Do you need a winter vacation? Do you want to travel with the entire family, but you don’t want to break the bank? Well, here is everything you need to know about Durango, Colorado. In other words, it is a perfect place for your next state-cation. From beautiful (and affordable!) ski resorts to hot springs and museums, there is something for every type of family.
Ski Adventures in Durango
Skiing and snowboarding is an expensive hobby! Especially if you have a kiddo that shows little to no interest. Purgatory Resort in Durango offers free skiing and snowboarding for all kids 12 and younger. There are no blackout dates or purchases required. Purgatory’s goal is to make these snowy sports more accessible for everyone.
Okay…well, what about the lift tickets?
Purgatory has some of the most affordable lift tickets in the U.S. The key to snagging a cheap lift ticket is planning ahead. Tickets are available online for as low as $29, but the prices increase with demand, so purchase your tickets in advance to get the best deals.
Nearly half of the trails at Purgatory are for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For youngsters and beginners, The Columbine area is a non-intimidating place to start because the area is sectioned off on its own. This helps so beginners don’t end up on expert trails.
In addition to The Columbine area, Purgatory offers expert terrain with steep runs and trees. For people with experience in the sport, sign up for the Purgatory Snowcat Adventures, which is an introduction to backcountry skiing/snowboarding.
Hesperus Ski Area
Another great option for a day of skiing or riding is Hesperus Ski Area that’s 11 miles west of Durango. While it might be smaller in scale, it comes with its own set of perks. The manageable size makes it an ideal spot for parents to feel at ease as their kids explore independently, and the terrain caters to both beginners and intermediates.
Ever thought about hitting the slopes after sunset? Hesperus has you covered with night skiing available on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. And for those in the family who prefer the thrill of tubing under the twinkling lights, there’s an exciting snow tubing experience.
Here’s an extra bonus for families with younger members – kids aged 12 and under ski for free all year round. As for the adults, lift tickets range from $48 for a full day or $36 for the night. So, whether you’re carving up the slopes or reveling in the tubing excitement, Hesperus Ski Area offers winter fun for every family member.
For families seeking an in-town and budget-friendly winter experience, Chapman Hill is an excellent choice. It’s a two-in-one that has an ice rink and ski area. Daily passes range from $6-16, with family bundles available.
If your little one is taking their first steps into the world of skiing, Chapman Hill has you covered with ski lessons running from $60-80. It’s the perfect spot for beginners to gain confidence on the slopes without having to break the bank.
Whether you’re heading to the hot springs after a day on the slopes or wanting a morning of pampering, Durango Hot Springs Resort & Spa is a family-friendly place to stop by.
There are 32 outdoor mineral hot spring pools with varying temperatures, so you can find one the kiddos can enjoy. The entire east side of the resort is dedicated to families, with 19 family-friendly pools. There are creek-style pools to explore and a resort-style pool where kiddos can splash and play.
Another fun feature the kids will love is the clocktower with a minecart on top that slowly fills with warm mineral water. As the cart fills with water, anticipation builds before it tips over to splash the guests below. If you’ve ever seen the bucket at Pirates Cove in Englewood, it’s the same idea but with mineral water!
Besides the children’s area, there are 13 adult-only pools where parents can quietly soak and relax. Adjacent to the soaking pools are two cold plunges for contrast therapy. Before or after soaking in the pools, head to the onsite spa for massages, facials, or a private Japanese-style Cedar Wood Ofuro tub. These Japanese-styled tubs are for single guests or couples.
After a long day of soaking, don’t stress about what the kids will eat because there is a snack bar with smoothies and a food truck.
Other Family-Focused Fun
The Powerhouse Science Center has interactive exhibits and displays that focus on STEM education.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is free to the public and is a great place to keep the kids entertained. At the museum, there is a large model train set, a vintage locomotive, train cars, and historic memorabilia.
Snowdown Durango’s annual winter celebration happens from January 26 through February 4. There are contests, comedy, competitions, and live music, as well as guests dressing up. There are some events geared toward adults, but there are several family-friendly activities.
Snooze Spots in Durango
After a day packed with State-Cation excitement, a place to kick back and relax is essential. If you’re feeling a bit history-hungry, consider staying in one of Durango’s charming historic hotels. The Rochester, standing proud since 1892, not only offers a morning coffee service but also has a “Secret Garden” for the grown-ups to enjoy.
For a trip back to the Wild West with a touch of class, check out the Historic Strater Hotel, built in 1887. This gem goes all out with a saloon straight from the dusty pages of history, a Craft Cocktail Lounge for those looking to unwind in style, and a fine dining establishment that serves steak and seafood. This historic spot also offers year-round live entertainment!
Yet, renting a cozy home might just be the key to the ultimate family stay. Picture this: a full kitchen ready for your culinary masterpieces and multiple bathrooms to avoid the morning rush – all without breaking the bank. Take your pick, book your spot, and get ready for a snooze-worthy finale to your State-Cation adventure.
Sealing the State-Cation Deal
Whether your crew is all about shredding the slopes in the winter or you fancy a leisurely museum stroll on the weekend, Durango is your go-to spot for the ultimate state-cation.
Durango is a little over six hours from Denver, making the journey as exciting as the destination. Embrace the spirit of the open road, cue up your favorite playlist, and turn the drive into a full-fledged family road trip. Because, let’s face it, getting there should be just as fun as being there. So, buckle up, hit the gas, and let Durango work its magic on your next unforgettable state-cation adventure!