Top 15 Family Activities in Breckenridge
The Family's Guide to Breckenridge
Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s best mountain resort destinations for families, with experiences and activities suitable year-round. From toddlers to grandparents and all ages in between, some of the best things to do in Breckenridge involve the whole family.
In the summer, the massive peaks that surround the valley hold their snow deep into the season, creating a beautiful landscape in which deep blue Colorado skies are the backdrop for lush green grass, wildflowers, and rocky crags. This natural beauty is the perfect backdrop for Breckenridge kids activities and adult excursions alike.
Come winter, the historic town turns into a majestic alpine playground, where you can ski the pristine slopes of the mountain or explore any of the dozens of family activities available.
But really, there’s no bad time to visit Breck. Split evenly between 1.5 million visitors in the winter and 1.5 million in the summer, the lively town is buzzing virtually year-round. Wondering when a visit might be best for your family? Look through our complete guide of things to do in Breckenridge to get started.
Top 15 Family Activities in Breckenridge (details on each below):
- Horseback riding with Breckenridge Stables
- The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster
- Highline Railroad Park and Playground
- The Breckenridge Gondola
- Scenic Drives
- The 1909 School House
- Dog Sledding with Good Times Adventures
- Sledding at Carter Park
- Mountain Top Children's Museum
- Gold panning at Country Boy Mine
- Mountain Biking
- The Epic Discovery Package
- Horse-Drawn sleigh rides with Golden Horseshoe Tour Co.
- Visiting Downstairs at Eric's
- Ice skating at one of two main rinks
What to explore in Breckenridge
Whether it’s horseback riding through a field of fluttering mountain wildflowers, soaring high above the ridgeline in an enclosed gondola, or offroading in a 4x4 with an experienced mountain guide, you’ll find just about any family activities you can imagine in Breckenridge.
However, we’ve narrowed that list down to 15 of the top family activities in Breckenridge to help you plan the perfect mountain vacation. But let’s be honest, when you’re staying in a historic Victorian town flanked by rushing rivers and sky-piercing peaks, it’s hard to have anything but an unforgettable stay, no matter what season you come to Breckenridge.
1. Breckenridge Horseback Riding
Want to experience Summit County the way the original settlers did? Head over to the Breckenridge Stables, located at the loop where Village Road and Kings Crown Road meet near the base of the mountain.
Breckenridge Stables has an incredible track record of safety, making it perfect for everyone in the family. They have more than 100 horses available, and always take the time to make sure the horse you’re on matches your skills and comfort level with these amazing animals.
2. Gold Runner Alpine Coaster
The Breckenridge mountain coaster, known as the Gold Runner, is 2,500 feet of winding, dipping, and twisting fun. You control the speed of your own sled, so whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or just looking for a pleasant ride through trees, you’ll enjoy the coaster either way.
There are also two-seater coaster cars, so parents can ride with young children who may not want to or be ready to ride alone (the height limit to ride alone is 54”). The coaster is located at the base of Peak 8, which you can access via the free gondola on Park Ave.
3. Highline Railroad Park and Playground
A great Breckenridge activity for the family is the Highline Railroad Park and Playground. Train enthusiasts will be enchanted by the Engine No. 9 train stationed at the park, which serves as a reminder of the days when locomotives made the perilous journey through the mountain passes of Colorado.
Several more historic train cars are on display, and there’s even a train-themed playground where kids can spend hours exploring.
Although the exhibit is free, the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, which operates the park, does suggest a $5 donation. To get there, head south on Main Street until you hit Boreas Pass Road. Turn left, and travel until you reach the park. Keep in mind this park is closed in the winter.
4. The Breckenridge Gondola
You don’t have to be a skier to get the breathtaking views of the Breckenridge Gondola. Even better, this family-favorite activity is completely free. Known as the BreckConnect, the system swooshes riders from the boarding station to the base of Peak 8, where there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to keep the whole family busy.
From inside the enclosed 8-passenger gondolas, you’ll have sweeping views of the town below and the rugged peaks all around you. Head out early to catch the morning sun, or plan your trip to see the sunset from high above the town of Breckenridge.
Open year-round, the gondola runs daily and is completely free.(Above photo is courtesy of GoBreck.com)
5. Scenic drives near Breckenridge
What’s better than packing up the whole family in the car and setting out to see Breckenridge’s beauty from every angle? There are dozens of scenic drives near Breckenridge, however we’ve narrowed it down to four we think would make for the best family outings.
Boreas Pass Road
You won’t be able to access the road once winter hits, but a drive along this famous stretch during the fall is something you’ll remember forever. When the aspen trees turn gold and red in September, try driving from Breckenridge to Fairplay, and take in the gorgeous swaths of color that pop out from the surrounding evergreens. Note: This is a dirt road, and you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle to make the drive.
Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway
If you take I-70 further west toward Copper Mountain and turn south onto highway 91, you’ll officially be on the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway. You’ll pass several 14ers, including Quandary Peak (14,265 ft), Mount Lincoln (14,286 ft), and Mount Democrat (14,148 ft), and after about 30 minutes, you’ll end up in the highest incorporated town in the country: Leadville, Colorado.
Take highway 24 out of Leadville heading north and you’ll climb the Tennessee Pass, which tops out at 10,424 feet, cruise over the breathtaking Steel Arched Bridge outside the hidden town of Red Cliff, past the ghost town of Gilman, and finally end up in Vail. Take I-70 back east to hit Frisco and Breckenridge. All told the loop will take you somewhere around 2.5-3 hours, and in that time, you’ll pass through some of Colorado’s most beautiful and historic scenery.
