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KarenInFl Apr 3rd, 2007 04:29 AM

Family trip to Colorado this summer
We'd like to take a trip to Colorado this summer but aren't sure which area is best suited for us. We have two teens (16 and 13), and are looking for an "active" vacation. We'd like to do some rafting, biking, hiking, horsebackriding (any other suggestions?) but are also interested in taking in the scenery (train ride, scenic drives, caverns?). Also, our vacation time is flexible from mid June to mid August - when's the best time? We're even considering splitting up our time (around 8 days) between a couple locations (maybe Breckenridge and then head south). We'd love to hear from anyone who has any advice for our adventure! Thanks!

duke158 Apr 3rd, 2007 05:33 AM

Colorado Springs has everything you are looking for. Check out their tourism site.

fmpden Apr 3rd, 2007 06:05 AM

First, plug in Denver and/or Colorado in the search box and you will find a nearly endless number of recommendations for Colorado. This question is frequently discussed. You have all kinds of options. The major ski areas (Breckenridge, Vail, Keystone,Aspin, etc.) have all types of summer activities from single track to sled rides, horse back, etc. Good white water rafting will peak around mid-June. After that, you can find good relaxing float trips. Black Canyon of the Gunnison is slightly smaller version of the Grand Canyon -- in some ways -- prettier. You can bike from Breckenridge to Vail on a hard surface bike path. Or if lazy, bike shops will take you to the top of the pass so that it is downhill all the way. You can sail on Lake Dillon. But don't fall in, it is pretty cold. The Georgetown Loop (narrow gauge railroad) is fun with an interesting mine tour in the middle. A bigger version from Durango to Silverton is even more fun but Durango is a long way from everything. The huge outdoor hot tub in Glenwood Springs is worthwhile and the wine country just to the west is more interesting for the adults. Take your pick.

steviegene Apr 3rd, 2007 07:14 AM

Do Durango.

There is plenty of hiking, biking, riding, and you can white water raft right in Durango.

One day take the narrow gauge railroad from Durango to Silverton for an old-fashioned railroad experience.

Then do a sightseeing drive on the $1 million highway up through the scenic towns of Ouray. Stay overnight in Telluride to see beautiful waterfall and scenic box canyon. Take a hike up to Tomboy - the old mine which overlooks the town.

On the way home stop the ancient ruins of Mesa Verde - which is fascinating and beautiful for its breath-taking views.

Lexma90 Apr 3rd, 2007 07:52 AM

Many locations in Colorado offer the activities you mentioned - rafting, biking, hiking, horseback riding, etc. If you intend to do any hiking that goes up much in altitude, there will probably still be snow on the upper part of the trails in mid-June.

Consider also, in the far western part of the state, the unique Mesa Verde. Mid-June to mid August would be hot there, but it's a world-class site.

MaureenB Apr 3rd, 2007 08:38 AM

I recommend Aspen for your entire stay. It's beautiful there, with beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor activities. Best chance of warm and dry weather will be late July or August.

fmpden Apr 3rd, 2007 11:30 AM

But I think Aspen would be boring for a 13 and 16 year olds especially if they are boys.

sylvia3 Apr 3rd, 2007 12:07 PM

A good option in the summer is to stay at a ski area (e.g., Winter Park), where the lodging is on sale (albeit not like in the past), and the mountain is open to biking , hiking, etc. (Ride the lift up, and it's all downhill). Winter Park would be an easy trip to Rocky Mountain National Park's west entrance, Lake Granby, Grand Lake, etc. (Tho Colorado Springs has easy access to the mountains and lots to do,it's not quite in the high country; maybe split the trip?)

MaureenB Apr 3rd, 2007 02:03 PM

Aspen boring for 13 and 16 year old boys?? I don't think so! Unless they hate the outdoors, hiking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding, tennis, swimming, etc. Aspen's got everything the OP requested. Plus fun music festivals which feature all types of music, from jazz to rock, under a big tent at night. Plus good food, great views, etc.

happytotravel Apr 3rd, 2007 02:33 PM

My favorite mountain places have to be Vail or Beaver Creek in the summer. They are so pretty with the wild flowers. There is plenty to do ( biking, hiking, swimming, horseback riding) plus your close to Glenwood Springs for the hot springs, visiting the caves, river rafting, etc. As a bonus you can usually stay in very nice places for reasonable prices (in Vail or Beaver Creek). I would not recommend staying in Glenwood (the hotels are not very nice). On your return from the mountains, you could stop and do the Georgetown train.

While I like Durago and Ouray, I find that it's hard to get to and much more expensive. I think that summer is their high season, while in Vail/Beaver Creek its the low season and you get more for your money.

