Save money and stress with these 10 Spring Break family staycation ideas, including at-home activities and quick trips in northern Colorado. Whether you can’t travel or simply don’t want to, we have family fun covered.
[Alt text: A young boy pours tomato sauce into a skillet on the stove while his sister watches and places a supportive hand on his back.]
“Visit” Another Country
Bring home the experience of visiting another country with a multicultural event at home. First, take a family vote on the country you’re most interested in. Then, think about ways you can experience that country’s culture as a family, like:
- Recreating traditional clothing
- Cooking a popular meal from that country
- Baking a traditional dessert
- Taking a YouTube tour of a sightseeing destination
- Doing a craft that represents that nation
- Practicing some basic phrases in that country’s native language
Follow up with a visit to Fort Collins’ Global Village Museum of Arts and Cultures to explore folk art, fine art, and artifacts from Africa, Asia, and Oceania. The museum also offers a rotating exhibit and virtual exhibits – check their website at the link above for current offerings.
Turn Your Home into a Hotel
If you can’t go to a hotel, why not bring the hotel to you? Kids of all ages will get a kick out of having the hotel experience at home. Stock up on hotel-sized drinks and snacks, slip into your coziest pajamas, robes, and slippers – even create your own spa.
Let kids “order” dinner for a room service experience. And once the kids are asleep, have some adult time by cooking in the kitchen together or ordering take-out.
Go All Out With a Themed Movie Night
Are there Harry Potter or Star Wars fanatics in your house? Whatever your family’s favorite films are, have a movie marathon with themed decor, drinks, snacks, and costumes. Play DIY dress-up to recreate your favorite characters (try bath robes for a witch/wizard or belts and bed sheets for a Jedi).
Light candles for a castle atmosphere or decorate with lightsaber-inspired colored lights. Make your own Butterbeer or lightsaber popsicles. This is an opportunity for the whole family to get creative!
[Alt text: An adult pedals a large, three-seat bicycle down a paved road, with a young child strapped into the center seat and an older child pedaling in the back seat.]
Have a Family Bike Trip
Fort Collins is one of the most bikeable cities in the country, with large asphalt trails, dirt trails, and bike lanes on city streets. Take advantage of the Platinum-rated Bicycle Friendly Community and cure kids’ restlessness with a family bike excursion.
Exercise and fresh air are great cures for the winter blues. View city bike maps in English and Español on the City of Fort Collins: FC Bikes website. Try the Bikeway Bingo challenge to learn more about parks, natural areas, neighborhoods, and outdoor art from your bike seat.
Have a Short-Range Road Trip
If a cross-country road trip with your little ones sounds unmanageable, start by exploring your own city or nearby hometown. Look online to see if your city offers audio or self-guided tours.
Colorado State University offers a downloadable audio tour of campus; the Poudre Landmarks Foundation offers guided tours of the 1883 Water Works and other historic sites; or you can take a trip to Old Town Square for a self-guided tour of historic downtown.
You can also create your own tour, visiting your family’s favorite sites or giving children a tour of the places you lived and visited as a child.
Day and Weekend Trips Around Northern Colorado
[An adult and three kids enjoy outdoor mini golf in front of a rock tunnel at Fort Fun in Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo credit fortfun.biz.]
Family Fun at Fort Fun
Fort Fun is Fort Collins’ amusement park destination for a variety of indoor and outdoor activities (weather depending) for whole-family entertainment. Activities include:
- Go Karts
- Laser tag
- Mini golf
- Giant slide
- Bumper boats (seasonal)
- Paddle boats (seasonal)
- On-site escape rooms
An all-day fun pass starts at $19.99. Food and beverage are available for an additional cost.
Estes Park Weekend
Estes Park offers indoor and outdoor activities for kids and adults with beautiful mountain scenery. Stay overnight on a budget at these Estes Park Airbnbs under $50.
While you’re in town, check out the popular, old-school candy and ice cream shops downtown. Take a family stroll down the scenic Riverwalk, hike a local trail, or venture into Rocky Mountain National Park (a one-day vehicle entrance pass is $30).
For an educational experience your future astronaut will love, visit the Estes Park Memorial Observatory, open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights (free, donations encouraged). Children eight years and older who like a good scare will love the Stanley Hotel Spirited Night Tour for $30 per person.
Explore Rocky Mountain National Park
Whether you’re staying in Estes Park or driving from the Fort Collins/Loveland area, a visit to RMNP offers endless opportunities to explore the natural world.
Hidden Valley is open for sledding during the off-season, wildlife watching is plentiful even in the snow, and the views are stunning any time of year. When the weather is consistently cold, frozen lakes in the park are safe to walk on.
Winter bus and horseback riding tours of RMNP are available for purchase in Estes Park.
Spend a Day at the FoCo Museum of Discovery
Children will easily pass hours playing at the interactive Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FoCoMOD). Kids can explore the music and sound lab; science exploration zone; wildlands and wildlife; Animal Encounters live animal exhibit; sun, Earth, and universe; food, forage and farm; first peoples exhibit; modes of travel; natural areas; healthy steps exhibit; and more, all with hands-on opportunities.
The Tot Spot for toddlers is an enclosed space with fun, sensory activities including a train table, water zone, art center, and a giant, crawl-through tree. Food and beverages are available at the museum café.
Parking is free. Admission is free for children 0-2; $9.50 for juniors 3-12; and $12.50 for adults.
[Alt text: A large Apatosaurus skeleton towers over a room in the University of Wyoming Geological Museum. Photo credit visitlaramie.org.]
Visit Laramie, Wyoming
Laramie is an offbeat college town in Wyoming, approximately a one-hour drive from Fort Collins and an hour and a half from Loveland. Laramie offers plenty of indoor activities downtown and outdoor activities and sights in and around town.
Some notable destinations are the University of Wyoming Geological Museum (ideal for dinosaur enthusiasts); The Nici Self Historical Museum, where kids can experience homesteading in the early West; scenic highways, including Happy Jack Road and Old Lincoln Highway; Laramie Farmer’s Market; and Wyoming Territorial Prison Historic Site.
Check out the city’s list of Free Things to Do with kids in Laramie.