Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

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imyeti2
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Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by imyeti2 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:32 pm

Hello,

We're planning a trip (7-10 days) to Colorado at the end of June. Kids 11,7. Would like to get thoughts on what we can do as a family and where would be the best place to stay?

DW and I have been there about 15 years ago and we stayed in Boulder. Not sure whether Boulder is a good option with kids. I was thinking about staying at one of the ski resorts - Keystone, Copper Mountain, Vail etc. However, it is very far from Denver.
If we decide to stay in Denver, what neighborhoods should be good? We'll stay using VRBO or Airbnb.

What activities and place would be family friendly where the kids can enjoy?

Appreciate any input. Thanks.
Last edited by imyeti2 on Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Flobes
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Re: Colorado Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Flobes » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:35 pm

When?

imyeti2
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by imyeti2 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:37 pm

Updated original post to end of June.

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prudent
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by prudent » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:44 pm

Are you willing to move around or do you want to stay in one place the entire time?

imyeti2
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by imyeti2 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:51 pm

We plan on renting a car. So quite mobile.

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Lemonaid56
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Lemonaid56 » Mon Mar 05, 2018 4:55 pm

We were just there in September.
Denver was ok. Just another big city. A day there will acclimate you slowly to the low oxygen levels.
We stayed a week in Granby and then a week in Breckenridge.
Granby has a more country like feel and seemed more down to earth. There are horse riding tours and just tons of hiking and mountain biking trails. Tons. At some point we felt like we had to get outside and hike or it would look un-natural! I likes the whole Granby area. Not far a drive to some old mines you can tour or gold pan. There were also ATV riding tours or jeep. All close by. Very close to the Rocky mountain national forest. You can see elk, bear, moose and sheep and tons of other wildlife. There are some great lakes nearby for fishing or boating or swimming.
Breckenridge is a high cost mountain town. I liked it for a change, and it is central to some good mines and museums. Plenty to do in town as its quite touristy. Its not far to drive to some other really great towns for exploring from there.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by livesoft » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:04 pm

Start in Durango. Take the train to Silverton. From there, ride your bikes to Mesa Verde National Park. Ride back into Durango.

Then hike the Colorado Trail all the way to the eastern terminus at the Waterton Canyon by Denver.

Then drive up north to the Poudre River and go upstream as far as you have time for. Do some hiking, fishing, camping until you are ready to raft down the Poudre River, then its drive back to Denver and fly away.
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by buckstar » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:09 pm

If you want to hike, I would recommend at least a little time in Estes Park, not far from Denver and the entry to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Stanley Hotel is a classic.

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TxAg
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by TxAg » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:26 pm

buckstar wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:09 pm
If you want to hike, I would recommend at least a little time in Estes Park, not far from Denver and the entry to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Stanley Hotel is a classic.
Rocky Mtn Ntl Park is a beautiful place. Estes Park is a cool little town. It can get a bit crowded, but I'd jump at the chance to go back.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by alfaspider » Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:36 pm

I would stay out of the front range area for the most part. It's crowded and much less pretty than the Western Slope. No reason to spend any time in Denver other than the airport (which isn't great, but flights to other parts of Colorado are expensive). However, Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely worth seeing.

The summit county ski resort areas are OK, but also a bit crowded and less scenic than other parts of the state.

Sugestions for a 7-10 day trip:

Day 1: Fly in & acclimate. Boulder would be a nice place to stay. Perhaps a short hike around the flatirons.
Day 2: Drive to RMNP (~1 hr)
Day 3: Explore the park, visit Estes Park if you or the kids need a break from outdoor activities
Day 4: Drive to Grand Junction (~3 hrs) and visit Colorado National Monument (if you like desert scenery)
Day 5: Drive to Ouray area (~1.5 hr)- see the falls, take a Jeep Tour. Relax in the hot springs.
Day 6: Do the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge railway round trip
Day 7: Drive to Summit county. Breckenridge ski area has a nice outdoor adventure park with downhill mountain biking, an alpine slide, and various other activities.
Day 8: Drive up Mt. Evans on the way back to Denver. Alternate: go by way of Colorado Springs and do the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. You'll want maximum acclimation before going up to one of these summits (over 14,000ft), but the views are spectacular.

focusedonwhatmatters
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by focusedonwhatmatters » Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:24 pm

I would recommend staying in or near Downtown Denver for a few days, going to museums, a Rockies, game, Elitch Gardens, the aquarium, theatre, etc. Then I would drive to one of the ski resorts, such as Keystone, that offer many different family-friendly opportunities at reasonable rates. You could check out Keystone Science School which offers great day camps, as well as overnight camps.

buckstar
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by buckstar » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:32 am

If you're going to stay in Downtown Denver, I would schedule a tour of the Denver mint.

