11 Best Things to Do in Breckenridge Besides Skiing

· Everything you need to know about visiting Breckenridge if you don’t plan on hitting slopes. ·

Feb, 12, 2024

Breckenridge is known for its world-class skiing, but this Colorado resort town offers much more than just ski slopes. Breckenridge is one of the best places for easy-to-moderate hiking in Colorado, and it also has a bustling food scene. For those who don’t love to hike, Breckenridge has a charming downtown that is great for shopping and relaxing resorts that you could spend days in without leaving.

adorable family holding 4 month old babies in winter hat on a rocky mountain trail with blue mountains in background

Breckenridge is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in the United States. The USA doesn’t get nearly enough credit for its stunning backdrops and landscapes, and I think Breckenridge is a perfect example of that. The mountain views here are absurd, the hiking is incredible, and the town is as beautiful as it is high.

We spent a week in Breckenridge and didn’t ski once, due to having our baby along with no one else to babysit. We weren’t sure how this would play out; would it be worth making the trip up into the mountains if we weren’t going to strap on any skis? The short answer is yes. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about Breckenridge, Colorado.

The Best Things to Do in Breckenridge if You Don’t Ski

Breckenridge is very popularly recognized as a world-class skiing destination. From intense downhill skiing slopes to enjoyable cross-country skiing routes at the Breckenridge Nordic Center, “Breck” is one of America’s favorite ski towns. Alpine adrenaline junkies of all kinds love Breckenridge not just for its unique ski runs, but also its dog sledding, snow tubing, and other outdoor adventures.

While those things may appeal to some people, they don’t really appeal to me. I never learned how to ski, and now traveling with my kids I struggle to find the time to learn. Thankfully, Breckenridge is an amazing place to visit, even if you don’t ski!

village covered with snow during daytime

I don’t know about you, but it is very rare that I get to hang out in an alpine winter wonderland like Breckenridge. To be fair, the snow isn’t there all year long, and winter doesn’t last the entire year. This list of the best things to do in Breckenridge spans all seasons, as some things are winter activities, some are summer activities, and some are both. 

Regardless, here are the best things to do in Breckenridge for people who don’t ski.

1. Hike the Area’s Trails For Breathtaking Views

Far and away, hiking is the best non-ski activity in Breckenridge. We went to Breckenridge solely for the hiking. We aren’t even avid hikers, but we knew that the mountain views here were bound to be incredible – especially outside of the winter months. 

Breckenridge offers hikes that are suitable for every skill level, ranging from beginner half-mile loops to intense, spikes-and-icepick-required trails. We opted for some routes that fall in the middle, including the Sapphire Point Overlook Trail, Discovery Ridge to Gold Run Gulch, the Boreas Pass, and the B&B to Reiling Dredge. 

Whatever your level and desired difficulty, there are trails suitable for you. The best views are found by wandering out of the town, and you will not be disappointed with what you find! 

Hiking during the winter months can be very challenging due to the snow, and the early spring months can be perilous due to mudslides caused by the melting snow. We visited in April, and found it to be a lovely time to hike the trails around this mountain town.

white and blue boat on body of water over mountain view

2. Go Dog Sledding or Horseback Riding Through the Rocky Mountains

If hiking isn’t up your alley, you should consider either going dog sledding or horseback riding! Both of these are fun outdoor activities that most people can’t just do at home on a regular basis. Going on sleigh rides pulled by beautiful dogs is especially fun, as you really feel like you’re getting a unique winter wonderland experience. 

Naturally, dog sledding is a winter activity and horseback riding is more of a summer activity. If you are keen on one over the other, plan the timing of your trip accordingly! Both of these things can be done for a relatively affordable price, and are can’t-miss activities when in Breckenridge.

3. Drive along the Boreas Pass Road

The Boreas Pass is known as one of the prettiest drives in Colorado, and it ends right in Breckenridge. This scenic road connects Breckenridge to the resort town of Como, about 22 miles south. Along the drive you pass over an over-11,000-foot summit, and there is a strong chance you’ll see some wildlife.

