Last updated on October 31, 2022 by Wandering our World
Whether you’re planning a winter ski trip to hit the slopes or a summertime family getaway, both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge are fantastic choices. However whilst there are many similarities between these Colorado ski destinations, the reality is, there are significant differences between them too.
For example, Beaver Creek has a more upscale vibe and is potentially better for families, while Breckenridge is great for groups and arguably better suited for advanced skiers.
However’s that’s only scratching the surface! Luckily we know both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge like the back of our hand, so right here we show you what’s similar – and different – about these two destinations.
We’ll not only look at what the slopes have to offer, but also show you which one is more budget friendly, which is better for different ski and snowboarding levels, which has better nightlife, activities and more. All so you can make the right decision about which destination is perfect for you!
- A Quick Overview
- Comparing The Slopes In-Depth
- How Does The Entertainment & Nightlife Compare
- Which Is More Kid-Friendly
- When’s the Best Time to Visit
- What About Accommodation
- Which Is Cheaper & Average Costs
- Getting There
- Beaver Creek vs Breckenridge: Which Is Better
A Quick Overview Of Beaver Creek vs Breckenridge
As we show you below, when it comes to the slopes there’s not much separating Beaver Creek and Breckenridge.
But when it comes to the vibe and expenses, that’s a different matter!
Beaver Creek typically receives less visitors than Breckenridge. So it’s a little less crowded and a bit more quiet. However this destination is more upscale than Breckenridge too, which means it’s not as budget friendly – as we explain further down this article.
Breckenridge, on the other hand, is a bit more lively, cheaper, and has more entertainment and nightlife options. However that has also made it less exclusive and busier. But that energetic vibe does make it better suited for groups of friends. Whereas the more secluded and upmarket Beaver Creek may be better for couples, or families looking for a calmer environment.
Below we delve into these two destinations in depth, showing you all the similarities and differences that exist. By the end we’re sure you will know which one you want to visit.
Beaver Creek vs Breckenridge: The Slopes In-Depth
For visitors looking to ski in a winter wonderland, both places offer breathtaking mountain views and glistening slopes that are perfect for all experience levels.
You should keep in mind that March is peak ski season in Colorado as there is typically plenty of fresh powder at both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge then, but the temperature is still mild, making hitting the slopes an all the more enjoyable experience.
While both have fantastic slopes, there are differences between Beaver Creek and Breckenridge when it comes to the runs, elevation, difficulty level and more. As we show you below:
Number Of Ski Runs
If you’re heading to Beaver Creek then you’re going to have an unforgettable ski experience thanks to their 150 ski and snowboarding trails accessible by 27 ski lifts.
Breckenridge, on the other hand, is home to an impressive 187 ski and boarding trails covered in compact snow that can be easily accessed from any of the 35 ski lifts scattered throughout the area.
Although Breckenridge is the clear winner when it comes to quantity, the reality is you would have to spend weeks at either location if you were to try and hit every trail.
So what may sway you more on which destination to visit is the difficulty level of the runs and how many of each there are. That’s what we look at next.
Difficulty Level Of Trails
Although both locations offer trails for all experience levels, the number of trails for each level varies. So which destination is better for you may depend on how many runs exist for your experience.
1. Beginner Trail Options
Both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge are well known ski and snowboarding destinations that are popular among avid skiers. However novice skiers won’t have many options for beginner level trails at either location with just 17 beginner friendly trails at Beaver Creek and only 15 at Breckenridge.
So if you’re a beginner, Beaver Creek may be a marginally better choice than Breckenridge. It also has many intermediate runs as well, for those beginners who feel confident to try slightly harder slopes too.
2. Intermediate Trail Options
As mentioned above, Beaver Creek is well known for the many options it has in terms of intermediate level ski trails.
With over 43 such trails, Beaver Creek far outnumbers the 33 intermediate level trails that Breckenridge has.
3. Expert Trail Options
However for highly advanced skiers, Beaver Creek offers just 38 expert level trails compared to 52 advanced trails at Breckenridge.
Yet while it has less expert level trails to offer, Beaver Creek has gained popularity with advanced skiers after hosting the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships. It’s also home to the fantastic “Birds of Prey” World Cup downhill course, which is regarded as one of the most difficult downhill courses in the world.
For skiers looking for the longest trail, both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge offer similar trail lengths, although Beaver Creek’s is slightly shorter with the longest run being 2.75 miles compared to 3.5 miles for the longest run at Breckenridge.
Although Breckenridge has the longest non-stop ski trail, in our opinion both mountain areas offer breathtaking views, white powder snow, and an unbeatable skiing experience.
Total Elevation & Vertical Rise
For avid skiers, vertical rise is an important part of the skiing experience.
Thankfully skiers looking for a thrilling downhill course can be content at either ski town with a vertical rise of just over 3,340 feet at each location.
The Colorado mountains are a popular ski destination loved by many for their long ski season and abundant yearly snowfall. In fact it sometimes snows here every month of the year!
