KEYSTONE, Colo. -- Winter isn't the only time the beauty of the Colorado Rockies comes to life.
Summer is also heavenly at 9,000 feet above sea level. Keystone Resort in Summit County just west of Denver is one of Colorado's best golf getaways.
Affordable stay-and-plays provide access to two courses, The River Course at Keystone and The Keystone Ranch Golf Course. Plenty of dining options and activities can keep the whole family happy. Cooler and more comfortable than much of the rest of the country, the mountain climate rarely climbs higher than 80 degrees.
Sounds perfect, right?
Keystone Resort: The golf
The Keystone Ranch Golf Course and the River complement one another. Each course has its own clubhouse, restaurant/grill and range with unlimited complimentary practice balls.
Two different styles of golf highlight the Keystone Ranch Golf Course, a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. The front nine starts out with a Scottish links theme. The course's back nine wanders through sage meadows to introduce the more traditional look of a mountain valley course. The ninth and 18th holes kiss the shores of a sparkling nine-acre lake.
The architectural duo of Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry teamed up to create the River Course, a fun par 71 with a front nine winding along the Snake River and a back nine that disappears into the forest. Twelve bunkers guard the scenic finishing hole, which overlooks Lake Dillon. Snow-capped peaks are your playing partners throughout the day.
Since families rule at Keystone, there are a handful of ways to get all ages playing golf. Both courses offer a Kids Swing Free program, inviting anyone 17 and younger to play for free after 5 p.m. with a paying adult. Families can also take advantage of Time for Nine rates as well as Starting New at Golf, an easy program that begins at just $5 per round, including equipment.
Guests lodging with Keystone are welcomed with nine holes of free golf on the afternoon of arrival, a terrific bonus for couples with already affordable lodging and stay-and-play package rates.
Keystone Resort: The resort
Keystone features two main villages as base camps, River Run and Lakeside Village. River Run is the main resort area filled with shops and restaurants where guests can take a scenic lift ride up the mountain and hike or bike the nearby trails. Visitors can try water sports such as renting kayaks and stand-up paddleboards on the five-acre lake at Lakeside Village.
There are traditional hotel rooms on property, but the majority of the accommodations are condos with full kitchens and multiple bedrooms. Families or foursomes can spread out and enjoy the privacy in these units. Plus, any length of stay includes free nine holes of golf and free scenic lift tickets for any child ages 12 and under.
The resort's schedule is always packed with entertainment. An Ultimate Family Adventure package can lead to whitewater rafting, horseback riding through the White River National Forest and even a spa treatment to unwind. Kidtopia activities such as kite building, family dodge ball, nature hikes and more are free every day of the week all summer long.
And while Keystone offers the ultimate destination for kids and families, that doesnï¿½t mean the dining scene is all hot dogs and chicken fingers. The resort is home to several top-rated restaurants including unique mountaintop experiences and cuisine, as well as historic establishments that offer western charm and innovative culinary creations. On the mountain, try the over-the-top, decadent Big Mountain Bloody Mary at the Overlook Grill or dining experiences at the Alpenglow Stube and Der Fondue Chessel. Down in the base villages, donï¿½t miss the Ski Tip Lodge, Keystone Ranch and Bighorn Bistro.
Summer is the season of festivals, and at Keystone this includes the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour and the Wine and Jazz Festical to kick off the first half of summer, and still to come is Keystone's new River Run Village Art Festival (July 30-31); the 20th annual Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival (Aug. 6-7); Mountain Town Music Festival (Aug. 20); and Keystone Oktoberfest (Sept. 3) and Taste of Keystone (Sept. 4) to keep the place hopping into the fall.
If you're feeling guilty about how much eating and drinking you do on vacation, work up a heart rate with mountaintop yoga, downhill mountain biking, guided hikes, playing tennis or using the fitness center. Keystone aims to please, whatever you fancy.