Family trip to Colorado in August 2011

Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 02:23 PM
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Family trip to Colorado in August 2011

I think I have convinced dh to escape the Texas heat this summer in Colorado. I am trying to choose where to go.

We are a family of 4, dds will be 5 at time of trip. We like short hikes and low key activities (like train ride or nature center sort of thing - doesn't have to be those specifically). The girls do love to swim so I am looking for a (heated!) swimming pool.

We'll fly in and out of Denver, rent a car, and have about 5 or 6 nights. Budget ~200/night (hasn't seemed to be an issue when I have looked at prices). We want a condo type place - not a standard hotel room.

I think I have narrowed down to Keystone v. Breckenridge but am open to other suggestions (and having a hard time ruling out RMNP and/or CO Spgs).

In Keystone, I thought the Springs at River Run looked nice. In Breckenridge, the Grand Timber seems to have a nice pool, but I guess is outside of town? Any other thoughts in either place?

Which location would you recommend for a low-key family summer vacation - Keystone or Breck (or other)? Any recommendations?

TIA!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 05:14 PM
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Never had the inclination or money to stay at Keystone or Breck.
One of my favorite places to stay in Colorado is Glenwood Springs. They have the largest hot-spring fed swimming pool in the US right next to I-70 and the Colorado River.
They have a gondola ride up to the Glenwood Cavern.
If Glenwood Springs is not fancy enough, Aspen is about 40 miles to the south.
The California Zephyr (Amtrak) leaves Denver about 8AM and arrives at Glenwood Springs around 2PM. Before it pulls into Glenwood Springs it goes through Glenwood Canyon which is very beautiful.
You could check VRBO.com (vacation rental by owner) for a condo in the area where you want to stay.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 05:57 PM
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I agree with tom - Keystone and Breckenridge just make me think of condo-condo-condo. Glenwood is definitely more down to earth, and beautiful with the river running through town and lots of fun stuff to do as was already mentioned.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 06:23 PM
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We've been to Keystone and Breck in the summer, and I'd also recommend Glenwood Springs.

But if I had to pick between Keystone and Breckenridge, I'd pick Breckenridge - it has a "real" town and there's an alpine slide.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 03:13 AM
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Thanks for the input. I wasn't necessarily looking for fancy, it just seemed that Breckenridge was frequently recommended and I had a friend recommend Keystone. I don't really know much about any of these places!

I will look into Glenwood Springs, although the farther distance might be a concern with two small ones.

Thanks again!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 03:37 AM
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Keystone is just a ski area. Breck would be better, but Glenwood Springs and on up toward Aspen even more fun from a town point of view. You might shop now for your air fare and car rental. August can be REALLY high air fares because it is just before school starts. We got caught in that one year in Denver. Driving to Glenwood Springs is also a very interesting and beautiful drive. Be sure to stop at the Glenwood Canyon site that explains building the superhighway through it.
Personally on a "trip" I would not rule out RMNP. It is certainly worth at the very least a "drive through" on your way to the western destination.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 07:33 AM
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If you have time, consider visiting the Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Denver. See my trip report
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ears-oh-my.cfm
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 09:03 AM
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I'll admit I'm biased, as we have a condo in Breck (and live in the Denver area). I would definitely choose Breck over Keystone. Breck is an actual old mining town, though it does also have some ugly '70s-era buildings on Main St. But on the east side of town, many historic old buildings. Keystone is just what was built up around the ski resort.

From Breck, you can easily visit Vail or Keystone, or make a day trip to Glenwood Springs. From Breck, there are a bunch of good day hikes; our kids are a teen and tween now, but we've been taking them hiking since they were born. You can rent bikes, including those with trailers or tag-a-longs, and ride on the bike path over to Frisco or around Dillon Reservoir. There's a whole area at the ski resort that includes a variation on the alpine slide (new this year), zip line, one of those bungee trampoline things, a maze, etc. Just outside of town, the Country Boy Mine offers tours (good easy hikes around there, too). Or you can drive up to the top of Boreas Pass and visit the old station house (for the trains that used to cross that pass). By August, the level of the Blue River that runs through Breck is low enough for kids to play in the river in the middle of town. Also in the middle of town is a small mining-themed play area; there's also a playground at the elementary school, two blocks east of Main St. Breckenridge has a small children's museum that might be good if you need some inside time. In Vail, you can ride the gondola up the mountain and do activities or short hikes up there.