Your kids would probably love one of the alpine slides as well, there are many throughout the are. Most of the ski areas will let you take mountain bikes up the gondolas and bike down. Loads of fun, but if you're not an experienced mountain biker, make sure you take the green slopes down :)

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by yukonjack » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:48 am

alfaspider wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:36 pm
I would stay out of the front range area for the most part. It's crowded and much less pretty than the Western Slope. No reason to spend any time in Denver other than the airport (which isn't great, but flights to other parts of Colorado are expensive). However, Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely worth seeing.

The summit county ski resort areas are OK, but also a bit crowded and less scenic than other parts of the state.

Sugestions for a 7-10 day trip:

Day 1: Fly in & acclimate. Boulder would be a nice place to stay. Perhaps a short hike around the flatirons.
Day 2: Drive to RMNP (~1 hr)
Day 3: Explore the park, visit Estes Park if you or the kids need a break from outdoor activities
Day 4: Drive to Grand Junction (~3 hrs) and visit Colorado National Monument (if you like desert scenery)
Day 5: Drive to Ouray area (~1.5 hr)- see the falls, take a Jeep Tour. Relax in the hot springs.
Day 6: Do the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge railway round trip
Day 7: Drive to Summit county. Breckenridge ski area has a nice outdoor adventure park with downhill mountain biking, an alpine slide, and various other activities.
Day 8: Drive up Mt. Evans on the way back to Denver. Alternate: go by way of Colorado Springs and do the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. You'll want maximum acclimation before going up to one of these summits (over 14,000ft), but the views are spectacular.
The above is a nice, comprehensive list of options. The only thing I would add is a possible stay at the Y camp in Estes Park. A wonderful place for kids and surprisingly enjoyable for adults. It does fill up quickly so if you are interested check on reservations early.

wilshuer
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by wilshuer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:59 am

Some good recommendations above, also if you search there was a thread last year with a lot of good comments as well.

For those ages of kids, you might look at Winter Park - alpine slide for the kids, easy to access from Denver. From there you can route up through RMNP and back through Boulder. Options for whitewater rafting if that's of interest. It's really up to your family preferences, outdoors and peaceful - like hiking, etc. Or more adventurous and active. Options for every preference.

Agree with a lot of the others, to really see CO need to get out of Denver/Front Range.

chevca
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by chevca » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:09 am

I haven't lived in CO since 2010, but I'm guessing most things are the same. I always loved the Colorado Springs area. There's lots of family things to do down that way... Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, 7 falls (I think that's the name), Garden of the Gods, Air Force Academy, and more. The Grand Junction area is really cool too. Maybe it's because I lived and worked there, but outside of Eilich's or a Rockies game, I don't see Denver as much of a family spot. I guess it all depends on what a family likes to do though. I like to get away from things rather than be near crowds and busy areas.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Shallowpockets » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:20 am

Above itinerary is crazy. Too much driving, too short a stay each place.
I live in Lakewood, CO to qualify that statement.
I would not bother to stay in Denver unless it is due to flight arrivals and departures.
June is very long days. Depending on when you fly in, you should drive straight away to Summit country (Frisco, Breckenridge). You can easily get info there on trail hikes with length and difficulty so you know. That is your heart of things Colorado. Sure, there are tourists. So what, they are all over.
Don't worry about acclimation to altitude. Unless you have limiting health factors you will be fine. If not, worse would probably be headache or nausea. Stay there at least 3 nights, as that is really only two full days. Maybe even four nights. Or five. From there you can easily do some hikes of all lengths. They have all sorts of tourist activities out of that area. You can do a one day raft trip. You can rent and ride bikes all around or partway Lake Dillon. You can do an excursion to Leadville in your own car. You can do a different hike every day if you want. From rather flat to up over 12,000 feet.
After that you could go to Grand Lake area. More trails, mountains. After which you return by going back over Trail Ridge road to Eates Park. This is a drive and views. Take your time. Maybe a night there. Then home. Estes Park is a zoo and very crowded traffic in summer.
If you have never been to Colorado or seen mountains, that is all you need. Maybe you can refine the places and the different mountains and the towns, but not necessary. No need to do all the excessive planning some may advocate.
People often tend to try and do too much in their travel time, and people who advise tend to send you way off somewhere. Like saying, while you are in Colorado you should go over to Utah and try this darling little bakery in Escalante.
Be realistic. Less places, less planning, more enjoyment. You only have so much time and you can never see everything, anywhere.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Horsefly » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:25 am

