A Mom’s Guide to a Breckenridge Getaway


Denver is a short drive from lots of wonderful mountain towns like Breckenridge that many travel from far away to enjoy. Less than two hours from the city, with many cute towns along the way, we are lucky to be so close to such a gem. Lots of outdoor activities, dining options and shopping make Breckenridge an ideal getaway.

On Your Way to Breckenridge

While it’s a short drive from Denver, why not break it up to let your kiddos stretch their legs? Especially if you see traffic coming at the Eisenhower Tunnel (or just finished fighting the tunnel traffic on your way home), Idaho Springs is a great place to jump off and spend some time.

Idaho Springs is home to the famous Beau Jo’s pizza as well as many other cafes and grills if your crew is hungry. You will not regret their signature mountain pies and dipping your leftover pizza crust in honey! For your sweet tooth, I would be remiss if I did not strongly encourage you to indulge in a pastry (or two, or three…) from Edelweiss Pastry Shop before hitting the road again. They specialize in European pastries, and it is a quaint family-owned operation.

Mom Tip: Edelweiss Pastry Shop is closed Mondays-Wednesdays and Beau Jo’s can get very busy at peak meal times. Either plan an off-peak meal time or enjoy tinkering around the many shops along Miner Street while you wait.

Things To Do in Breckenridge

Once in Breckenridge, there are plenty of activities – outdoor and indoor – for your group to enjoy. From hikes and wildlife spotting to parks, rec center activities, and shopping, you will never be bored.

Mom Tip: Breckenridge is at 9,600 ft and the ski summit is 12, 998 ft (meaning some hiking and accommodations will exceed 10,000 ft). Know the signs of altitude sickness before you go and take time to acclimate to the altitude!!  Drink lots and lots of water – hydration is key – and have a low key first day or two!

Getting Around Breckenridge

There are many paid parking lots around the city as well as some meters. We found that we parked in one place all day and walked around the city to avoid continually finding parking. However, if your group is not capable of that and you do not want to always be moving your car, Breckenridge has a shuttle service called Free Ride with many routes to get you around without hassle. Plan your specific days here.

Hiking in Breck

Of course, the mountains and being outdoors is what draws most people to Breckenridge and there is no shortage of options. One of the most famous trails is very simple and accessible to all visitors – the short trail to Isak Heartstone, a giant troll carved out of a tree. Lovable and awe-inspiring, visitors love to make the short jaunt to Isak to take in the craftsmanship and get a photo. There is plenty of parking at the Ice Arena and the trail is an easy stone and boardwalk path just 400 feet from the parking lot. There is also a nice amount of shade.

Another family friendly hike is Sawmill Creek Reservoir. It follows a small, lovely creek amongst many aspen trees and provides a good amount of shade. With some incline, it keeps the interest of those who love hiking but is also easy enough not to discourage young children. This is a good introductory hike upon arrival while your body is acclimating to the altitude. Parking is very limited at this trailhead but close to a Free Ride stop as well as city parking.

Mom Tip: Around mid-October it might start to have snow cover and can get a bit sloppy.

The Nordic Center is where you will find parking for Cucumber Gulch – a popular place to spot moose. During the winter it is cross-country ski runs, but July 6 – October 31 you can park and walk the ski runs out to the moose marshes and see if you’re lucky enough to spot one! Guided hikes are also available.

Hiking is so plentiful in Breckenridge, a single guide could not contain all the possibilities. Depending on your hiking abilities and desires, there is a trail for everyone! To see a comprehensive trail guide as well as very helpful reports on current trail conditions, visit here.

Skiing (Or Use the Ski Slopes in the Summer)

If you’re visiting Breckenridge during ski season, there is even more you will want to know! Breckenridge is a renowned ski destination in Colorado. You can find out the answers to many of your questions here to prepare for your ski getaway.

Don’t miss the awesome slopes in the summer, too! Chair lifts run for scenic rides and there are many summer activities you can partake in at the ski resort. All of that can be found at the above link.

Breckenridge area parks

Another popular way to spend time outdoors is visiting the many parks around town. Two such parks, that happen to be beside each other, are High Line Railroad Park and Rotary Snowplow Park. These parks also happen to utilize the Ice Arena parking lot and therefore pair well with an outing to Isak Heartstone if seeing the troll interests you.

