Meaningful Summer Travel
Are you ready to get back to traveling?
For some, it may feel right to get out in the world again and if so,
here are some ideas to inspire you!
Camping or cruise?
Playground park or theme park?
Staycation or inter-country travel?
The options are slowly opening in Colorado and around the country, but when it comes to planning family summer travel budget, vacation time, everyone’s interests, and concerns for the pandemic can cram all of that limitless potential into a small box.
But they don’t have to.
This year, consider some of the following ideas that we love within driving distance of Castle Rock, Colorado. These trips have inspired and engaged our own families and they could possibly do the same for you!
(Please know we do not endorse any of these locations, restaurants, and activities nor do we guarantee any experience. It is recommended to research availability, open and closing times, as well as any pandemic restrictions before visiting.)
1. National Parks.
This is simply the iconic American summer vacation. And we’re lucky to have a few within reasonable driving distance!
National parks provide not only an educational experience for families, but they can be a fantastic way to ground us and put perspective on the world as a whole.
Great Sand Dunes National Park (Southern Colorado, about 3.5 hours from Castle Rock): plan a trip in June or early July in order to splash in the cool run off in front of the dunes and don’t forget to pack a picnic!
Afterwards, spend the night at the Best Western Movie Manor in Monte Vista where your family can enjoy a drive-in movie from the comforts of your own room. Movies are piped in through speakers so you can relax in bed and watch the movie out the window on the big screens.
Mesa Verde National Park (Southwestern Colorado, about 7 hours from Castle Rock): take a day or two to explore ancient ruins and go early in the day to reserve your spot on a tour.
Enjoy a night at the Far View Lodge and cool off with a prickly pear lemonade on the rooftop patio of the restaurant for a relaxing view after your adventurous day.
Mt. Rushmore (South Dakota, a little over 6 hours from Castle Rock): a stay at the KOA Palmer Gulch at the inn, in cabins or in a camper or tent allows kids to enjoy a summer-camp type set-up with pancake breakfasts, a water slide, mini-golf, and activities and crafts. Grill out and tell stories around the campfire at night.
Visit the monument in the evening for their lighting ceremony and don’t miss the vanilla ice cream – it’s said to be the recipe of Thomas Jefferson!
In addition, a drive through Custer State Park will bring you to old fashion swimming holes and typically, clusters of bison. Stop in Blue Bell Lodge for lunch or dinner.
2. Cultural Locales.
If learning about other cultures and regions is something that your family enjoys, look no further than a few local locations that offer great learning, exploration, and of course…dining!
Taos, NM (a little over 4 hours from Castle Rock): Explore the Taos Pueblo, a 1,000 year old community still used today by the Puebloan community.
Visit the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church to admire the architecture Georgia O’Keefe was famous for painting (and don’t forget to ask about viewing “The Mystery Painting” where you can see this mysterious painting glow and “move”).
For a family dinner, try Orlando’s where you can sample New Mexican food in a casual setting.
Santa Fe, NM (about 5.5 hours from Castle Rock): a walk around Santa Fe Plaza and down Canyon Road is always a must, but within a short driving distance from Santa Fe lies some of our favorite day trip destinations.
Climb up wood ladders into ancient civilization homes in Bandelier National Monument, hike between stunning stone walls in Tent Rocks National Monument and learn about how the cause and effect of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos.
3. Adventure Based
Love the thrill of adventure? Then consider day trips that expound on that or a few days in a new location.
Steamboat Springs, CO (about 3.5 hours from Castle Rock): Revel in the magic of a mountain town – and all of the summer adventures that abound.
Get your fishing license and throw your lines in a variety of ponds and lakes in the area, grab a tube and float the Yampa River, or bike the paved Yampa River Core Trail to restaurants like Freshies or Taco Cabo.
Take the family to Old Town Hot Springs or enjoy an adventurous drive and dip in the Strawberry Park Hot Springs built into the surrounding scenery.
For hiking, check out the waterfall at Fish Creek Falls, Emerald Mountain, or any of the trails on top of the ski mountain (take the gondola to the top).
Moab, UT (about 6 hours from Castle Rock): From hiking to mountain biking to rafting, exploration in this town makes it seems like you are on a different planet.
For a special stay, consider Mt. Peale Animal Sanctuary where you can stay the night, use the kitchen, play board games, and help with disabled animals. One family of the CNMA team has cleaned stalls and fed horses, walked retired sled dogs, and gave attention to cats with head injuries. The experience was profound and meaningful for the adults and children.
In Arches National Park, opt for the “park after dark” at least one night if the moon is out for stargazing. In addition, a hike to Delicate Arch can be a must. Pack a snack to enjoy at the top.
When it comes to Canyonlands National Park, the 60-90 minute hike to Murphy’s Point (about 2.5-3 hours total) — is a fairly flat walk with stunning views. Pack a picnic and enjoy at a safe distance at the end of the point.
When it comes to traveling this summer, don’t feel that you have to fly or take a lot of time off to enjoy quality time with your family. Most of the time, kids just want to spend time with you in which you are fully present and not stressed.
If you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs or the greater Denver metro area and need support on staying present this summer, we can help!
Call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule an acupuncture appointment or call with Dr. Graves to talk about how to lower your stress and enjoy the beautiful season.
Let the travels begin!
*Please note that we do not endorse or guarantee any of these locations or experiences. We provide them simply as inspiration.
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