alfaspider wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:36 pm
I would stay out of the front range area for the most part. It's crowded and much less pretty than the Western Slope. No reason to spend any time in Denver other than the airport (which isn't great, but flights to other parts of Colorado are expensive). However, Rocky Mountain National Park is absolutely worth seeing.

The summit county ski resort areas are OK, but also a bit crowded and less scenic than other parts of the state.

Sugestions for a 7-10 day trip:

Day 1: Fly in & acclimate. Boulder would be a nice place to stay. Perhaps a short hike around the flatirons.
Day 2: Drive to RMNP (~1 hr)
Day 3: Explore the park, visit Estes Park if you or the kids need a break from outdoor activities
Day 4: Drive to Grand Junction (~3 hrs) and visit Colorado National Monument (if you like desert scenery)
Day 5: Drive to Ouray area (~1.5 hr)- see the falls, take a Jeep Tour. Relax in the hot springs.
Day 6: Do the Durango to Silverton narrow gauge railway round trip
Day 7: Drive to Summit county. Breckenridge ski area has a nice outdoor adventure park with downhill mountain biking, an alpine slide, and various other activities.
Day 8: Drive up Mt. Evans on the way back to Denver. Alternate: go by way of Colorado Springs and do the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. You'll want maximum acclimation before going up to one of these summits (over 14,000ft), but the views are spectacular.
This is pretty close to what I would say. I grew up on the western slope (not far from Ouray), and now live in Denver. What I would add is a twist on days 2-4 and Rocky Mountain National Park. If you start in Denver / Boulder, it is a relatively short drive up to Estes Park. Then take a day to dive all the way through RMNP on Trail Ridge Road, the highest contiguous paved road in the world. It's spectacular scenery, and gets you well over 12,000 ft elevation. You come out on the other side near Granby / Grand Lake, which someone else mentioned. Then drive south past the ski resort at Winter Park, which has things to do in the summer too, like a warm-weather bobsled down the mountain. As you continue south you will soon get to I-70, which would take you west near the other ski areas like Vail, Keystone, Copper Mountain, etc. I'm not sure I would go all the way to Grand Junction, as it is more like seeing the desert landscapes of Utah, which are great, but not what you come to Colorado for. Just my opinion.

Steve

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by sixtyforty » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:33 am

I would definitely include Estes Park, RMNP and a ride up Trail Ridge road for sure. Just understand that summer is a very busy time in Colorado.
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by open_circuit » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:40 am

You might enjoy Georgetown and the railroad for something a little different. It would be on the loop from RMNP -> 70 -> Denver.

https://www.georgetownlooprr.com/

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by alfaspider » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:49 am

Shallowpockets wrote:
Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:20 am
Above itinerary is crazy. Too much driving, too short a stay each place.
I live in Lakewood, CO to qualify that statement.

Don't worry about acclimation to altitude. Unless you have limiting health factors you will be fine. If not, worse would probably be headache or nausea.
I lived in Colorado for several years and still have family in Grand Junction and around the front range.

The amount of places to visit is very much a personal preference thing. My family has always enjoyed seeing a lot of places when we travel, and none of the driving in my itinerary eats up more than half a day. Plus, I really like driving in the Colorado mountains (as long as it isn't snowing). If you like to stay in one place, I would just skip the front range and go straight to the Ouray area- flying into Grand Junction would significantly cut down on the drive, though flights there tend to be fairly pricey.

