Dillon and Frisco marinas prepare for summer on a classic Colorado Rocky Mountain waterfront, the Dillon Reservoir

The ice on the Dillon Reservoir just melted earlier this month, but marinas along the Summit County waterfront, nestled at 9,000 feet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, are already preparing to open.

Both the Dillon Marina and Frisco Bay Marina will open for Memorial Day weekend, marking an unofficial start to summer — or at least the midway point of mud season — for one of the county’s popular warm-weather vacation destinations.

“It’s amazing,” Dillon marketing and communications manager Suzanne Phillipson said. “We always see the mountains from the road, and being out on the water gives such a different perspective.

Visitors and longtime locals are always impressed by the mountain views from the reservoir, Phillipson said, noting that she has known people who have lived in the county for more than 15 years that are still dazzled by the vistas visible from the water. 

People recreating on the lake can explore areas like the Snake River and Blue River from the reservoir, Phillipson said, and even make a day out of it by taking a boat from Dillon over to Frisco — or vice versa.

Last fall, the Dillon Marina completed an expansion of the town’s rental docks, meaning more rental boats will be available for customers this summer, Phillipson said. With that expansion, fuel storage was moved to a separate dock, freeing up space for rental guests’ coolers full of beers and snacks, she said.

“It was definitely in need of some love, so we’re really happy to have an expanded area for customers to come down and rent boats,” she said.

Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive
The sun fades over the Dillon Marina and surrounding condominiums on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

With the Dillon Marina opening Saturday, May 27, rental boats are already available to book online, Phillipson noted. As the summer moves on, residents and visitors should explore all the marina has to offer, she said, including pontoon boat, kayak and paddle board rentals, sailing lessons, historic boat tours and more.

Meanwhile, across the reservoir, the Frisco Bay Marina is also preparing to open for Memorial Day weekend on Friday, May 26. With a full staff ready for a jam-packed summer, marina general manager Logan Snyder said the Frisco Marina will offer expanded hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the season.

“The overall energy is fantastic,” Snyder said of the team he’s been working to train before opening day. “The folks that have been here year after year, they’re very passionate about the marina. But it’s also exciting to see folks who have never been to Colorado or a high-Alpine environment.”

Ryan Spencer/Summit Daily News
A construction vehicle is parked on a plot of dirt at the Frisco Bay Marina on Monday, May 15, 2023. The area is expected to become a new park along the waterfront this summer.
Ryan Spencer/Summit Daily News

New this year at the Frisco Marina, a park built of dirt dredged up in the town’s Big Dig project at the marina in 2019 is expected to open around the 4th of July just east of the Island Grill and Lund House, Snyder said. The new space will offer more room for families and guests to picnic near the waterfront as well as for potential live music and events, he said.

Like the Dillon Marina, the Frisco Bay Marina offers kayak, paddleboard and power boat rentals, sailing lessons and tours. The Memorial Day opening will offer limited rentals, but a season grand opening “Rock the Dock” event is planned for June 3 with live music from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Snyder said. 

A water taxi is also available for those hoping to get out on the water without renting their own boat this summer, Snyder noted. A public boat ramp as well as retail and food services such as the Island Grill are also located at the marina.

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