Try a Spa “Daycation” at Vail’s The Sonnenalp

The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail Village, Colorado has created a locals only experience so guests can enjoy the day the Sonnenalp way. For daycation reservations please contact 970-479-5404 or email spa@sonnenalp.com. My family has visited this amazing place, and we absolutely LOVED our time here.  You can see more about The Sonnenalp in my article I wrote for TravelingMom:  Sonnenalp Hotel - A European Getaway in Colorado. The Sonnenalp Daycation $275 50 Minute Spa Treatment 10 Minute Oxygen Bar Treatment Lunch at the Bully Ranch (alcohol not included) Daypass for the indoor/outdoor pool, steam rooms, sauna, whirlpools and solarium PHOTOS The Sonnenalp Daycation Experience   Your pampered day at Vail's The Sonnenalp Hotel Spa will include the following: Spa Treatment One 50 minute spa treatment from the Sonnenalp Spa. Full spa menu here. Top choices include:  Head and Toes Thai Poultice Massage - Indulge in this warm herbal compress massage based on … [Read more...]

When a 7th Grade Hiking Field Trip Goes Awry

Last Friday was the perfect Colorado Fall day.  Sunny and high 60’s, absolutely ideal hiking weather.  My daughter’s 7th grade class was scheduled to do a class hike field trip.  I had the day off of work, and planned to join them.  Everything was right in the world. That is, until the bodies started hitting the floor. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Wait, Can We Bring Dog…?! So Friday morning we are scurrying around, packing lunches and getting ready for school.  I swear our Golden Retreiver Daisy must have spotted my daughter grabbing her hiking backpack.  You know those key items, that set the alarm bells off for a dog...”An adventure is afoot!!” Bless her 10 year old heart… she starts bouncing around like an excited puppy. “Oh Daisy, you can’t come on the field trip.”  Wait. Maybe she can? Since I planned on driving behind the school buses, and hiking with the kids – in theory, maybe we could bring the dog? Our plan was to have my daughter ask permission once … [Read more...]

Tips for the Best Colorado Fall Drive & Family Adventure

You just can't beat Fall color in Colorado!  When those Aspen trees turn brilliant gold, and contrast against the Rocky Mountain evergreens... it's a breathtaking sight to behold.  Here's my "Insider List" of where the locals consider the best Colorado Fall drive.  Plus my tips on exploring a bit off the beaten path, and how to keep your kids excited about this awesome family outdoor adventure. A year-round outdoor lover, I'd have to say that fall is my absolute favorite season in Colorado.  I've polled the experts, and seen many of these for myself.  Here's my Insider List of best fall drives. Top 5 Colorado Fall Drives NORTHERN - Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park CENTRAL - Kebler Pass, part of the West Elk Loop that ends in fun ski town Crested Butte CENTRAL - Grand Mesa Byway (My favorite! More on this below), 45 minutes from Grand Junction SOUTHERN - Last Dollar Road, from Ridgeway to Telluride, both awesome mountain towns DENVER AREA - Guanella … [Read more...]

6 Cool Things You’ll Love at the Denver Aquarium

Nestled in a lovely, easy-to-access downtown area, the Denver Aquarium is a fabulous option for families.  You'll even find some surprising, non-fish attractions!  Here are the top exhibits to see, how much time to allow for a visit, what to expect for a closing time, and whether the attached Aquarium Restaurant is a good place to eat. We had been to the Downtown Denver Aquarium a few years ago, and I don't remember being too impressed.  But for some reason, this recent visit was more enjoyable than ever.  Perhaps it’s because this time around we have a first grader son that loves fish?  Or that they are now under a restaurant brand's umbrella, and have upped their overall game to bring in visitors? At any rate, we were quite impressed and had a wonderful time.  I heartily recommend this Colorado attraction!  Here's my recap of what to expect, and the best exhibits to watch for. Travel Through the World’s Ecosystems Rain forest ecosystem at Denver AquariumThe layout of the … [Read more...]

Colorado Summer Fun with FREE Elitch Garden Concerts 2017 + Season Pass Perks

The school year is winding down, and it’s time to start plugging in some “don’t miss” fun events into your Colorado summer fun calendar.  Check out this upcoming music roster and incorporate some of the Elitch Gardens Concerts for 2017, and consider the perks of being a season passholder. There is no additional charge to attend the music concerts, they are free with park admission.  Plus, Elitch Gardens offers an excellent season pass deal of only $69.99 (more on this below), which will have you covered for lots of summer excitement. Located in the heart of Denver, when my family visited Elitch Gardens for the first time we had a blast.   My kids were ages 4 and 10 at the time, and both had fun.  These were our favorite Elitch Gardens Experiences we consider must-dos. We’d love to return some time and check out the water park area.  And planning our visit during one of these Elitch Gardens Concerts for 2017 seems like an awesome idea we may have to try. Elitch Gardens … [Read more...]

