The earth is a wondrous place, filled with beauty, awe, and inspiration. Living in Colorado, we have oodles at our fingertips to explore.
One of our favorite ways to celebrate the place in which we live is to simply see and experience it for ourselves. Opening our eyes and minds to the marvels of our land, the civilizations and generations before us, and the splendor it all holds can expand our view of the world and of life itself.
Although we don’t officially endorse or guarantee any of the following ideas or places, they are extraordinary experiences we have had. Feel free to use them as inspiration for your own exploration!
A Bit North and East
An approximate 6-7 hour road trip from Castle Rock, CO, a trip to Mount Rushmore National Memorial can be fun for the entire family. Walk the Presidential Trail for a closer view, watch the 14 minute film of how it was built, stay for the evening lighting ceremony, and don’t forget to try today’s version of Thomas Jefferson’s ice cream recipe!
A stay at the Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch offers lodging, cabins, and camp spots close by. Our kids have done everything from decorate their bikes for a Fourth of July campground bike parade to flashlight candy bar hunts at night. Swimming, gold mining, arts and crafts, and golfing keep them busy day and night!
Nearby Custer State Park provides swimming holes and places to paddle if you bring your board as well as horseback riding and herds of buffalo to watch (ask a gate attendant where they’ve recently been spotted when you enter the park). A meal at Blue Bell Lodge is always on our list.
As well, in around 45 minutes you can be at Wind Cave National Park for a guided tour of underground caves. Make sure to research about reservations before going and bring a picnic lunch in case you have a wait.
About a 90 minute drive east is Badlands National Park where a stretch stop at Wall Drug can provide kids a welcome respite for souvenir shopping and homemade donuts. Don’t worry – you can’t miss it as there are plenty of signs along the way to remind you!
A Bit South
One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon and its National Park can be too astounding to describe.
An extra special way to experience the Grand Canyon can be the 2+ hour train trip from Williams, AZ on the Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim with an overnight stay. This unique transportation can release the stress of traffic and parking while providing a beautiful and relaxing trip with food, beverages, and entertainment. And once there, the Park’s bus service and trails can take you along the Rim for activities and sightseeing.
In New Mexico, both Carlsbad Caverns National Park and White Sands National Park can be great for family exploration. Try not to miss the Bat Flight Program in the evening at the Caverns when they fly out in search of food (check dates and times before going) and take a plastic saucer sled to White Sands for fun sliding down the soft terrain. If driving from Colorado, a stop at Petroglyph National Monument can offer movement outside of car travel with its hikes.
A Bit West
A sunrise hike to Delicate Arch with breakfast snacks at the top and stargazing in the park after dark are some of our must-do’s at Arches National Park. Renting an airstream at Sun RV Resorts just down the road has allowed us to “camp” without the hassle of set-up and break-down and the swimming pool, life-size chess board, playground, and golf-putting kept us coming back to the campground just to enjoy the amenities.
In addition, petroglyph hunting around town and a sunset picnic at the end of Murphy’s Point in Canyonlands National Park can be wondrous. Just make sure to pack headlamps for the hike back!
These are just some of the natural wonders around us – there are plenty more in which we may just have to share more in the future!
We wish you happy and safe traveling and many special memories!
*CNMA does not endorse, recommend, or guarantee any experience, location, company, and business. Ideas are for inspirational purposes only.