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Winter activities for the whole family in Colorado


9 August, 2023


29 November, 2023

Enjoy a relaxing family winter getaway in the Rocky Mountains

The sheer natural beauty of the Colorado mountains makes this stunning part of the USA a fantastic place to visit at any time of the year. However, winter here is particularly special. Once the summer sun has faded, the snows come and turn Colorado into a winter wonderland.

Home to some of the best winter sports facilities in the world, it's a place where Olympic champions ski and snowboard alongside novices and where chilly days on the slopes are followed by snuggly, warm evenings in front of a roaring fire at the most luxurious Colorado chalets.

There are so many things to do in Colorado during the winter that one trip is never enough. In this article, we'll take you through the array of family-friendly winter activities in Colorado, including mountain sports and some extras that may surprise you. We'll give you a few tips on getting the most out of your winter vacation in Colorado and a few ideas on how to turn the journey into an adventure that the kids will love.

At onefinestay, we ensure your family's winter vacation is unforgettable from start to end. Whether it’s matching you to your dream chalet or assisting with booking essentials like equipment hire, restaurants, and car hire, our team is on tap to make your getaway special.

Hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding

When it comes to winter sports, Colorado is a go-big-or-go-home kind of place. The mountains are truly breathtaking, and with more than 30 resorts to choose from, including Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat, Vail, and Keystone, skiers and snowboarders are truly spoilt for choice.

If your list of family fun things to do in the winter in Colorado includes learning to ski or snowboard, there are plenty of family-friendly ski areas and 'nursery slopes' where the runs are gentle, the snow is soft, and even the ski lifts are easy to get onto. You'll find the beginner slopes closer to the resorts as they're lower down the mountain.

All of the major ski centres offer lessons for children and beginners. So, if this is the first time you've strapped on a set of skis, don't worry, you're in safe hands, simply speak to your dedicated concierge who will arrange beginner-friendly lessons with a local expert.

A wealth of activities awaits

Snow tubing and sledging adventures

Fun family activities in Colorado in the winter don’t just include skiing or snowboarding. There are so many winter family activities in Colorado that you'll need to come back more than once to experience them all.

All the family will love a day out on the mountains’ tubing hills. Race each other down the snowy slopes, enjoying the gorgeous scenery as you go. Tubing is guaranteed to leave everyone breathless and laughing - the children will love it.

Try the tubing hills in Keystone, which even has its own tubing lift so you don't have to hike back up the mountain towing your tube. Or head to Winter Park Resort and their Coca-Cola Tube Park, a custom-made tubing wonderland with cook-out food and live music. The wonderfully quirky Saddleback Ranch Yee-Haw Tubing Hill in Steamboat Springs also hires toboggans and sledges. It makes a more laid-back option than the tougher physical challenges of the ski slopes.

For the ultimate family experience in Colorado in winter, why not let a team of dogs do the hard work while you sit back and enjoy the ride? From the Vail Valley to historic Oak Creek near Steamboat Springs, whizzing along snowy trails behind a pack of well-trained dogs is an experience not to be missed.

Ice skating in scenic locations

Colorado’s ice skating rinks are a chance for the whole family to enjoy a more relaxed winter sport.

The region has lots of facilities, both indoors and outdoors, and most rinks offer ice skating lessons for children, too. We love the indoor Hanlie Ice Rink in Telluride and the Howelsen Park Ice Arena in Steamboat Springs.

Or try the outdoor Mountain Village Ice Rink, surrounded by charming alpine lodges and with cafés serving creamy hot chocolates just a slide away. If you want to book some ice skating lessons for the kids, your dedicated concierge will be able to help.

Explore winter hiking and snowshoeing trails

In the summer, Colorado is the place to come for alpine trails and hiking, but there are miles of open trails in the winter, too.

Strap on a pair of snowshoes and set off to explore the snowfields, where you may glimpse winter wildlife during your walks.

· It’s essential to wrap up warm for these treks, as temperatures can drop to well below freezing. Don’t forget your hats and gloves too.

· Always make sure that you tell someone where you’re planning to go and when you expect to be back.

· Our top tip: Carry a pocket locator beacon so that if the worst happens, rescue teams can find you quickly (and this applies to any winter sport where you're out in the wild).

· If the weather starts to close in, don’t push on - head home as quickly as you can.

Cosy up on sleigh rides

One of the most perfect winter activities in Colorado has to be a horse-drawn sleigh ride.

It's a wonderfully peaceful way to relax and experience the sheer beauty and majesty of the Colorado mountains while staying warm, cosy and tucked up in the back of a comfortable sleigh. Breckenridge is the place to go for winter scenic tours, with rides in various locations across the region from November to mid-April.

For the ultimate experience, why not book a sleigh ride for the family in the evening as the stars start to come out over the mountain peaks? After a magical experience, return to your onefinestay chalet in Colorado for hot chocolates and a plate of s'mores. Your onefinestay dedicated concierge can book sleigh rides for you.

