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Where to stay in/between Colo springs and Canon city

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Family of 4 going to Colo in July. We plan to raft out of/near Canon city 1 or 2 days, and break that up by spending some time in Colo Springs (Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods). Not sure if we'll do Pikes peak, but it is a possibility.

We'd like to stay at one place for 3-4 nights and venture out from there.

We've stayed in Colo Springs before and were underwhelmed. (It's ok, just big and sprawling).

Some threads here and TA recommend staying in Manitou Springs, but we've eaten/driven through there and it seems like one big souvenir stand (did I miss the charm?).

Never been to the Canon City area, but have read mixed reviews about its relative charm. So, any ideas or experiences about CC, or perhaps staying somewhere between the two? Ideally, we'd like a place like Breckenridge (but not that far away). Any thoughts are appreciated. Thanks!

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