This drive should only be done during the summer months. It is not recommended in the winter due to the snow, and the spring can be equally treacherous because of the mud. Round trip, the drive usually takes a couple of hours if you don’t opt to stop in Como.

4. Ride The Gold Runner Coaster At Breckenridge Ski Resort

If you want a bit of downhill thrill but don’t feel like strapping on some skis, you should check out the Gold Runner Coaster at Breckenridge Ski Resort! This alpine roller coaster has several different tracks that you can descend while feeling the crisp mountain air breeze by you. 

This coaster is an absolute blast, and it is great even for people who don’t typically love roller coasters! This is because there is a brake that you can apply on your own to control the pace at which you descend. This is a bit of a pricey activity, but it is one of the top things to do if you’re seeking some thrill and adrenaline!

person riding cable car over snow covered mountain during daytime

5. Explore Historic Main Street And Its Shops

Not everything needs to be thrill-seeking when you visit Breckenridge. The town of Breckenridge itself is very quaint and filled with adorable boutiques and shops that deserve some time to explore. Downtown Breckenridge’s Historic Main Street is a bit over a mile long, and it is lined with stores, restaurants, cafes, and attractions. 

I highly recommend taking at least a couple of hours to walk along Historic Main Street and check out some of the coolest places that it has to offer, including the Breckenridge Arts District. This is also the best way to learn about special events or other Breckenridge activities that you won’t want to miss during your visit.

breckenridge, colorado, town

6. Go Snowshoeing at the Breckenridge Nordic Center

Breckenridge Nordic Center is a family-owned outdoor adventure site that offers snow activities of all kinds. From cross country skiing to snowshoeing and rides in “Snowcats”, this venue is a great place to visit while in town. It’s located just five minutes from downtown, and the staff is very friendly and ready to get you outfitted. 

Another popular outfitter is Gold Run Nordic Center. This one in particular offers great ski lessons, fat biking, and sleigh rides in addition to snowshoeing and cross country skiing. While we opted not to ski due to my inexperience, I highly considered taking ski lessons in Breckenridge and this would have been the place!

7. Warm Up with Some Alpine Libations

Breckenridge has a booming food and drinks industry, and this is evidenced greatly by the town’s top alcoholic beverage producers. Breckenridge Distillery is touted as the world’s highest distillery, and it is known for its blended bourbon whiskey. Continental Divide Winery is a classic place to check out as well, with a nice array of wines to sample in its tasting room.

My personal favorite place to grab a drink is Broken Compass Brewing Company. I find that one of the best ways to warm up after a day in the cold is actually with an ice-cold beer, and this place brews some very good stuff.

If you don’t drink alcohol, many places serve outstanding hot chocolate, which can hit the spot in the winter months!

Brown Wooden Barrel

8. Fill Your Lungs At The O2 Lounge (Oxygen Bar)

Breckenridge is really high up in the mountains…like over 10,000 feet. They often say that Denver’s professional athletes have a competitive advantage because they train in the high elevation, where the air is thin. Well, Breckenridge is almost twice as high as Denver is, meaning the air is almost twice as thin! 

Getting altitude sickness is a real possibility here, and being short of breath at times is almost a guarantee. This is especially true if you try any outdoor activities! Going to the O2 Lounge is one fun way to help your respiratory system out as it acclimates to the new altitude! 

This lounge, much like a regular bar, allows guests to pull up a chair at the counter and pay for a tube of highly oxygenated air. You pay based on the amount of time that you stay, and you can even order coffee and smoothies while you’re there. This is a really unique place that I highly recommend checking out!

9. Grab a Sled and Head to Carter Park

Carter Park is a small park within walking distance of downtown Breckenridge that is famous for its sledding hill. If you visit during the winter months, this is a fantastic place to get some downhill thrill without the investment or risk that comes with skiing. The hill is free to sled on, and there is no need to use a ski lift.

