Colorado in the summer

Summit County Colorado July

Family of 5

Kids 20,14, 6

$3000.00 Budget

We ventured out west to end our summer break, and we thought that Summit County in Colorado would be a good choice for a family trip during the pandemic with a lot of social distancing options in the great outdoors.

The most economical way for all five of us to get to Colorado was to road trip it. We rented a mini-van and drove straight through, sort of…my husband did all of the driving, and we stopped in a parking lot for a catnap at about 2:00am.

A little background on our kids…they are all very DIFFERENT.

College Daughter=Many places for photo ops…we took a million pictures!

Teenage Son=Adventurous wanted to do thrill seeking stuff, but that stuff is expensive!

Young Daughter=Likes fishing hates being hot or uncomfortable!

My kids don’t really appreciate the beauty of nature, so hiking wasn’t something they were super excited about, which is rough when vacationing in Colorado.

Things I Learned on the drive:

  • No matter how many snacks you pack for the trip, your kids will still bug you for something at the gas station.
  • There is no easy stop. One kid doesn’t want to go to the bathroom (then has to go 20 minutes later), one can’t find his shoes, and one has to get a snack. And every kid has to have a fair/equal amount of snacks, even if there is a 13 year age difference!
  • The kids were really good during the drive. I would do the drive again. There isn’t much traffic, and they just watched movies or played on Ipads.

Budgeting for a trip like this:

  • Plan ahead for activities. We are more of a “figure it out when we get there” type of family. This is fine for a quick day trip somewhere, but not for the only family trip that you are going to take all year.
  • Know how much money you want to spend before you go!
  • Don’t go unless you can afford to do the things that you really want to do.
  • Planned to rent 4-wheelers and mountain bikes, but we realized it was very expensive for a family of 5. We should not have told the kids that we were going to do this, because they were disappointed, but we just couldn’t pay over $600.00 to rent them for a few hours!

Destination 1

Garden of the Gods

Cool place for photos. The 7-year old wasn’t thrilled, and she was hot and thirsty, so she let everyone know how miserable she was. I guess my advice would be to bring one of those fans that sprays water and a hat for shade. We only stayed here for about an hour. I felt like that was more than enough time.

Destination 2

Keystone Resort During the Pandemic

  • Good central area to get everywhere.
  • Many things are closed. Call ahead so that you know exactly what is happening in each area.
  • Gondola Rides are only Thursday through Sunday and pretty expensive. This might change as it gets closer to ski season.
  • Not sure how it will be for ski season.
  • Pool closed at 6:00
  • Grill closed
  • Lobby closed
  • Small grocery store on property
  • Restaurant hours are not normal hours

Destination 3


This was the best place to go for our family!

  • Free Gondola rides up to activities and hiking.
  • Free large connect 4, chess, bags
  • Cool Little hike and pond off of 4’o’clock road…perfect for kids who hate hiking. Also, kids can fish there. Advice—Be prepared for anything. It was hot and sunny, then it started to hail. My kids don’t like being uncomfortable and there was nowhere to get out of the hail. The good news it only lasted for about 10 minutes, then it was nice again.
  • Some Activities=long wait and expensive-Kids had fun though. We bought them tickets for the Alpine Slide and the Gold Runner Coaster.

  • A lot of food options…I would have planned out the restaurants in advance if I knew how stressful this part of the trip would be. I would have printed menus and had kids pick their meals as part of the activities for the drive. We landed on a pizza place called Erik’s, and everyone was happy!
  • There are a lot of shops downtown. I gave each of my kids 20.00 and it was gone in less than 5 minutes. It is very challenging to go into a small shop with a family of 5 for window shopping.

Destination 4

Copper Mountain

A lot of stuff was still closed, but we had the most fun here!

We went fishing here and caught a large lake trout! We were all excited about this, since we couldn’t leave until the youngest caught a fish!

We bought a pass for 2 mountain coaster rides, 1 bumper boat ride, and unlimited gondola rides as long as it was on the same day. There is a mountain coaster that is very scary! Long wait in line. Get there right when it opens.

Family of 4 summer day pass $139.00

Then add 1 $49.00

Destination 5


We had grand plans to rent bikes and ride them down the mountain side. This is not something that you can decide to do the day of. We would have had to rent the bikes in advance. This is not a place that I would go with kids unless they really appreciate the mountains or mountain biking. We ended up wasting money on expensive candy at Rocket Fizz just so we felt like it was worth the trip.

Destination 6

Lake Dillon

We went fishing here in the evening. It was beautiful. I kind of wish we would have rented kayaks or a boat. We didn’t catch any fish, but we got some good pictures. This was a low-pressure situation and close to our condo, so it was just a nice relaxing place to end the day. The views are better when you drive up the mountain and look down at the lake.

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