Since we began fulltime RVing, so many of our fellow travelers raved about the beauty of Colorado and how much they enjoyed their time here. It didn’t take us long to catch the bug. Breath-taking natural wonders, a culture that revels in healthy, outdoor activity…what’s not to love?
When all is said and done, we’ll have spent more than two months in Colorado this summer. Hopefully this rundown of our activities will inspire your own travels, and it will surely keep the memories fresh for us!
June 28-July 4 and July 11-August 1
We stayed at Peregrine Pines FamCamp on the Airforce Academy base just north of Colorado Springs. The campground is shaded by magnificent pine trees that smell even better than they look. We loved the spacious, level sites, and even found a place to put up our hammock. If you have access to military camping, staying here is a nobrainer.
The Dive, a hole in the wall near Manitou Springs with delicious BBQ and hamburgers.
Broadmoor Hotel, where we began our fourth wedding anniversary celebrations. The grounds are gorgeous and the Hotel Bar has yummy cocktails and a beautiful view of Cheyenne Lake.
Pepper Tree Restaurant, where Eric took me for our anniversary. It’s definitely for special occasions, but everything we ate there was amazing. Our steaks (center cut filets) were cooked tableside and served with mango chutney and flamed with French brandy. Unforgettable!
The Airplane Restaurant, where we got to see our dear friends Denny and Veronica from RV Outlawz.
Garden of the Gods, home to amazing rock formations, interesting exhibits and countless trails for biking and hiking. We drove through before sunset (admission is free).
Manitou Incline, probably the most insane physical challenge I’ll ever attempt. A huge thank you to Veronica, who patiently waited on me and encouraged me while I took an hour and 29 minutes to reach the summit!
The Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs, with its collection of vintage arcade games like I’ve never seen.
We had a blast at Colorado Renaissance Festival with Javen and Silas, which ran from June 13th-August 2nd this year.
We also took advantage of white water rafting through the Airforce Academy. We spent a day rafting Bighorn Sheep Canyon (Class II-III), and we did in fact see a large herd of male bighorn sheep. In other news, our boat definitely flipped over at Satan’s Suckhole. Everyone went everywhere, but fortunately Eric was able to rescue Silas and I was able to rescue Javen. The other three boats in our party were awesome about coming to get us, and we even managed to get all of our paddles back!
Clear Creek RV Park in Golden, CO is possibly the coolest campground we’ve stayed at because of its location right on Clear Creek and its proximity to the charming town of Golden. It’s tough to beat going to sleep and waking up to the sound of a rushing mountain stream.
Woody’s Pizza, home of the best pizza buffet ever! Don’t miss the beer cheese soup or dipping your crusts in honey and olive oil. That’s how we do pizza in Colorado.
Table Mountain Inn is the place to go for margaritas and nachos.
I’m writing this article from the spacious outdoor patio at Cafe 13, and Windy Saddle is another great coffee option with more extended hours.
The boys arrived in town just in time for Independence Day festivities at Lions Park. There was food, live music and bouncy houses for the kids.
It ended up raining almost our entire week in Golden, but we made the most of it. One entertaining indoor activity was the swimming pool at the Community Center. They had a huge slide, diving board, and other fun water games. They also have a good amount of lap swimming lanes if that’s your thing.
Main street Golden (Washington Ave) is fun to wander, and it’s a brief walk from Clear Creek RV Park.
The main reason we’re in Colorado this summer is to spend time with my youngest brother Timothy, who’s getting married at the end of August. He and his fiance Hannah came down to Golden and we introduced them to Woody’s!
During our time in Golden, we took a quick drive up to Idaho Springs to meet our friends Brandon and Kerensa from Drive, Dive, Devour for dinner at Beau Jo’s.
On the way home, we took a short detour to Genesee Park to see the herd of bison there. They were frolicking in the rain and it was a lot of fun to see them.
I couldn’t resist taking a trip to Yellowstone this summer. We left on a Thursday and had a half-day Friday and all of Saturday at the park. It was so worth the ten-hour drive! Our visit started out perfectly when we walked into the visitor’s center at Old Faithful and the geyser went off right in front of us! It really streamlined our sightseeing too, since we didn’t have to wait around for an hour and a half to see it.
We loved the Old Faithful basin and walked the two+ miles to Morning Glory Pool. As we rounded the loop back toward Old Faithful, we saw our first pair of bison just a few yards from the walking path! A stop at historical Old Faithful Inn and Biscuit Basin completed our Friday visit.
I got up at 4:30 AM on Saturday to get our day going early. Shortly after 5, we were all in the car and on our way. The drive through Grand Teton as the sun came up was something I’ll never forget. Wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk, and we saw a ton of bison and elk on our drive. Sometime before 8, we picked up where we left off on the Grand Loop, at Midway Geyser Basin. Grand Prismatic Spring = awesome.
Norris Geyser Basin was our next stop, with the turquoise pools in Porcelain Basin and Steamboat Geyser in Back Basin–the world’s tallest currently active geyser. We caught up to a ranger tour in Back Basin that was really informative.
Speaking of rangers, Javen and Silas worked tirelessly to earn their junior ranger badges at Yellowstone. We could hardly get them to put their booklets down, which was awesome.
Our last big stop was Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. From the North Rim, the boys and I took the trek down to the brink of Lower Falls, which was so cool. I entertained the thought of going down Uncle Tom’s Trail on the South Rim, but I didn’t quite have it in me! We did visit Lookout Point, an awesome spot for photos, before spending some time at the visitor’s center and browsing the shops at Canyon Village.
We stayed at Pony Express Inn in Jackson Hole. It was insanely expensive (welcome to a resort town), but I would stay there again. Our room was rusticly charming, while still having noticeable updates. The boys loved their bunkbeds. Food recommendation for Jackson Hole: The Bird! I haven’t stopped thinking about the Jefferson blue cheese burger I had, and the view from the outdoor patio was gorgeous!
We also walked around the town square a bit on Sunday morning before we left town.
I know we only saw a fraction of what there is to see at Yellowstone (yes, it’s okay if you comment about your favorite things we missed), but we had a fantastic trip. Check that one off our living list. Next big sight to see with the kids: the redwood forest.
Our time in the Denver area is kind of crazy, campground wise. We waited until the last minute to make reservations, and then it turned out we had to work around our eldest’s graduation from Coast Guard basic training on August 21st. We’re splitting our time between Prospect RV Park, Dakota Ridge, and then we’re going back to Clear Creek in Golden because we loved it so much!
I’ll have to update on Denver food and activities a couple of weeks from now. So far we’ve mostly spent time with my brother and worked, a lot.
Dinner is calling! Thanks for reading.
Just really enjoying your posts. We traveled/camped a lot as kids. I remember Jackson Hole as being the comparatively most expensive place I have ever been, including Alaska and Hawaii. So wonderful you are getting to take the boys to these places. If you get a chance go through Estes Park, maybe with the car not the Wanderlust though. But I know you will get plenty of good advice from fellow RVers. BTW LOVE your bison necklace, matches the paint on the Wanderlust perfectly!
Summer 2015 Adventures in Colorado, Part II
[…] Our second month of adventuring in Colorado this summer was just as awesome as the first. If you haven’t learned about the campgrounds we stayed at, food we ate or activities we enjoyed in Colorado Springs, Golden and Yellowstone (okay, not exactly Colorado)…read all about it now! […]