8 Family Friendly Activities in Vail, Colorado with the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa

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The town of Avon, Colorado is located at the base of Beaver Creek Village and Beaker Creek Ski Resort, 2.3 miles up the hill. Vail Village and adjacent Lionshead Village are located 10 miles east of Avon, less than 15 aways from Avon. Both Beaker Creek and Vail are known for their world class skiing in the winter and plenty of outdoor fun throughout the entire year.

After researching places to stop between our visits to Utah and South Dakota (we’re on a massive National Parks tour this summer), we decided to spend a few days exploring the beauty of the Vail area. When crowd sourcing places to stay the overwhelming choice of both friends and acquaintances was the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain in Avon.

The Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, a AAA Four Diamond Marriott property, is located in the heart of the town of Avon, in the Vail Valley. The complex, spread out over 19 acres, includes 230 hotel rooms, suites, and one, two, and three bedroom condominiums that feature full kitchens, five-piece bathrooms, and gas fireplaces. The rooms are spacious with close attention to detail (everything from plush towels and comfy robes to humidifiers and personal toiletries) and with breathtaking views of Beaver Creek Mountain. The hotel has several spaces for guests to relax by the indoor massive fireplace, several outdoor has fire places, indoor and outdoor lounges with couches and tables, and a large pool and hot tub pavilion with plenty of chairs and umbrellas.

 Parking at the resort: Both valet and self parking are available in the lower level of the main resort. We self parked and walked everywhere in Avon, it was a 5-minute drive to Beaver Creek, and just over 10 minutes to Vail Village.  The Westin also provides a free shuttle to guests, departing from the hotel and making stops at beaver Creek (Vilar Performing Arts Center) and Vail (Transportation Center) most hours from 9am-9pm.

Public parking: Another option for getting around town is to take the free public bus systems in the area. The Avon Transit system provides free bus service around Avon and to the base of Beaver Creek (Elk lot) throughout the day- more information here. Beaver Creek Village has two underground parking garages, Ford Hall Garage and Villa Montane Garage, free for visitors during the day, as well as Avon parking areas, Bear and Elk lots, located at the eastern and western entrances – more information here.

The Vail bus system operates five color coded routes throughout Vail and Lionshead Villages- more information here. Guests can park at either the Vail or Lionshead Transportation Center (for free during the day, fees apply for overnight parking) and hop on a bus at several spots in the villages. Information that directly applies to summertime visits is here and information regarding winter visits is here.

Dining at the resort: The Westin is home to:

  • Maya Mexican Kitchen: The signature restaurant of the hotel, featuring a “modern Mexican menu” with over 150 agave-based spirits and tequilas. The restaurant has both indoor dining and a large outdoor patio and lounge, and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We ate here each morning and the meals included juice and fruit or homemade muffins, and everything we chose was delicious.

  • The Lookout: Located in the spacious lobby of the hotel overlooking Beaver Creek Mountain, and serving salads, small plates, flatbreads, and entrees, and an extensive wine and beer list. There is a children’s menus with generously sized pizzas. There is live music on Thursdays and Saturdays from 5pm-8pm on the terrace. We ate here one night and the charcuterie board was the best (and largest) I have ever ordered.

  • LAPS Pool Bar and Grill: Open seasonally from 11am to 5pm for cocktails, drinks and grill food.

  • Riverfront Market: Variety of to-go sandwiches, baked goods, snacks, prepared foods, picnic items, drinks (including beer and wine), a variety of ice cream flavors, and souvenirs. This is a great option for picnics or a personalized Happy Hour on our of the terraces.

  • Starbucks: A full service Starbucks outpost for hot and cold coffee drinks, and grab and go breakfast and lunch items.

  • ·In room dining is also available, with a large all day menu, specific options for breakfast, build your own pizzas, and even overnight “late night/ early morning” options.

Special Hotel Amenities:

  • Outdoor 25-yard saline pool and three infinity hot tubs that afford beautiful views of Beaver Creek Mountain, open year round.

  • Athletic Club, which includes three studios for Pilates and yoga, 8 Peloton bikes and a Peloton Tread, and plenty of cardio and weightlifting equipment.

  • Group fitness classes, including barre, HIIT, Total Body Sculpt, and a variety of yoga classes and personal training sessions

  • Spa Anjali, a 27,000 square foot spa offering hair, make up, skin, and nail services.

  • Shuffleboard in the hotel lobby.

