Colorado Springs is booming in popularity, and it’s no surprise. There are so many great activities and attractions, and it’s the perfect place for families. So if you only have a 3 days in Colorado Springs for your family getaway, then you’ll love this Colorado Springs 3 Day itinerary for families.
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There are plenty of itineraries out there, but this one focuses on what both you and the kids will love.
Table of Contents
How to get to Colorado Springs
Getting to Colorado Springs is really easy.
There is a local airport in Colorado Springs that some major airlines fly into, but you’ll most like need a layover and a larger budget.
The best way to get to Colorado Springs is to fly into Denver International Airport (DEN). From there, it’s just over an hour to get to Colorado Springs. This shorter route has tolls (that will be mailed to you, no need to stop), but I recommend it as it’s much easier and faster than sitting in traffic.
From the airport, you’ll exit the airport area and get on E470 S. Take that all the way to I-25 south and you’ll be on your way. Colorado Springs is access right off I-25.
To avoid tolls (though, again, I think the tolls are worth it here), take I-70 west to 225 south. This will eventually connect to I-25 south.
When is the Best Time to Visit Colorado Springs?
There is no bad time to visit Colorado Springs.
But there may be a better time to visit based on what you want to do.
In winter, you can snowshoe, visit local natural parks, check out the game centers or museums. There is plenty to do in Colorado Springs in winter.
I love it best in summer when you can really explore the outdoors with warmer weather. We’ve done plenty of hiking and it’s all unique and different.
There is so much to do in Colorado Springs with kids, that it won’t matter when you go; you’ll have a great time.
This Colorado Springs 3 day itinerary is based on a warmer-weather visit, though rest assured that it is possible to do it in the winter as well. You may just have to swap 1 or 2 activities.
Best Places to Stay in Colorado Springs with Kids
Great Wolf Lodge – a huge indoor waterpark you can play at any time of year.
Garden of the Gods Resort– beautiful grounds, pools, and great location.
Cheyenne Mountain Resort – a more affordable option to Garden of the Gods, and a bit more family-friendly (playground, pools, waterslide, kids stay free)
Quality Inn and Suites – a budget-friendly option for families. Breakfast and wifi included, and still a great location (and seasonal pool)
Where to Eat in Colorado Springs
I’ve given breakfast, lunch, and dinner suggestions for each day. It’s a mix of anything from a quick Starbucks grab to a sit-down at a themed restaurant. This helps schedules, as well as your wallet so that everything is not a sit-down style restaurant ($$$).
I’ve chosen restaurants based on location of where you are staying during this Colorado Springs 3 day itinerary. All my “where to stay” suggestions are roughly in the same area with the exception of Great Wolf Lodge, which is on the northern side of Colorado Springs.
If you are staying at Great Wolf Lodge, there are lots of dining options along Interquest and in the Briargate shopping area (we love ModernMarket, but there are lots of options).
Colorado Springs 3 Day Itinerary for Families
Breakfast at Urban Egg
With a location either downtown or farther north in University Village (by Costco), Urban Egg is deliciously highly-rated breakfast spot.
Breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, and even pancake flights, there is something for everyone. They also have Gluten-Free options.
Garden of the Gods
Start your day with a FREE morning stroll through Garden of the Gods. This popular and gorgeous place is an easy walk with kids and is stroller-friendly.
Garden of the Gods is made of large, red, sandstone formations. The main garden area has a small parking lot and a paved path (and bathrooms), making it the ideal place to walk around with kids.
This activity will take the morning for you to really enjoy the area. Don’t forget to stop at the visitor center where the fun and learning continues.
Learn more about visiting Garden of the Gods with kids!
Lunch at Garden of the Gods
You can grab lunch at the cafe in the visitor center at Garden of the Gods at Gateway Cafe. They offer pizza, nachos, small salads, and soups. It’s a convenient way to grab some lunch with the kids.
Space Discovery Center
This place is really underrated and it’s likely you haven’t heard of it before. We stopped here and had a blast!
Learn about life on a spaceship, how it affects your body being in space, try an underwater rover, try driving a rover on Mars, learn about technology we have on Earth because of space travel, and more!
Finish by watching a presentation on the large sphere, making Earth, the moon, and all of space really come alive.
The kids can do a little scavenger hunt for a prize as they explore space.
Learn more about visiting the Space Foundation Discovery Center
OR Olympic and Paralympic Museum
Colorado Springs is also known as Olympic City, USA. Aspiring Olympians come here to train, and you can walk around and learn all about Olympic hopefuls and the process.
See medals, take a tour, and you may even get to see a future Olympian.
Flying W Ranch Dinner Show
Finish the first day of 3 days in Colorado Springs with dinner and a show at Flying W Ranch and Chuckwagon.
Join the second oldest singing band in the world during the summer months and into early October.
When you arrive, kids will love riding the little train, hanging out with ranch animals, exploring the property, and viewing live demonstrations of the west.
Then take a seat and enjoy dinner before the program starts. It includes music and comedy, all family-friendly!
More info on Flying W Ranch.
Grab a Starbuck’s Breakfast (my kids love their egg sandwiches and wraps). This saves a little time and money, plus you’ll have about an hour drive to get to your first stop of the day.
