How to Keep Your Kids from Ruining your Park City Vacation
Advice for parents: Believe me, we love kids. And frankly, we rarely go anywhere without ours. But there’s no doubt that a little extra planning just might make for a relaxing and pleasant trip. Looking for even more activities with kids? For ideas during the snowy season, check out these 7 Family-Friendly Winter Activities.
Choose the Right Lodging
Park City has a wide variety of condo-hotels, condos, and vacation home rentals which are perfect for keeping the kid bedrooms close, but not too close. Several condo-hotel options have pools and other amenities. Plus, most come with full kitchens, so you can stock up on basic snacks, fruit, breakfast, or sandwich fixins. Some of our favorite condo-hotel properties for families are the Grand Summit Lodge, Silver King, Sundial, and Silver Baron. Since condo units are mostly individually owned, you can’t usually check out the exact dimensions and bed configurations before you buy. Be warned, because most condos are owned by individuals, you might see the Jones’ family photo hanging on the wall which can be kind of charming! A price location can really be worth the extra money when you have kids in tow. Be sure to visit or best ski-in/ski-out hotels and our best hotels on Main Street pages for details on the ins and outs of our favorites. For more information about our list of Family-Friendly Hotels visit our 10 Best Family-Friendly Hotels page.
Splurge on Some Sweet Treats
A little ice cream goes a long way—and a Park City favorite is the Java Cow, aka Cows. It’s a cow-themed ice cream place on historic Main Street. Kids go nuts for this place because there’s a wide variety of ice cream and they sell souvenirs with cows on them. Silly, but a winner. They also sell coffee and delightful pastries for the parents. If there’s a long line, a good second sweets option is Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, one block up.
Get Your Ski Rentals Delivered
There’s nothing worse than getting kids ready for skiing. They wobble around in their ski boots all bundled up like little marshmallows. Don’t try to take your marshmallows to a rental shop to wait in line. You’ll want to quit before you even begin. Local Tip: We recommend Skis on the Run, a local business that delivers the latest and greatest skis right to your door.
Visit Utah Olympic Park
Drive up the hill in Kimball Junction to check out Utah Olympic Park, a really fun place for kids over the age of 5. Everyone will like watching the aerial freestyle skiers catch big air and land in a swimming pool during the summer. Try a variety of attractions like the zip line, climbing wall, tubing, or the ropes course, which has several levels that will suit both kids and adults. In the winter, you can ride down an authentic bobsled track at 60+ mph. And if you’re into skiing history or curious about the 2002 Olympics, there’s a free two-level museum with interactive exhibits.
Listen to Music, Outside
During the peak of summer, you can find a free outdoor concert almost every night of the week. Music in the mountains—what could be better than that? But all kids really need is some outdoor time and a grassy field to run around. They’ll leave a summer concert all worn out. And meanwhile, you’ll have enjoyed a glass of wine in the crisp mountain air, with a little music in the background. See our Music section for more info.
Roast Marshmallows at the Montage
The Montage does just about everything right. Even if you aren’t staying at the luxury Deer Valley resort, it’s worth the trek up the mountain to visit. Try Daly’s Pub and Rec, a posh, yet relaxed, bowling alley and restaurant with free Wii and various games. Montage is well-known for live music all times of the year, and kids will remember that you can roast gourmet marshmallows daily at 4 p.m.
Skate Across an Ice Rink
Right at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, you’ll find the family-friendly outdoor Resort Center Ice Rink. The all-ages rink offers free skate walkers for young ones who are just learning. Pay one fee and skate as long as you want. Private events are also available if you want to gather a group for skating, broom ball, or curling. The Park City Ice Arena also offers an indoor option with an Olympic-sized rink open year-round.
Go Tubing at Woodward
A day at Woodward Park City is every child’s dream. In addition to the indoor action sports park and outdoor lift-service ski and snowboarding hill, you’ll find the longest tubing lanes in Utah. Tubing is accessible for kids 4 and older, and for young ones, there’s a separate snow play area. Inside, kids can jump on massive trampolines, try a little parkour, or work on skills in the skate park.
Ride the Park City Alpine Coaster
One of only a handful of such rides in the country, the Alpine Coaster at Park City Mountain base area uses the natural altitude change of the mountain to create a thrilling ride down the slopes. Strap in and hold on as your car rushes downhill, zig-zagging through the foliage as you enjoy the fresh mountain air and beautiful mountain views. Children age 3 and up can accompany an adult. Riders over 54″ tall can ride by themselves.
Get Groceries Delivered
You are on vacation. The last thing you need to do is load up the kids and run to something as mundane as a grocery store. Get them delivered instead. Sure, it costs a little extra, but time is money, and vacation time is even more precious. In addition to local services like Grocery Girls, grocery stores in town, including Smiths and Whole Foods in Kimball Junction, have their own order-ahead system for customer use.
Put Them in Ski School
You can’t start them too young. The best way to get your little ones ready to rocket down the slopes with you is to put them in ski school. You could probably hazard out a few lessons of your own, but the certified ski instructors found at the resorts have the skills and experience necessary to turn your children into run-ready powder hounds. Children as young as 3 can enroll for beginner classes. Visit Park City Mountain or Deer Valley for more info. Both are fantastic, but you can’t beat Deer Valley.
Go on a Family-Friendly Hike
For a totally flat, easy stroll, head to the McCloud Creek Trail—a gravel path that you can access across the road from the big white (McPolin Farm) barn. The trail passes a creek, goes over bridges, and eventually leads you to Willow Creek Park, which features playgrounds and picnic areas. Also in the “easy” realm: Round Valley, an open network of dog-friendly trails popular for laid-back mountain bike rides and runs. If your kids are up for more climbing, consider the one-mile hike up the steep PC Hill for views of the city and surrounding mountains from next to those iconic white “PC” initials. For the most advanced (but scenic!) hiking, head to Park City Mountain Resort to either ride a gondola up to higher-elevation loops or meander up trails such as Jenni’s or Armstrong. With the exception of on-resort trails, these options are also good for winter hikes.