Silverthorne, Colorado: A Place for Family Fun
posted by: Lori Holden
Looking for family fun not far from the metro-Denver area? Just up the hill and through the tunnel (Eisenhower) on I-70 lies a “young town with a modern vision,” according to Silverthorne.org.
We found that claim to be true.
For each of these meals and activities we experienced — including fly fishing, stand up paddleboarding, and dancing at a live concert — I asked my family members (teen daughter, teen son, husband) for a brief review. Below is what we had to say (spoiler: my son steals the show).
3 Places to Play in Silverthorne
Fly Fishing* with Colorado Angler
I’m one of those hypocritical people who like to eat fish but really don’t like to kill fish. I wanted my kids to have the fishing experience, but I wasn’t too psyched about it for myself.
Like with so many things, the adventure turned out differently than I’d imagined. It wasn’t just the fish that was hooked. I ended up thoroughly enjoying fly fishing. Our guides Colin and Jonathan shared their knowledge and passion for their sport in a way that was infectious. I’d never given much thought to how in tune one must be with nature to understand the life cycles of both insects and trout, not to mention weather, the water cycle, river flow, and other rhythms. I found fly fishing to be very zen-like, in which one finds the balance between too much and too little within virtually all instructions given.
Our morning was peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. Among us we caught five fish, brown trout and rainbow trout. We gently released each of them (after photos, of course).
- Daughter: “I caught two! It was fun and I’d like to do it again.”
- Son: “I’m sure I would have caught one if you’d let me sleep another hour.”
- Husband: “Our guides did a terrific job balancing instruction with fun.”
* Of course, the Colorado Angler offers other kinds of fishing, too.
249 Summit Place | 970.513.8055 | on Facebook
Stand Up Paddleboarding with Ten Mile Creek Kayaks
Turns out my daughter is quite a waterbaby here in landlocked Colorado. She took to fly fishing and paddleboarding like a mermaid. My son and husband, too, were at home on their paddleboards. It took me a little longer to feel like I wasn’t about to fall overboard and swim with the fishes, but eventually I got my sea legs.
Matti, a former professional skier, now offers rentals and guides for kayaking, rafting, canoeing, and SUPping. He met us early in the morning (well, 8 am) at Silverthorne’s beautiful North Pond Park, where we paddled for about an hour, chasing each other around the pond. None of us fell in and all of us had fun. We got good core workouts, too. We hope to SUP again later this summer.
- Daughter: “It made me use my muscles in a lot of different ways.”
- Son: “I wish the rest of you could have kept up with me.”
- Husband: “It was a little tricky at first, but soon it felt natural.”
Matti Wade | 970.668.9294 | on Facebook
How fun is it to rock out under a beautiful summer sky? Bonus if you get to annoy your kids while doing so. Wash Park Band was playing the night we attended the Summer Concert Series at Rainbow Park. The band funked out with music from the 70s and 80s, as well as more current songs my kids like. People of all ages were on the dance floor (yes, they laid out a floor on the grass) having a blast.
- Daughter: “Mom, stop singing!”
- Son: “Mom, stop dancing!”
- Husband: “You were the one who wanted children.”
970.262.7300 | Town of Silverthorne on Facebook
5 Places to Eat in Silverthorne
Don’t wait until you’re starving for breakfast (or brunch or lunch) to come here because many mornings you’re likely to experience a wait. But so what? The food’s worth waiting for.
The Sunshine Cafe, a staple in Silverthorne for 35 years, has recently expanded and renovated thanks to a grant from the Town of Silverthorne. The food is as delicious and filling as ever, the servers just as attentive and friendly.
- Daughter: “Good food and wonderful hearts ♥.”
- Son: “I wish I had an extra stomach to put the rest of this in.”
- Husband: “No one ever goes away hungry.”
250 Summit Place | 970.468.6663 | on Facebook
This is a quickie place to get something to eat for now or for later. People come here in droves for a selection of breakfast burritos, salads, sandwiches and bakery delights that are reasonably priced and delicious. (I hear the proprietor is also a highly regarded wedding cake supplier for Summit County). You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu or in the case.
- Daughter: “Yummy cannoli!”
- Son: “The desserts all look so good. I can’t decide. Can I have three?”
- Husband: “The sandwiches are great take-out for our active day.”