Family-friendly hot springs

You may be surprised to hear that Colorado isn't just famous in the winter for chilly outdoor sports, but it's renowned for its hot springs, too.

There are nearly 100 to choose from across the state, where you can soak in the mineral-rich water and soothe those aching muscles. Steamboat's legendary Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a real oasis just a short drive from Downtown Steamboat. Go there during the day (it's adults only after dark), and you can soak in kid-safe pools that warm every part of you with 102°F/38.9°C water that bubbles up from below the earth's crust.

Some of the other springs in the area are also adult-only in the evenings, and clothing is optional, so do bear that in mind if you're looking for winter family activities in Colorado. The vast majority of springs insist on no eating or drinking while you’re in the pools, but onsite cafés and restaurants at many of the spas ensure you and the family won’t go hungry after a relaxing soak.

Indoor fun at museums and aquariums

This is mountain country, and occasionally, the weather can become a little inclement. However, there are lots of indoor things to do in Colorado in the winter that should keep everyone happy.

The Mountain Top Children’s Museum in Breckenridge is a delight, with interactive exhibits telling you all about the history and natural wonders of the region.

Take the drive to Denver, and you have several fantastic kid's museums to explore, including the Eureka! McConnell Science Museum and the Children's Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus. While you’re in the state capital, you can drop into the Denver Aquarium and marine exhibits or take the road up the infamous Pike’s Peak to the Children’s Museum with its hands-on learning and interactive exhibits.

Family-friendly winter festivals and events

Every town across the Rocky Mountains has its own cluster of festivals and events during the winter, including gorgeously festive Christmas markets, music and cultural events, and food festivals.

Family-friendly things to do in Colorado in December should include a visit to the holiday parades and light displays. The kids will love the exciting night skis where hundreds of Santas come skiing and snowboarding down the slopes carrying brightly lit torches. It's a real spectacle and a great way to kick off the festive celebrations.

Other winter festivals include the immensely popular Ullr Fest in Breckenridge, a celebration of the Norse god of snow, which includes a huge bonfire, and the infamous Ullr Ice Plunge. Or join in with the Steamboat Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs in February, which is packed with fun events for adults and kids alike.

Visit historic mountain towns

There's plenty of history in the mountains of Colorado, including centuries of gold and silver mining, the ancient history of the native people of Colorado, and the quaint mountain towns where time has slowed down.

If you’re staying in a onefinestay luxury Colorado chalet in Breckenridge, you’re actually in the heart of one of the most historic silver mining towns in the state. You can still see its historic buildings and frontages on Main Street. The town celebrates its heritage every year with winter festivals to give you a taste of what it was like to be one of those brave pioneers and prospectors.

A trip to other historic towns, such as St Elmo, will immerse you in the state's history. This perfectly preserved ghost town is still home to a few residents. You can also explore the historic town of Cripple Creek, the location of the last great Colorado gold rush. Even the town’s museum is said to be haunted.

Interested in finding out more about the kind of activities on offer in the Rocky Mountains? Discover ourDestination Guide to Breckenridge or explore the array of Things to Do In Aspen.

Tips for winter travel with children

Colorado in the winter is a fantastic destination, whether you want to hit the slopes, soak in a hot spring, or enjoy some family time together. To make sure you get the most out of your time, here are a few top tips from the team at onefinestay so that your winter family activities in Colorado are as easy as can be.

· It’s wise to pack carefully and prepare for very cold weather. Base layers designed for cold weather wear are ideal, as they are specifically made with products like Merino wool for extra warmth without bulking up.

· Hats and gloves are essential, as the temperatures can fall well below freezing even during the day.

· Don’t forget your sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun reflected on the white snowfields.

· Your dedicated onefinestay concierge can arrange for car hire so that you can easily explore the local area during your stay.

· As many of the onefinestay chalets in Colorado are located on steep hills, a 4WD may be necessary to access them in the winter months. During heavy snow, you may need to fit snow chains.

· Reduce your driving speed in icy conditions, and leave extra braking room when driving.

· Your concierge can arrange for amenities such as child care, babysitting and booking tickets or restaurant reservations, leaving you free to enjoy your trip without focusing on any of the little details.

· Remember to bring a few games to keep the children entertained in the evenings or in case the weather turns.

Colorado is truly awe-inspiring. Sweeping landscapes, incredible facilities and fascinating towns combine with the natural beauty of the region. This is a place where you can create lifelong winter memories with your family, as well as spring and summer adventures, too. Embrace the fun and excitement that winter family activities in Colorado offer, and enjoy every moment of your special family vacation in this majestic destination.

At onefinestay, we have a fabulous selection of exclusive chalets in Colorado in unbeatable locations such as Breckenridge and Telluride. Discover 4 Mountain Chalets With Unforgettable Views or explore our Guide To Vail and Beaver Creek.

Plan your winter in Colorado with onefinestay

With plenty of winter activities for the whole family to enjoy, onefinestay provides the ideal starting point for exploring one of the most exciting and picturesque destinations in the world. Check out our Colorado travel guide to learn more, and reserve a cozy winter lodge with onefinestay today.