Just Say No to the Theme Park: The Dillon Marina Is Where It Gets Real
It’s no secret that the Dillon Marina is the epicenter of Dillon and the stepping-off point for some of Summit County’s/Colorado’s finest things to do. As North America’s highest deepwater marina at 9,017 feet and boasting some of the best views on the planet, it’s an entirely exceptional place to launch your adventures.
Wondering what to do? True, sitting at Marina Park with a Frisbee and a picnic lunch (which you may want to grab at the Friday Farmers Market in downtown Dillon) and doing almost nothing can lead to a perfect afternoon. But if you’re looking for more adventure, here’s a starter menu. Pair your selections depending on your mood and mix of comrades.
Wine & Water for The Ladies
Let’s face it, ladies — you need your getaway time with the girlfriends. And knowing this well, the good folks at the Dillon Marina, provide the third-Wednesday Women & Wine on the Water series.
Running June through September from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month, it goes like this: Large, comfortable pontoon heads out across Lake Dillon, complete with you, your friends, top-notch appetizers, big mountain views and perhaps the edge of a sunset. Yeah, it’s tough out there.
You are in charge of bringing the wine, and each month a different international wine region inspires the menu. They’ll let you know in advance what the month’s chosen wine region is.
It’s a good time to catch up on things, laugh hard and accumulate some new stories. Sorry, guys, it’s girlfriend stuff.
Cost: $45. Reservations: 970-468-5100. Bring a jacket!
History Below the Waves
If you’ve spent half a minute in Dillon, chances are you’ve heard at least eight accounts of the town that sits at the bottom of Lake Dillon.
It’s kinda-sorta true that there’s a town down there, but the reality is that the Town of Dillon has been moved three times in its history, the final time to accommodate the Dillon Reservoir, which was completed in 1963. Many of the buildings were demolished, and some, such as the Arapahoe Café and Community Church (now the Dillon History Museum), were moved to the new town or other nearby locations. As far as we know, there is no Old West Village standing at the bottom of the lake. Oh, snap!
But there is so much more to the history of this place, and this is why you should take the popular Explore Lake Dillon pontoon tour. It runs Tuesdays and Thursdays June 14 through Aug. 30 from 9 to 10:30 a.m., weather permitting. A knowledgeable person from the Summit Historical Society will be there to set the record straight for you, and you’re almost guaranteed to learn some new things about the very lively and charming history of Dillon.
Cost: $30 for adults, $15 for kids, minimum age 7. Reservations required: 970-468-5100. Tours fill fast, so book early. Plan to be at the Marina 15 minutes early.
The Fish Await
Fishing Lake Dillon, with its 26 miles of shoreline and up-front views of the Gore and Tenmile ranges, is a balance of Zen serenity and “Hokey smokes, Bob! I’ve hooked a large and fierce lunker!”
Lake Dillon is well-stocked and is known for kokanee salmon and rainbow and brown trout, many of which grow to bragging-rights size. The big question is where these elusive creatures dwell, specifically — and, if you’re a novice or never-ever angler, how to entice them onto your line.
Whether you’re looking for a family-fun boat charter or something for the experienced angler, consider hiring a local guide to show you how to fish Lake Dillon. Trips depart several times a day from Dillon Marina, and yes, you’ll want reservations: 970-389-1720.
Sit, Eat, Drink
There’s a certain sadness in Summit County every fall when Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar closes for the season. When it opens in May, summer is hereby declared, or at least is on the radar.
Most anyone who has lived here has spent at least a few hours at the outdoor, dockside eatery-drinkery, where burgers and casual pub fare meet big views and rarefied air. The craft beers and tropical libations don’t hurt, either.
Sunset magazine has rated the bar’s deck the fifth best in the Western U.S., and the Denver Post has followed suit, placing the bar among the top five beach bars in Colorado. Bonus: It’s accessible from Frisco via the Lake Dillon Water Taxi.
As difficult as it may be to extract yourself from the waterfront after your boating/biking/hiking adventure, the Tiki Bar is here to help you transition back to your version of reality. Open daily 11:30 a.m. to sunset, weather permitting.
Let’s Learn Something New!
Almost any time you visit Lake Dillon’s waterfront, you’ll see anywhere from a handful of sailboats to a real, full-fledged regatta on the waters. (Note: The Dillon Open Regatta is slated for Aug. 5-7 this year.)
And it might occur to you that you want to know how all this works, this magic of wind and water. Maybe you want a sailing tour, a private or group lesson or a team-building outing.
Check out Lake Dillon Sailing School. The name implies what they do, and they’re right handy at the Dillon Marina. For more info, call 970-468-5100.
If you want to try something powered more by yourself than by the wind, paddleboarding is getting big here. Sign on for a morning lesson with Stand Up Paddle Colorado at 970-453-7873. Kayaks are available, too.
And Yes, There’s a Boat Just for You
Dillon Marina has 18-foot runabouts, 22- and 25-foot pontoons, and 22-foot Catalina Sport sailboats to assist you in having fun. If you plan to sail, you’ll need sailing certification or the ability to pass a verbal sailing quiz. Note/hint: Boat captains are available for hire.
Most importantly, grills are available for your 22-foot pontoon, standard on the 25-footers.
To reserve a boat, call 970-468-5100.