Getting the Most Out of Your Family Spring Break in Colorado

Spring break in Colorado is a classic. For years and years families have been loading up and going out west where the mountains scrape the sky. It’s an epic place for skiing and all sorts of other fun adventures. Here’s your guide to making the best family spring break in Chaffee County, Colorado. 

Skiing, Snowboarding and Adventure on Your Spring Vacation 

For many families, Spring Break means skiing, skiing, skiing! Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned pro, skiing and snowboarding at Monarch Mountain is a great way to spend your week off. There’s something for everyone at Monarch. 

If you have kids who are old enough to be on their own, Monarch is the perfect place to let them explore the mountain. With a family friendly vibe and one base area, you can go your own way but still feel like everyone is close at hand. 

First-timers learn on the “caterpillar”–a conveyor belt style lift–and graduate to their choice of mellow green runs off of the Snowflake lift. Experts might want to try Mirkwood Basin, a hike-to area of double black, expert only runs. 

If you’re excited to experience the resort but don’t feel like getting on skis or a snowboard, try Monarch’s tubing hill. It’s great for kids of all ages and fun for parents, too! On their multi-track run, you can slide down next to a friend. It’s also a great choice for families with a few skiers and a few non-skiers. 

If you’d like to make a day of it, enjoy the on-mountain amenities like the ski shop, Elmo’s Bar and Sidewinder Saloon while you’re there. Sidewinder Saloon’s big windows make a great spot to watch skiers and snowboarders on chilly days. In sunny weather, grab a burger on the deck and relax in the comfy adirondack chairs. 

Just down the hill from Monarch, you’ll find Monarch Snowmobile Tours. This is an awesome way to see the surrounding area and have a blast doing it! They offer guided tours and have everything from a 2-hour scenic ride for beginners to a 5 hour adventure that goes up and over a mountain pass. You can ride on your own snowmobile or ride double with a family member. You can also choose to ride with a guide if that makes you more comfortable. They are very friendly and would love to chat with you about the right trip for your crew. 

Mountain and Outdoor Adventures around Salida, Colorado 

Maybe you’re not interested in skiing or resort activities. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the mountains! Many of the best snowshoe trails are right up the road from Creekside Chalets, located just off Highway 50. Heading west toward the top of Monarch Pass will bring you deeper into evergreen woods with plenty of exploring options.  

If you don’t have your own gear, Salida Mountain Sports in downtown Salida rents snowshoes. Their staff is also on hand to answer questions about the area. They also sell any last minute items you might want for your hike. 

If you want to go for a walk, but don’t want to worry about snow and snowshoes, Salida is famous for its temperate climate and often has dry trails in and around town. Salida Mountain Trails, a local nonprofit organization, cares for and maintains multiple trail systems in the area. Their website is very helpful in finding the right trail for you. 

Some of the most popular, and most likely to be free of snow in the winter and spring, are the Tenderfoot Trails. These trails are on and around “S Mountain” in Salida. (While the official name is Tenderfoot Mountain, the light up S set into the mountain gives it the apt nickname.)  They are also very close to downtown, making it easy to combine a walk or hike with lunch or shopping. 

In this incredibly versatile trail system, you can choose to hike all day or just go for a quickie. The route up Frontside and around to the top of S Mountain will take an hour or two, depending, and is a beautiful way to get some exercise in and see town from above. 

A great option for a short hike is Duke’s Grave. This local canine legend is buried about ½ mile up the Frontside trail and offers a bench and lovely views of town and the river. It’s the perfect quick trip for those who want something short. The grave is also a great story and stopping point for anyone with young kids. 

Franz Lake in Salida is another great spot to go for a dreamy walk with lovely views. As long as it’s clear, which it usually is in sunny Colorado, you’ll get great shots of Mt. Antero, Mt. Shavano and Mt. Tabeguache. Watch out for the Angel of Shavano! She’s a local legend. 

We LOVE dogs at Creekside Chalets! If you’ve brought your furry buddy with you for your vacation, all these trails are very pup-friendly.  Be sure to bring a leash, particularly for Franz Lake as the city is particularly strict about the on-leash policy in that area.

Great Spring Break Day Trips in Chaffee County 

Spring Break is wonderful, in part, for its length. It gives you an opportunity to explore and find a variety of adventures. Chaffee County and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. Here are a few of our favorite family friendly spots close to the Chalets. 

