Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women
A family outing to Ashcroft, a ghost town near Aspen.

Photo Credit: Denise Chambers/Weaver Multimedia Group

With the current economy, many families are looking for values when planning their 2009 summer vacation. Colorado is offering special travel packages to make it affordable for families to take an unforgettable getaway that many feel is crucial to family bonding. From rafting adventures to camping at hundreds of campsites across the state, Colorado offers a summer vacation option for just about any family. Below is a selection of family vacation packages in Colorado. For more information or additional Colorado travel deals, visit: www.colorado.com

In Vail, An Epic Summer Family Adventure Awaits. Vail Resorts is introducing Epic Summer: three and six night all-inclusive family vacation adventure packages in Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek. Families will embark on locally-guided adventure experiences, including whitewater rafting; horseback riding; gondola rides; family-friendly naturalist hikes; mountaintop picnics; a gold mine tour; gold panning; a Wild West cowboy campfire dinner, complete with wagon rides and storytelling; and more. All meals are included and carefully planned to reflect the character and flavor of the Rocky Mountain West. Both itineraries include experienced guides, accommodations in nicely-appointed condominiums or lodge rooms in Keystone or Breckenridge, all activities, transportation to/from all activities, ground transfers to/from Denver International Airport and all meals. Airfare is not included. Vail will offset the carbon impacts associated with the lodging and transportation portion of each guest’s trip. Recommended for children ages 6 and older. Booking starts on April 1 for travel from June 26 through Sept. 6, 2009. 888-538-EPIC (3742); www.epicsummer.com

Ruby, Take Your Kids to Town! The Ruby of Crested Butte, the newest and most posh bed and breakfast in Crested Butte, is offering a “Butterflies, Tots, and Forget-Me-Nots” family vacation package for less than $80 per person, per night for a family of four. The nearby Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory offers a Kids Nature Camp in June and July, allowing kids to learn about our fascinating natural world through exploration of meadows, forests, and mountains. Games, hikes, crafts, and scavenger hunts make learning easy and fun in this spectacular mountain town. The package includes daily breakfast and a half-day Kids Nature Camp Program (based on program dates and availability).  800-390-1338; www.gunnisoncrestedbutte.com

A Luxury Family Respite at The BROADMOOR. The BROADMOOR, Colorado Springs’ iconic luxury hotel, is offering spring break family packages starting at just $85 per night, per person (double occupancy) – a 40 percent discount off of published rates, not including taxes. Plus, children 10 and under stay and eat free when accompanied by a paying adult. From March 1 – April 22, families enjoy complimentary access to The Broadmoor Movie Theater, 50 percent discount on adult admission to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and a $75 resort credit (minimum three night stay) or a $150 resort credit (minimum four night stay).  Guests will also enjoy a 15% discount on select services in the world-class BROADMOOR Spa. 866-837-9520; www.broadmoor.com

Camping In Colorado Is ‘In Tents!’ The plains of eastern Colorado boast 23 state wildlife areas, three state parks, and national grasslands that allow visitors a glimpse of the land as the early settlers might have seen it.  Travelers can even see remnants of the Santa Fe Trail etched into the plains. There are several campgrounds in this area, including Jackson Lake State Park, which offers 260 campsites, many of which are available year-round. Activities at Jackson Lake State Park include wildlife watching, fishing, hiking, swimming, and watersports. Nearly all campsites have electric hookups and can be rented for as little as $8 per night!  Campsites may be reserved up to 72 hours prior to your arrival. 800-678-2267; http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/JacksonLake/Camping/

I Can See For Miles and Miles. This summer, treat the kids to a look into the ancient past of the Ancestral Puebloan people at Mesa Verde National Park, the nation’s richest archeological preserve.  The “Family Values” package at the Far View Lodge starts at less than $60 per person, per night for two adults and two children 11 and under, not including taxes. The package includes two nights’ accommodations, full American breakfast daily, complimentary dinner for children for two nights and a half-day ranger-guided bus tour of Mesa Verde’s ancient sites including Cliff Palace, the largest cliff dwelling in North America. The lodge, at 8,500 feet in elevation, is one of the highest hotels in the country, offering views that span more than a hundred miles. 800-449-2288; www.visitmesaverde.com

Denver Family Fun at the JW Marriott. At the JW Marriott in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood, families get the VIP treatment with packages including four tickets to the Denver Zoo, coloring book and scavenger hunt, complimentary children’s movie, milk and cookies at turn down, a shopping passport offering discounts at children’s stores, and more.  Concierge tip: book a mountain-view room and enjoy spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains and the Denver skyline.  Packages start at just $235 per night, double occupancy.  Use promotional code FML when booking. 866-706-7814; www.jwmarriottdenver.com

Spring Thaw in Glenwood Springs. From April 1 through May 21, travelers can take advantage of hotel rates starting at just $84 per night in beautiful Glenwood Springs.  Thaw out in the largest natural hot springs pool in the world, the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, which measures two blocks long, or relax at the Hot Springs Spa. Families can also check out Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, a one-of-a-kind mountain-top vacation destination offering a scenic Tramway, the Historic Fairy Caves; pan for gemstones; take a trail ride on gentle, well-trained horses; try the climbing wall or mechanical bull; and enjoy a virtual Conestoga wagon ride, fort-style maze, bungee trampoline and more. www.visitglenwood.com; www.springsthaw.com

Discover Your Inner Cowboy at Sylvan Dale Ranch. Located near Fort Collins, the 3,200 acre working ranch in the scenic Colorado foothills, provides families with not-to-be-forgotten western adventures including cattle drives, roundups, riding instruction, family rides, breakfast rides, and overnight pack trips. Plus a number of activities such as whitewater rafting, hiking, skeet shooting, guided rock-climbing and fly-fishing. In the evening, enjoy cowboy cookouts and great entertainment.  All-inclusive, week-long packages start at $1765 per week for adults and $995 for children. www.sylvandale.com

Family Escape to Historic Pueblo. The Pueblo Marriott Hotel is located in the heart of historic downtown Pueblo next to the Pueblo River Walk. The hotel’s “Escape! Family Package” includes a free in-room movie, $10 snack gift credit for the hotel’s gift shop and breakfast daily for two adults and three kids. Rates start at $149 per night, available through August 18, 2009.  Pueblo is home to the top-ranked Buell Children’s Museum, a 12,000 square-foot facility offering innovative, hands-on exhibits focusing on the arts, science and history. The museum features “Sensations” – a high-tech, multi-sensory exhibit in which visitors activate lights, sound clips and video by pressing 50 separate sensors located on floors and walls. Families will also enjoy the Pueblo Zoo, located minutes from the hotel.  800-228-9290; www.marriott.com

Photo credit: Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group

Photo credit: Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group

ABOUT COLORADO

Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and renowned ski resort areas. The state’s breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of four major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 10 national parks and monuments, and 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. For more information or a copy of the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, call 1-800-COLORADO or visit www.COLORADO.com

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