A guys only trip is a special breed of travel. Whether it’s a reunion, a bachelor party or just a random getaway with a few buddies, a man trip can be both easy and difficult to plan at the same time. Easy in that you only really need 3 things to make it great: adventure, food and alcohol (with a great place to stay being an added bonus), and difficult when it comes to choosing the right destination.
Choosing the location for a winter man trip is simple — almost any ski town will do as long as your friends ski or snowboard. But in the summer, without a central activity to plan a trip around (like skiing), things get trickier. While most girls would be happy to sit around a pool or at the beach for hours on end, that would drive most guys insane. So you’ll need to find a place with enough outdoor adventures to keep you occupied during the day and enough good restaurants and bars to keep you occupied at night.
But my summer visit to Breckenridge wasn’t for just any run-of-the-mill guys trip, it was for brother’s bachelor party, which, as his best man, I was responsible for planning. This was the first bachelor party I’d ever planned and it was for my only brother, who I love (aw), so the pressure was on to make it great.
Together with his friends, I looked at a variety of options: San Diego, Park City, Lake Placid, Cabo San Lucas, Key West, Chicago and more, but none of them felt quite right and my mind kept landing back on Breckenridge.
After presenting what’s outlined in the article below to the group (how easy it’d be to get to, the adventurous activities, the good places to eat and drink and a nice place to stay) it wasn’t hard for all of us to agree that a Breckenridge bachelor party would be best. And it was.
Below I’ve laid out how you can plan an epic bachelor party, guys reunion or just-for-the-hell-of-it summer trip in Breckenridge, Colorado based on the trip I planned for my brother. There’s also a video at the end. Enjoy.
When you’re wrangling a group for a man trip/bachelor party, chances are you’ll have guys coming in from around the country. So you’ll want to pick a destination that is easy for everyone to get to — and Breckenridge is easy to get to.
First Step: Fly into Denver International Airport
Denver is a major hub and it’s basically impossible to find a city that doesn’t have a direct flight there. When I organized my bro’s Breckenridge bachelor party, we had guys coming in from 5 different cities (New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Phoenix) and we all landed within 30 minutes of one and other. This volume of flights can also help reduce the cost of airfare (compared to smaller and harder to get to cities) and reduce the amount of time spent traveling (no waiting around for connecting flights). This of course means more money in your pocket to spend on beer and more time to partake in debaucherous activities with your friends.
Second Step: Rent a car
Breckenridge is 105 miles and a 2-hour drive from Denver International Airport, so you’ll need to rent a car to get there and to get around over the course of your trip. It’ll depend on the number of guys in attendance, but consider renting a 12-passenger van. For my brother’s bachelor party there were 9 guys total and the van we rented provided plenty of room for everyone and their luggage. We considered breaking up into 2 smaller cars, but thought it’d be more fun to keep the group together in one big van — and we were right.
When To Go: Any summer weekend (beginning of June to the beginning of September).
We visited Breckenridge over Fourth of July weekend, which is the busiest day of the year in town (winter holidays don’t even have it beat). It was a lively time to be there, plus, everyone already had a Friday off of work, which made it easier to plan a long weekend.
WHAT TO DO
Let’s cut right to the chase — the main reason Breckenridge makes the perfect adventurous man trip/bachelor party destination is the outdoor adventure activities you’ll have access too.
Consider Breckenridge the bullseye on a dart board. Set up camp here then travel outwards to take part in the best that Colorado has to offer. Without leaving Breckenridge, you’ll be able to take on some challenging hikes and mountain biking — but the next level adventures are outside of town to the north and south.
Whitewater Rafting with Performance Tours
Heading south from Breckenridge, you’ll have access to some of Colorado’s most legendary whitewater rafting (we went with Performance Tours and they were awesome). How far from Breckenridge you want to venture is up to you. In 1 hour and 20 minutes you can reach the Arkansas River’s The Numbers with class 4 and 5 rapids. But we wanted the most intense ride possible and the best scenery possible, so I spoke with a few rafting guides familiar with the area and they recommended we travel 2 hours to Performance Tours’ HQ at Royal Gorge. Here, the Arkansas River will throw more intense class 4 and 5 rapids at you as you go through the narrow gorge, whose walls rise 1,100 feet from the canyon floor. Make sure to choose a full day tour which includes a stop for a big lunch.
Shooting & ATVing at Aspen Canyon Ranch
To tackle 2 activities ideal for any man trip/bachelor party in one place, head about 1 hour and 20 minutes north of Breckenridge to sport clay shoot and ride ATVs at the rough-around-the-edges, Aspen Mountain Ranch.
Kick off the day with sport clay shooting, which takes place at the top of a small mountain. Be aware, however, that it’s not a professional range, clays are manually thrown, protective eye or ear wear isn’t provided (who needs ear drums anyway?) and instruction is limited — so best watch a few how-to videos on YouTube if you’ve never shot before. Still, when you’re shooting a high powered shotgun off of an apparently lawless, back woods mountain in Colorado with your friends, it’s hard not to have a great time. And yes, you should all be wearing fake mullets.
When you’ve run out of ammo, skip signing waivers or liability forms (there aren’t any) and hop on an ATV. 5 minutes down the road you’ll enter Arapahoe National Forrest, a wilderness area so large you could spend years within its bounds. After ATVing for several hours (we rented for a half day), we passed only two other people the entire time. The trails and the scenery can’t be beat and you’ll feel like you’re way, way, way out in the wild…which you are.
Tip: since Aspen Canyon Ranch doesn’t supply them, it’s a good idea to bring your own goggles (ski goggles do the trick) to protect your eyes and a gaiter/bandana to protect your mouth from the dust which can be intense on the trails. You will leave filthy dirty — and that’s how it should be.
