Note: I’d be remiss to be writing about Colorado and not give a shout out: Congrats to the Denver Broncos who are heading to the Super Bowl (not to be confused with a supper bowl in which I eat my big salad) in New Jersey in a couple weeks!!
I’m learning that it doesn’t necessarily matter where you go with kids as long as there is fun stuff to do…especially somewhere with water. When D&D were in Chicago last summer, one of their favorite things was splashing around the two inches of water at Millennium Park. Boom. Free water park.
Glenwood Springs is a very scenic, three-hour drive west of Denver. Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this small city is really an ideal family destination (at least to me, in my limited family destination knowledge!). Affordable and accessible, Glenwood Springs was the perfect stop for us as we drove across Colorado on the way to my mom’s in Silverton. Plus with kids in tow, this town is great with its huge hot springs pool, adventure park, and canyon.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
Overlooking the whole town at 7160 feet on the side of a mountain is Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. To me, this is the perfectly-sized park. And it also has that variety factor: thrill rides plus a cave tour! Besides some roller coasters, it offers up rides like the Giant Canyon Swing (yikes!), Colorado’s longest alpine ride (which we loved), and the soaring eagle zip ride.
But what makes it unique is the caverns – this is Colorado’s largest ‘show’ cave open to the public. We got a grand tour of all the stalactite/stalagmite splendor.
Hot Springs Pool & Spa
The main attraction here is the Hot Springs and Pool, the world’s largest outdoor mineral hot springs pool at 405 feet long and 100 feet wide. The natural spring water flows at 122ºF (51ºC) and is cooled down to 104ºF before it is piped into the pool. Soaking in highly mineralized waters is thought to have many health benefits such as killing germs, eliminating toxins, increasing blood flow, increasing metabolism and the absorption of essential minerals. The pool first opened way back in 1888 as a recreational attraction for wealthy travelers. And not only is it great to soak in the warm mineral bath, you can also have fun going down the water slides or trying some crazy moves off the diving board.
You can stay right here at the Hotel Colorado; there are tons of swim packages offered for families, or do what we did and stay just up the road in our own cabin!
Glenwood Canyon Resort
At first we thought it might be a pain that the Glenwood Canyon Resort wasn’t right in the heart of downtown. But it’s just one mile up the road and the location is spectacular! Set right on the banks of the Colorado River, this place is like its own destination.
Not only did we have a super cute wood cabin to stay in with a lofted 2nd floor for the kids to sleep in, there’s also an on-site bar and grill, rafting, zip-lining, a ropes course, rock climbing, and bike rentals. If only we had more time! The property also has campgrounds if you want to be a bit more in nature. But I have to say, we loved our cabin. It was cozy and comfy and the boys loved their lofty bedroom, while we loved the privacy of our own room…with a door! Too bad we only got to stay here one night. If we had more time, there was still even more to do like kayaking, paragliding, cycling and hiking.
The town of Glenwood Springs itself has a cute downtown full of shops, restaurants and cafes. We enjoyed dinner one night at the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub (where little D fell asleep right ON his grilled cheese sandwich thanks to an active day enjoying this town..apparently it was tasty AND made a nice, gooey pillow) and then a fun, local breakfast at Daily Bread. Then of course, the boys enjoyed shopping in a store for funky minerals and rocks.
On to our next stop…Silverton, Colorado coming up next!
For more info and current rates:
Disclosure: During our stay in Glenwood Springs were were guests of the Resort Cabins, Hot Springs Pool, and Adventure Park, but as always all opinions are my own.