Family Summer Vacation to Boulder, Colorado

As soon as I walked outside my house this morning the humidity and hot air suffocated me as my hair became a greasy frizz ball and reality sunk in that I was no longer in Boulder.

We’ve been home for just a few days and I already miss the cool weather and dry air that Boulder greeted us with. Heck, I think I missed that the second I stepped off the plane. ​
Our family vacation to Boulder, Colorado last week was AMAZING! This was our first big trip with our toddler and first time flying as a family of three. We had such a great time, created some great memories as a family, and learned a few lessons here and there about parenthood. ​

Here is a recap of our vacation.

Day One: We arrived on Saturday to our home away from home for the next week. It was the perfect place for our stay. The owner even stocked the fridge with breakfast goodies, local coffee and the most delicious bread. It’s the little things that make such a big difference.  Although, good bread is kind of a big deal for me.

Do you ever stay somewhere and get ideas for your own home? I saw so many neat ideas in the place we stayed that I feel like I need to start a new Pinterest board for our home.

My husband searched and searched so long to find the perfect place for our stay and he hit the nail on the head with this Air BNB! Some of my favorite things about it were the garden and landscaping outside (so cute and beautiful), the decor, the comfy bed, private jacuzzi, white bath robes (my favorite), shower water pressure with endless hot water (the water pressure was seriously amazing), stocked fridge with a kitchenette, and plenty of storage! Last but not least I can’t forget about the wonderful owners who were very pleasant to talk with and so nice and thoughtful, they even bought a pack’n play so we wouldn’t have to bring ours on the plane.

If you are looking to stay in Boulder, Colorado then I HIGHLY recommend checking out this place! You will need to book in advance because I believe they book very fast and I can see why.


Day Two: We hiked through the Rocky Mountain National Park. We hiked one trail that lead to Cub Lake. Unfortunately, we were running out of water and didn’t make it to Cub Lake. We were about a quarter of a mile away from it, but we thought it was best to be safe rather than sorry. Especially on our first day there with our bodies getting used to the elevation change and having Ava. We just didn’t think it was worth it. So I recommend packing lots of water! We had our hydration pack for all three of us, but definitely should have packed some water bottles or another hydration pack. You can never have too much water when hiking. The scenery we did get to see on our hike was still so beautiful! I think we hiked a little over 4 miles that day.

Tip: If you plan on going to the Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer I definitely recommend going during the week and getting there early in the morning because it gets busy very quickly. We arrive around 7:00 am on Sunday and had just a few cars in front of us to get in. On our way out around 1:00 pm or so the line to get in was at least 3/4 of a mile long! Plus going early will allow you to enjoy the cool weather.


Day Three: For our third day in Boulder we decided to have a treat yo’ self day. In the morning I had a massage at the Dragontree Spa and some toddler free shopping while Joey watched Ava. I have to say that you haven’t had a good massage until you have one in Colorado. It was the most relaxing and spiritual massage I have ever had. The therapist and I worked together and communicated through my deep breaths (a first for me). It was like no massage I had ever experienced before. If you ever need a massage while in Boulder make sure to check out the Dragontree Spa and ask for Laura as your therapist. After my morning alone we all met up for a picnic lunch and then Joey got to his alone time. He decided to try out the float tank experience. He said it was definitely different but nice.

We concluded our day with the most delicious meal at the Pizzeria Locale. They have the most delicious Neapolitan pizza made with flour and cheese imported from Italy and produce from local farms. I even got to join them in their kitchen to learn about their dough making process.


Day Four:  We walked through the Garden of the Gods and then drove ALL they way up to the top of Pikes Peak at an elevation of 14,115 feet and temperature at 48 degrees Fahrenheit. At the top they sell donuts and hot chocolate! This was a big fear for me that I overcame for my husband. I am afraid of heights and have severe motion sickness so zig zagging around a mountain isn’t really practical for me. They said with the elevation change you can experience headaches, dizziness, or a queasy stomach. I am happy to say after taking lots of medicine that I made it just fine up the mountain. Going back down the mountain was a different story. I was getting so sick so I closed my eyes and went to sleep.

That night we had dinner at Pasta Jay’s. I made my stomach feel better with some of their delicious pasta.

Day Five: We checked out Boulder’s Farmers Market (so many pretty foods), took Ava to a children’s museum, had a delicious lunch at The Next Door Eatery and strolled through the Pearl Street Mall. The weather was absolutely beautiful!
Day Six:  On day 6 of our trip we had everything packed and ready to go for a morning hike. When we arrived to the trailhead and put Ava in the carrier she started crying and screaming. She just wasn’t in the mood for it so we headed to the Zoo for the day instead. After the zoo, we found some Colorado treasures downtown (whipped honey 😋) and ordered take out from The Next Door Eatery and had a picnic in the park. Some battles just aren’t worth fighting and in the end it was a win win for everyone!
Day Seven: Our last day in Boulder was by far my favorite. We started our day with a walk around the beautiful Lily Lake in Estes Park. Then we headed back to the Rocky Mountain National Park where we drove up to the top of Old Fall River Road (elevation of 11,796 feet). Along the way we traveled through three different ecosystems, stopped and hiked to a few waterfalls, saw some elk hanging out at the top of the tundra and saw some of the most beautiful sites! On this trip I did great going up and back down the mountain. No motion sickness this time!
Our trip was absolutely wonderful. This was our first time traveling on a big vacation with our toddler and her first time flying. She did great flying. We were going to use her car seat on the plane but last minute we decided not to and checked it instead (thank goodness). Before we left for our trip we had a Google spread sheet with things we wanted to do each day.

One thing we learned on this vacation as parents is that sometimes you have to adjust your plans and just go with the flow. We also learned that it’s not all about us and the less we try to fight the toddler moods and try to embrace them the happier we will be. Yes, we didn’t hike as much as we planned but we got to see our daughter enjoy the Zoo instead. Yes, some nights we didn’t eat out at a nice restaurant but we did get to have a beautiful picnic in the park and watch Ava laugh and chase every dog she saw.  We truly had a great time on this adventure of ours.

Planning a trip to Colorado?

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