I have been looking forward to our family trip to Vail since our vacation ended last year. I crave time with my family and with our busy lives at home, it seems like everyone is always going in different directions (I think most families feel this way!). JJ and I both work so hard and love our jobs, but this can make coming together difficult, especially when his day doesn’t end until the sun does for JJ (making it 12 or more hours that he’s not with us most days).
So when we are all together for a good-old road trip, some family time and just space to be alone together….life feels so right! This was our second year in a row heading out to the Vail Valley area. Some very very dear friends of our let us stay in their gorgeous vacation home in the town of Edwards, making the trip that much more fun and easy. We had some epic fun! Make sure to check out the links if you want to know more!
I have to say first…my favorite part about vacations like this are the sleepy, sunlit mornings playing board games, cozy times reading and journaling. When we are home, our mornings are always a “hit the ground running” type of schedule (even in the summer). Taking time to just BE with messy hair and hot coffee was bliss!
Plus, there is nothing like that brisk, morning mountain air!
Of course, we packed in lots of fun mountain adventures. There is a ton of hiking in the valley and some fun creeks and rivers to throw rocks into.
All activities were centered around memory-making fun for the kids. Evan, Bristol and I went trail riding (a favorite moment for us all!). Evan got to ride the same horse as last year (Bean) and Bristol chatted with our wrangler, Jay, the entire hour. It was a blast! Definitely make sure to hit up Triple G Outfitters for a trail ride! Great people, gorgeous views and wonderfully safe, and well cared for horses.
We took in 2 different rodeos (a MUST if you’re in the area for the summer!). The rodeo at 4 Eagle Ranch is affordable ($5 for adults, $1 for kids) and loaded with action. It’s a smaller venue, but packed with so much fun! Evan and Bristol both go to show off their Mutton Busting skills…Evan won! There is plenty of parking, food and drinks available and plenty of space for kids to roam and explore. Just make sure to take plenty of cash as they don’t accept credit cards and the nearest ATM is 20 minutes away.
The also attended the Beaver Creek Rodeo in Avon. It was a grand spectacle with everything from bounce houses, to mechanical bull rides, pony rides and more. The cost is higher ($22-$27 for adults, kids free), however there are a ton of free activities for the kids to enjoy. Beaver Creek goes beyond the standard rodeo fare offering foods like salads, fresh made steak nachos, DIY snowcones and more plus beverages including craft beer, a variety of wines and huge margaritas. Definitely not your average rodeo!
We got to meet rodeo queens Bristol jumped in to Mutton Bust for a second night (Evan was to heavy for this rodeo) and had an epic ride on a sheep named “Snowball.”
We had a great time in Vail Village, walking around the shops. We found some great chocolate shops, fun play stops, water features and a free bus that the kids loved riding around the village. Very easy to spend a morning or afternoon exploring without spending much money (just on what purchases you make). There is free parking, plenty of hiking, walking and exploring that can be done on a smaller scale. Great “light day” activity to take in the town with a family.
Hands-down, the Epic Discovery on the mountaintop at Vail is a must-do if you’re traveling there with kids! It’s a little pricey, however it is worth the cost if you plan accordingly and maximize your time there. It all starts with a breathtaking gondola ride to the top.
At the top there is entertainment for all ages from 3 to 93. All activities are included with the pass so the kids enjoyed ample bungee jumping, tubing, ropes courses, zip lining and more. We lasted 3.5 hours before John needed to nap, but our other two could have easily stayed and played all day. Don’t skip riding the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster! There are a couple different eating options at the top, however we just packed snacks and sandwiches….we knew our crew would be too busy to stop and sit down to eat!
The views are incredible…don’t forget your camera!
One thing I was sure to do was to actually take time to ENJOY vacation!
(This is important!) As a mom, it is so easy to work like a slave making vacation fun for everyone else, fixing food, shopping, doing laundry and cleaning up after everyone has gone to sleep. It’s a familiar rut we moms LOVE to fall into.
And while I was still responsible for all of that, I made sure to take time to relax. I let the dishes sit in the sink over night so I could enjoy time alone with my husband after the kids went to bed. I put my phone on airplane mode and left it in a separate room so I wouldn’t be tempted to work or check social media. I didn’t micromanage what the kids ate, played with or wore each day. I didn’t let “being busy” rule my vacation. I made time to read, journal and even took a long, hot bubble bath (completely uninterrupted!) one afternoon while listening to a podcast. It was amazing….and essential.
We are home now and loving all the memories from our trip, already thinking about what we want to do next time we go. If you have explored the Vail area during the summer time, I’d love to hear what you enjoy doing! Comment your suggestions below! It is such a fun area, but there is just too much to cram into any one trip! The only regret I have is not getting any all-family photos together…but I think that’s just a sign of how much fun we were having!
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