Over the 4th of July holiday, Michael and I spent five nights out in Colorado. We traveled with two other couples to our friends’ family home in Frisco, Colorado for the long weekend! We arrived on Friday and flew out on Wednesday. I had been looking forward to this trip for a while. I’ve never been out West during the summer months, only during ski season, so I was excited to experience what the mountains are like during the summertime. The weather was incredible! I’m definitely partial to Colorado summers over Colorado winters now!
We had a nice, long trip and were able to squeeze in so many activities along with some relaxation time too. Since Frisco is near several ski towns, which I found out are also hopping during the summer months too, I wanted to share a little guide/itinerary with you in case you’re making your way to this area anytime soon. And if you aren’t, you should!
How to Get There
Michael and I flew from DC, one couple flew from Charleston, and the other couple flew from New Orleans. We all flew into the Denver airport and drove the 1.5 hours to Frisco. As a caveat, depending on traffic (apparently everyone in Denver heads to the mountains on the weekends), it can take a bit longer than our trek. We grabbed lunch at Linger in Denver thanks to a recommendation from Anna before hitting the road. It was delish!
As an alternative, you can fly into Vail as well. It’s a shorter drive to Frisco from Vail, however, since the airport is smaller, flights tend to be more expensive. And my beloved Southwest doesn’t fly there …
We took it easy the first evening and grabbed a casual dinner in Frisco at Greccos.
What I Packed
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here on what I packed, I just wanted to note that Colorado is, in general, pretty laid back. There’s no need to pack fancy clothes when you’re visiting. I knew we would be spending our days outside doing different activities and our nights would either be spent grilling out at home or walking up the street to a restaurant in Frisco.
I packed lots of workout type clothing, including layers. The temperatures fluctuate big time in the mountains during the summertime. Every morning we woke up to mid-40s but within a couple of hours it would warm up to the mid-60s. It topped out around 70-75 degrees every day. Evenings were cool but not cold. Layers were definitely key! I wore workout clothes every day except for the day that we visited Vail as we weren’t doing anything too active that day. For nighttime, I packed several pairs of jeans, a few tops, a couple of cardigans, and one heavy sweater (on sale for $9!) that I lived in for morning coffee and evenings at home.
Day 1 // Hiking the Cataract Trail & Keystone
Like I said, the weather was AMAZING. On our first full day we woke up relatively early, had coffee at home, and took our time getting ready. We spent the morning hiking Cataract Trail, which was about a 40 minute drive from Frisco. One recommendation: download or screenshot the driving directions before leaving home. The cell service is pretty shoddy. We had to rely on an old school paper map and a Garmin (yes, there happened to be a Garmin in our car).
Also, I have to warn you that the end of the drive is a bit treacherous or at least to this city-living gal it was! There were plenty of people driving up the mountain for the hike, which made me feel better, but the path (definitely not a road) was a bit narrow and too close to the edge of the mountain for my liking.
The trail itself was beautiful! See all the pics below. Despite the trek to get there, I highly recommend this trail if you’re nearby! All in, I believe the trail is about 2.5 miles. It took us about 3 hours to complete, but we were stopping to take pics and chat along the way.
After the morning hike, we headed to Keystone, Colorado for lunch. The great thing about Frisco is that it is near several big ski towns, Keystone being one of them. During the winter months when you’re visiting for skiing, it’s not typical to leave your resort. This was a really cool thing to me about visiting Colorado during the summer months. We bebopped to several different ski towns while we were there!
We grabbed lunch at a casual spot in the village and sat outside with a couple of beers to people watch. There were lots of kid activities happening in the village that day! If you take a trip to any of these spots during the summer, be sure to check each town’s social calendars. There’s always something going on in the villages!
After a full day of being out and about, we stayed in for dinner and had a chill night grilling and drinking wine at home.
Day One Hiking Outfit Details: North Face Jacket (wearing XS, light grey sold out, dark grey available here 50% off!) | Round Sunglasses (under $15!) | Old lululemon Top | Nike Sports Bra (old, almost identical) | lululemon Wunder Under Pants (love this Zella alternative) | Nike Sneakers (on sale)
Day 2 // Biking to Breckenridge & Boating in Frisco
On our second day in Frisco we headed to Christy’s Sports to rent bikes for the morning. There are tons of bike trails around Frisco. We opted to take one uphill to Breckenridge. It was a gorgeous ride and a good workout! The ride took us about an hour, but we were moving at a pretty leisurely pace and of course we stopped to take pics along the way. One of our friends opted to hang back in Frisco and drive the short ten minutes to Breckenridge to meet us for lunch (she’s pregnant so the drive seemed like a better idea!). Since she met us in Breckenridge, we opted to drop our bikes off in Breck instead of making the trek back to Frisco.