For a place to stay in Breckenridge that has a heated pool, check out Village at Breckenridge. It's right on Main St., on the south side of town, and has an indoor/outdoor pool. (This is not where our condo is; our building doesn't have a pool.) I don't know what the prices are like at the Village. This past year, they renovated the entire exterior, but I don't know if the interior has been changed at all. Oh, and right next to the Village is Marriott's Mountain Valley Lodge. Newer property, they have a (heated) outdoor pool. Right off Main St.; I don't know the prices there, either.

Friends of ours own a condo at Springs at River Run, and when they visit once or twice a year, we go see them. The units are very nice, and kids LOVE the pool area. There's a kids pool (not very deep) with a small slide, and two outdoor hot tubs. Not many restaurant choices right in the River Run area, though, and I don't think any of them are very good at all. More restaurants down the road at the main part of Keystone. There is a small western-themed play area at River Run, and the main area is located around a pond that has paddle boats.

Re train rides, there used to be a narrow gauge railroad in Georgetown; I don't know if that's still running (continual funding issues). Georgetown is just off I-70 on your way to any of these other towns. Leadville (about 1 hour from either Breckenridge or Keystone) also has a narrow-gauge railroad that kids seem to like. If you're into history, Leadville's Mining Museum is quite good (for adults; I think kids would find it boring).

Enjoy! I'm up in Breck right now, watching some snow come in, but this email is reminding me of how much I love Colorado in the summer, too!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 09:27 AM
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Oh wow - thanks for all the detailed information Lexma90! It is beginning to sound like Keystone might be too low-key I will look at the places you mentioned in Breckenridge. And thanks for the info on the train and other activities.
I will also check into Glenwood Springs.

And Gretchen, thanks for the airfare warning. I think I can convince dh to buy airfare soon(ish) and settle on the exact destination after that.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 11:22 AM
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While I would pick Breck over Keystone, you should take a look at Frisco. A bit more centrally located, hub of the bike paths that go to Keystone, Breck, Copper, and if you are really strong on to Vail. I think the kids would enjoy some aspect of Leadville. The Mineral Belt Trail is 12 mile hiking/biking loop out of Leadville is like an outdoor museum.

The train at Georgetown is alive and well and runs a regular schedule.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Check into Steamboat springs. Beautiful area, real town, nice condos, shops, etc.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 12:28 PM
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Coming from Texas you may have more alternatives than we did to the east so don't panic. But they won't go down I can about guarantee you.
It isn't that Keystone is low key--it is just not a real town. Frisco is cute.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 12:42 PM
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I am not especially worried about whether something is a real town - we just want to relax and be in driving distance of fun activities. It would be great to be able to walk somewhere for dinner and some activites (swimming, playground, etc) but we certainly aren't looking for an active nightlife or anything .
But if Keystone is vacant in the summer then that doesn't sound like much fun! I am not tied to it at all, it was just recommended by someone.

Southwest flies to Denver and is usually pretty reasonable, but it has gone up even in the past couple weeks that I have been researching, so I agree that we should move on it.

I haven't looked into Steamboat Springs at all - I will look at that suggestion also!

Thanks again for all of the help - it is hard to get an idea of what something is like when you have never been!
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 03:10 PM
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Frisco has a very good playground, at the elementary school. We used to ride our bikes (with trailer or tag-a-long) from Breckenridge to Frisco, pick up some breakfast at the Butterhorn Bakery in Frisco, and eat it at the playground. Now that the kids are older, we still do that, but skip the playground part and ride a bit further.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 04:57 PM
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Is this vacation meant to be just relaxation? That's fine if it is. Our next door nieghbors vacations are always like that. They enjoy reading books and having a glass of wine, etc. While our vacations are pretty much activity filled. We have a 16 year old daughter that always goes with us, btw. We usually plan our destination around what we are doing activity wise. We have other friends that have gone to Crested Butte for at least 10 years straight now, and we just don't get it. I was just curious as what you will be doing.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 05:32 PM
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Yes, mostly relaxation.

With the girls being so young we find it easier just to take it easy on our trips and not do a lot of touring. Our past family vacations were to Disney World and to SanDestin. Before kids we did more sightseeing/activity and I am sure we will again as they get older. We do want to do some activities - it sounds like there are train options, mine options, pony rides, wagon rides, the alpine slide, easy hikes, gondola rides, probably visit one of the towns we don't end up staying in, etc. But we don't plan to rush around from activity to activity.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2011, 05:34 PM
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I should also add that we will probably stay a day or so in Denver before we fly out and do some activities there - we aren't just going to lounge around. But we do want most of it to be calm.
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