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Snow Mountain Ranch
Photo courtesy Julie Kennedy

4 Ideas for a Skip-Gen Vacation

Plan a weekend getaway for your kids and their grandparents—no parents allowed.

“Skip-gen” travel is growing in popularity as a way for grandparents to spend quality time one-on-one with their grandkids, without the parents. For Grandparent’s Day on September 8, make it interesting by introducing them to new experiences they can do together, right in their home state. Here are four Colorado weekend getaways that will surprise and invigorate both generations.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Have your city kids seen a true night sky? With the park’s dark-sky certification, the remote dunes in the San Luis Valley are ideal for viewing the nightscape on moonless nights (September 28 and 29) or walking in the sand eerily lit up by a full moon (September 14) listening to hooting owls and howling coyotes. During the day, let the kids sand sled while grandparents take videos. Ranger programs are limited this fall, but the educational visitors center is open year-round. Entrance is free for a vehicle with a senior pass holder. Great Sand Dunes Lodge offers free breakfast with stay.

Snow Mountain Ranch

This YMCA facility in Granby offers every activity a kid could want any time of year, including sleeping in a yurt, a latticework wood structure covered by insulated fabric. There’s a whole village of them complete with bathhouse and flush toilets. This kind of glamping suits elders, complete with a queen mattress on a bedframe, bunkbeds for the grandkids, microwave, small fridge, and dining table. Handicap accessible yurts can be reserved for those with mobility issues, and carts are available until mid-October to help with transporting your gear to the yurt. Everyone will love making s’mores at the community fire pit. Bring flashlights and extra blankets or sleeping bags—it gets cold at night.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

The world’s largest hot springs pool just got splashier with new water attractions—river tubing, children’s play area, and splash pad—greatly enhancing the generational experience. The new Sopris Splash Zone has water features all ages can enjoy together, and everyone benefits from that healthy mineral water. Unlimited pool access and breakfast are free when you stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge (connecting rooms available).

The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park

Older kids (age 10 and up) will appreciate the haunted history of this 110-year-old hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s bestseller The Shining. Learn about paranormal activity in a 75-minute night tour ($25 per person). Tours are open to the public, but staying at the hotel makes it even more creepy. Or, take the kids to see The Stanley’s resident illusionist Professor Phelyx perform in Mysterium, an interactive show of mental magic and comedy, through October 31.

Family Food

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