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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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
Some of the hundreds of things we didn’t have time to do (or they’re offered only in summer):
- Guided hikes, fly fishing
- Horseshoes, baseball, basketball
- Museum programs
- Zip line
- Fat Tire bike rentals
- Lawn games
- Indoor and outdoor volleyball
- Hay rides
- Outdoor rock climbing
- Rock climbing wall
- Ropes course
- 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.
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.
MORE ON YMCA OF THE ROCKIES
Click here for lodging options and rates (Note: YMCA members get a discount!).
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.