RVING IN COLORFUL COLORADO
It’s hard to believe it’s already March. With the end of winter just around the corner, it was time to pack up our snow gear and head down the mountain.
Our last week in Breckenridge was packed with activity. We love this mountain town like home and wanted to make the most of our last few days.
We played in the snow.
We hit the slopes as much as we could.
The last morning of our departure we went for one more hike to soak up the beauty of the mountains.
Nico joined us. She’s getting older but loves to get out with us to explore, even if it’s snowy.
It was an amazing winter. We will miss this place so much and look forward to the next time we put down our jacks up here in the snow.
Roughly 70 miles west of Breckenridge the mountains slowly give way to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and a few miles later the buildings of downtown Denver spring up from the center of a sea of development.
Thing 1 really loves to visit cities so we couldn’t pass by Denver without stopping for a few days to explore. There are many camping options in the area for RVers. We chose Cherry Creek State Park based on a friend’s recommendation.
We are having a blast doing an #RVScavengerHunt on the Go RVing Instagram where followers suggest places to see. Red Rocks Amphitheater was one of the suggestions so our first afternoon we decided to go see what this Denver icon was all about!
Red Rocks Amphitheater opened on June 15, 1941. More than 9000 people can sit among the giant rocks to listen to bands play on the only “naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world.”
However Red Rocks is so much more than an amphitheater. It is also a park with more than 600 acres of natural beauty featuring hiking, biking, shopping and dining. There is also a fabulous visitor center where you can learn all about the park and look at some legendary music memorabilia.
The next day we headed to downtown Denver for some city exploration. The Mile High City has a mile long pedestrian walkway called the 16th Street Mall with tons of shopping and restaurants. Electric buses run up and down the street offering free shuttles to people who would rather ride.
Nearby is Denver Union Station. It serves as the transportation hub, a hotel, and has a wide array of restaurants. The Denver Union Station was built in 1881 and went through a major renovation starting in 2012. It reopened last June. It’s a beautiful design reflecting the sophistication of another era, combined with the conveniences of our time.
We were told a stop in Denver wouldn’t be complete without having dinner at Casa Bonita. “Don’t go for the food. Go for the experience,” they said. And an experience it was. We knew we were in for a “treat” when we pulled into the strip mall and saw Casa Bonita’s pink stucco tower looming above the roof of the Dollar Tree.
Inside, we waited in line to get our food cafeteria style but it was worth it when we were led to the dining room.
It felt like we were in a dream that went something like this: “There was a gorilla chasing a cowgirl through palm trees covered in green lights. Oh and there were caves and waterfalls and a Mexican market. Then someone dove off a cliff into an aqua pool while mariachis played.”
It was unlike any restaurant I’ve ever been to. Like Chuck E. Cheese and Disneyland go to Mexico 70’s style.
And WOW…Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs may be one of the best cities for RVers. We could have easily spent weeks in this fabulous low-key city thanks to the many campgrounds and family-friendly activities.
Downtown Colorado Springs may not be a bustling metropolis but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do. It’s charming and unlike many cities has easy parking – a huge plus when you are driving a big dually truck. There are theaters, shops and many restaurants.
We strolled along the street for many blocks. Unfortunately, the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum was closed for the day. The building was beautiful though.
Nearby downtown is Ivywild School. Don’t be fooled by the name. Ivywild School is no longer a school. It’s a newly repurposed building that is home to community gardens (during the summer), restaurants, and a market where you can buy produce and fresh baked bread, among other things. We had heard about this place and had to check it out for ourselves. We enjoyed coffee and lavender lemonade out on the patio on a perfect Colorado (almost spring!) day.
A few miles west of downtown lies the eclectic town of Manitou Springs. Another destination suggested for the #RVScavengerHunt.
A charming and funky little town, Manitou Springs sits between Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. Founded in 1872 and known for its mineral springs – it quickly became a destination town.
Today, you can still take a drink of water from the spring then stroll through the creekside park, enjoy the quirky architecture, play games at the arcade, shop, or eat at one of the many restaurants.
Talk about a wonderfully eccentric town! My favorite part of our visit to Manitou was when we stopped to admire a parrot a man was carrying on his shoulder. He asked if I wanted to pet him. When I held out my hand, the man plopped the parrot right onto my arm. It was a little bizarre but really fun! You never know the kind of surprises you’ll come across when you go RVing!
The best part of our visit to Colorado Springs was meeting up with old friends from our hometown of Ventura, California.
Our friends moved to Colorado 6 years ago and we’ve missed them greatly. Over the weekend we met up to hike at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Red Rock Canyon is almost 800 acres of open space used for hiking, biking, horseback riding, climbing, and picnicking. The boys enjoyed exploring and climbing up over rocks with their friends.
After our hike we headed over to Old Colorado City another fun little neighborhood in “The Springs” for a ice cream. Sometimes the boys need a little incentive to finish a hike. 😉
Colorado Springs’ most popular (and our favorite) attraction is Garden of the Gods – a public park and registered National Natural Landmark.
It’s a wonderful place for a hike or bike ride. It’s like being transported to another planet with huge rocks jutting from the earth like gigantic teeth.
Have you ever gone RVing to Colorado Springs or Denver? What were your most memorable attractions? What would you add to our #RVScavengerHunt? Speaking of the scavenger hunt, don’t forget to follow Go RVing on Instagram to join in the fun!