As for acclimation, I wouldn't be so cavalier. Altitude sickness can be very independent of your physical shape. Some people are more prone to it than others. Despite being in excellent physical shape, I get altitude sick every single time if I go straight from my home at sea level to Summit County in the same day. It's not a serious condition, but being nauseous and lethargic for the first 48 hours of your vacation is not much fun.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by metrunt » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:28 am

I agree with the less driving vs more driving view, especially with kids. I live in a neighboring state with 3 under 12. We've done a few trips around Colorado. Some quick picks, though they're not all near each other...

The Jellystone outside of Estes Park plus horseback riding nearby
Alpine slide at Winter Park

Hooper Pools and Great Sand Dune national park
Silverton/ Durango train. Downtown Durango.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by mhc » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:37 am

I live in Colorado and have done many vacations in Colorado. I have kids of similar ages. Here are my recommendations.

1. RMNP stay in Estes. You could stay here quite a while if you like to hike.
2. Glenwood Springs. The hot springs pool and adventure park are great. You can also do many cool day trips from here. Aspen, Maroon Bells, Independence Pass, Redstone Castle, Marble.
3. Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Mesa Verde are amazing. Bit further from Denver.
4. Colorado Springs has so much to do. Air Force Academy, Olympic training center, Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak, North Pole, Flouriscent Natl Mon.
5. Denver if you like city stuff. Museum of Science and Nature, Molly Brown House, Capitol, Mint, Casa Bonita, Water World, ...

To see all of Colorado would take months.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by samsoes » Tue Mar 06, 2018 11:39 am

Go white water rafting through the Royal Gorge. There are plenty of outfitters in Canon City to choose from. I had great experiences with Raft Masters.
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by imyeti2 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:50 pm

Thank you for all the great suggestions. Yes, when I mapped out the different locations, we could end up driving a lot. As someone suggested, there is a lot one can do in Colorado - perhaps we can always come back and visit a different area of the state.

I'm thinking we'll stay only at a couple of places and take day trips.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:16 pm

Telluride, Ouray, Silverton, Durango(Million Dollar highway), Mesa Verde Anasazi cliff dwelling archaeological site, Black Canyon in Montrose, Glennwood Springs. Lots to do on the Western Slope and less crowded.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by maddogio » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:17 pm

I think that with kids you should pick one mountain range and stay in it. Go to Estes Park, or Steamboat, or Durango, or Ouray and stay there for at least a few days. If you do drive to another location, make it substantially different. Really interesting combinations include:

San Juans (Durango/Ouray/Silverton/Telluride) and Southern Utah (Bryce and Zion)
Rio Grand National Forrest (Creede/South Fork/Pagosa Springs) and Great Sand dunes/Taos

The nice thing about ski resorts is that they'll have kid friendly activities in the summer. But so will all of the major tourist destinations. In June, everything west of Denver will be a tourist destination.

I'm less a fan of RMNP than most, but I really like the desert. I live in Grand Junction, and think it's a great homebase for a desert trip, but I'm not sure that's what you're looking for.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by KNMLHD » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:59 am

Although it's a bit long for little ones, there is a nice, paved bike path from Glenwood Springs to Aspen... you could jump on much closer. Maroon Bells, although likely very busy (get there early) is very pretty.

In June, there should be plenty of rafting options if that's something to consider all throughout the state.

If you do find your way in Aspen, suggest taking Independence Pass over to Leadville, and then you could scoot up north towards Copper/Breck area.

While I am partial to Telluride/San Juan Mountains... that is a bit of a drive with some young ones from Denver. Incredibly beautiful.

If staying in Boulder, there are several hotels nearing completion/coming online shortly (Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Residence Inn)...
For something "different"... check out Gold Hill Inn for dinner, or there are always one of the "institutions" like "The Sink" in Boulder (college pizza joint). Boulder has several National Labs that have tours which may be interesting for kids (NCAR and NOAA)... You could start a hike at Chautauqua Park, Hike to NCAR, catch a tour (daily weekdays at noon) and hike back.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by StealthRabbit » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:09 pm

Estes Park / RMNP / front range for 4 days (I grew up / 30 yrs in in Estes)
Western slope 4+ days... / Glenwood, (hot springs) maroon Belles, Independence Pass,

We really enjoyed a stay at Wauna Hot Springs guest ranch (Montrose / gunnison)

Personally, I would delay Durango (long drive) until a yr you do the Utah National Parks. / Moab.

