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Every year in the winter, we head to a destination with snow. Last year we went to Park City, UT and this year to Winter Park, CO. We flew Southwest direct from SNA (1 hour, 40 minute flight), rented a car, and drove the 2 hours to Winter Park. We arrived on Friday evening and left Monday, which was the perfect amount of time in the snow.
We stayed at the Vintage Hotel, which is in an excellent location. From our window, we could see the tubing area and it was a short 3 minute walk to get there. You could also access the Winter Park Village easily, a short cabriolet ride that you pick up in front of the hotel. The village has lots of stores, restaurants and of course access to ski slopes. The hotel itself is dated, however the location makes it an excellent choice when visiting the area. Our room had a fireplace and a kitchenette, with a fridge/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, stove, coffee maker and was fully stocked with dishes and pretty much everything you’d need to prepare simple meals. There are several hotels in the village area, right near the ski slopes, but I’m not sure how they compare to the one we stayed at so you may want to find out especially if you plan on skiing during your stay.
One of the most popular things for families with young kids is tubing. Since the Coca-Cola Tubing was just steps from our room, it was a no brainer and we went there. We had advance reservations, which I highly recommend, since our time and several others were sold out when we checked in. We had a blast, and because they limit the number of people per hour, you never had to wait more than a minute to go down the hill. They have four lanes and tell you which are fast and which are slow. Of course, Milana preferred the super fast ones! Everyone gets their own tube (so much safer than having lap kids!) and you’re allowed to hold on to your child’s so you can go together. There were also tandem tubes, but those were super slow so I don’t recommend them. The tube bottom color makes a difference too, the ones with the white bottom are the fastest. I highly recommend this if you have young kids!
Don’t forget to pack high-quality winter essentials for your kids to make snow play fun. High quality gloves are a must!
My favorite part was not having to walk up the hill after going down, but instead taking the covered magic carpet back to the top.
I have to mention the most amazing mittens I found for Milana. We have gone through so many, and none worked this well. These are seriously the best things ever and didn’t fall off once. She loved them and said they are the best gloves she has ever had. I highly recommend these! There is no wrong way to put them on (no finger/thumb holes) and they go up to almost the elbow, where you can tighten the strap, so they are not likely to fall off. They are called Veyo Mittyz and you can buy them on Amazon by clicking on the highlighted name.
That evening, we had a reservation for a hot cocoa sleigh ride in Snow Mountain Ranch. It was awesome and the scenery on the trail was just gorgeous! The horses were very friendly and well taken care of, which was very important to us.
Milana loved roasting (and eating!) the marshmallows. And we enjoyed the hot chocolate, after a frigid ride!
And the scenery in the middle of nowhere was just spectacular! So much snow, it’s a true winter wonderland. I highly recommend the hot cocoa ride if you have small kids, it’s not too long and the marshmallow roasting is fun for kids.
The next day, Dave did a snowmobile tour with Grand Adventures, and while kids are allowed, I figured Milana would be bored sitting on the back of a snowmobile for an hour. So instead, we dropped him off and headed to the area where they rent out kid snowmobiles, and it was a great choice! She had so much fun and did amazingly well. Do this if you come here with kids! They have to be 5 years old to participate and it’s $20 for 5 laps, which is plenty for little ones.
Aside from the Winter Park Village that’s near the hotel, Winter Park has a downtown as well. We walked around, checking out the stores and restaurants but I don’t recommend it. There isn’t much there, and the village was much cuter than the downtown.
Overall, this was a super fun weekend. While Winter Park isn’t as easily accessible as some of the other winter destinations, the roads were plowed and well maintained, making the drive easy. If you’re looking for some winter fun with kids, this is a great place to visit!