253 Summit Place | 970.513.0669 | on Facebook
Right off I-70 in a converted Village Inn, is a fabulous new restaurant that makes most of its own baked goods and beers. The locals love Baker’s Brewery as much as the tourists do. Brewmaster Corey is passionate about beer-making, creating regular and seasonal concoctions that please the palate and pair well with delicious meals. My sloppy joe was among the best I’ve tasted.
All four of us earned entry in the Clean Plate Club.
- Daughter: “Phenomenal.”
- Son: “I wish I was 21!”
- Husband: “I wish I was 21! Seriously, this Barking Dog Brown is one of the best browns I’ve ever had.”
531 Silverthorne Lane | 970.468.0170 | on Facebook
They’ll never mess up your steak. That’s what we were told by a local. Turns out it’s a fact — since patrons cook their own.
We started by choosing a meat. Husband opted for New York strip, and I chose a filet mignon (I’m a sucker for bacon wrap). We also chose from a selection of yummy sides.
We took our slabs to the community grill and cooked our main dish to perfection, thanks to the handy guide on the wall, seasoning just the way we wanted. By the time we got to our table, our sides were there. We tried the creamed spinach, asparagus spears, bashed potatoes (what we call twice-baked), and truffle fries.
It was the best 5 pounds I ever gained in one sitting.
- Daughter: “The best filet mignon I’ve ever had!” [<== Also the first.]
- Son: “The steak rocked, which was awesome. But where was the mint I was promised?”
- Husband: “Perfect for grillers. Taps into a guy’s primal urge to mix red meat and fire.”
347 Blue River Parkway | 970.468.5247 | on Facebook
Imagine my delight to find an ice cream infused with lavender. Higgles, located along the Blue River in a quaint stand, has the most breathtaking view of any ice cream shop I’ve ever frequented (there have been many). Of course, I — of the very purple blog LavenderLuz.com — opted for Lavender Honey. My family members chose Root Beer and Cookie Butter. We loved every last lick.
Higgles is another recipient of a business grant from the Town of SIlverthorne. The ice creams are made on site by owner Anna. She’s a national treasure, according to my ice cream-loving son.
- Daughter: “Ah-mazing.”
- Son: “I ate all three scoops. Mom wouldn’t let me have more.”
- Husband: “My root beer ice cream was a nice complement to the Baker’s beers.”
354 Blue River Parkway (behind the Farm Stand) | 970.468.0450 | on Facebook
Where to Stay in Silverthorne
This newly opened hotel was perfect for our stay. The location is within walking distance to many of the activities and restaurants we enjoyed. The rooms are spacious and modern with breakfast included. The pool was a hit with the kids (the grownups may have chosen to nap instead). The beds are super comfy, the people helpful.
Ron, the friendly manager, said that the Hampton Inn Silverthorne is a favorite for wedding parties. And it’s an affordable winter option for ski trips, as Silverthorne is near several prime ski areas (Keystone, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge). There’s a free shuttle to the Outlet stores, one of Silverthorne’s main draws (aside from fishing, hiking, biking, skiing, tubing, snowboarding, rafting, kayaking).
Hampton Inn & Suites is now our Silverthorne go-to hotel.
- Daughter: “The pool was fun for families.”
- Son: “I flexed my muscles in the fitness room. That’s why I need more ice cream.”
- Husband: “Very modern — we didn’t have to fight over outlets. Affordable, too.”
Note: Colorado Angler, Sunshine Cafe, and Blue Moon Bakery are a mere 2 minute walk from The Hampton Inn.
177 Meraly Way | 970.368.3520 | on Facebook
Making Silverthorne Your Destination
Back in the 1880s, the area attracted gold miners. Fifty years ago, Silverthorne was a construction camp for workers building Dillon Dam. Nowadays, it’s a vibrant ski, river, and shopping destination. Besides the activities described here, families may also:
- Shop the Outlets
- Explore open space
- Bird watch along the Blue River
- Bike the Blue River
- Explore Summit County’s best hikes
- Enjoy the amenities at the Silverthorne Recreation Center
This is what my family enjoyed this trip. What will your family most enjoy in the Town of Silverthorne?
Disclosure: experiences were provided by the organizations mentioned here for purposes of writing this article.
Lori Holden, mom of a teen daughter and a teen son, blogs from Denver at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available in paperback, hard cover, audio and e-book versions. It makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.