This will be my final post for my allergy friendly summer vacation destination series…and quite possibly my favorite.
So far I’ve covered vacation destinations popular for those that crave summer heat and the thrill of amusement parks. After all that sweltering heat and fast-paced fun, I think it’s time to head north for some rest, relaxation, and cooler temperatures. Don’t you?
Let’s do. Onward ho to Colorado!
In “Colorado, The Food Allergy Friendly State: Part 1” I sing the praises of Colorado as a vacation destination for the food allergy family. For Part 2, I’m sharing first-hand information on where to go and what to do when you get there. And take it from me…get there as fast as you can!
Once you’ve crossed the state line, be sure to stop and visit the visitor’s center for tons of free information on any place in Colorado and don’t forget to sign up for your free baseball cap! My kids loved them!
There are truly more wonderful places to visit in Colorado than I have time to write about, so I’ll narrow it down to my favorite three: Colorado Springs, Denver, and Estes Park.
*A quick disclaimer here. If you’re child has asthma or respiratory difficulties, please talk with your doctor about how to prep for before, during, and after your trip. My son suffers from asthma, so I was careful to visit with his allergist about the dry air and increase in elevation. Because we planned ahead and took the necessary precautions, he has had no asthma-related troubles during our visits.*
Colorado Springs is a seemingly HUGE city nestled at the foot of the mountains and is rated as one of the fittest cities in America. (Side note: It is also rated as one of the most pet-friendly cities in America so take care in finding a pet-free hotel if your child has allergies to common household pets.)
Hotels and restaurants are a dime a dozen here, though as stated in my previous post food allergies shouldn’t pose a problem for you.
Colorado Springs boasts a ton of tourist attractions filled with local flavor. Some of my favorite attractions are: United States Air Force Academy, Flying W Ranch, Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, U.S. Olympic Training Center, Seven Falls, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Special Notes: 1) The Flying W Ranch is a fabulous family oriented event that serves a cowboy chuck wagon dinner buffet style. I simply called ahead to alert them of my gluten-free diet and my son’s peanut, nut, sesame, chickpea/garbanzo allergies and they graciously accommodated us. 2) The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is hands down one of the best zoos I’ve ever visited. Be sure to take the tram up and walk down the mountain through the zoo. Don’t miss the giraffes – the whole family can feed and pet them! It’s a one of a kind experience!
Denver is kind of like the gluten-free capitol of the United States. There are many gluten-free brands such as Udi’s that are headquartered there.
The city boasts a zoo, great shopping, the arts, and sports. There are more things to do here than there are hours in the day…and all of them are in great weather in the summer!
My favorite Denver experience was attending a Colorado Rockies major league baseball game. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, you can’t help but enjoy the breathtaking scenery surrounding the open-air stadium. In addition, (and this is my favorite part) Coors Field offers fans gluten-free fare at a dedicated gluten-free food stand. I was able to enjoy a real stadium hot dog with sides and a dessert! This was so exciting because an allergy friendly food booth is something we simply don’t have at ANY sports arena in Houston. (Houston…we have a problem!)
This small Colorado town is a little slice of heaven. It is a small, tourism-based town located less than 10 miles from Rocky Mountain National Park that is literally teeming with friendly locals, fresh mountain air, and amazing wildlife.
The main attraction at Estes Park is the great outdoors. Although there are dozens of creek and mountain-side inns, our favorite is the Wildwood Inn located less than a mile from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. They are a pet-free facility and will switch out the normal down bedding with more allergy friendly replacement bedding. They offer several different sizes of cabins with a hot tub, kitchenette, and spa options. All rentals have a spacious outdoor balcony for soaking up that refreshing mountain air and viewing abundant wildlife. Almost every morning and every evening we were blessed to see elk, deer, fox, and chipmunks…all from our balcony. Only a short mile away in Rocky Mountain National Park we saw coyotes, bear, badgers, and marmots!
We filled our days in Estes Park by shopping the main corridor, horseback riding, looking for wildlife, hiking, and picnicking at the park. It was blissful to fall into bed exhausted from all the day’s activities and sleep with the windows propped open.
Special Note: While in Estes Park, be sure to visit Yetserday’s Ice Cream Shoppe as they are more than willing to find some safe ice cream to serve up to families with food allergies. We had a wonderful experience there!
WARNING: The only bad part about vacationing in Colorado is the very real possibility that you won’t want to come home!
Consider Colorado for your next vacation destination and if you’ve already been, please take a minute to share your experience with my readers.