or a short walk) for Highnote Thursdays at Winter Park’s brand new stage venue! Get dinner to-go or bring your own food and drink right into the park, and then pull up one of the folding chairs to enjoy some free music. Don’t forget to make a pitstop at the playground for some more play time before the band starts!
Morning: Green Horn-It!
Our gentle Green Trail, Green Horn-It is a great way to get the kids to try Downhilling. With free access to the trail via the Cabriolet, they can ride their own bike and get a feel for what mountain biking at Trestle could be like.
If the kiddos already know they want to try Trestle trails, book them an Intro to Trestle Day Pass. They will get coaching and gear with this package, not to mention all ages can join in on the fun! Hesitant about trying a downhill lesson? Read about what a first timer’s experience with a Trestle Coach is like HERE.
Midday: Lunch at Back Bowl and Games
The sunshine on Back Bowl’s patio is calling your name! Head on over for some delicious soup and sandwich combos. The view of the Fraser River is gorgeous while you refuel and relive your biking adventure. Plus when the food runs out, you are in a perfect position to move over to the games we have in the Village. Play life size Checkers or Jenga, enjoy our musical instruments, and don’t forget to stop for another family photo op with the Coca-Cola Bear!
Afternoon: Stroll through the Village
Taking a walk through the Village and along the River right at the Resort! Do some shopping at stores like Columbia or Burton. Or, stop in City Pop or Treeline Treats to get some snacks for the movie later on!
Evening: Pizza Pedal’r & Village Music and Movie
It’s time for a Friday Pizza Party! Head to Pedal’r to get the kids a standard cheese, while you enjoy one of their other specialties (highly recommend their Hard Tail, with an added adult beverage. Their side patio is tucked to the side, making it a great place to regroup.
You’ll also be in a great position to hear some of the music from the gazebo. Check out the band list for the season.
As soon as the music wraps, boogie on over to the Coca-Cola Family Movie night. Bring a blanket or a few bean bags to set up camp for the evening movie. Bring a sweatshirt! The movies don’t start until after the sun goes down and it can get a little chilly.
Morning: Wildflower Hike
Looking for a beautiful nature adventure, why not explore a Wildflower Hike in the area? Right across from Winter Park Resort is access to the Jim Creek Trail. The hike is moderate, but here are some other recommended easier trails. Getting to know the Jim Creek Trail will also be awesome for winter prep, as you can take a snowshoe tour when it is covered in snow and take sweet before and after shots! And if the whole 6.6 miles is too much, just take in as much as you want on this out and back trail before heading back to the Village for lunch.
Midday: WPR Events
You’ve made it to Saturday, so there is probably an event either at Winter Park Resort or in Downtown Winter Park. Check out the event schedule, and then plan your last afternoon according to the events going on! Saturdays are fun to enjoy people watching and then either the music, food, drink, or activity our weekend events are centered around! Knowing you’ve gotten all the other big “To Do” Items out of the way, means you don’t have to fight the crowds, and instead you can enjoy the day.
Evening: High Country Stampede Rodeo
Yee-haw! Spend your last evening in town at the rodeo! Watch locals race and check out the special themes and event nights. This is a small town classic, located in Fraser. It should definitely be on your family to-do list to really enjoy an authentic Colorado vacation.