Kids and Family Activities in Pagosa Springs, Colorado

By Tanya Collings, Managing Editor

Traveling on Assignment | Exploring the Four Corner States

 

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With dogsledding rides, luxury hot spring soaking, and killer tacos, the small town of Pagosa Springs is an ideal family getaway.  The city of Pagosa Springs is tucked in the rugged mountains and pinion pine forests of southwestern Colorado.  Last November we embarked on a Traveling With Monkey’s assignment to explore these famous hot springs.  While there, we discovered abundant kids and family activities that will suit everyone from deluxe divas to outdoor enthusiasts.  This article outlines the best restaurants, hotels, and attractions for your next family vacation.

My partner and his daughter, Cali, at The Malt Shoppe in Pagosa.

TIP: Why Vacation in a Small Town?

Small towns like Pagosa Springs allow for in-depth cultural, natural, and culinary experiences.  They save your family from extended expeditions from one attraction to the next, allowing ample time for relaxation and exploration.

Pagosa Overview

In some ways, Pagosa Springs is reminiscent of other tourist towns we’ve visited over the years.  Think Aspen, Sun Valley, Park City, and Santa Fe.  But unlike some of these pricey destinations, Pagosa Springs hosts a hometown feel with activities to fit any budget.  The cultural cultivators in your family will be inspired by the art galleries, museums, live theatrical performances, and folk music festivals.  Outdoor enthusiasts will jump on rafts, dogsleds, bicycles, and hiking trails.  Savvy savers will be greeted by affordable hotels and dining.  Deluxe divas can visit the Springs Resort and Spa for a good old-fashioned pampering.

Pagosa Springs | Quick Highlights

 

Elevation: 7,000′ Population: >2,000 Ski Resort: Wolf Creek
2 Live Theaters 3 Museums 11 + Art Galleries
37+ Restaurants 31 Hotels Dogsledding Rides
Cycling Trails Hot springs Hot Air Balloon Rides
Near Mesa Verde (2 Hours) Rio Grande Historic Railroad Folkwest Music Festival
Near Chimney Rock Treasure Falls Golfing

 

 

Featured Experiences, Hotels, and Restaurants

We are pleased to put before you our favorite kids and family activities in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  We’ve done all of the hard research for you.  Soaking in hot tubs.  Eating tacos.  It was rough.  Here are the fruits of our labors.

The Spring Resort & Spa

With 23 soaking pools with varying depths, temperatures, and views, The Spring Resort & Spa is our #1 recommended experience.  First of all, we entered the pools wearing luxurious, fluffy white robes onto tiered balconies, each hosting unique steaming pools of soothing mineral water.  Most commercialized natural springs aren’t like this.  Here, they allow the minerals to build up around the pools forming magnificent mounds of geyserite.  The resort offers food and beverage services right at the springs.  You can snag anything from a cocktail to a hot chocolate to enjoy while you soak.

The resort is equally enjoyable for adults and kids alike.  Cali’s favorites kids activities at the Resort included:

  • Polar bearing.  Jumping into the cold river and back into the hot springs.
  • The natural pool.  There is one sand-bottomed natural pool scooped into the river.
  • The bridge.  There is a lovely wooden bridge crossing a shallow pool.
  • Sand.  Cali and her newfound friends enjoyed building sandcastles on the end of the river.

I work online,  especially when traveling.  I’m ‘always on the lookout for the best coffee shop with free wifi.  River Pointe brews an excellent cup in a comfy atmosphere with a pristine view.  They serve delicious drinks, snacks, and food for kiddos too.  The coffee shop directly overlooks the Spring Resort & Spa, making it a preferable place to enjoy a drink or snack before or after the hot springs.

Tip: In the winter the hot pools may be a difficult place to entertain babies.  Consider sending one parent to relax at River Pointe with a little one.

Traveler’s Log

Pagosa Springs was part of a Four Corner State road trip tour for Traveling With Monkeys. This was my first trip with Cali, my partner’s daughter.  Traveling was a great way for Cali and me to get to know one another. Pagosa Springs was our recovery stop after days of driving.   And it soon became our favorite part of the trip.

We arrived in Pagosa Springs late one night after 12 hours in the car.  We had a  very patient 7-year-old in the backseat.  After wearily dragging our bags into the hotel room, Cali excitedly pulled me across the street to peek at the moonlit hot springs.  Tendrils of steam rose up through the cool winter air and hovered  above the myriads of pools and sculpted geyserite.  Behind the springs, we could see the picturesque silhouettes of downtown Pagosan buildings.  The ache of a long day’s drive melted away as we experienced the view together.  Here at Traveling With Monkeys, we like to call these “snow globe moments.”

“Vacations tend to pressurize your experiences transforming them into snow globe moments that your family can take out, shake up, and look back on fondly” – Mykee Saunders, Owner/Founder of Traveling With Monkeys

Of course, after a moment of silence, Cali accurately observed, “The hot springs smell like a skunk’s butt.”

Our days in Pagosa were filled with hot tub soaking, polar bearing, wild deer calling, and lots of delicious food.  It was an impeccable place to really enjoy each other’s company before heading back on the road.

Travis’ life revolves around food.  So when I say that Kip’s Grill has killer tacos, I mean killer tacos.  Their Dos Dynamite Diablos are the best tacos I’ve tasted outside of Mexico.  Basically, they stuff roasted hatch chilis with mozzarella cheese, add top sirloin steak, and then stuff that into a tortilla.

There were plenty of local families eating out at Kip’s with their kiddos.  They also have a full kids menu with items available for simple to experimental eaters.

We were extremely impressed by the sincere, attentive service at Pagosa’s Quality Inn.  They allowed us to postpone our visit at the last minute.   They went above and beyond to be attentive and helpful.  This is not a fancy hotel by any means, but it is clean, comfortable, and provides all the basics.  Most importantly, it is located across the street from the Spring Resort & Spa and the rest of downtown Pagosa.  This is the perfect hotel for you savvy savers out there.

If you have the money and enjoy fancier accommodations the Spring Resort & Spa has luxurious eco-friendly accommodations including unlimited access to the springs during your stay.

Experience the mountains of Colorado on the back of a dogsled pulled by gorgeous Alaskan Malamutes.  Pagosa Dogsled Adventures offers a shared mini adventure for families.  It includes a 6o minute mushing adventure and photographs.  The dogs are impeccably loved and cared for.  This is the ideal experience for outdoor enthusiasts and dog lovers.

Planning for Pagosa Springs?

If you are planning kids and family activities in Pagosa Springs, Pin this article for later and check out these other useful resources:

In conclusion, Pagosa Springs is our number one small town Colorado recommendation, because it hosts activities that fit every budget and family travel personality.   Please comment below if you have any questions about your upcoming family vacation to Pagosa Springs.

Tanya Collings

Tanya Collings

Managing Editor

Travel Personality: Outdoor Enthusiast/Culture Cultivator

Tanya has worked as an editor and writer for the past 12 years.  Six of those years were spent living in a canvas tent in the deserts of Southern Utah.  In her free time she enjoys exploring the United States with her dog and rambunctious two-year-old son.

 

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