Top 10 Family Vacation Ideas for Spring Break in Colorado 2014
posted by: Amber Johnson
Since my kids started school, education takes precedence over travel for most of the year. That’s why Spring Break is gold—what can beat an entire, unencumbered week to just play? We have taken full advantage over the years and travels have included a Disney Cruise and visiting family while we skied Park City Mountain Resort in Utah.
This will be our first Spring Break in Colorado and we aren’t complaining. Already my kids have a full roster of Denver adventures and a glorious few days in Steamboat Springs. With world-class destinations at our fingertips, why look anywhere else?
Late-season in Aspen means great deals, free concerts, action and a whole lot of fun! The 14th annual Bud Light Spring Jam March 14-23 will bring two weekends of competitions, downtown concerts and parties to Aspen/Snowmass. Festivities include the annual KickAspen Big Air, where skiers and snowboarders compete under the lights at the base of Aspen. A Terrain Park Boot Camp offers both adults and kids instruction on how to slide a box or hit a rail in a mini-park on Snowmass. Another great options is The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), which is a non-profit environmental science education organization that offers fantastic programs for children and adults. Also, get your kids ages 7-12 on the slopes for free when you purchase a 3-day lift ticket. Book by March 24, 2014 (for April): Valid March 8 – April 20, 2014.
Only a 1.5-hour drive from Denver, Breckenridge’s authentic mining town has everything: a world-class ski resort, the Blue River (a tributary of the raging Colorado River), an idyllic Main Street and plenty of activities for Spring Break. If you’re lucky, the 1-acre Ice Castles will still be open (weather-dependent) or try your hand at dog sledding or snowmobiling with Good Times Adventures. For hands-on science play, check out the Family Science Nights at the Mountain Top Children’s Museum on March 11, 22 and April 19. Every Sunday in March, Breckenridge Art Supply hosts a Kids arts and crafts hour at 11 a.m. or try the Third Thursdays pARTy at Ready Paint Fire Breck where families can paint keepsakes together and the studio fees are waived. Be sure to explore on the Foxy Loxy family ski and snowshoe trail and then warm up in the new day lodge at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. P.S. Free s’mores for kids!
If you’re looking for a quickie getaway, this is it. Just 70 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs feels like a world away. Feed the giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo or kids will love their Spring Break Camps: the Zoolympics (ages 5-7) and Junior Veterinarian program (ages 8-10).
Tour the Cave of the Winds‘ 500 million-year old world underground or if you want a real thrill, test your mettle on their Wind Walker Challenge Course, a three-story obstacle course balanced on the rim of a 600-foot drop into beautiful Williams Canyon. Connect with deity as you hike through the Garden of the Gods and if the weather is nice, be sure to dine on the gorgeous back patio of the Trading Post’s Balanced Rock Cafe. The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers their free 30 minute “Windows into History Tour” each Saturday including March 22 and 29. If you really want to spoil yourself stay at The Broadmoor, which offers plenty of activities such as Play’s six bowling lanes, billiards, and board games, and the spa and tennis complex’s enclosed swimming pool, as well as an array of outdoor adventures including horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, and more. Their Spring Break Package includes complimentary dining for kids 10 and under, discount tickets to the zoo, 15 percent discount off PLAY and a 30 percent discount on published suite rates.
Copper Mountain Resort
Not only is Mile High Mamas teaming up with popchips to send you to Copper for Spring Break (enter our ticket giveaway here), this mountain resort is just 75 miles west of Denver. With over 150 trails across 2,465 acres, we fell in love with Copper Mountain’s varied terrain but you don’t need to be a skier/rider to have fun over Spring Break. Woodward at Copper’s 19,400-square foot indoor playground offers intro and drop-in sessions or you can sign up for their Winter Camp on March 22-23 where you’ll spend half the day in The Woodward Barn on trampolines and in foam pits before taking it to the snow in Woodward’s terrain parks. If you prefer to be more grounded (on ice) skate on Copper’s West Lake in the heart of the Village Copper (free; skate rentals are $10) or get a rush on the Alpine Rush Zipline that soars 30 feet above West Lake. The Tubing Hill’s four banked turns and magic-carpet in East Village is the best kind of fun and if you have littles under 36” tall, they’ll love Critterland’s interactive snow-play area located adjacent to the Tubing Hill.
I’ve long touted Crested Butte as my favorite resort town in Colorado and their Spring Break does not disappoint. Beginning March 14 through closing day (April 6), kids 12 and under stay and ski free when staying at designated lodging properties. From Camp CB (the resort’s kids’ ski and ride school) to the Adventure Park that includes the Coke Zero Gravity BagJump, to a rock-climbing wall, miniature golf and bungee trampolines, there is plenty of fun. On Saturday, March 22, the fifth annual Ski Town Break Down is a spring celebration with live music and a festival village in the base area. If you want to dump errr drop the kids off, they’ll love Kid’s Night Out while Mom and Dad take on the town.