Snow season in Beaver Creek typically starts at the end of November and runs through to the end of March with an average snowfall of 325 inches.
In Breckenridge, the snow season actually lasts much longer with the first snowfall occurring in late October and continuing through the end of May.
So that may make Breckenridge the better option if you’re planning to hit the slopes outside of the peak season months.
How Does The Entertainment & Nightlife Compare?
As both destinations are popular, there’s no shortage of bars, restaurants and entertainment options in each.
That’s a good thing as we all know après–ski drinks are nearly as important as the slopes themselves!
Bars & Restaurants
Arguably one of the best parts about going on vacation is being able to eat out every night and enjoy a few drinks without feeling guilty about it!
For visitors looking for the largest variety of dining options, Breckenridge would be the clear choice as this popular ski town is home to 62 restaurants and bars compared to just 31 in Beaver Creek.
However, guests looking for a more upscale dining experience may want to consider quality over quantity when it comes to dining, as affluent Beaver Creek offers mostly fine dining options for visitors. Beaver Creek also boasts two restaurants conveniently located directly on the slopes – perfect for drinks straight off the mountain – whereas Breckenridge has none.
But for a drink with a difference check out the Breckenridge Distillery. Not only are their drinks award-winning, but this is also the highest distillery in the world – talk about unique!
In Beaver Creek, there’s a handful of attractions that are worth checking out like the movie theater, museum, and bobsled track.
However, we think Breckenridge is the clear winner when it comes to entertainment! With a variety of tours ranging from haunted ghost tours and scavenger hunts to gold mining sites and beer or distillery tours, there’s something for everyone in this bustling ski town.
Which Is More Kid-Friendly?
While both areas offer plenty of ski activities for the whole family including beginner slopes perfect for kids, we think Beaver Creek is the better option when it comes to bringing kids along to join in the fun.
Most resorts in the area feature daycare and beginner ski lessons for kids, but Beaver Creek Ski Resort also has a kids-only gondola, complimentary cookies offered at 3pm daily, an on-site candy store, sleigh rides, and more.
These features, combined with less crowds and plenty of beginner runs, makes Beaver Creek the more family friendly choice when it comes to these two Colorado ski destinations.
When’s The Best Time To Visit?
The ideal time to visit either Beaver Creek or Breckenridge is really dependent on what activities you are looking for.
While ski enthusiasts may have the best luck in the winter or early spring months when snow is abundant, other visitors may want to consider a summer getaway to avoid the crowds and enjoy hiking and rafting!
Best Time For Skiing & Snowboarding
For guests looking to hit the slopes during their stay, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge both have a ski season running from November through early April. During this time, visitors are guaranteed to experience plenty of fresh, high quality snow for skiing and boarding.
Best Time To Avoid Crowds
In general, April to May or October through December typically see the lowest number of visitors in the Rocky Mountain state.
Best Time For Hiking & Rafting
Since Colorado receives snow for about half the year, it would make sense that the best time for other outdoor activities aside from skiing and snowboarding would be the summer months!
And visitors looking for hiking or adrenaline-packed white water rafting opportunities can head to either Beaver Creek or Breckenridge during the height of the summer months to enjoy these outdoor activities.
What About Accommodation?
Both Breckenridge and Beaver Creek have plenty to offer when it comes to accommodation. Guests have their choice of chalets, vacation rentals, lodges, hotels, and more. So the reality is that finding the right accommodation for any budget is a breeze.
That said, one destination does tend to be more expensive than the other in almost all aspects:
Beaver Creek Accommodation
According to popular vacation rental site, VRBO, Beaver Creek is home to over 4,000 vacation rentals so visitors to this popular ski town have no shortage of options when it comes to finding accommodation. With everything from luxurious ski lodges to more budget-friendly options – and plenty of Airbnbs – you’re sure to find the place you need.
Budget wise, research compiled by one of the leading vacation budgeting websites has found that the average cost for accommodation for 2 people in a standard double-occupancy hotel room in Beaver Creek is around $325 per night. That’s nearly double the average price in Breckenridge!
That’s not a huge surprise as Beaver Creek is a more upmarket destination than Breckenridge. So depending on your budget, the price of accommodation at Beaver Creek may be a limiting factor when comes to choosing between Breckenridge or Beaver Creek.
However you do get your money’s worth, as when staying in a place like the five-star Park Hyatt (see photo and rates here) you’ll get ski-to-door access, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a restaurant and cafe, spa, hot tubs, a ski school, celebrity treatment and utter luxury!
In Breckenridge, visitors can have their pick of over 6,000 vacation homes on VRBO alone.
This city is also home to a couple of spectacular – and affordable luxury resorts – like The Lodge at Breckenridge which may just have the best views around (see photos and rates here), as well as The Ranahan which is a picturesque hotel complete with two swimming pools (see photos and rates here).
As we mentioned above, Breckenridge tends to be a much more budget friendly option than Beaver Creek with the average cost for accommodation for 2 people in a standard double-occupancy hotel in Breckenridge around $170 per night.
