We had a blast in Colorado Springs and the most exciting thing is my brother lives there so we have good reason to keep going back! This is definitely a family-friendly destination but also a great place for any type of trip. The summer is a great time to visit. The weather is nice and the area has a vast amount of outdoor opportunities. Let us venture into the awesome things we did!
Royal Gorge and Train Ride
This was my favorite! The Royal Gorge is about an hour away from Colorado Springs and is a family-friendly adventure park centered on this beautiful gorge with a mountain view. The park was centered around an amazing suspension bridge that is 956 feet above the Arkansas River. Adults are $26, children $21, and anyone 5 and under is free! You can also zip line, ride the sky coaster, take a gondola, or play at the children’s playland. We went on July 4th so it was definitely busy which made the lines for the zip line way too long. I was pretty disappointed, but again we will be visiting again soon! We ended up rushing ourselves a little bit because we needed to get back down the mountain to catch the Royal Gorge Train. The train takes you for a ride through the gorge that we were just peering down at 30 minutes prior. The train tracks run alongside the river and give you beautiful views of the Colorado Rockies. We spent the majority of our time in the outdoor car so we could really take in the scenery. You can also stay in your train car, order food, and enjoy the views from your window. THIS IS A MUST DO! The train was the most expensive thing we did which came in at $49 an adult, and $44 for children.
This is another family-friendly mountain park. It has a wide range of activities for any age group. We stuck mainly with taking a cave tour and my brother and niece ventured out onto the Terror-Dactyl. The discovery cave tour is a walking tour that lasts around 45ish minutes. Adults are $22, kids five and under are free. It was fascinating to see the different rock formations and hear the history behind how the cave was discovered. The Terror-Dactyl was insane. I was not about to hop on that thing but watching my brother and niece do it was thrilling enough! The swing/bungee sits at the edge of a 200-foot cliff. It drops 150 feet into the canyon! My brother said it was the best ride he had ever experienced, so if you are an adrenaline junkie this is for you!!
The cutest little mountain town packed full of shops, restaurants, and a nostalgic penny arcade. If I lived in Colorado Springs, I could easily spend my weekends playing arcade games and eating fun foods. The arcade is multiple little shop buildings with the outside filled with those cute quarter rides for the kids. We spent the majority of the time outside watching the girls gleefully hop from one ride to the next. This place has every old school arcade game you can think of from your childhood along with some new games. The games ranged from a penny to a dollar but mostly landed in the quarter price. We spent at least an hour playing games and only spent 15 dollars. We then strolled up and down the streets looking in all the shops and hopped over to a Jewish restaurant. I had some awesome lamb and falafels.
This is probably the most popular tourist attraction. You pay either by carload or per person. The best thing to do is to cram all kids 5 and under in one car with one adult so you just pay for that adult. While the other car is filled with adults and will pay the carload flat rate. You can drive up the mountain and see some awesome sites along the way. We had a crazy/ traumatic experience, to say the least. We found out once we reached the top of the peak that our 2-year-old has altitude sickness. In case you were wondering if it’s possible to go down a winding mountain going 60 miles an hour…you can. We were in a park ranger’s vehicle and once we reached a lower level, she regained normal breathing and consciousness. We learned that day 2&3 are the hardest on your body and no one really knows if they have altitude sensitivity until they are in the middle of it. Drink LOTS of water before going up and during your visit. At the top, they have a shop where you can get their famous donuts and merchandise. I would not spend a ton of time in there because I am sure that the billion other tourists are sucking up the little oxygen that is in the building. The view though…BREATH-TAKING!
Victor served in the Air Force so we knew we had to see the beautiful campus. The chapel is extraordinary and the campus is covered in beautiful greenery. You can visit for free and venture around certain parts of the campus on your own. We were able to see some of the cadets training during our visit.
This was a must-do on my list. You get to take a walking tour with a guide. We were lucky enough to get a Paralympic athlete guide! Our guide was Tyler Carter; he competed in the last 2 winter games as an alpine skier and continues to train for the 2022 Olympics. We were able to see the pool that Michael Phelps once trained in as well as many other training facilities. I feel like this is the closest I will probably ever get to experiencing the Olympics up close.
Begin your visit at the visitor’s center, where you walk through a mini-museum of science and history surrounding the Garden of the Gods. Thenk walk out to the ovebservation deck to see a fantastic view of the rock formations. You can hop on a shuttle that will take you over to the actual park. The shuttles run constantly so no need to worry about waiting around for the next one. The park and visitor center are free and can be hours of fun climbing and exploring.
This waterfall is nestled in the middle of Colorado Springs. You have to park at a separate location and a shuttle takes you to the park. There is no parking anywhere within walking distance to the entrance. It is private property so you must pay to enter the park. Adults are $15 and children are $9. You have to walk about three-quarters of a mile to get to the waterfall but the scenery is beautiful the entire way there. Once you reach the waterfall, you can take an elevator up to see a perfect view. Also, next to the waterfall they have 224 steps you can climb to see the above view of the waterfall. It was an unexpected workout to get up there but the view is awesome. From the top you can take several hiking trails to other parts of the park. They do have a restaurant below the waterfall but honestly, it wasn’t worth the hype…
This place is a true hole in the wall diner in the downtown area. The outside looks like a purple castle and when you walk in they literally only have a small countertop seating area. We sat outside at a picnic table contemplating whether we should go somewhere else but a server came out and we decided to stick around. We were not prepared for what was about to happen! We ordered The Grump, which is a mound of hash browns, eggs, bacon, onions, and cheese topped with gravy. We opted to have their famous green chili sauce instead of the gravy. It was so delicious!
This is an old elementary school turned into a community market place. You can eat, shop, drink or attend classes. We had dinner at the brewery and then hopped over to the bakery where I had the most amazing lavender lemonade and flourless chocolate cake. It was so good I made sure to eat most of it before my kids noticed so I would not have to share! LOL They kept true to the roots of the building and kept a lot of its original decor. They even have a bar area named the Principal’s Office!
Colorado Springs can be a very expensive or inexpensive trip. It is packed with tons of free outdoor adventures. We definitely splurged on a few things but we also had a free place to stay and cheap flights. One thing that I wish I could have done is go zip lining somewhere but lucky for us we have a great reason to return many times in the future!