  • Direct access to 40 miles of riverfront walking and biking trails along the Eagle River, which runs from the top of Vail Pass down through Edwards.

  • The Mountains of Wellness Gardens, which grows a variety of herbs, lettuces, and squash which is used in the Maya restaurant.

  • Nightly fires at several outdoor fire pits (and indoor fireplaces). Grab a s’mores kit from Maya Mexican Kitchen.

  • Daily guided nature walks in the summer and a short walk to Nottingham Park. Check with the front desk for a monthly calendar of activities.

  • Riverfront Express gondola directly outside the hotel (in front of the Marketplace and Starbucks) that connect the hotels to Beaker Creek trails during winter months.

  • On site ski and sporting goods store, Beaver Creek Sports, with ski rental and storage options during winter months and road and e-bike rentals in the summer.

  • The Westin Riverfront hotel also provides comprehensive list of rainy day activities, seasonal activities, and restaurants (organized by location and inclusive of menu descriptions).  Be sure to stop by the Concierge Desk; the staff is friendly and enthusiastic about helping with reservations and itineraries.

Family Friendly Activities in the Vail Valley:

1. Hike one of four trails at the Vail Nature Center, an annex of the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon. There are four trails (all under one mile) that run mainly parallel to the Gore Creek: Meadow Creek, Ecology, History, and Five Senses.
Kids will like the yurt exhibit matching animals to their fur and poop; the Sensory Trail.
Adults will like walking alongside Gore Creek and learning about the various flowers and plants that bloom throughout the seasons and participating in the popular Wildflower Walks.
Travel tips: Free to visit (donations welcome); exhibits displayed in yurt (original building no longer opened to the public); no restroom facilities; parking at the nearby Vail Village Parking Garage; plan on 30-60 minutes to explore the yurt and hike some of the trails.

2. Learn about the 10th Mountain Division mountaineer troopers of WWII at the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame in Vail. The museum showcases many winter sports including alpine and cross country skiing. When we visited, the 2019 inductees to the Hall of Fame were being honored. There’s also an interactive map with details of every ski resort in Colorado.
Kids will love the timeline of the evolution of skies and ski boots, starting in the mid 1880s and the timeline of the Olympics, World Cup, and World Championships ski medals throughout the decades.
Adults will love the film footage of interviews with members of the 10th Mountain Division troops, and learning about the history and statistics of each ski resort.
Travel tips: Free to visit (donations welcome); open from 11am-5pm daily; restroom facilities and gift shop near entrance; parking next door at the Vail Village Parking Garage; information on guided tours and special events here; plan on 60-90 minutes to explore the museum.

3. Play and picnic at Nottingham Park, a 48 acre park with athletic fields; beach and swim areas; playgrounds (with the coolest swing track); tennis, basketball, volleyball, and pickle ball courts; a softball field; and hiking and biking trails. The Performance Pavilion hosts dozens of concerts, performances, and festivals throughout the entire year. Other popular parks include O’Neal Spur Pocket Park and Wildridge Pocket Park- more information here.
Travel tips: The park is free to visit and parking is available on Lake Street, West Beaver Creek Boulevard, and at the Avon Recreation Center. Public restrooms are available.

4. Climb inside a replica beaver lodge at the Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon. The indoor Precourt Mountain Discovery Center includes exhibits on sustainability. The complex also includes a variety of learning studios, outdoor classrooms, and interpretative trails.
Kids will love learning about ants, reading in the book nook, and interactive touch screens that calculate our ecological footprint.
Adults will love the timeline of development of the Colorado landscape throughout the ages, the various hiking trails, most of which are under a mile and well-marked (check out the teepees and creeks). Our favorite was the Nature Loop.
Travel tips: The center is free to visit (donations welcome); main center is handicap and stroller accessible; information on hours here; restrooms and a small gift shop (mainly nature books) area near the admissions desk; free parking in front of the Discovery Center; check out guided walks and special programs here; plan on 60-90 minutes to explore the center and hike a couple of trails.

5. Learn about hundreds of plants and flowers at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail. Considered the world’s highest botanical gardens, there are several gardens, an indoor Education Center, and a Children’s Garden to explore.
Kids will love the Children’s Garden, Education Center games and microscopes, and Betty’s Market
Adults will love the gardens and reading how some of the plants and flowers grow throughout the year and during various weather changes.
Travel tips: The gardens are open 24 hours a day, with three entrances: near the Education Center, near Ford Park, and the North Garden; info on hours for Education Center and Museum and Gift Shop here;  there is no admission fee (donations suggested); themed tours of the gardens are given throughout the week; restrooms are located in the Education Center; most of the gardens are handicap accessible, but there are two sets of natural stone stairs; free daytime parking is available in the  Vail Village parking garage during the summer; it is less than a ½ mile walk alongside the Gore Stream; plan on 60-90 minutes to explore the gardens and Education Center.