So when it comes to sticking to a budget, Breckenridge will likely be the better choice than Beaver Creek.
Which Is Cheaper & Average Costs
After reviewing the costs for travel and accommodation in both cities, the next item on our list is budgeting for daily activities at each ski town!
Let’s take a look at some of the hot ticket budget items travelers should consider before setting out on their Colorado vacation.
Daily Average Food Costs
Dining out while on vacation can often be one of the most expensive parts of a trip, with meals quickly adding up to hundreds of dollars a day.
Depending on the types of food and dining experience you’re looking for, the average cost for dining out in Beaver Creek is around $68 per day.
For budget-conscious travelers then, Breckenridge is again the cheaper option when it comes to food as the total for eating out in this city is about $20 cheaper at just $49 per day on average.
However, the reality is Beaver Creek offers more upscale dining experiences than Breckenridge. So if you’re looking to splurge on exceptional meals and one-of-a-kind food experiences, then Beaver Creek will likely be the better choice.
Car Rental Costs
According to well-known travel site, Kayak, the cost of renting a car in either Breckenridge or Beaver Creek is fairly comparable.
For Beaver Creek visitors, the average price for a standard sedan was $50 per day or $350 per week, whereas Breckenridge was $67 per day or $470 per week.
At just over $100 more for the week, Breckenridge is the more expensive option. However in Breckenridge, travelers can ditch the rental car and take advantage of the city’s FREE RIDE public transportation option as well as shuttle services provided by most resorts.
Daily Average Alcohol Costs
When comparing the daily average cost for alcohol between the two destinations, Breckenridge is the clear winner in this round yet again. However, you should also take into account the type of alcohol you enjoy.
While beer drinkers may find Breckenridge the best option with plenty of craft beer at reasonable prices, Beaver Creek may be better for wine or spirit enthusiasts as the options at this location include more top shelf beverages.
Daily Average Cost For Local Transport
We’ve already discussed rental car pricing for both locations, but for travelers without a car, both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge have great local transportation options like shuttles, rideshare services, taxis, and more.
However the average daily cost for public transportation in Beaver Creek is around $24, compared to just $15 per day in Breckenridge. There are also more free public transportation options in Breckenridge like the FREE RIDE option mention above.
Average Total Cost Per Day
When taking a look at things like transportation, accommodation, dining options, alcohol consumption, and more, we’ve found that the daily average price per person in Beaver Creek can come out to about $250-400 compared to just $160-200 for Breckenridge.
So again, it’s pretty clear that Breckenridge is the most budget-friendly destination.
Beaver Creek vs Breckenridge: Getting There
When visiting either Beaver Creek or Breckenridge, the cost of transportation largely depends on the starting destination.
Driving is almost certainly cheaper than flying if the road trip can be completed in a reasonable amount of time, but visitors flying into one of the two cities will arrive via Denver International Airport (DEN) before making their way to their final destination. Let’s take a look at some considerations before booking your flight.
Average Cost Of Flights To Colorado
The average cost of a flight to Colorado varies immensely based on the starting location of the flight. For flights coming from the West Coast, tickets can sometimes be booked for just under $100 roundtrip. But if you’re coming from the East Coast you will likely have to pay ticket prices closer to $300 for roundtrip tickets.
Cheapest Flight Options
When booking a ticket to Denver International airport, visitors should consider checking out low budget airlines like Frontier Airlines, based out of Colorado.
Although this airline may not provide all of the comfort and amenities found on other commercial airlines, their bare bones pricing is often worth the compromise.
Additionally, guests looking for the cheapest airline ticket should consider planning their trip for August as this is the cheapest month to visit the state. Although skiing at this time of year may be more challenging, visitors can still find some opportunities to hit the slopes at Breckenridge during the summer months.
Distance From Airport
Although visitors headed to either Beaver Creek or Breckenridge will arrive at the same airport, there is a slight difference in distance to each location after landing.
Getting to both cities will likely require renting a car and visitors should be prepared for a short road trip after leaving the airport. Located 120 miles from DEN, Beaver Creek is an approximately 2 hour and 20 minute drive. One the other hand, Breckenridge is only 90 miles or one and a half hours, making it the closer option.
Beaver Creek vs Breckenridge: Which Is Better?
For skiers and snowboarders looking for the perfect Colorado getaway, both Beaver Creek and Breckenridge offer gorgeous mountain views, unbeatable skiing opportunities, and plenty of activities for the whole family.
But if you’re looking for a more private, upscale vacation then Beaver Creek will be the better choice. It’s less busy and offers a secluded mountain top oasis that’s perfect for intimate couple getaways. However it’s also a far more expensive destination.
On the other hand, Breckenridge is cheaper, and offers a more lively ski town experience with plenty of entertainment and nightlife. That makes it the ideal vacation spot for a group of friends to enjoy a lively Colorado vacation.
No matter which location you choose, these Colorado ski towns are sure to provide an unforgettable experience.