Top 13 Things to do in Vail and Beaver Creak with a Family in Winter
Visiting Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado in winter is an unforgettable family experience. From its world renowned terrain to its picturesque setting, your only challenge will be to choose from the myriad ways to enjoy your time in Vail.
Of course, any trip with kids requires planning and adaptability to ensure everyone enjoys their time together. Assuming you already have some days of skiing and snowboarding planned, here are some great ways to spend your non-skiing and snowboarding time in Vail with your children!
An overview of the Things to Do in Vail in Winter
As a parent trying to wrangle kids, you’ll quickly come to appreciate the safety and intimacy of Vail’s pedestrian villages. The two main areas, Lionshead and Vail Village, are connected by an easy 15 minute walk or by hopping on one of the free Town of Vail buses.
Outdoor fun with the Family in Vail
If you’re planning some non-ski days or just have finished up your day on the hill and are looking for more fun, there are lots of great outdoor options beyond skiing and snowboarding.
Vail is a playful place, with incredible pocket parks sprinkled throughout town and beyond with neighborhood playgrounds. Ice and snow conditions still exist so just be sure to wear snow clothes. Highlights include Pirateship Park in Vail Village near Gondola One, Sunbird Park above the ice rink in Lionshead, and the Ford Park Playground near Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.<https://www.vailgov.com/departments/public-works/parks-recreation-and-open-space/parks-and-playgrounds>
Both Lionshead and Vail Village feature ice skating rinks in the heart of their bustling cores. The Vail Village rink is serviced by Bol, so parents can choose to enjoy a bite and drinks rink-side while the kids skate.
This is not your mother’s tubing hill! Vail’s Adventure Ridge<https://www.vail.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/winter-activities/adventure-ridge.aspx> is set at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola out of Lionshead and features a 900 foot long, multi-lane tubing hill serviced by a covered magic carpet. There’s also a mountain coaster as well as ski biking. Adventure Ridge typically opens for the season in mid-December and closes before the mountain shuts down in spring so be sure to check if it’s open during your stay.
Family Portrait Session
You’ve taken the time and put the energy into traveling to this magical place with your family, capture the experience with a completely unique approach to a family portrait session. Two Elk Studios<https://twoelkstudios.com/> celebrates the time you spend not just with your family but AS a family, in a place like nothing on earth. Their team will work with you to discover what you treasure most about the people dearest to you. This will allow them to elevate your photos into poignant moments of real connection that truly capture what makes your family special. If the weather is too strong for an outdoor portrait photography session, Two Elk Studios’ indoor options even include a wintery aspen tree backdrop.
The Design Consultation elevates the Two Elk experience even further. Here, you’ll get to view the photos you captured in a theater setting and create stunning works of art to take home. Your photographic artwork will allow you to relive the love, fun, and excitement of your visit every time you see it.
Pro tip: plan your session for the day after you have arrived, so you have had time to acclimate and no one is overly worn down from all the activities. Consider an indoor studio session to avoid weather and timing complications.
Art in Vail scavenger hunt
Art lovers in the family? Vail has many public works of art scattered throughout the villages, so go on a scavenger hunt to find them all! <http://www.artinvail.com/Collection/Interactive-Map>
Indoor Family Activities in Vail in Winter
Vail averages an incredible 247 days of sunshine per year, but whether you’ve caught a crummy one or the little ones are just not going to put up with wearing mittens one minute longer, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep little Vail visitors entertained.
The Vail public library’s children’s room is a great place to peel off your layers and explore the train set, books, art supplies, and great children’s programming. https://vaillibrary.com/story-time/
This play space is good for older kids, too! There are interactive play areas, art projects, and even a virtual reality room. Imagination Station is conveniently located in the Lionshead parking structure by Lionshead Village. https://www.vailrec.com/vail-recreation/imagination-station
Scenic gondola ride
If your little one is too small for skiing, they’ll love getting a chance to ride up the gondola. Wander around at the top, grab a cocoa, then head back down for more pictures and people watching. Pro tip: scenic gondola ride tickets are free after 3:30pm! https://www.vail.com/explore-the-resort/activities-and-events/winter-activities/adventure-ridge-activities/scenic-gondola-ride.aspx
Gymnastics open gyms
Active toddler needs somewhere to let off some steam? Let them tumble around at area gymnastic centers’ open gyms! Vail Gymnastics is located just over the Lionshead pedestrian bridge or off the Red Sandstone stop via the free Town of Vail. Their open gyms are Tuesdays and Fridays, 10-11am for children walking to 4 years old for $10 and Fridays 3-4pm for kids ages: 5-13. https://www.vailrec.com/vail-recreation/gymnastics/open-gym
If you have a car, Mountain Recreation in Edwards features an open gym nearly every day of the week for kids walking to age 5 for $11. Check their schedule for days and times: https://mountainrec.org/program/tumble-tots/
Family Friendly Food in Vail
You could spend your entire vacation sampling Vail’s many incredible eateries, so this is just a sampling of fun, kid-friendly food adventures.
Movie + FOOD
Sure you can have popcorn with your movie, but why not make it a full meal? Cinebistro offers a great menu for both kids and parents that you can either enjoy it in their lounge or take it into the movie theater with you. https://cinebistro.com
Bowling + FOOD
You know when you can order lamb pops and a glass of sparkling at your lane, this is not your average bowling alley. Bol pairs great food with a fun environment. https://www.bolvail.com/
Vail’s best candy shop
Fuzziwigs is a Vail staple, with a variety of sweets to choose from. Ice cream, housemade chocolates, and fill your own candy bags make this a favorite for families. http://www.fuzziwigscandyfactory.com/
It’s not just hot chocolate, it’s haute chocolate, because the Executive Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail makes it a full sensory experience. Kids will love cozying up around the fire pits as you savor this one of a kind cocoa. https://www.fourseasons.com/vail/my_four_seasons/hot_chocolate_meets_haute_cuisine/
We hope you use some of these tips to guide you to an unforgettable trip to Vail! Comment below with any feedback or other favorite activities.
- The Two Elk Studio Team