I never do Denver / city (in summer) too many great rural outdoors things to experience.
Denver (if you must) is good for National a Western Stock show, and snowy days at museums.

Colorado Springs has a few nice places your kids might enjoy. Olympic Training, USAFA, Garden of Gods...

For family... minimize the drive time, and have adequate variety of sites,/ terrain + long nights in the hot springs!

Nothing quite like waking up to sunrise in the Rockies. Capture that moment with your family. (my favorite mtn sunrise spot is Jenny Lake in Tetons.)... yet another trip! Your time in RMNP / tourist areas is best spent in early mornings and early evenings. More wildlife, less traffic. :D

Have a blast!
I am always in Colorado on Father’s Day.(June) .. for one of my favorite free annual events.
Aug, Nov, Valentine’s Day and as many other days as possible.
Plenty to do.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by pejp » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:27 pm

I live in Denver, in a neighborhood called 'Wash Park'. If you're staying in Denver at all, I'd highly recommend it around here. Denver is a fantastic place to live, great quality of life etc but I wouldn't bother scheduling much time here unless you're just using it as a base. It's not like NYC or SF where you can walk around and keep yourself entertained for days. If you want to check out downtown, highlands, ball park, you won't need more than a day. Denver has an awesome food and beer scene, but in terms of tourist stuff with kids, there isn't really much worth doing when you could be out in the mountains.

I have no idea why anyone would suggest you go to Colorado Springs.

Breckenridge and Aspen are great. Telluride/Ouray are really cool, but it's a pretty big drive from Denver, so make sure you're there for a while.

I don't think there is really much to add to what has already been said. I feel like you can drive pretty much anywhere here and be blown away by how awesome it is.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by chevca » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:37 pm

pejp wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:27 pm
I have no idea why anyone would suggest you go to Colorado Springs.
The area, not the city. There's plenty for a family to do down that way!

MP173
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by MP173 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:44 pm

Check out the YMCA of the Rockies. There are two locations and we (wife and I) stayed there a couple of summers ago for 2 nights. We had a small cabin with stove and refrigerator and a porch with stunning views! Cost was very reasonable and lots of things for children (of all ages) to do. It is adjacent to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the hiking is incredible.

Plenty of other people with great suggestions, but consider the YMCA.

Ed

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by pejp » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:47 pm

chevca wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:37 pm
pejp wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:27 pm
I have no idea why anyone would suggest you go to Colorado Springs.
The area, not the city. There's plenty for a family to do down that way!
ah, sorry, misunderstood.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by imyeti2 » Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:54 pm

Thanks for all the great responses.

We've decided to stay a few days in Estes Park and mostly in Keystone/Breck area. Cover RMNP with Estes Park as the base; Summit County, Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs area keeping the Keystone/Breck area as the base. Maybe spend some time in Denver either when we fly in or when we leave.

Grand Junction / Durango / Silverton will be for another time - maybe along with trip to Utah etc.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by alec » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:35 pm

imyeti2 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:54 pm
Thanks for all the great responses.

We've decided to stay a few days in Estes Park and mostly in Keystone/Breck area. Cover RMNP with Estes Park as the base; Summit County, Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs area keeping the Keystone/Breck area as the base. Maybe spend some time in Denver either when we fly in or when we leave.

Grand Junction / Durango / Silverton will be for another time - maybe along with trip to Utah etc.
Fam and I were there about 5-6 years ago (in July IIRC), and we're from the east coast. Estes Park was fantastic. Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods was meh, but up in the mountains was AWESOME. The oxygen bars in Breckenridge were fun.

Just beware of the heights if you drive over the mountains. I was NOT prepared for driving next to a sheer drop off with no guard rail.
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focusedonwhatmatters
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by focusedonwhatmatters » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:16 pm

imyeti2 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:54 pm
Thanks for all the great responses.

We've decided to stay a few days in Estes Park and mostly in Keystone/Breck area. Cover RMNP with Estes Park as the base; Summit County, Glenwood Springs and Colorado Springs area keeping the Keystone/Breck area as the base. Maybe spend some time in Denver either when we fly in or when we leave.
Estes Park and Summit County are good choices. Just a note that Summit County is not a jumping point for Colorado Springs. That drive is about 2.5 hours each way in no traffic, and not an "easy" drive as much of it mountain driving...

