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Thank you for visiting Grandma's Briefs, where I write on the good, bad, humorous and heartwarming of being a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife and writer. Peruse the place, leave a comment or two, and feel free to email me any time at Lisa@GrandmasBriefs.com.

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    « Here and now: March 3, 2016 | Main | Leap Day lore! Plus GRAND Social No. 196 link party for grandparents »
    Wednesday
    Mar022016

    Multigenerational travel: Why vacation at the YMCA of the Rockies

    Until a couple weeks ago, when thinking about the YMCA, my thoughts turned to workout equipment, fitness classes, swimming lessons. I certainly never considered the Y as a destination spot for a family vacation.

    A weekend at the YMCA of the Rockies changed all that. I now have countless reasons why YMCA of the Rockies ranks near the top of my list of family getaways. And countless photos confirming those reasons, a mere smidgen of which I'll share here.

    why vacation at the ymca of the rockies

    The YMCA of the Rockies recently offered me a multigenerational travel opportunity I couldn't refuse: a free weekend in a fully furnished log cabin located on its 850-acre property minutes from downtown Estes Park, Colorado, and bordered on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park has long been one of my family's favorite spots in our state, so though we weren't quite sure what a winter stay at the Y might be like, my husband and my oldest daughter and her family and I jumped at the offer.

    Boy, oh, boy were we surprised by, well, everything about the place! From the location, to the amenities, to the activities and more, the YMCA of the Rockies turned out to be a vacation location we'll long remember — and undoubtedly return to soon.

    Here's why:

    THE LOCATION

    Words can't sufficiently express how breathtaking the setting for the resort-like YMCA of the Rockies. Perhaps these photos, all of which were taken on the property (from our cabin windows and deck, in fact) may do a teensy bit of justice to the area.

    ymca of the rockies

    ymca of the rockies

    ymca of the rockies

    sunrise at ymca of the rockies

    THE AMENITIES

    As we arrived late Friday night (Estes Park is about a three-hour drive from our home in Colorado Springs), our first glimpse beyond the administration building when we first checked in consisted only of our three-bedroom, two-bath cabin. All we could say once we'd driven the short drive from the center of the Y grounds where we'd checked in and opened the door to our weekend home was Wow! Again and again.

    We expected a rustic cabin with minimal comforts and conveniences. What we got was far from minimal:

    cabin at ymca of the rockies

    cabin at ymca of the rockies

    After a comfy night's sleep, showers, and breakfast courtesy Patrick — made in the full and fully-stocked-with-dishes-and-more kitchen — we headed off to investigate the grounds. The more we saw, the more it seemed to me like we'd been transported to a spot reminiscent of the resort where Baby and Johnny spent their summer in Dirty Dancing.

    ymca of the rockies 

    ymca of the rockies interiors

    Buildings include a Library, Museum, First Aid office, the Sweet Memorial Building (the starting spot for fun and games and the gear for both), a Craft & Design Center, an auditorium, chapel, indoor swimming pool, dining options, plus much more, including literally hundreds of lodging options from log-cabins to vacation homes to reunion and group cabins to hotel-style lodge rooms. (Wi-fi is complimentary throughout the YMCA of the Rockies, and most cabins and vacation homes are dog friendly.) 

    THE ACTIVITIES

    The list of options for activities around the YMCA of the Rockies grounds — organized by the friendly and helpful staff or ventures available to families and individuals on their own — solidified my assertion that a stay at the Y is every bit as magical, memorable, entertaining, and educational as those old-time resorts I've, until now, seen only in films.

    Folks who stay at the YMCA of the Rockies are treated to a menu of free and fee-based offerings; visitors not staying in cabins or lodge rooms can purchase day passes for the same.