10. Check Out the International Snow Sculpture Championships

One activity that is unique to Breckenridge is the International Snow Sculpture Championships. This event usually takes place in January, and hosts artists from around the world who carve 25 tons of snow statues each year! The carvings are incredibly detailed, ranging from animals to movie characters and more.

The sculptures are displayed for free in downtown Breckenridge for a week. This is one of the only places in the world that holds an event like this on such a large scale, and it makes for a great break from skiing!

11. Take a Day Trip to Natural Hot Springs

There are few things as relaxing as sitting in natural hot springs. While hot tubs are nice, they can’t replicate the healing effects that natural spring water can have on your body. Hot springs have been frequented by people for thousands of years, and there are many benefits associated with using them.

While Breckenridge itself doesn’t’ have any hot springs, there are several within a couple of hours driving. If you have a rental car, this is a great way to explore some of Colorado’s beauty without needing to exert too much physical effort. A great option is Cottonwood Hot Springs, about an hour and twenty minutes south of Breckenridge.

brown field near mountain under blue sky during daytime

How To Get to Breckenridge

Flying to Breckenridge

Unless you live in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, or Wyoming, it is unlikely that you plan on driving to Breckenridge. It is a long, long drive away from any other state. 

If you plan on flying to arrive in Breckenridge, you will actually have to fly into a different city, as Breckenridge doesn’t have its own airport. Your two best options are Denver International Airport (DEN) and Eagle/Vail Regional Airport (EGE). Eagle/Vail Regional Airport is much closer to Breckenridge than Denver is, but your chances of finding an affordable flight there are pretty slim.

Odds are that you will fly into Denver, as it is only about two hours away from Breckenridge and is one of the busiest airports in the whole country. If you read my post on finding affordable airfare, you know that utilizing hub airports is often the best way to find good deals on flights. On top of that, Denver is Frontier Airlines’ headquarters and hub, meaning there is a great chance you can land a great deal on a Frontier flight to Denver.

green and white Frontier airliner

Getting to Breckenridge from Denver

While Denver is twice as many miles away from Breckenridge as Eagle/Vail Regional Airport is, it doesn’t take all that much longer to get to. This is because the road from Denver into the mountains is mostly an expressway, and you can cover a lot of the mileage pretty quickly. Once you get into the mountains, things get a little bit more windy and the speed limits drop a bit for safety purposes. 

If you are renting a car, getting from Denver International Airport to Breckenridge takes about two hours, requires no tolls, and is as easy as it gets. The drive is perfectly safe and easy to do without much experience driving in the mountains, as long as there isn’t snow on the ground.

If you don’t have a car, there is another very convenient option for you to get to Breckenridge: taking a shuttle directly from the airport! There are shuttles that run straight from the Denver International Airport up into the mountains, and they stop at some of the bigger towns in the Breckenridge area. There are many options to choose from, including the Summit Express, the Peak 1 Express, and more. These shuttles take a bit over two and a half hours to arrive in Breckenridge, but are sometimes much cheaper than renting a car!

Getting to Breckenridge from Eagle/Vail

From Eagle/Vail Regional Airport, you have the same options. Driving is the easiest option, of course, but often winds up being much more expensive than it needs to be. Just like Denver, there are many shuttle options to take you right to your hotel in Breckenridge. 

A quick Google search will bring up some of the best options, and I just recommend going with the most affordable one. The drive isn’t all that long, and there’s no reason you should be paying $75 per person each way!

green mountains under blue sky during daytime

How To Get Around Breckenridge


Having a car makes visiting Breckenridge very convenient. You can drive to all of the places that you want to go without a worry, you can get to remote trailheads without much coordination, and you don’t have to rely on public transportation schedules. Frankly, those are the advantages of having a car anywhere.

With that being said, I was stunned by the amount of public transportation in Breckenridge. While I’m not recommending that you rely on public transportation instead of renting a car, I think you totally could. 