6. Watch a live performance of the Beaver Creek Children’s Theatre Company and then explore the Children’s Museum at Beaver Creek located inside the Village.
Little kids will love Toddler Town, a special, soft and padded space for toddlers with plenty of age appropriate toys.
Older kids will love Professor Quackensbush’s Workshop, Computer Zone, Banana Jones’ Jungle Science Lab, and the theater space to perform.
Travel tips: The museum is free to visit; open only in the summer; parking in Beaver Creek parking garages.

7. Compete against family and friends are a variety of activities throughout Beaver Creek Village. During the summer, the Adventure Center offers a miniature golf course, bungee trampolines, climbing walls, and gem panning activities. Passea are available for single and multiple activities. The winter ice skating rink is replaced with lawn games galore and there are plenty of comfy couches and picnic tables throughout the village.
Kids will love the Adventure Center and taking the gondola to the top of the mountain for additional children’s activities. Check here for an updated schedule.
Adults will love lawns games (bocce, shuffleboard, cornhole, ping pong) in the center of the Village and the hiking trails to Beaver Lake and around the mountain.
Travel tips: Free daytime parking is available at the Ford Hall and Villa Montane underground garages and there are plenty of public restrooms throughout the village. There are also plenty of places to lounge and enjoy the beautiful views of the mountain. A good guide to shops here and a dining index (so many good choices!) here.

8. Attend a musical performance at Beaver Creek Village. There are daily musical performances  throughout the Village each day from 2pm-8pm. The Vilar Performing Arts Center offers an impressive calendar of concerts, comedy acts, and theatrical  performances.
Kids will love the Fossil Posse Dinosaur Adventures and the various ski themed art sculptures on display throughout the village.
Adults will love the performances at the VPAC, and outdoor bands and arts fairs.
Travel tips: Check here for up to date information on times, fees, and specific locations.

 For some of our other favorite resorts, check out this index, and for some of our other City Guides, check out this index. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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18 Comments

  1. Wow! So much to do in Vail Valley. I have been skiing in Vail but never thought about going there in the summer. Looks like your family is having the adventure of a lifetime!

  2. Wow! So much to do in Vail Valley. I have been skiing in Vail but never thought about going there in the summer. Looks like your family is having the adventure of a lifetime!

  3. Wow! So much to do in Vail Valley. I have been skiing in Vail but never thought about going there in the summer. Looks like your family is having the adventure of a lifetime!

  4. Wow! This is so beautiful, like a fairy wonderland. I love the forest photos you took. I’m a sucker for greenery. Now I totally want to visit!

  5. Wow! This is so beautiful, like a fairy wonderland. I love the forest photos you took. I’m a sucker for greenery. Now I totally want to visit!

  6. Wow! This is so beautiful, like a fairy wonderland. I love the forest photos you took. I’m a sucker for greenery. Now I totally want to visit!

  7. This is so insanely beautiful – I love how it’s the perfect mix of modern architecture and comfort yet immersed in such nature and greenery! This actually reminds me a lot of Whistler in Canada – except a summer version ahaha! You should definitely check that out if you haven’t already 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  8. This is so insanely beautiful – I love how it’s the perfect mix of modern architecture and comfort yet immersed in such nature and greenery! This actually reminds me a lot of Whistler in Canada – except a summer version ahaha! You should definitely check that out if you haven’t already 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  9. This is so insanely beautiful – I love how it’s the perfect mix of modern architecture and comfort yet immersed in such nature and greenery! This actually reminds me a lot of Whistler in Canada – except a summer version ahaha! You should definitely check that out if you haven’t already 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  10. Oh my gosh! This looks like so much fun! How cool that you guys are on a National Park tour! This area looks so beautiful, also! I will have to remember it in the future!

  11. Oh my gosh! This looks like so much fun! How cool that you guys are on a National Park tour! This area looks so beautiful, also! I will have to remember it in the future!

  12. Oh my gosh! This looks like so much fun! How cool that you guys are on a National Park tour! This area looks so beautiful, also! I will have to remember it in the future!

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