How to Have the Best Family Vacation in Colorado

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We recommend plenty of skiing—but you'll have all kinds of fun inside, too.

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Colorado in the winter is pure magic—even for those who aren’t amped about winter sports. Beyond skiing and snowboarding, the wintery Colorado towns capitalize on comfort, good food, heated pools with mountain views, and family fun. First-time visitors to Colorado may not realize that their must-visit destinations are fairly spread out. Snowmass and Telluride, for example, are about four hours from each other. The best bet when planning a perfect family vacation in Colorado is to either hone in on the Snowmass/Aspen area, the Telluride area, or the Vail/Breckenridge area. If you’re planning a full week-long vacation, you could consider hitting two of the destinations—or if you focus on Vail, you’d be close enough to tack on a couple of days in Denver.

Colorado ski areas also continue to get more accessible for out-of-town visitors, which also makes it an ideal spot for a domestic winter escape. Delta just added another domestic service, from Atlanta, directly to Montrose (Telluride’s adjacent airport), and American added a LaGuardia to Montrose flight for the upcoming winter season.

Here’s what to keep on your radar when planning your Colorado family vacation this year:

Ice skate at The Rink at Snowmass Base Village

Open every day from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Rink at Snowmass Base Village is rolling out new winter programming this year, like a disco-themed skating night and Ice Bumper Cars, which runs from December 16 to January 2. Skate rentals are free all season long at The Rink and spending some quality time at Snowmass Base Village is ideal for families staying in Snowmass or Aspen, which is just nine miles away.

Stay in Snowmass luxury

Stay at the Viceroy Snowmass, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, which offers ski-in/ski-out accessibility for the avid powder chasers in your family, but also has a world-class spa and a heated outdoor pool and bar, for a more hygge-oriented experience. Viceroy Snowmass has a three-bedroom penthouse suite perfect for a family vacation. The penthouse has two balconies, a fireplace in the master bedroom, and can sleep up to eight people.

Spend an alpine day tubing and riding the Snowmass roller coaster

When the family needs a break from skiing or snowboarding, try a different kind of mountain thrill: the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster. The tubing-coaster combo tickets get you a day of tubing and three alpine coaster rides. The coaster goes up to 28 miles per hour, so hold on to your hats and loved ones.

Take a horse-drawn carriage to dinner in Telluride

Telluride Sleighs and Wagons curates an experience wherein a horse-drawn carriage brings you to the Aldasoro Ranch for dinner. The Aldasoro family hails from northern Spain, so they’re proud to serve authentically Basque-inspired cuisine. Best of all, your family will dine in a yurt on the ranch’s property—where the winter star-gazing opportunities are unrivaled.

Experience the highest-elevation fine dining restaurant in North America

For a parents’ date night, Alpino Vino sits at 11,966 feet, and just getting to the dinner proves to be exceptionally romantic. You’ll first take a scenic gondola up, followed by a snowcat ride to complete the trek up the mountain. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by comfort fare they’d serve in the Italian alps, and Alpino Vino, as the name suggests, is known for their expansive fine wine selection.

Get complimentary lift tickets at Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection

You’ll find luxury accommodations for the whole family in Telluride, Madeline Hotel & Residences. For guests staying three nights or more at the ski-in/ski-out resort, Madeline Hotel & Residences will include two adult lift tickets for each night of your stay. After a day of skiing, bring the whole family to Madeline’s nightly bonfire, where you can all tuck into Gold Rush s’mores, dotted with gold flecks and served with whiskey (for the parents).

Apres-ski in style at The Sebastian—Vail

Known for their decadent hot chocolate, frost bar, and four mountain-view hot tubs, The Sebastian—Vail, A Timbers Resort is the perfect spot to unwind after a day on the slopes. The adults can try a hot stone massage enhanced with Colorado CBD at Bloom Spa, The Sebastian’s boutique spa. Meanwhile, guests of the resort can take advantage of several family amenities, including the Tykes Room and the just-for-kids club: Battle Mountain Kids' Camp.

Take a ski lesson for women, by women

Women’s Ultimate 4 Ski Lessons seek to “empower women through sport,” and cultivates an atmosphere of female support and strength on the slopes. Mothers can take lessons during the day while kids head to ski school, or for those with older children, this could be the perfect environment for a mother-daughter lesson. The lessons are all female-taught and run, and are limited to four per lesson to garner a more intimate group feel.