The lobby of at The Broadmoor (credit: CBS)
Spring is almost here, so it’s time to start planning a memorable family vacation, or at least a few days away from home to enjoy the warmer weather and the time away from work and school. You don’t have to travel far in Colorado to find lots of amazing things to do. From exploring the beautiful Rocky Mountains to relaxing in the many natural springs or even life on a real working dude ranch, there is a little something for everyone in Colorado. Why leave the state when you can have a great time and a truly memorable vacation right in your own backyard.
Lost Valley Ranch
29555 Goose Creek Road
Sedalia, CO 80135
Give the whole family a true dude ranch experience at the Lost Valley Ranch. For 38 years, this family-friendly ranch has offered everything needed to make tons of lasting memories as you learn what life is like on a working dude ranch. Everything here is all-inclusive, which means that all your meals, horseback riding and everything else you could possibly enjoy is included in the price. Check out the cattle round-ups and learn what it takes to be a real cowboy, relax with some fishing or explore the area on a beautiful hike. Enjoy some square dancing, go swimming, go for a hayride or just play around on the children’s playground. Really, there is so much to do here that you will want more than just a couple of days to explore. Make sure to order a special professional photography session while you are there to truly capture your experience with some wonderful photo memories.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
4218 County Road 3A
Canon City, CO 81212
A family vacation to the Royal Gorge is the perfect way to spend spring break. You’ll love seeing one of the deepest gorges in Colorado, with huge granite walls that tower more than 1,000 feet and some of the most spectacular scenery in the state. Take a walk across the famous bridge, built in 1929, and marvel at America’s highest suspension bridge. Then check out the rush of the Royal Rush Skycoaster that soars 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River below. And that’s not all. It’s a great place to try zip lining and make sure to stop by the Visitor Center for some great souvenirs and a stunning view. Your whole family will love this great vacation at the Royal Gorge, and you’ll all gain a deeper appreciation for the beautiful state of Colorado.
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The Springs Resort at Pagosa Springs
165 Hot Springs Blvd
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
You may think that a resort-style vacation is strictly for adults but the Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs is something the whole family can enjoy. In addition to the amazing natural hot springs, there is a lot of fun to be had here. You can take the whole family on a hot air balloon ride to see the Rocky Mountains like never before, or you can set out on the water for a river rafting adventure. There is horseback riding, fishing and lots of nearby attractions to check out, like the nearby Aztec Ruins National Monument, where you can see 900-year-old ruins. When you have had your fill of exploration, head back to the resort and soak in the rejuvenating waters of the natural hot springs and plan out some new adventures for the next day.
1 Lake Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
One of the most elegant hotels in Colorado is also a fantastic place to visit as a family. The Broadmoor is actually much more than just a hotel. It’s a five-star resort nestled in Colorado Springs, with tons of activities and amenities for the whole family. Enjoy some horseback riding around the expansive property, go swimming in the massive indoor pool, try some bowling or head out on the lake on an electric boat or even paddle boats. While you are in Colorado Springs, you can also take advantage of the other great activities nearby. From the Manitou Cliff Dwellings to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, there are lots of great places to explore in the area, or you can easily spend your entire vacation on the hotel grounds. Make your spring vacation something extra special with a trip to the Broadmoor, plus you won’t even have to drive that far from home, as the trip from Denver is less than two hours.
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Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde, CO 81330
Take a trip back in time to the age when the Pueblo people lived in the Colorado area. Mesa Verde National Park is home to nearly 5,000 archeological sites with more than 600 cliff dwellings where the Pueblo people lived from 600 to 1300 A.D. This park is known all over the world as one of the best-preserved dwellings of its kind. Mesa Verde National Park is a must-see and the perfect spring break trip for any family. You can take a guided tour of the dwellings and the Cliff Palace where a park ranger will take you through all the different structures while explaining what life was like for the people that called this area home for so many years. Make sure to visit the Mesa Verde Junior Ranger Station to get even more hands-on fun and other activities all about the Pueblo people, and your kids can even earn their own Ranger badge.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.