BellaD Apr 27th, 2007 10:00 AM

Okay, now I can really answer this because I have done the Colorado trip with three teen boys and a teen girl, four years in a row!

We stayed in Breckenridge three times, Winter Park once. Winter Park had beautiful hikes but the town was not as cute as Breckenridge. We greatly preferred Breckenridge. The kids liked the shopping and cute restaurants. Our girl got a massage and like the oxygen bar. They have outdoor concerts at night.

The absolutely biggest hit of the trip was the white water rafting in the Arkansas River close to the Royal Gorge. We went as a family and we all loved it. It was one of the most exhilarting things I have ever done. The boys liked it so much that they took an all day, more intense ride the next day. We also went on a helicopter ride in the Gorge, that was pretty exciting too. We wished we had found white water rafting earlier in the trip. When we white water rafted in the Winter Park, it was not very good, the water was too slow, make the drive.

Another huge hit was ATVing. In the tourism office in Breckenridge, we picked up a pamphlet on ATVing. We went to Leadville and were told to go whereever we wanted on a large series of trails. There were abandoned mines and beautiful scenery. We had a blast going as fast as we wanted and running through puddles. We were allowed to go off on our own for hours. It was amazing being so high up.

We wanted to do the air balloon rides but I could not get my family up that early, oh well!

You might want to spend a day in Denver. We took the kids to Six Flags. We ate at Casa Bonita, which I realize is the campiest place on earth with mediocre food. The kids adored it though. I could not believe how much they liked it. It is like going to Wall Drug, you just gotta' do it! I went there when I was 14 and had to take my kids decades later. You don't forget it.

The hiking and drives are amazing anywhere in this area.

Something to avoid- horseback riding. We went to one independent place and it was kinda' nice, we were able to ride along the mountains. The kids got frustrated because they could not run the horses due to the rocky terrain. The YMCA rides are dreadful, they line up dozens of horse and riders and you got for a very slow boring ride. We felt like cattle being herded. Awful for teens and adults!

Watch your teens on the alpine slides. Ours tried to go as fast as possible and two fell off their slides. One boy's shorts melted to his legs. They both got burned from the fiberglass, They have first aid on site. They boys were fine and couldn't wait to do it again. Crazy kids!

Enjoy your trip!

MaureenB Apr 27th, 2007 01:29 PM

"When we white water rafted in the Winter Park, it was not very good, the water was too slow"--
Not if you're there in the Spring! There is no white water rafting IN Winter Park. There are many choices with different classifications of rapids, several miles from Winter Park. You just have to know what you're looking for. A reputable white-water rafting company in Fraser, near WP, is Red Tail.

laurenzo Apr 27th, 2007 08:28 PM

I agree with BellaD. I did Breckenridge with my 3 children last summer, two of which are teens. we had a great time. We also did the rafting down the Arkansas. We went the 3rd week in June and there were plenty of rapids. Colorado has gotten so much snow this year that I'm sure there will be rapids for a while. There is so much to do there in Breckenridge.

BellaD Apr 30th, 2007 09:39 AM

We used Red Tail in the Spring. The guides were great, there just was nothing much going on. It was three springs ago (I think) and perhaps the water levels were low. I thought maybe it was just the areas of water.

julie_Colorado Apr 30th, 2007 02:57 PM

I would personally visit one of four areas; Breckenridge, Durango, Crested Butte, or Steamboat.

My friends and I were just all talking about where to vacation near home this summer. The consensus was Steamboat.

If you do not like to drive, the easiest is Breck.

mary1007 May 9th, 2007 05:57 AM

Hi Bella,

Where have you stayed in Breck? Do you think that the activities are also good for an active girl of 8 and a big boy of 42? They love to do outdoor stuff together. Unfortunately, I have a 9 month old and I stay behind for some things (not many though, 9 month old thinks she is 8 years old too).

We have been skiing in Breck but not been in summer. We are from Florida and my husband is bored with the beach vacations.

julie_Colorado May 15th, 2007 04:28 AM

Breckenridge has a really fun mountain slide. I think a 4 year old can do it.. and I know a 42 year old can!. To get a sense of some activities, you might want to go to Vail Resorts web site and select Breckridge. I think they have a list of summer activities.

I can not speak to lodging - but I would try It was started by a Breck couple and is used to rent vacation properties directly from the owner...

mrt May 26th, 2007 07:45 AM

I have been to all the vacation areas in Colorado and am going to Crested Butte in August. I have a 16 year old and 12 year old.

My favorite trips were Aspen (3.5-4 hours from Denver (h.b riding, rafting, biking, hike to Maroon Bells)
Telluride (7.5 hours from Denver)
Vail/Breckenridge (2,5-3 hours from Denver)
Durango is farther than Telluride

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