Rotary Snowplow Park has interesting history and actual train cars for your kids to see up close. High Line Railroad Park has a lot for them to explore as well as beautiful views for the adults to enjoy. Bathrooms (port-a-potties) are available by the trailhead of Isak Heartstone.

Prospector Park is a small playground, but it happens to be right on Main Street amongst shops and restaurants. This makes it a wonderful way to get out kids’ wiggles if they are bored from shopping!

Mom Tip: Take turns browsing your favorite souvenir shops while another adult watches the kids burn energy at the park! There is a public restroom just one block south of the park.


What vacation spot is complete without shopping? Lots and lots of shopping! Main Street is lined with biking/hiking/ski gear shops, t-shirts and souvenirs, Christmas shops… the list goes on! There is also Main Street Station at the southernmost end of Main St at the intersection with Park Ave. It is an outdoor mall type collection of stores, restaurants and coffee shops.

If you are staying in accommodations where you will do grocery shopping, there is a small market one block west of Main Street at Jefferson and Ridge for small needs. For bigger grocery runs, there is a City Market along N Park Ave. It is a King Soopers branded full grocery store.

Dining Options

Of course, when you’re on vacation, you are eager to check out the local food scene. As with the shopping, Breckenridge has no shortage of restaurants, coffee shops and treats.

Do yourself a favor, and while you are shopping along Main Street (especially if kids might be getting whiny and need a little incentive… not that I would know!), stop at the Mountain Top Cookie Shop! Cookies or cookie sandwiches – giant, soft and oh so good – that will certainly remind you you’re on vacation! It is definitely worth buying a few extra for later!

The Underworld Arcade underneath Eric’s on Main St is a nice option for adults to enjoy food, drinks and sports on TV while the kids play in a large arcade. Also above the Underworld Arcade is Columbine Café, a great spot for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Columbine Café closes at 1:30pm and is a small space, but the food is delicious with generous portions, and they have good kids’ meal options and value! The coffee selection is fun and diverse, too.

Mom Tip: Columbine Café, Eric’s and the arcade all share a nice bathroom downstairs in the arcade.

Empire Burger is a wonderful option on the south end of Main Street for friendly service and huge portions, able to be shared between kids. That is a savings that will come in handy! The appetizers are definitely large, shareable sizes as well.

A quick map search of Breckenridge will reveal endless possibilities of eateries. Depending on your group size and tastes, there is going to be something that meets your needs. Most restaurants have some type of outdoor seating as well to allow you to enjoy the views and warmth of the sun!

Prepare for Inclement Weather

You head to the mountains to enjoy the fresh air and crisp weather, but we all know Mother Nature can be unpredictable and not always cooperate with our plans. If you experience rain or bad weather during part of your trip, you can still enjoy the town! Shopping and dining can still mostly be enjoyed if you are strategic with your in and outs, there is a movie theater in town (The Eclipse) and best of all, there is a huge Rec Center!

The Breckenridge Recreation Center has an indoor pool, indoor tennis center, rock climbing wall, fitness gym and more. Day passes are available for nonmembers: $10 ages 3-17 and $20 for 18 and older. Senior and Veteran discounts are available. Hours vary depending on season and day of the week.

No matter what time of year you are visiting, whether you have good weather or rainy days, Breckenridge is a mountain town that will provide something for everyone and makes for a great family destination. You just might find yourself needing to go back again!

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Megan Jones
Megan has lived many places, but currently lives in Parker, CO. Megan and her husband, Cannon, met at Baylor University (sic ‘em Bears!) and have been married for 17 years. They were given the opportunity to transfer to the Denver area two years ago and couldn’t resist! Megan loves nature, especially mountains, and the gorgeous Colorado weather that allows her so many chances to get out hiking or just playing with her 3 kids. She has a 12-year-old about-to-be-junior-high daughter, a gymnastics-loving 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son who keeps everyone on their toes! Nothing compares to his zest for life! Megan decided to be a stay-at-home mom when her first daughter was born, so she knows that making it this far on her journey is only thanks to a village, whether in-person or long-distance, and has a passion for connecting with other moms and encouraging them on their motherhood journeys as well.


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