Colorado Springs is a city of nuances - both dry and lush, desert landscape coupled with friendly evergreens and an impressive, snow-capped mountain peak.
The humble city, with a population of just shy of 475,000, lies very near the heart of the state of Colorado - perhaps a bit more east than west.
With an elevation of 6,035 feet, the city is dotted with greenery and trees, while also maintaining a desert sisterhood with neighboring states: New Mexico and Arizona.
Because of the dryer climate, you'll find fewer bugs in the summer - which means you can spend hours out of doors - on picnics, hikes, or bike rides around town.
Indeed, Colorado Springs is well-known for being a mecca for outdoorsy people. Walkers, bikers, hikers, runners, and climbers all can easily find a place here.
Colorado Springs offers a full four-season experience with temperatures to match. Even in the winter, however, you can still expect sunshine to occasionally splash on your cheeks. On average, Colorado Springs has 243 days of sunshine per year, which is more than the national average of 205 days.
Be sure to check the forecast before you go, but you can use the below temperature averages as a general guideline.
The northern side of Colorado Springs is decidedly more beautiful, but you can stay anywhere and get almost everywhere.
Consider one of these highly rated hotels:
Focus on the Family's Welcome Center could easily be described as a "hidden gem" in Colorado Springs. The building may look somewhat nondescript from the outside, but walk through the doors and you will enter a children's wonderland. The decor is masterfully done (with quality comparable to what you might see at Disney's parks) and your children will be enthralled as they round every new corner.
If your kids have listened to Adventures in Odyssey, an engaging and exceptional audio drama for kids, they will feel like they are stepping right into their favorite episodes.
Never heard of Whit, Connie, or Eugene? No worries! Your kids will fall in love with this place all the same. We dare you to take your little ones here and have it not end up as one of their favorite parts of your trip. After all, what child wouldn't want to glide down a 3-story slide, try on costumes and perform on-stage, play inside an airplane, or enjoy a milkshake at a thematic soda shoppe?
Worried about a steep pricetag? Don't be! Admission is FREE. Focus on the Family offers an incredible kid's playspace - in an uplifting environment - at no cost. There are only two (optional!) places to spend money: the soda shoppe (which has affordable pricing) and the bookstore (which is unobtrusive).
The Soda Shoppe sells standard amusement park style foods, but at better prices. Sundaes, floats, smoothies, and milkshakes are $4. Ice cream in a cup or cone is $1.75. Hungry for lunch? Hot dogs, grilled cheese, or individual pizzas run from $2.95-$5.00. There is even a gluten-friendly cauliflower crust pizza for $7, which we hear is divine.
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Without a doubt, Garden of the Gods is Colorado Spring's most recognizable hiking destination. This 1,300-acre park is well-known for its beautiful red rock formations. Admission to the park and visitor center is free and parking is complimentary at any of the 336 spots at the visitor center and throughout the park.
The Visitor & Nature Center is a great place to begin your adventure at Garden of the Gods. Inside, you can learn more about the park, pick up a FREE full-color trail map, purchase a souvenir, or get a bite to eat at Bean Sprouts ("a hip & healthy cafe" - view the menu).
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Miramont Castle Museum is actually located in Manitou Springs (an eccentric suburb of Colorado Springs). Built in 1895, this four-story home is filled with eclectic items from bygone eras. There is not a specific story or family that you learn about as you wander from floor-to-floor. In fact, some areas seem quite random in nature. The basement, for example, is full of vintage firefighting items (helmets, medals, etc).
If you enjoy antiques, history, and tea or if visiting a historic building that looks like a castle appeals to you, Miramont Castle will likely intrigue you.
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Seven Falls is majestic and enchanting - with Zion-like boulders and greenery. It is also PRICEY. At $16 per adult (ages 13+) and $10 per child (ages 2-12), the cost for a family is quite steep. This admission fee will cover your shuttle from a parking lot up closer to the falls and then your walk up to the falls.
The shuttle is a van or bus and your ride from a dirt parking lot will take approximately 15 minutes.
After you arrive at the entrance, you pay for your tickets and walk 0.8 miles on a paved road toward the falls. If you prefer not to walk, you can pay an additional $2 per person to take a tram, which will take you right up to the falls.
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If you are using Colorado Springs as your "vacation base," but have several days to explore the area, you may want to plan day trips to the following neighboring cities and attractions:
When we drove away from Colorado Springs and said our good-byes, our whole family agreed that we would like to come back to the area in the future.
When we do, we have the following attractions on our list: Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Compassion International Headquarters, Glen Eyrie, Magic Town, North Cheyenne Cañon Park (including Helen Hunt Falls), Pike's Peak, and the US Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.
Watch this page for continued updates and top tips for planning your next trip to Colorado Springs.