Pro tip: When we rented our bikes in Frisco, we requested (at the bike shop) that we be able to drop off our bikes in Breckenridge instead of bringing them back to the shop in Frisco. There’s a Christy’s Sports in most of the ski towns around this area of Colorado so it wasn’t a problem.
Breckenridge has a big main street with lots of shopping, restaurants, and bars. We opted to check out Breckenridge Brewery as we had several of their beers the day before in Keystone. The food was good, the beer was better! Be sure to stop in Mountain Top Cookie at some point – their cookies are out of this world! The perfect treat after a morning of biking!
We had a VERY busy day on this particular day. After visiting Breckenridge, we made our way back to Frisco, changed, and headed to the Frisco Marina where we had reserved a pontoon boat for the afternoon. (We reserved the boat ahead of time.) It was the PERFECT afternoon to be on the water. A little cooler than the boat weather I’m used to but absolutely gorgeous nonetheless. The lake is actually a reservoir – Dillion Reservoir. If you’re on the reservoir, be sure to dock up at Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar. It’s a cool spot to hang out (have a bathroom break from the boat) and grab a cocktail!
After a FULL day, we went to Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant for dinner. I’m usually skeptical of TexMex in the mountains, but this place was GOOD!
In hindsight, we probably should have split up the biking and boating into two separate days, but both were definitely doable in one!
Day Two Biking Outfit Details: Alo Yoga Tank | Marble Sports Bra (only $17!) | lululemon Wunder Under Pants (love this Zella alternative) | Nike Sneakers (on sale) | Old lululemon Zip Jacket (similar) | Round Sunglasses
Day Two Boating Outfit Details: Madewell White Button-Up Shirt | Levi’s Denim Shorts | One Piece Bathing Suit ($20!) | Round Sunglasses | Splendid Sandals (sold out in white) | Circle Straw Bag | Levi’s Denim Shorts
Day 3 // Vail Village
On our third full day in Frisco, we decided to explore Vail, Colorado. Vail is the largest of all of the ski towns we visited. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Frisco. The boys played golf on this particular morning so the girls and I headed to Vail early to walk around. Vail has two separate villages, both with tons of restaurants, shops, and bars. Vail is also home to the world’s highest altitude botanical garden – Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.
After a morning of strolling through the gardens and the village, we met the boys at Up the Creek for lunch on the patio. The food was delicious!
We shopped around Vail and then got word that the gondola at the base of Lionshead Village (a short, free shuttle ride from Vail Village) was only $15 to ride up to the top of the mountain after 5pm. We took the Eagle Bahn Gondola up to the top. It was so cool! Especially since I’ve never seen a ski mountain like that during the summer! Once we got to the top, there were tons of activities for kids (something to keep in mind if you’re traveling with little ones!). The gondola ride and the views were definitely worth the twilight pricing!
After a full day in Vail, we opted to swing by the Whole Foods in Frisco to pick up pizzas for dinner at home. Wine and pizza and a few rounds of HeadsUp – My kind of night!
Day 4 // Exploring Frisco
After three straight days of venturing out to different towns, we opted to hang around Frisco for the last day of our trip. Frisco is a small little town, but it does have a main street with lots of small shops, restaurants, and bars. After breakfast at Butterhorn Bakery (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!), we walked through town and down to the marina (where we rented the boat). We hung out by the water and people watched for a while before hitting up all of the little shops on main street. Michael and I try to pick up a Christmas ornament every place that we travel so we were on a mission. We snagged the cutest hand painted Christmas ball from the local book store, Next Page.
On our last night in Frisco, we grabbed happy hour drinks at Tavern West, arguably the best happy hour (and overall restaurant) in Frisco! After happy hour, we walked down to 5th Ave. Grille for dinner (I’d recommend hanging at Tavern West for dinner).
Day Four Outfit Details: Zella Top (super soft, available in 4 colors) | lululemon Wunder Under Pants (love this Zella alternative) | Nike Sneakers (on sale) | Sweet Tee Shreveport SHV Hat | Round Sunglasses
Colorado is high on my summer must-go list after this trip! The weather is hard to beat, and I love all of the outdoor activities available during the summertime!
Have any questions about your trip/potential trip out West?! Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!