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. This beautiful resort sits at the base of the Chalk Cliffs on the 14,000 foot peak Mt. Princeton. The views are astounding. They have multiple pools to choose from, with the infinity pool and creekside pools being some of the favorites. There’s also an adult only soaking area and spa treatments available. 

The Sand Dunes Swimming Pool, also known as the Hooper Pool, is a family dream.  This spot in the San Luis Valley has a large, open pool with two diving boards. The low dive is perfect for littles and the high dive brings hours of joy to the daredevils of the family. Next to the main pool, a small slide into a shallow area is great for all ages. 

The Hooper Pool rents noodles and pool toys for outrageously low rates (some you can even borrow if you give them a shoe!) and the snack bar has delicious food. Make a day of this fun family adventure!

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is an incredible gem and it’s a great day trip from Creekside Chalets. The great dunes are fun to climb and even sled or “sand board” on! You can rent boards at the visitor’s center or at surrounding shops (including Hooper Pool, mentioned above). 

The dunes are otherworldly and beautiful and surely worth exploring. Depending on the snowpack, some years Medano Creek runs through the park. Check park weather forecasts for information. 

If you’re heading to the San Luis Valley, your family might get a real kick out of the UFO Watchtower. This spot is truly unique with funky and interesting statues all about. It’s right off the highway on the drive to Hooper Pool, Great Sand Dunes or the Gator Farm. If you stop by at night you might even see a UFO. Who knows! Strange and wonderful things are known to happen in this neck of the woods. 

If your kids are into alligators and reptiles, the Colorado Gators alligator farm is going to please the troops. While you might not think of alligators when you think of Colorado, the hot springs at the farm make the habitat possible. Kids can hold small gators, pet turtles and see emus. It’s a one-of-a-kind adventure! 

Joyful Journey, Charlotte Hot Springs and Cottonwood Hot Springs are also close to Creekside Chalets. While these beautiful spots are better suited for adult adventures, children are permitted. You can check their sites to see if they fit into your family’s vacation plan. 

If you’re in for a day of hiking, Penitente Canyon past the town of Sawatch, is a trip into some gorgeous country. This is a mecca for rock climbers but is also great for hiking enthusiasts. The trail up the main canyon winds through rock formations. You’ll also see The Virgin of Guadalupe, a rock painting made by Spanish settlers. Bring lunch for a day-long adventure in this unique spot. 

Spring Break in Downtown Salida, Colorado 

An overview of Spring Break in Chaffee County wouldn’t be complete without mentioning beautiful downtown Salida! This is the largest historic district in Colorado and is in the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also the first town to be designated a Creative District in Colorado! 

If you love history, or even spooky stories, try Steve’s Original Salida Walking Tours. It’s also a great way to walk around and see downtown with friends or family. They offer ghost tours, history tours and cemetery tours but they fill up quickly. 

If you’re walking around downtown, explore the Museum of Authenticity. This fun space right downtown will engage your imagination. It fits right in with Salida’s artistic scene and creative mindset. 

Downtown Salida has so many restaurants, bars and coffee shops, it might be hard to choose where to spend your time. 

If you’re shopping, try Opal Boutique on F Street with everything from high end dresses to affordable jewelry and gifts. Drift and Amble is a great spot to pick up some locally made t-shirts and cards. Oveja Negra hand makes bags and goods right here in Salida! Their products stand the test of time and are incredibly well made. 

If you’re looking to make the kids happy, try Kaleidoscope Toys, a true local toy store. But if you REALLY want to see them lose their minds with happiness, check out Fun Street Family Arcade! This will bring you back to the days of your youth with Skee-Ball, air hockey and tons of classic arcade games. The prizes are curated by Scotty, owner and operator, and go way beyond plastic junk. It’s an absolute must visit for families! 

Book your Creekside Spring Break Getaway

We know traveling for Spring Break and making everyone happy can be challenging. But staying at Creekside Chalets makes it easy! Skiing is close by and there are so many fun adventures just waiting around the corner! Plus, if you ever feel like hanging around the cabin for a day, the hot tub is always hot and the trails around our 10 acre stroll right by the creek. The living rooms in our cabins have space for the crew to relax and play games. It’s the perfect place to make family Spring Break memories. Check our website for availability today!