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by PoppyA » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:22 pm

Another vote for Mesa Verde. I’ve been to every state & Mesa Verde was my #1 favorite new adventure.
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by texasdiver » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:00 pm

MP173 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:44 pm
Check out the YMCA of the Rockies. There are two locations and we (wife and I) stayed there a couple of summers ago for 2 nights. We had a small cabin with stove and refrigerator and a porch with stunning views! Cost was very reasonable and lots of things for children (of all ages) to do. It is adjacent to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the hiking is incredible.

Plenty of other people with great suggestions, but consider the YMCA.

Ed
This.

For your age kids this is a fabulous place.

https://ymcarockies.org/

My wife and I stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park a few years ago when she attended a medical conference there. Don't imagine it is anything like a normal YMCA. It is a big historic lodge just outside Estes Park at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. They have family style hotel accommodations with bunks for the kiddos. And cafeteria style dining with pretty decent food that is very kid friendly. Then they have all manner of camp activities from horseback riding (including all day rides up into the mountains) indoor and outdoor pools, the best craft center you have ever seen, fishing, mountain biking, hay rides, camp fires, all manner of organized family adventures you can sign up for and do with your kids. It's basically like going to summer camp with your kids.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:22 pm

Being a Colorado resident, here are my opinions:
Good to great places for families
Glenwood Springs
Salida/Buena Vista
Telluride
Aspen
Vail/Beaver Creek
Durango/Mesa Verde

All of these offer many family options from horseback riding, 4WD excursions, hiking, rafting, biking, amusements, history, caves, fun downtowns, clean and not as “touristy”as other places.

Places to avoid, not to offend, but my personal opinion
Grand Lake
Breckenridge/Summit County
Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs
Winter Park
Leadville
Pueblo
Idaho Springs
Black Hawk, Central City, Cripple Creek

Feel free to ask any questions. 25+ year lover of Colorado.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Nestegg_User » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:37 pm

{some of the itineraries above are WAY too much travel- - things like mesa verde or even Colorado National Monument (just shy of Utah border) requires a long trip)}

I would suggest a more modest itinerary :

one day in Rocky Mountain Park/Estes Park
- - take 34 to the Old Falls River Road (it’s a one way) that ends at the Alpine Visitor Center , then back to Boulder
(you can enjoy the touristy sites there in Estes Park)
{alternatively, you could continue on 34 to Grand Lake/Granby then off to Silverthorn/Dillon via Winter Park- - if not heading back to Boulder, but it will take the rest of the day to get there}

go to Dillon/Silverthorn via I-70. it’s cheaper than Breckenridge and has plenty of availability. Breck is a short drive down 9 to get there. Enjoy a couple of days in the area including Breckenridge {Erics is a good pizza place on main; Broken Compass Brewing is a good (but funky) place on the north side} plenty of places to go in the area- - you need at least two or three days in the area.

[for a great trip from Dillon: go west on 70 to Colorado 91 to Leadville then down 24 to Colorado 82 to Aspen (via Independence Pass) then to Glenwood Springs Stay there overnight and then go back to Dillon via I-70; the whole loop would be too long for one day. It’s a great scenic route— LOTS of tourists but plenty to see. **beware the speed trap at Twin Lakes on Colorado 82 ** before the pass :shock:] (and there’s a couple places on the pass that are JUST wide enough for ONE vehicle (no RV’s allowed) so drive carefully)

Then head back to the metro and see the local sites ( Red Rocks, 16th street mall, LoDo, etc)
Trying to do too much in one trip will make you hurried and then you might not enjoy it as much.

[on some other trip, try to do the Colorado National Monument, Moab/Arches, etc...]

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by autolycus » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:55 am

I think your plan looks good to me, so I'm really just throwing this into the thread for posterity sake:

It's well out of the way, but the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a vastly under-appreciated National Park. It is a really cool place, IMO. People who are considering a longer trip to Colorado, who are planning to spend time around the Western Slope, or who are passing between Colorado and states further west, it is worth a look.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by radiowave » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:00 am

MP173 wrote:
Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:44 pm
Check out the YMCA of the Rockies. There are two locations and we (wife and I) stayed there a couple of summers ago for 2 nights. We had a small cabin with stove and refrigerator and a porch with stunning views! Cost was very reasonable and lots of things for children (of all ages) to do. It is adjacent to the Rocky Mountain National Park and the hiking is incredible.

