I really would visit Colorado anytime of the year, but summer in Colorado is just magnificent. The endless amounts of sunshine, the cool mountain air and so many wildflowers around every turn; it's a dream for me. Aspen and Snowmass are two of my favorite spots in Colorado, especially for families. I'll list out my reasons in a second. I also have to mention that Vail, Boulder and Estes National Park are also on this list. For now though, I'll stick to these two spots.
Aspen and Snowmass are literally minutes away from one another, but they are both very different. I think of Aspen as a little city and Snowmass as the suburbs. Some may disagree, but this is how I see it. We visited the two in early June, when the summer season hadn't started yet and we really did enjoy it. For one, it was quiet, but we still had plenty to do and explore. We stayed in a beautiful condo for 5 days in Snowmass Village. We didn't even realize that it included every other day housekeeping! It was close to everything in Snowmass like tasty restaurants, easy hiking spots and playgrounds.
Getting to Aspen/Snowmass is relatively easy, but if you fly into Denver, be prepared for a long drive. The scenery is so beautiful though, so it does go by fast. You could always fly into Aspen too.
The weather was near perfect. The mornings were chilly, but with the air being so dry you didn't need a ton of layers. By lunch time, I was in a t-shirt and shorts or leggings. We literally did all of our activities outside, even eating because the weather was just that wonderful.
The hiking around Aspen/Snowmass is one of the top reasons why we returned with Caroline and Charlie. Maroon Bells in Aspen is not to be missed and has multiple hikes that range from easy to near impossible. Because of Covid, we had to make a reservation to go into Maroon Bells, but I'm sure it won't always be like this. If you are planning on going, be sure to make a reservation way in advance. We spent an afternoon/early evening with a picnic dinner in tow exploring two different spots around the Bells. You could explore Maroon Bells for days, even camp out if you wanted. Another hiking spot we throughly enjoyed was Buttermilk Mountain. We took the gondola up to the top of the mountain and explored for a few hours with another picnic. Both spots are perfect for young kids and the best part is you can stay for as little or as long as you want.
Besides the weather being beautiful, the scenery is what sold us to come back in the summer. Wildflowers, animals like elk and big horn sheep, so much of the food we ate was locally sourced. Which brings me too some of our favorite places that we ate at during our stay. For the most part, we ate at casual restaurants because Charlie is just not up for anything fancy right now. Despite being casual, everything listed below was so good. When we weren't eating out, we made picnics to take with us. Here were some of our favorite spots:
- JUS: This was literally right below our condo. Fresh smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, salads and wraps.
- Hometeam BBQ: Based in Charleston, they opened one in Aspen and oh my goodness, some of the best BBQ we've ever tasted.
- Sundae Ice Cream: Homemade Artisanal Ice Cream. They had the most fun toppings and were also located right below our condo, which was slightly dangerous. We consumed a lot of ice cream that week.
- Meat + Cheese Restaurant + Farm Shop: Seasonal Menu and part speciality shop too in Aspen, I would've eaten lunch or dinner here everyday. I loved sitting on the patio
- Spinelli's Market (Denver)- So obviously not in Aspen/Snowmass, but this was an awesome spot to pick up sandwiches. Located in the Park Hill Neighborhood in Denver, they serve speciality sandwiches and gourmet foods. I highly recommend stopping if you fly into Denver on your way.
We are already dreaming up our next trip to Colorado. There's so much we haven't even seen, and so much we'd like to do. I think we need a month, not just a week.