When your daily routine begins to take its toll, take time off to relax and unwind in the scenic areas surrounding Aurora, Colorado. Aurora exudes a big city atmosphere and boasts popular attractions, but if you’re looking for a more low-key destination, consider checking out the nearby towns. As for accommodations, there are plentiful Colorado vacation rentals to choose from. Take a look at the top weekend getaway spots accessible from Aurora, all within a five hours’ drive.
1. North Platte, Nebraska
In less than four hours, your family can settle into the charming city of North Platte, Nebraska. Bring your fishing gear and find a spot along the banks of the South Platte River to cast your line. The Cody Park Railroad Museum features steam and diesel locomotives along with a restored train station to explore. From the top of the Golden Spike Tower, see the entire train yard below and town in every direction. Kids love learning through play at the North Platte Area Children’s Museum with its interactive exhibits and themed play areas. Ride the carousel, see the model train exhibit, and enjoy the sunshine at Cody Park.
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2. Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Drive almost four hours through the Rocky Mountains to arrive in the family-friendly town of Steamboat Springs. In the winter months, skiers flock to the area to hit the slopes, and it earns its nickname of Ski Town, USA. Several outfits in town, including Ski and Sport, help you pick out skis, boots, and poles online and then deliver them to your vacation rental when you arrive. Kids love the Ragnar’s Sleigh Ride Dinner, which starts and ends with a sleigh ride to and from the dining room. If you’re visiting in the summer months. Sombrero Ranches offers trail rides to explore the mountains and backcountry areas.
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3. Casper, Wyoming
Learn more about the opening of the West and migration with a weekend away in Casper, Wyoming, which is less than three and a half hours from Aurora. Both the Oregon Trail and the California Trail came through this area, and you can find out about it at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center. Fort Casper protected this area in the late 1800s and the early 1900s. The Fort Casper Museum and Historic Site now offers tours and the chance to learn more about the Native American culture in the area. Kids love the Science Zone with its Zone Zoo, where you can find out about animals, and the Bubble Zone, where you can try to blow the biggest bubble ever.
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4. Dinosaur, Colorado
Have kids with dinos on the brain? Then drive the five hours west to Dinosaur, Colorado. This small town provides easy access to the Dinosaur National Monument Park. As part of the tour, your family learns about the education and skill required to become an archaeologist, who finds dinosaur bones and views some pieced-together skeletons to get an idea of their sheer size. Stop by the Dinosaur Quarry and see the wall that shows partially excavated dinosaur bones. For something a little more high-speed, take a rafting trip down the Split Mountain Gorge with its rushing white water and beautiful scenery with a tour from Adrift.
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5. Cheyenne, Wyoming
Explore the Old West after a three-hour car ride in the bustling town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Old West and history of the rodeo come alive as you look at the exhibits, old photographs, and artifacts at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. The museum offers frequent lectures and special events, so check the schedule. Kids won’t want to leave the Paul Smith Children’s Village at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. This dedicated kids zone offers a windmill, teepee area, and a pond. Wander through the rest of the botanical gardens to see its gorgeous selection of native and non-native plants, flowers, and trees.
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6. Salida, Colorado
Slow down and take life a little easier with a weekend away in Salida, Colorado. This picturesque town offers a charming downtown area perfect for an evening stroll. Go hiking after riding the Monarch Scenic Tram up to the mountaintop. While on the way to the top, you have amazing views in every direction no matter what time of year you visit. At the Salida Hot Springs, feel your muscles begin to relax and your worries float away as you lower yourself into the pleasantly warm waters. Your kids can play in the water while you take some me time.
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7. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Relaxation is your main focus after your three-hour drive to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and Spa has the world’s largest mineral pool, where you can release all your tension as your kids play in the water. Show how brave you are at the Glenwood Caverns Colorado Adventure Park. To reach the park, you must first travel to the top of the mountain by tram, with gorgeous scenery spread out before you. Choose between the Cliffhanger Roller Coaster, a roller coaster perched on the side of the mountain, and the Glenwood Canyon Flyer, a swing set that moves you out over the edge of the canyon. If you like things a little calmer, grab a snack from the concession stand while braver family members enjoy the thrills.
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