We kicked off summer with a last minute trip to Aspen with girlfriends and kiddos. All in, our group was 8 mamas and 10 kids, so a little too large for a house rental. Plus, we threw this together within weeks of the trip date. After some quick internet research, we found great rates and accommodations at The Gant, Aspen. The Gant was super kid-friendly and accommodating of our large field trip sized group. We broke up into smaller groups and stayed in condos next to each other. Kind of like Melrose Place but without the drama. Ha! The Gant had two great pools for kids, tennis for mamas and a small cafe with prepared meals and provisions in case you didn’t plan for a grocery store run.
ASPEN TRAVEL GUIDE
WHEN TO GO | Mid-June to mid-August is high season for summer travelers. I loved being there on the front end, just before busy season because it was easy to get dinner reservations and less crowded in town. There really isn’t a bad time to go! Be sure to research when Aspen Food & Wine is. Unless you plan to go to this cult favorite festival (I’ve been dying to go for years!), I wouldn’t recommend going during that weekend which is typically in mid-June because it’s wall to wall crowded.
DIRECT FLIGHTS FROM | Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Chicago
WHERE TO STAY | We loved The Gant Aspen! (more about The Gant in this post’s intro)
WHAT TO PACK | See this post for packing ideas. Lots of light layers are key! Comfortable shoes. Casual chic.
WHAT TO DO| Summertime in Aspen is all about being outdoors; hike, bike, fish, camp, shop (obviously) the list goes on.
Hiking tops my list of summer Aspen pastimes. My favorite in-town hike is Smuggler Mountain Trail. It’s easy enough if you’re hiking with a kids strapped in the baby Bjorn and the views are insane! I wouldn’t recommend this hike for kids that can’t be carried though. For kids ages 3 and up I recommend The Grottos and the Weller Lake hike. Another more challenging hike in town is Ute Trail. Or head out to Maroon Bells for some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. Allocate more time for Maroon Bells because you can only get out to the Bells by shuttle if you go before 5. I love the idea of driving out after 5 when it’s less crowded and doing a little post-hike picnic action. Also surreal for late day photos.
WHERE TO EAT | Wild Fig (European Brassiere) | Cache Cache | Matsuhisa (sushi) | Casa Tua (Italian) | CP Burger (kid friendly, has a putt-putt course on property) | Campo de Fiori (Italion-the patio is my favorite!)
FOR KIDS | Aspen is kid heaven in the summertime. Herron Park is a great spot for a picnic, kids love wading in the stream that sits aside the park and they have a great playground area. I also love taking the kids to the top of Aspen mountain gondola. Be sure to check the dates it’s open before you get your heart set on it though. We traveled early June and missed the gondola because it was only operating on weekends. The Mill Street fountains located in the heart of downtown Aspen are popular with kids of all ages. Bring a towel or change of clothes if you’re bringing your kids within a block of the fountains. There’s also a really cool park right across the way from the fountains. Our summer afternoons were best spent with some fountain/park time followed by ice cream at Paradise Bakery!
SUMMER CAMP | The kids camps in Aspen are top notch. My kids did Camp Ajax and literally cried when it was time to leave each day. If you have kids under age 5 or don’t want to commit to a full camp day, the Hallam Lake Kids Drop-In Series is awesome. For kids ages – They feature different activities daily and you can choose three hour time slots. Camp Aspen in Snowmass is also fantastic and starts at age 3.
photos by Matt Power