Swan Mountain Road
This is a milder scenic drive and can be done without ever leaving Summit County. From Highway 9 go north out of Breckenridge, turn right onto Swan Mountain Road, which will circle you around beautiful Lake Dillon. The drive is only about 40 minutes, so you can squeeze it in on even the busiest trip.
6. The 1909 School House
Now known as the Breckenridge Grand Vacation Community Center and South Branch Library, the schoolhouse was built in 1909 to accommodate the rapidly growing population of the area around the turn of the century.
Now restored to its former glory, the schoolhouse serves as a community center with a cafe, cinema, and library, offering something for everyone in the family. But make no mistake, while it’s been completely refurbished, the designers kept all the original structures intact, from the window frames to the brick chimney.
7. Dog sledding in Breckenridge
We didn’t include snowmobiling on this list, as it’s not necessarily the best family activity. But dog sledding certainly is.
Good Times Adventures runs dog sledding tours through Breckenridge following the gorgeous scenery that lines the Swan River. For six miles, you and your family can be in charge, mushing the energetic sled dogs. Kids will love learning more about the traditional transportation and meeting the dogs, and parents will adore the sights and sounds of the valley that rushes by.
Tickets are sold per person, and reservations are strongly recommended. You can learn more and book tours here.
8. Carter Park - Breckenridge Sledding
One of the best family winter activities in Breckenridge is sledding at Carter Park. There are typical sled hills, and then there’s Carter Park: a wide, gradually sloping hill with views of Tenmile Range, bathrooms, and picnic tables. You’ll have to walk up, but considering it’s completely free to use the hill, the walk really isn’t so bad.
Parents and kids alike will love whooshing down the hill on a sled or tube, and once you’re gassed from all the fun, Main Street is only four blocks away for food and drinks.
9. Mountain Top Children’s Museum
Perhaps one of the most alluring aspects of the Mountain Top Children’s Museum is that parents can drop their kids off for the evening without worrying a bit. The museum runs “Kids Night Out,” when parents can leave their kids to explore every nook and cranny of the museum “parent-free” Of course, meanwhile, parents can have their own night out, too.
Besides that, the museum has all kinds of exhibits that teach them about the geology of the surrounding Rocky Mountains, exciting engineering-for-kids programs, and several other activities that make learning fun.
The museaum is currently looking for a forever home- so be sure to check out their site to be sure of it's new loction, house and openings.
10. Country Boy Mine - Gold Panning in Colorado!
Watch your kids’ faces light up when they see flecks of gold in their pans, just like the earliest settlers of Summit County. Country Boy Mine offers gold panning in Eureka Creek, and includes basic lessons on how to pan for gold as well as the pan itself.
What’s so exciting about Country Boy Mine is that you and your family will be panning in the same gulch where settlers once found the state’s biggest gold mass ever. Panning sessions can go for an hour or more, depending on how long you’re willing to try your luck. Best of all, any gold you come across is yours to keep.
11. Breckenridge Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is a perfect family vacation activity, especially for teens. It’s just wild enough to keep them interested, but isn’t dangerous, as long as you know where to go.
One of the best parts about biking around Breckenridge is that you can actually take the chairlift up in the summer, and your bike will be right behind you. That way, your whole family, no matter the different skill levels, can fly down the dirt and paved trails together, without the work of climbing the mountain. The snowcaps in the distance, the evergreens swaying in the breeze, and the colorful flowers whizzing by. It’s truly a one of a kind experience your entire family will enjoy.
The resort also offers bike rentals, mountain biking lessons for the whole family, and detailed trail maps. Learn all about your different options here.
12. Epic Discovery Breckenridge
When the skiing dies down for the season, that’s when Epic Discovery kicks into high gear. Kids and parents alike will enjoy seeing Breck from new vantage points, including zip lines, high ropes courses, and 4x4 off-road tours.
There are several passes and packages available depending on exactly which activities you’d like to do, which you can view here. The previously mentioned mountain coaster is actually a part of Epic Discovery, so if you’re interested in bundling this with other activities, like rock climbing and bungee trampolining, there are plenty of options for this. (Above photo belongs to Breckenridge.com)
13. Take a horse-drawn sleigh ride
There are several horse-drawn sleigh ride tour companies available, with different options depending on what your family is in the mood for. We recommend the Golden Horseshoe Tour Co., which offers traditional sleigh rides and so much more.
Dinner theater packages, romantic sleigh rides, campfire cookout sleigh rides, and more will delight your entire family. The sleigh ride itself was awarded the “Best in Summit County,” and the included dinner theater show is suitable for all ages.
14. Downstairs at Eric’s
Part sports bar, part arcade, this Breckenridge institution has something for all ages. Parents can enjoy 30 beers on tap and 50 types of bottled beer, and a bar with nearly 30 TVs spread throughout.
Meanwhile, your kids can play on dozens of the latest arcade games downstairs. Skeeball, simulated racing games, pinball, classic arcade games, and more are all on tap downstairs. Who knows, you may even find the arcade is as fun for you as it is for your kids. See more, including a full menu, here.
15. Go Ice Skating
In the winter, ice skating is one of the best ways for your family to get outside, see the festive decorations, and soak up the mountain beauty all from the center of town. There are two main outdoor skating rinks: the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, and the Keystone Lake Ice Rink.
At the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, skate across a wide open space, surrounded by snow peaks, and even watch as the ice below you changes color thanks to the sleek lighting that shines down from above.
At Keystone Lake Ice Rink, you’ll get to experience the largest Zamboni-maintained rink in North America. To learn more about both of these fantastic family activities, click here.