    Some of the things we did:

    • Roller skating
    • Nature classes (Bud earned the Animal Detective badge!)
    • Family Fun Nights — we played BINGO with other guests
    • Miniature Golf (27-hole course)
    • Walked the Labyrinth
    • Board games (some of which were included in our cabin)
    • Arts & crafts
    • Playground play
    • Took in the amazing views

    ymca of the rockies activities

    Some of the hundreds of things we didn't have time to do (or they're offered only in summer):

    • Archery
    • Guided hikes, fly fishing
    • Horseshoes, baseball, basketball
    • Museum programs
    • Zip line
    • Fat Tire bike rentals
    • Lawn games
    • Tennis
    • Indoor and outdoor volleyball
    • Hay rides
    • Outdoor rock climbing
    • Rock climbing wall
    • Ropes course
    • Snowshoeing
    • White water rafting

    YMCA of the Rockies has a jam-packed schedule of organized classes and activities for guests to enjoy every single day. You can peruse sample program bulletins right here.

    BOTTOM LINE

    When it comes to multigenerational travel — or travel of any sort — the YMCA of the Rockies' friendly staff, tranquil setting, timeless activities, unexpected amenities, and reasonable prices cannot be beat. It's no surprise the place has provided memorable vacations for folks who want to experience nature at its finest for more than 100 years.

    ymca of the rockies exit

    MORE ON YMCA OF THE ROCKIES

    Click here for lodging options and rates (Note: YMCA members get a discount!).

    Click here for the full YMCA of the Rockies website.

    THE YMCA OF THE ROCKIES MISSION

    YMCA of the Rockies puts Christian principles into practice through programs, staff and facilities in an environment that builds healthy spirit, mind and body for all. We will accomplish this by serving conferences of a religious, educational, or recreational nature; providing unifying experiences for families; offering traditional summer camping experiences for boys and girls; and serving our staff with leadership opportunities and productive work experiences.

    Disclosure: My family and I stayed at this property free of charge; opinions are my own.

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    Reader Comments (14)

    Wow. What a fulsome family vacation! The setting is gorgeous (I know the area a bit) and for a rustic, multi-generational vacay, it's a unique opportunity. It really does look like fun.

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Cassara

    This looks amazing. And so fun! I don't have grandchildren yet, but I do like to have fun like a kid...I would love to go there. And it seems so removed from our crazy world! Love it.

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Sikorski

    Everything looks so awesome! Do you have to be a member of the Y to stay there?

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie E.

    Thanks, guys! No, Debbie, you do NOT need to be a YMCA member to stay there. Members just get a discount ($15, I think). It is such an incredible place — that, even though I've been to Estes Park countless times, I had no idea it was what it is. It's definitely where we'll stay each time we plan a weekend there going forward.

    Oh Lisa, that sounds wonderful! We took a family vacation to Estes Park several years ago and loved the area. There was so much to do that we didn't get to everything, so I hope we go back again someday and stay at the YMCA!

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHelene Cohen Bludman

    Yowza! I think there may be a family vacation with our 6 year old twin granddaughters in the near future! Thank you Lisa!

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Hill

    I had no idea the Y had vacation spots! Incredible!

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTam Warner Minton

    Fantastic place for a family to enjoy time together! I amso happy you and Jim could be there with Patrick, Brianna and Bud. A week-end never to be forgotten.

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    This looks like an amazing adventure. We are always looking for great places to visit with our kids and grandchildren.
    Your pictures are fabulous.

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDoreen McGettigan

    What a beautiful location to shake off the drudgery of winter for one fabulous weekend! And you didn't go wrong on the company you chose to keep! Here again, is a place where grandparents fit right in, and only increase enjoyment for the kids. Beautiful accommodations - no wonder so many people want to return again and again!

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    I had no idea the YMCA had facilities like this! What a wonderful vacation resource for families of all sizes. Thanks for sharing this useful info!

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

    This looks like a fantastic place for the whole family. What gorgeous scenery out there, and I love that there's so much to do.

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLois Alter Mark

    Wow, I never even knew they offered vacations. I love the pics. Looks like you all had such great fun!

    March 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarolann

    It sure isn't what I think of when I think of the YMCA! The pictures and the view are wonderful!

    March 5, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc
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