By Jaime Travis
You know you're in the right place when your 5 year-old daughter tears up and tells you she is so sad to go home. Such was our recent and lovely stay at the YMCA of the Rockies in picturesque Estes Park. If you've never been, the Y is situated above the town of Estes and is nestled right next to Rocky Mountain National Park--you truly can't ask for a more convenient or beautiful location. This place has it all, and we did our best to experience as much as possible during our 3 day visit........hiking, fishing, horseback riding, crafts (tie-dyes!), outdoor fire pits and s'more making and a top-notch day camp for the kids.
Some think the YMCA isn't for them, but, this isn't just sleeping bags and hot dogs. We were lucky enough to stay in a 3 bedroom Summit Cabin, complete with a kitchen, fireplace, 2 bathrooms and a deck overlooking the mountains. If that doesn't fit your needs, there are many accommodation options, anything from hotel-style lodge rooms, to 4 bedroom vacation homes. There are also sit-down dining options, a cafe, and did I mention all the free or extremely low cost activities available? These include:
- Arts and Crafts
- S'mores and campfires
- Horseback riding
- Sports (volleyball, tether ball, baseball, soccer, etc.)
- Mountaineering/Rock Climbing
- A library
With all this to offer, by far the highlight for my kids, Jack who is 73/4, and Lucca, 5, was the day camp. First off, it is beyond reasonable at $26/day per child for a full day (8:15am-3:15pm), I almost felt bad paying so little! There is a very high counselor to camper ratio and the kids had a blast. Swimming, shaving cream fights, giant game of capture the flag, and on certain days they also go horseback riding. I wish we could have stayed longer, they had so much fun.
Now is a great time to start planning a visit to the YMCA of the Rockies, just a short drive away and located at 9,000+ feet, the temperature is cool enough to bring a sweater – and the fall activities will soon be underway. Things like the annual Elk Rut, the Harvest Festival and other family-friendly activities will be taking place in September and October.
Right now rates are coming down as kids head back to school and the summer crowds start to pack it up. Which means it is the perfect time for Colorado families to get up there. With lodging starting as low as $79/night, the price is right.
From basic hotel-style lodge rooms to private cabins with multiple bedrooms kitchens and wood-burning fireplaces, families can find the right accommodation for their needs. Cabins are great for families because you can bring your food, which is especially helpful for those who don't want to take all meals in the Y's large cafeteria-style dining room. Early morning coffee on the deck amid this scenery is the way to go.
To get to know more about the YMCA Of the Rockies at Estes Park, please visitwww.ymcarockies.orgRead the full story »