Spring Break: Budget-Minded and Family-Friendly Ideas

When I was in college at CSU, some friends and I spent one spring break hanging out in Fort Collins, jealous of our peers who were heading to Mazatlan and other warm destinations. That week ended up being one of my favorite college memories, and one of my friends declared proudly to anyone who would ask that we had all spent the week in “Puerto MyYarda.” We even bought kiddie pools to enjoy when the temperature rose above 60.

Enjoy a staycation.

While a trip to the beach might sound fabulous, if the budget won’t allow it this spring break, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy a wonderful staycation. Here in beautiful northern Colorado, there are a number of fun and affordable options, whether you want to take a day trip or two or are looking for some daily outings to keep you and the kids entertained.

Visit a museum a day.

Why not take a tour of your area’s museums? Museums like the Denver Art Museum and the Fort Collins Museum of Art are an educational way to spend a day. The DAM is just $10 general admission for Colorado residents and kids under 18 are only $3. Kids under 5: free! The FCMOA is just $8 for adults, $5 for youth 18 and under, and free for kids under six. Pricing at the Denver Aquarium in Denver is $16.99 for adults (12-64), $9.99 for kids 11 or under and free for kids two and under.

Most Front Range folks know about the major museums, but if you’re looking for some off-the beaten-path ideas, here are some other options:

In Fort Collins:

In the Boulder-Denver area:

Enjoy the theater—for cheap.

Thanks to the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the Denver Center for Performing Arts releases $10 tickets to every theater performance in the upcoming week (up to 25 shows) every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Use the discount code “SCFD” when making your purchase. The week of March 18th, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash is playing, as is the Great Wall Story.

Go on a tour.

Tours are a fun and inexpensive way to get a feel for what actually happens behind the scenes at different venues. You can take a backstage tour of the Denver Performing Arts Complex any Monday or Saturday at 10:00 a.m. for just $8. Sports fans would enjoy a tour of Sports Authority Field ($10 for adults, $8 for kids 5-12, and free for kids under five) Thursday through Saturday. Or take a walking tour with Denver History Tours, which offers a variety of tours around town, including the Victorian Denver Tour and the Haunted Denver Tour. Visit the seat of our state government and tour the state capitol. Free, guided tours are offered every 1/2 hour during the week.

Take in the natural beauty of the mountains.

We’re pretty lucky to live in such a beautiful place, so if nothing else, pack up the car and take some day trips. Hang out in the 416-square-mile Rocky Mountain National Park for the week. You can pay just $20 for your car full of people, which is valid for seven consecutive days. Head up to Evergreen Lake for a stroll around the lake and a picnic if the weather is nice. Bike around Boulder for the day and enjoy Frisbee with the kids in Chautauqua Park afterward. Wherever you live along the Front Range, the mountains aren’t far—and they’re a perfect and inexpensive way to spend your spring break.

Spring break doesn’t have to involve hopping on a plane. With some creativity, you can spend your week doing fun and relaxing things you don’t always have time for the rest of the year. What do you have planned for your spring break this year?


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Michaele Charles is the founder of Voice Communications and writes frequently for higher education institutions, small businesses, corporate clients, and others. She also is a fledgling children’s writer. In her pre-writing life, she worked in accounting and finance.

11 Responses to “Spring Break: Budget-Minded and Family-Friendly Ideas”

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March 10, 2012 at 5:58 pm, Ryan Behl said:

Thanks michaele, I enjoyed reading that, and feel motivated to do something along those lines this spring break

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March 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm, Michaele Charles said:

Thanks for reading, Ryan!

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March 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm, Michael Conti said:

Since you suggested visiting the Boulder History Museum, I thought you & your readers would enjoy this short video created about the museum by a film student from Front Range Community College: http://youtu.be/Qx7oHUaPSsE

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March 21, 2012 at 6:24 am, Michaele Charles said:

Awesome Michael!!

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March 13, 2012 at 2:12 pm, Christipher Morimitsu said:

I wanted to add the the Art Museums in Denver and Fort Collins have a discounted price with a student ID.

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March 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm, Michaele Charles said:

Great, Christipher! Thanks for mentioning this!

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April 04, 2012 at 5:47 pm, Ashley said:

“Puerto MyYarda!” I love it! I may borrow that phrase. :)

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April 06, 2012 at 9:09 am, Michaele Charles said:

You’re welcome to it, Ashley. :)

March 11, 2013 at 5:24 am, 5 Tips for a Safe (and Fun) Spring Break | Front Range Community College Blog said:

[…] a road trip, a one-night stand, or excessive alcohol. Spring break can be a great memory, and it doesn’t have to be crazy to have been worth it. Whatever your spring break plans, here are a few things you won’t learn […]

March 24, 2013 at 6:58 am, 30 Blogs with the Best Spring Break Vacation Ideas for Teens - Find A Babysitter said:

[…] Spring Break: Budget-Minded and Family-Friendly Ideas […]