WHERE TO DRINK
Before getting into the party scene, I should offer this disclaimer if you’re planning a Breckenridge bachelor party: If you’re looking for crazy clubs, to prowl for bachelorette parties and hit up strip clubs, or if your group needs to find a party vs. being able to create a party wherever they go, you should just go to Las Vegas. If you’re looking for an awesome, adventurous town where the primary focus is spending quality time with your friends, Breckenridge is for you.
Alright, first things first, on your way into town, make a pit stop at Breckenridge Distillery and pick up a bottle or two of their Breckenridge Bourbon Whisky. While you’re there, you can take a tour of the facilities (which take place every 30 minutes from 11am to 5:30pm) and do a tasting. If you can’t make it to the distillery, pick up a bottle at a local liquor store or stop into their Main Street tasting room located right in the middle of downtown.
If you make it to Breckenridge Distillery, make sure to also stop by Broken Compass Brewing which is located a half mile up the street.
For more beer, stop by Breckenridge Brewery & Pub, located near the southern end of Main Street. And to continue daytime drinking, head to the big outdoor patio at Kenosha Steakhouse for another beer and a game of horseshoes.
For nighttime boozing, drop by Jake’s Dive Bar to kick things off with $3 Jim Beam shots — and if you want to hang around, there’s foosball and beer pong tables to get competitive on. If you’d rather start the night on a classier note, head to Après for handcrafted cocktails and a huge selection of craft whisky.
From there, mosey on over to local-favorite, Gold Pan Saloon, which opened its swinging doors to the town’s mining population in 1879. Next, head to Downstairs at Eric’s, another local-favorite which features 30 beers on tap, 50 beers by the bottle, 25 arcade games and all the wings, nachos and pizza you’ll need to satisfy your drunk cravings.
Deviating from Main Street by one block, you’ll find Angel’s Hallow, a hole-in-the-wall bar and restaurant known for their margaritas. Finally, once you’re sufficiently liquored up enough to dance/no longer care, you can end the night at Cecilia’s Martini Bar.
WHERE TO EAT
Breakfast will be your most important meal of the day for two reasons: 1) to help cure your hangover from the night before and 2) to give you the fuel you need to conquer the day’s adventure.
Do not leave Breckenridge without eating a breakfast burrito from Amazing Grace, a natural foods cafe located in a tiny history house built in 1889. Honestly, it was one of, if not the best breakfast burritos I’ve ever had. For a quicker breakfast (great for when you head out early on a rafting trip) swing by Daylight Donuts for breakfast sandwiches, and of course, donuts to take on the road with you.
For a big sit down breakfast perfect for slowly returning to your normal, semi-functional self (think pancakes, eggs, bacon and hash browns) grab an outside table at Columbine Cafe or try Salt Creek Steakhouse.
Chances are you’ll be doing most of your lunches while out of town (a lunch is provided on full day rafting trips and lunch can be provided at Aspen Canyon Ranch for an additional cost) so let’s talk about dinner. For a classic steakhouse dinner, you’ll want to make a reservation at Briar Rose Chophouse & Saloon. For another nice meal, this time featuring Colorado-grown produce and meat (like striped bass and venison), head to Relish, which is conveniently located right above the Breckenridge Distillery tasting room.
To keep it casual (and if you’re already too drunk to sit down at a nice restaurant — it happens, trust me) then you’ll want to grab a gourmet burger from Empire Burger or pizza from Breckenridge’s favorite pizza place, Giampietro Pizzeria. You can never go wrong with burgers and pizza for a man trip dinner. Ever.
And finally, for munchies (cannabis is completely legal in Colorado if you’re into that sort of thing), pick up a big box of cookies from Mary’s Mountain Cookies to keep in your house as a snack.
WHERE TO STAY
When it comes to finding the perfect pad for a man trip/bachelor party in Breckenridge, there are two criteria: you’ll want to stay together under one roof and you’ll want to be within walking distance to town. This only leaves two options, renting a townhouse at Mountain Thunder Lodge or renting a private home.
Mountain Thunder Lodge
Mountain Thunder Lodge offers both condos and 2 and 3 bedroom townhouses. If your group is 8 guys or under, a 3 bedroom townhouse will fit you perfectly (we ended up with 9 guys and had one sleep on a roll away bed). The 3 bedroom townhouses feature large vaulted living rooms (with a sleeper sofa), large dining room table, nicely equipped kitchens and 3 full bathrooms. There’s also a communal pool and several hot tubs on the property.
Perhaps the best feature though, is the daily housekeeping (which you won’t find with a private home rental). You know that 1 dude can make a mess, let alone 9 dudes, so having a clean place every time you get back from a long day in the wilderness will be a welcome relief.
Tip: I’d highly recommend requesting Townhouse #803. It’s separated from the rest of the townhouses (so you won’t need to worry too much about being loud) and it has has the quickest access out to the road which will take you to Main Street (it’s just a 5-minute walk away). Click here to book your room at Mountain Thunder Lodge.
Renting A Home
If you’re group is larger than 8 or 9 guys, you’ll want to rent a house. VRBO has a large inventory of homes for rent in Breckenridge, but it’s essential that you narrow your search to Breckenridge’s “Historic Core” (a.k.a. the downtown area) and make sure the house is within a short walk to Main Street and Breckenridge’s bars and restaurants. Some of the townhouses at Mountain Thunder Lodge are privately owned, so you can find 1 or 2 of them for rent on VRBO too.
Here’s a video I threw together with some of the iPhone and GoPro footage I took over the course of the trip. It’s not going to win any cinematography or editing awards, but it’ll give you a brief look at some of the things I mentioned above.
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Photo credit: top photo by and used with permission from Kristian Charnick. Where To Drink photo by Breckenridge Brewery. Where To Stay photo by Mountain Thunder Lodge