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5 Reasons We LOVED Colorado

by Stephanie on July 3, 2015

Last week, my family spent a week in Colorado for our summer vacation and we LOVED every minute of it! A departure from our usual beach vacation, our trip to Colorado meant hiking each day, yoga classes in the middle of the afternoon, reading books before breakfast, bowling in a private bowling alley and going out to dinner without an hour wait for a table at a restaurant. It was one of those trips I loved so much, I wish I could bottle up and relive over and over.

5 Reasons We LOVED Colorado

1. NEW LOCATION – For most of us, summer vacation means packing up the family and driving to the beach. However, when I heard that my favorite blogging conference, Fitbloggin, was going to be held in Denver, Colorado this year, the wheels in my brain started turning.  Instead of basking in the sun on the beach, I decided we could get away from the Texas heat for a fun, summer family vacation in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. It has been 15 years since I visited Colorado, while Trey and the kids have never been so it was a NEW vacation destination (for most of us).

Several months ago, I booked us a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at the Crystal Peak Lodge in Breckenridge, Colorado. After picking up our keys, we drove up the mountain to the base of lift 7 and held our breath as we opened the door. We LOVED IT! My almost 9 (going on 19) year old daughter squealed when she realized she got her own room AND her own bathroom. My son enjoyed sleeping on the pull out couch in the living room (maybe because it meant he could stay up later and watch tv), while Trey and I enjoyed the large master bedroom and bathroom. Oh and did I mention the full kitchen and tons of storage space? Because apparently we pack for vacation like we are moving in for a month.

Main Street in Breckenridge offers numerous options for dining and shopping, along with a couple playgrounds for the kids. On the first day of our vacation, we bought Trey and both kids new hiking shoes which were put to good use immediately.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado

2. ACTIVE EVERY DAY – Before we had kids, my husband and I loved to go hiking. However hiking became more challenging with babies and toddlers, with all the backpacks, whining, extra snacks and water bottles that need to be packed. Not to mention their little legs tire out five minutes after you get to the trail. Now that our kids are a little older (6 and almost 9), hiking seemed do-able and (hopefully) enjoyable for the entire family.

Before we left for vacation, I printed out some moderate hiking trails around Breckenridge. The stores in town also sell a book with 20-30 local hiking options and they can probably give you recommendations for several trails. Our favorite hike was on the first day, to McCullough Gulch trail about 10 miles outside of Breckenridge. We started at 11,000′ on an old mining trail in snow-covered mountains, next to waterfalls and lakes. It is uphill for a total of about 900′ over about 1.3 miles, however our kids did not make it all the way to the top. It did provide the backdrop for some of my favorite pictures during the week, and a chance for my kids to play in the snow and throw snowballs in June. By the end of day one, Tallen had told me about a dozen time that he LOVED hiking.

Mountains of Colorado in summer

Playing in snow in June in Colorado

Family hiking in Colorado

Hiking in summer in Colorado

Later in the week, we drove up a mountain to 12,000′ and hiked Black Powder Pass. Getting to the trailhead was no easy feat, we had to drive on 7 miles of bumpy, gravel roads next to steep drop offs on the side of the mountain. The views were amazing but I was tense during several spots on the drive. Finally we reached Boreas Pass and got out of the car, where we quickly realized we needed our sweatshirts! We were dressed in shorts and t-shirts but temperatures felt like it was in the upper 50’s.

Climbing over loose rocks and crossing a waterfall with two young kids was a challenge, then we had trouble picking up the trail on the other side of the water. It was also pretty muddy, so we only hiked about 40 minutes before heading back to the car. Those views though…

Hiking in Colorado

Hiking in Colorado

Hiking in Colorado in the summer

Trey and Sophia also took a yoga class together, while Tallen and I explored the nature trail behind our resort. Yoga SUP is also offered on the nearby lakes, although I decided not to dip my toes in that cold water!

3. TIME TO RELAX – Each morning, before the boys woke up, I would knock on the door to Sophia’s bedroom and tell her it was Mommy/Daughter time. Carrying our cups of coffee and tea, we would walk down the hall of the resort in our pajamas and settle into big comfy chairs by the picture window overlooking the mountain. I would journal, work on my bible study, or read a book while Sophia played on her iPad or (at my urging) would read a library book. It was quiet, calm, and special time for just the two of us. If only I could start every morning like this…

Fight Back with Joy

Girl time in Colorado

Breckenridge in Summer

4. FUN FAMILY TIME – One night we cooked burgers and hot dogs on the grill outside the resort. We also had access to the resort next door, so we took advantage of the indoor swimming pool, private bowling alley (where Sophia kick out butts and won every game), and a private media room with seating for 12. We rented Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and it was so fun to have the entire room for just the four of us. We brought lots of popcorn and treats to eat during the movie.

Bowling Alley at One Ski Hill

Bowling at One Ski Hill

Trey also took Sophia out to dinner our last night in Breckenridge, before we headed to Denver. They ate mexican food, ice cream and took selfies on the bridge in the middle of town. Yes, I know she looks gorgeous and about 13 in this picture and that scares me.

Sadly I was in bed with a migraine that night, so Tallen decided to stay and take care of me.

Summer in Breckenridge

5. OFF SEASON = NO CROWDS

Winter is peak season for Breckenridge, so going in the summer meant two things… our resort was 1/3 of the price and there were no crowds when we went into town. We rode the (free) gondola from our resort down to town every day and we rarely saw many other people getting on and off. There was never a wait when we went to a restaurant, with the exception of the small food stand that sold crepes in the middle of town. That place was always crowded, but it was sooooo good that we visited twice in three days.

Some of our favorite restaurants included: The Canteen Taphouse and Tavern, Crepes a la Cart, Giampietro Pizza (get the thin crust), Mi Casa, Cuppa Joe, Clint’s Bakery and Coffee, Cabin Coffe Co., and Kava Cafe (the mini donuts made fresh in front of your are a MUST). Don’t judge the amount of coffee shops we visited in just three days. We love coffee.

Gondolas in Breckenridge

Kids hiking in Breckenridge

It was bittersweet to leave behind this amazing view, snow-capped mountains next to lush green valleys reflected in glassy smooth lakes. We knew once we were back in Texas, we would have to shed our sweatshirts and hiking shoes. But Colorado definitely captured our hearts and we can’t wait to go back. Tallen has already decided he is moving there “when he grows up!”

Mountains in Breckenridge in summer

Hiking in Breckenridge

Check back soon for my recap of Fitbloggin in Denver!

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