Plenty of other people with great suggestions, but consider the YMCA.

Ed
+1 was just going to recommend the Y as well in Estes Park. Great place for kids, plenty to do, nestled on the east side of RMNP, about a 15 min drive to the park entrance, about the same into town the other way. BTW, there is a cool restaurant just a few minutes from the Y called Dunravens, and has hundreds of dollar bills attached like wallpaper to the ceiling and walls of the restaurant, something the kids might enjoy and the food is pretty good as well. If you are flying into DIA, the drive to Estes Park is pretty straightforward, take the 470 to I25 north then 66 west through Lyons into Estes about and hour and a half.
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by MnyGrl » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:03 am

buckstar wrote:
Mon Mar 05, 2018 5:09 pm
If you want to hike, I would recommend at least a little time in Estes Park, not far from Denver and the entry to Rocky Mountain National Park. The Stanley Hotel is a classic.
+1. Estes Park is beautiful! Lots of houses to rent with amazing views.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by RudyS » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm

Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:08 pm

RudyS wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.
Did it a few years ago. One of kind experience, but you can still drive or hike to the top.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by RudyS » Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:42 pm

Iliketoridemybike wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:08 pm
RudyS wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.
Did it a few years ago. One of kind experience, but you can still drive or hike to the top.
We can't make that hike at that altitude, and I prefer not to make that drive. But DW and I are still interested; I'll look into other transportation modes. I think someone will step in to fill that need.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by radiowave » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:13 pm

RudyS wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:42 pm
Iliketoridemybike wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:08 pm
RudyS wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.
Did it a few years ago. One of kind experience, but you can still drive or hike to the top.
We can't make that hike at that altitude, and I prefer not to make that drive. But DW and I are still interested; I'll look into other transportation modes. I think someone will step in to fill that need.
If you do Estes Park/Rocky Mtn National Park, you can drive up Trail Ridge Rd to 11K ft, easy hikes from the parking lot. Ride up is not too bad, views are better than Pike's Peak. Just be careful in the summer with lightning storms.
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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:24 pm

autolycus wrote:
Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:55 am
I think your plan looks good to me, so I'm really just throwing this into the thread for posterity sake:

It's well out of the way, but the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is a vastly under-appreciated National Park. It is a really cool place, IMO. People who are considering a longer trip to Colorado, who are planning to spend time around the Western Slope, or who are passing between Colorado and states further west, it is worth a look.
+1 One of the newest National Parks. It's pretty spectacular

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by open_circuit » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:27 pm

RudyS wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.
That's pretty disappointing. We enjoyed the cog railway with our kids several years ago.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Fri Mar 16, 2018 7:31 am

RudyS wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:42 pm
Iliketoridemybike wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:08 pm
RudyS wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.
Did it a few years ago. One of kind experience, but you can still drive or hike to the top.
We can't make that hike at that altitude, and I prefer not to make that drive. But DW and I are still interested; I'll look into other transportation modes. I think someone will step in to fill that need.
It will be a long time for a replacement. The infrastructure is apparently at the end of its useful life so much needs to be done if or when it ever reopens. Could be an end of an era, sadly.

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Re: Colorado Summer Vacation - what to see and where to stay

Post by RudyS » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:55 am

radiowave wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:13 pm
RudyS wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:42 pm
Iliketoridemybike wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:08 pm
RudyS wrote:
Wed Mar 14, 2018 9:00 pm
Just saw on their web site that the Pikes Peak cog railway will NOT reopen for 2018 and maybe beyond. So no need to consider that. This is brand new info. They say the infrastructure and equipment have run their course. There was only one mention in all the above posts, so I guess I'm not sad.
Did it a few years ago. One of kind experience, but you can still drive or hike to the top.
We can't make that hike at that altitude, and I prefer not to make that drive. But DW and I are still interested; I'll look into other transportation modes. I think someone will step in to fill that need.
If you do Estes Park/Rocky Mtn National Park, you can drive up Trail Ridge Rd to 11K ft, easy hikes from the parking lot. Ride up is not too bad, views are better than Pike's Peak. Just be careful in the summer with lightning storms.
Sounds like great alternative, will definitely consider that. Thanks!

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