The city has a “Free Ride” shuttle system that takes you to most of the city’s main spots. It’s actually pretty expansive. We would be at a trailhead that we thought was a bit remote, and 2 minutes down the road we would see a stop for the “Free Ride.”

The best part, if you couldn’t tell, is that it is free! The shuttles run typically from around 6:30am to 11pm and are very easy to use. If we were to go back to Breckenridge, I would definitely consider not renting a car. 

For more details on routes and times, there’s no better source than the Breckenridge Free Ride website. They update it themselves with the information, so you are in good hands!

On top of that, you can always rest assured knowing that rideshare services do operate in Breckenridge and the surrounding area. If you plan to rely on the free shuttle system and ever find yourself in a hurry, you can easily just call an Uber or hail a cab and you’ll swiftly get to where you want to go.

How Many Days Do You Need in Breckenridge?

Breckenridge has a surprising amount of things to do for what I thought was a pretty small town. There are many very cool activities, great restaurants, and endless stunning views and hikes. While you could get away with visiting for just a couple of days, Breckenridge is one place that I would have loved to stay longer. 

The town is extremely welcoming and there was just always something more that I wanted to do. The hikes were incredible, too, and I didn’t want to stop! 

I’m not even an avid hiker. But wow, for those views, I would hike for days. I would say a weekend is enough to get a feel for the town itself, but if you want to experience some of the town’s activities and attractions, you need at least 5 days to do it justice.

Best Time of the Year to Visit Breckenridge

Breckenridge is known for its skiing. If you want to ski, the best time to visit is in the winter. Skiers typically prefer to visit between November and early April, as that is when the slopes are ready for heavy ski traffic and the snow is its best.

If you are visiting Breckenridge and don’t plan to ski, though, visiting in the summer is a much better bet. The weather is much more tolerable, the trails are not piled high in snow, and all of the stores and art galleries are open for business. You also get to skip the massive crowds that come to hit the ski slopes.

The one time of the year when you do NOT want to come is between the end of April and the beginning of June. This is called the muddy season because all of the snow is melting and the trails and slopes are all a muddy mess. 

As this is the time of the year that sees the fewest visitors, the shops mostly close down so that their owners can take their own, well-deserved vacations. This is a great time to visit if you are looking for peace and quiet, but beware that many of the best shops will be closed and many of the trails will be unnavigable.

Is Breckenridge Worth Visiting? (Even If You Don’t Ski?)

So, now the last big question: is Breckenridge worth visiting, even if you don’t plan on skiing? Being that it is a skiing resort town, you’d think you need to ski to make it worth your while, right? 

Wrong. You can go to a beach resort city, like Tulum, and still have a great time without ever going to the beach! If you like local restaurants and beautiful scenery, you can have an absolute blast in Breckenridge, even if you never strap on a pair of skis.

At its core, Breckenridge is a ski town. I mean, it is located in the Colorado Rockies over 10,000 feet above sea level, so what would you expect? However, its wild popularity has caused the town to build up attractions to appeal to both skiers and non-skiers alike. 

As a result, there are endless fun activities, shops, restaurants, and hikes that could appeal to anyone. We would, without hesitation, say that Breckenridge is absolutely worth a visit, regardless of whether you plan to ski or not.

That’s all we have for you about Breckenridge! Hopefully this post accomplished its goal of proving to you that you can have a blast in Breckenridge even if you don’t ski. We sure did!

If you’re planning a trip to Breckenridge, let us know by commenting below! We’d love to answer any questions you have.


Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.

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Meet The Author - Greg

Hi, I'm Greg. I'm an avid traveler who has traveled to over 50 countries all around the world with my wife and kids. I've lived in Italy, Mexico, China, and the United States, and I dream of moving abroad again in the future. With this blog, I provide my audience with detailed destination guides to my favorite places and pro-tips to make travel as stress-free as possible.