Royal Gorge Railway
To get a great taste of the natural beauty in the area, this really needs to be on the Colorado Springs 3 day itinerary.
Book a lunch train and eat as you enjoy incredible views along the Arkansas River and through one of Colorado’s most beautiful canyons.
With 4 departures each day, the 2nd departure would work best with kids.
The Royal Gorge train might be the most beautiful thing you do on this Colorado Springs 3 day itinerary. Don’t miss it!
OR Stop at the Royal Gorge Bridge in summer months
You can access the bridge year-round, but to be able to take advantage of all the attractions at Royal Gorge Bridge, be sure to visit in summer.
The Royal Gorge Bridge stands at 956 feet above the Arkansas River, making it the tallest suspension bridge in America.
When you visit the Royal Gorge Bridge, you pay for an entrance pass that gets you access to walk across the bridge, as well as the park at the top.
Little kids can run around Playland, a climbing area, splash pad, and a carousel (included).
You could also visit the theater to learn more about the Royal Gorge and its history (included).
Adrenaline junkies can do the Skycoaster, a freefall at 50 mph at the canyon ($).
You can also purchase tickets for the gondola (seasonal) that takes you over the Royal Gorge ($).
(Lunch on the Train)
Hike in North Cheyenne Cañon
After riding the rails (or stopping at the bridge), head to North Cheyenne Cañon for some great hiking.
If you don’t feel like much of a hike, Helen Hunt Falls is within the park and right off the road. It’s impressive and you are able to take a few stairs up to the top of the falls and look down.
I also suggest Seven Bridges hike with kids. It’s a fun hike that takes you across seven different bridges. Walk along the water and in the shade!
North Cheyenne Cañon is a lesser visited area than Garden of the Gods, but still a beautiful stop on your Colorado Springs 3 day itinerary for families.
North Cheyenne Cañon is free to visit.
If you need more waterfall action, you can stop at Seven Falls on the way back. This is owned by the Broadmoor, so there is an entrance fee.
These beautiful falls come down in seven increments through a tall, granite canyon. You can view from the bottom, or if the kids are up for it, take the stairs up along the falls.
Try out the festive Edelweiss German restaurant at 34 E Ramona Ave.
The food is authentic, and the atmosphere is too! German cuisine is offered as well as gluten-free options. The kid’s menu offers hot dogs, potato pancakes, German noodles, and more.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at Garden of the Gods Market and Cafe: (616 S Tejon) on your way to the Paint Mines, which is the first stop of the day.
The Paint Mines
After breakfast, drive about an hour to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park.
The Paint Mines are another lesser-visited spot located in Calhan near Colorado Springs. But they are gorgeous and totally worth the short drive over.
It’s easy to visit the Paint Mines with kids. Parking is simple, the hike/walk within the mines isn’t too long, and it’s FREE to visit.
The Paint Mines interpretive park is gorgeous, with a mixture of rock materials that give them their colorful surface. Over time, iron oxide has also played a role in coloring the rock.
The mines were named by American Indians who used the colorful clays to make paint.
Alternative- Red Rock Canyon Open Space
I really recommend the Paint Mines. But if you don’t want to make an hour drive, then head to Red Rock Canyon Open Space instead (FREE). It’s right within Colorado Springs down W Cimmaron St.
There is plenty of beautiful hiking here, as well as various trails that are great for kids. The way the trails connect make it easy to build your own route to the distance you’d like.
I recommend stopping at Rudy’s Bar-B-Q off W Cimmaron St. It’s a classic, popular spot in Colorado Springs for good, finger lickin’ barbecue.
Rudy’s is award winning barbecue, getting praise even from Guy Fieri who has stopped by a few times.
Rudy’s is especially convenient if you choose to hike at Red Rock Canyon open space as you will pass right by it on the way in/out.
Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
After the Paint Mines (or Red Rock Canyon), head to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Usually when I visit other cities, I don’t typically head to the zoo since I have one where I live.
UNLESS there is something unique about the zoo.
Well, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is unique. It’s one of the top rated zoos in America, and it’s also the highest zoo in America by elevation. You’ll enter the zoo at nearly 7,000 feet above sea level!
That makes sense as the zoo is built right into a mountain.
As such, be prepared for some good hills as you walk around.
If that all sounds okay, then know that the kids will love this stop during your 3 days in Colorado Springs. They’ll get to feed giraffes at eye-level, which is every kid’s favorite part of this zoo.
End your trip with Cheba Hut’s toasted subs at 3171 N Chestnut St. Kid-approved sandwiches are better than Subway in quality and offer 30+ varieties of sandwiches. This quick-casual is easier on the wallet, but big on taste.
Colorado Springs 3 Day Itinerary
You could spend a lot longer in Colorado Springs and still have plenty to do. We have been quite a few times and still have more we’d love to do.
But if you only have 3 days in Colorado Springs with the kids, then you really need to pack in the best things to do.
This Colorado Springs 3 day itinerary really makes the most of your trip, giving you both adventure and genuine experiences to the area. Of course, it’s all kid-friendly things so that the whole family will enjoy their 3 days in Colorado Springs.
More Ideas for Colorado Springs in Winter
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