The Perfect Colorado Family Vacation Spot
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Favorite Colorado Family Vacation spot?
We definitely have one!
It is (drumroll please)....
Manitou Springs, Colorado!
This charming town is a great home base for exploring all the natural beauty that Colorado has to offer.
Nestled at the foot of Pike's Peak, it is near Colorado Springs. That is handy in case this is one of those travel destinations where you are flying in rather than doing a road trip.
If you are looking for a cheap family vacation, look no further.
You get a big bang for your buck here. Attractions, food and motels are affordable, and the scenery can't be beat. Activities and attractions are varied too.
Check around for coupons and passes that will make this a really cheap travel destination!
Here are our Manitou Springs Colorado Best Family Vacation Destinations, done as a top ten list:
#1 North Pole Santa's Workshop
This is one of our best family vacation destinations because it is like stepping back in time.
An old-fashioned amusement park with classic rides, decor and feel.
I visited this place several times as a kid, and taking my own children back there was a huge thrill.
Giant slides, ferris wheel, old-time cars to drive...lots of great things to see and do.
There is even a real North Pole. That's right - a tall pole of ice. The kid's loved it!!
So, you can say that you took your kids on a Colorado family vacation...and to the North Pole!
And Santa is there, available to visit with your child, even in the summer.
It is great to enjoy the simple pleasures of an old-fashioned park.
Plan your visit at www.santas-colo.com
#2 Manitou Springs Arcade
Talk about great cheap family vacations!
An old-fashioned arcade, including lots of those little rides that used to sit in front of grocery stores where you put in a coin and it takes you on a "ride".
The arcade has pinball machines, video games, even old nickelodeons from the 1920-30's. Some games are a penny, making this a true penny arcade.
Enjoy showing your kids the games that you (and their grandparents) grew up playing.
The arcade is housed in several different buildings (and some items are even outside). Look for the sign that says "Arcade Amusements" behind Patsy's Candy shop.
#3 Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is beautiful. Before we visited, we watched a video explaining how it formed over time.
Once inside, we walked one of the short trails, about a mile. While we were there, rock climbers were doing their thing on some of the giant rocks.
There are sections to walk thru, and sections you can drive thru.
They have a great website, which tells more about the park for your Colorado family vacation: www.gardenofgods.com
#4 Cave of the Winds
A place I enjoyed going to as a kid while on a Colorado family vacation, I had to take my kids back there myself.
Something new that they have added is the "Wind Walker Challenge Course". Kids wear a harness and go thru a maze of beams, ropes and ladders...while on the rim of a 600 foot drop into a canyon.
This cave has a great tour with narrow passageways, interesting stories, and beautiful formations. It has been used for tours for decades, so the stories add up over time.
One of my favorite stories about the cave is a sort of "good luck" thing. Visitors will toss something metallic onto an ever-growing pile of hairpins, coins, etc. The story goes that in the 1800's two ladies threw hairpins on a rock for good luck. They then each married rich men. So, now for luck you throw something on the pile. But if it falls off...bad luck! Will you take the chance?
#5 Manitou Cliff Dwellings
The Cliff Dwellings is one of our favorite Native American travel destinations.
Because you not only see the Cliff Dwellings, you can explore them.
You can climb in, out, over and under them.
(At other sites in the southwest you can't always explore the way you can here).
Learn about this fascinating culture in the museum, see some native dances, and enjoy the peaceful setting.
It is a really interesting find and a must-see on your Colorado family vacation.
#6 Pike's Peak
Pike's Peak. You've heard. Now climb it!
This is what a Colorado family vacation is all about.
Getting to the top is easy. There is a path you can take by car, or you can take the Cog Railway to the top.
We chose to drive, and found that along the way up there were stopping points.
At one we stopped the car, had an opportunity to pan for gems, and went on a hike around a beautiful lake.
It was great to stop and stretch our legs a bit before going on up higher.
Once at the top, there is a great gift shop and even an oxygen bar for those who might be light headed. Make sure you get your photo taken with the Pike's Peak sign.
Pike's Peak is also the place where the word to America the Beautiful was penned. Once there, you'll know why.
#7 Ghost Town Museum
After you've panned for gems on Pike's Peak, you can pan for gold at the Ghost Town Museum.
The Ghost Town Museum is housed in an old structure...so the buildings and artifacts are preserved and protected from the weather. They actually moved all the buildings in door, so you can really see what an old west town would be like.
There are lots of hands on activities here too.
#10 The Playground
You won't find this spot in the Guidebooks. Down a little street behind the post office, there is a park. It even has an old-fashioned bandstand, and in the summer there are concerts there some evenings.
The night we were there, there was a John Phillips Sousa type concert going on.
So picture this...
Americana John Phillips Sousa marches playing live behind you, kids playing on a playground before you, and a little cold mountain stream runs beside it that the kids can wade in.
It is like something out of a movie!
#9 Classic Motels
Manitou Springs has a great collection of old-fashioned, mom & pop classic motels. You know, the kind we stayed in as kids.
They are well-maintained and affordable.
There are also some great dining options - we loved Marilyn's for pizza (full of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia), and Uncle Sam's Pancake House (kids will love the Mickey Mouse Pancakes).
#10 The Royal Gorge
The bridge spanning the Royal Gorge is the highest suspension bridge in America. You can walk or drive across the bridge.
But there is a lot more to do here than just go across the gorge while on your Colorado family vacation.
There are rides, animals, shows, shopping and dining, making the Royal Gorge a full and Colorado family vacation destination.
More Manitou Springs, Colorado Family Vacation Info
For more Manitou Springs family vacation information, visit their website at www.manitousprings.org
Enjoy the beautiful scenery...red rocks, trees....and if you keep your eye out you'll see lots of cute little chipmunks (something we don't have where we live) and maybe even a deer or a bear!
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