Since Keystone introduced their signature programming Kidtopia, kids rule at this Colorado resort. Offered all season long, this kid party on the slopes continues through Spring Break. Kids will love careening down slides, shimmying through tunnels and wandering through mazes in the Snowfort on top of Dercum Peak. Who wouldn’t love cookie hour at Dercum Square Ice Rink or the Kidtopia Scavenger Hunt and parade every Saturday at 4 p.m. For indoor fun, the new Kidtopia Headquarters houses a coloring corner, patrol play area and a Ready, Paint, Fire studio for kids and adults to paint pottery. Other exciting new Kidtopia activations include ‘In Search of Bigfoot Night Adventure Walk’ that entails a teacher taking families on a night walk through the trees to learn about the area, animals and of course bigfoot. If you want a break from all the Kidtopia, skate or play hockey on Keystone Lake, truly one of Colorado’s best. Stay two nights at a Keystone lodging property and kids 12 and under ski and ride free.
Royal Gorge Region
The Royal Gorge Region is an amalgam of family-friendly attractions, eateries and outdoor adventures near Cañon City, Colorado. Interest has been high to see the extent of the damage caused by the Royal Gorge Fire last June and spectators will get their first glimpse at the rebuilding process just in time for Spring Break beginning March 15. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park will offer guided tours on park vehicles through construction zones on the weekends. Climb aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a spectacularly journey through Royal Gorge. If you’re into heights, visit the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is America’s highest suspension bridge. If you have a T-Rex lover, they’ll love walking with the dinosaurs at the Garden Park Fossil Area, dubbed one of the greatest dinosaur graveyards in the world. Be sure to see the replica dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Depot Displaying and literally follow their tracks at the Skyline Drive Trackway Site. If you want to do an extreme tour, take a guided jeep adventure to see dinosaur fossils, historic mining towns to witness (but hopefully not experience) the amazing steep drop-off of the glorious Royal Gorge.
My family has been to Steamboat Springs numerous times during the summer and fall but we will be hitting their slopes for the first time over Spring Break. It wasn’t a tough decision to make. This western town is a winter playgorund that goes far beyond skiing and riding–from snowshoeing to sleigh ride dinners, hot springs, snow bike lessons, cross-country skiing at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, tubing at Howelsen Hill, horseback rides, snowmobling and shopping. On March 17 at 7:30 p.m., the Torchlight Parade & Fireworks is a spectacular on-snow parade down the mountain lit only by torches.In conjunction with the torchlight parades, a fireworks display will illuminate the sky providing a perfect ending to the evening. The Coca-Cola Adventure Zone Slingshot Bungee Jump Trampoline at the base of the ski area in Gondola Square is a high-flying adventure. Kids Ski Free with stays of 5 nights or more (maximum 2 kids), valid through April 12.
Sunlight Mountain Resort and Glenwood Hot Springs
How does a Spring Break of skiing, soaking and playing at an adventure park on top of a mountain sound to you? Glenwood Springs boasts the world’s largest hot springs pool, trails for snowshoeing or hiking, a vaudeville show, shopping, award-winning restaurants and affordable lodging options. Starting on March 7, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will be open daily and features a gondola ride, tours of Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves, dining, and attractions including an alpine coaster, 4-dimensional theater, laser tag, giant swing, a climbing wall, gemstone sluice box mining, simulated Conestoga wagon experience, roller coasters and a Ferris wheel ride. Sunlight Mountain Resort offers downhill skiing and riding, trails for Nordic and snowshoeing, and snowmobile tours. Their Swim Stay package starts as low as $99 and includes a lift ticket to ski or ride at Sunlight Mountain Resort, unlimited all-day admission to Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and conveniently located lodging in Glenwood Springs. Best of all, kids 12 and under ski free with a paying adult. www.sunlightmtn.com.
Both of YMCA of the Rockies’ Colorado locations are hopping for Spring Break and make for a fantastic family vacation. Snow Mountain Ranch near Granby, Colo. has many fun winter activities including their popular dogsledding run (the most affordable in Colorado), snowshoeing, sleigh rides, Nordic skiing or play indoors at their pool, indoor archery range or climbing wall. Estes Park borders Rocky Mountain National Park and activities include evening hours at the Lula Dorsey Museum with fun family activities, a Spring Break Luau with contests and prizes, the Craft & Design Center’s “Golden Egg Special” on Fridays or learn about birds of prey in their Outdoor Ed Talk Series “The Secret Lives of Owls.” At the Estes Park Center, guest can get 3 nights for the price of 2.
In case you missed it: Spring Break in Denver 2014–Over 50 Activities to Choose From.