Start Kids Early at Summer Adventure Camp

Living in Colorado brings with it the privilege of easy access to a gorgeous outdoor playground.  It’s a large part of why my family lives here, yet it still takes an ongoing effort to get out there and enjoy it.  Even though we love the outdoors, we get busy with everyday life. Then there’s those darn screens, always ready-at-the-helm to suck time.  So I’m constantly looking for opportunities to fit outdoor play into my kids schedule.  Avid4 Adventure summer camps is bringing in the reinforcements, and has got you and your kids covered this summer. "Sending our daughter to Avid4 Adventure camp was one of the single best decisions we’ve ever made as parents. We learned much about her as a person and she felt awesome about herself and her experiences."                                                                                       ~ Avid4 Adventure parent Avid4 Adventure Summer Adventure Camps I absolutely love the Avid4 Adventure’s concept of summer adventure camps. … [Read more...]

Why You Need to See Colorado in the Fall

A year-round outdoor lover, I’d have to say that Fall is my absolute favorite season in Colorado.   The Fall colors in Colorado showcase a breathtaking mix of golds and greens, as the Aspen trees start to change color and contrast against the pines. There are numerous driving routes through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, available to behold this Fall splendor.  There's also an extensive trail system available for exploring, as the state is filled with outdoor lovers who love to go hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and 4x4 off roading. Here are some ideas on best bets for accommodations, keeping your kids excited about the adventure, my favorite Colorado scenic drive, and when to come visit. Colorado ~ Where To Stay First off, what are your options for accommodations?  Well, I say go native.  And by that I mean... embrace a nice cabin with a fireplace and hot tub, if  you can! If you’ve never staying a luxury lodge style cabin… you are in for a pleasant surprise.  … [Read more...]

Family Mountain Biking Adventure Puts Sharpie Extreme to Test

About a decade ago, my husband and I moved our young family to Colorado.  We both loved the outdoors, and wanted our kids to grow up with an enjoyment and appreciation of camping, hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. At last we've arrived at the stage in our children's lives where we can all hit a mountain biking trail, each riding our own bike.  Having stuck primarily to hiking for these past few years... this is an exciting development!  It was a rocky start the first few times out, but I've picked up a few family mountain biking tips along the way. So we were excited when Sharpie Extreme approached us, offering to send us on a family outdoor adventure.  The Sharpie Extreme line of permanent markers is particularly well suited to marking your outdoor gear, so they wanted us to put them to the test while mountain biking. Mission accepted! Getting the Family Ready for Outdoor Adventure Getting your family outdoors for an adventure can feel extreme.  Depending on the … [Read more...]

Free Coffee & Carside-to-Curbside Service from Denver Canopy Airport Parking

Most Coloradans who travel on a budget, or just live near Denver, will likely find themselves flying out of DIA, the Denver International Airport.   For my family, much lower airfares are worth a little up front car travel time to book flights from this location. One thing I'm always sure to include in our vacation budget is airport parking.  Being on the uncrowded fringes of Denver has resulted in DIA having multiple options for long term parking of your vehicle.  Prices vary, but will generally be cheaper than parking in a DIA lot.  The short shuttle ride over to the airport is not a big deal, so this is the option we typically chose. I recently learned about a cool, affordable Denver airport parking option that I'm excited to try out the next time we depart from DIA.  Canopy Airport Parking offers three types of parking:  indoor valet, covered self-park, and open-air. They are a totally green facility which is: Green Garage Certified, LEED Gold … [Read more...]

Winter Family Adventure Day in Ouray

I've written in the past about my family packing up and heading out for a no-definite-plans Family Adventure Day.  We love to explore our area through day trips, and see what outdoor fun we can find. Winter is not exactly my favorite season.  Sometimes I just feel like ADVENTURING by reading a book next to my fireplace at home.   But I have to admit, if you bundle up before heading out.... you can have a pretty awesome Winter Edition of Family Adventure Day. Our Family Adventure Day in Ouray, Colorado Known worldwide for its Ice Climbing Festival, Ouray is one of our favorite mountain towns in Colorado.   Although we've seen climbers practicing in December, we don't attend the January festival.  While it's impressive to watch those crazies tackle a frozen waterfall climb, it's a little too crowded for the casual wanderer that weekend. But any other time... Ouray, Colorado is downright charming.   It's known as the "Switzerland of America" because of being enclosed on three … [Read more...]