Many thanks to the Colorado Springs Visitors Bureau for sponsoring this discussion about cheap & free things in Colorado Springs!
When I was about 10-years-old my parents took us on an epic road trip from Texas to Utah. At the time, I hated all the hours in the car. We’re talking pre-internet and personal devices!
But looking back I can trace my love of road trips to this particular adventure because I absolutely loved the different stops we made along the way.
Colorado Springs was our first stop on that trip and it has stayed with me over the years.
I remember swooshing down an alpine slide along the way and peering carefully over the bridge at Royal Gorge.
As a 5th grader, this was an awesome family vacation that I’ve always wanted to duplicate.
As a 40-something mom, I’m ready to take my kids back to Colorado Springs. And as a family of 6, we’re researching the cheap or free things in Colorado Springs that my kids would love.
Here are the places on my to-do list!
Cheap or Free Things In Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is an alpine desert with a moderate climate and mild winter. This means outdoors adventures can happen year round, but the fall is an especially beautiful time to visit.
The weather is great and the Aspen leaves turn gold. Sounds dreamy!
The fall colors are at their best in late September and early October, so plan accordingly.
1. Garden of the Gods
This is going to be tops of just about every “things to do in Colorado Springs” list you find for a good reason. It’s stunning beauty and epic hiking trails (both paved and gravel) will keep your family in awe as they climb every rock and trail throughout the park.
And runner friends? There’s a free 5K fun run every Thursday night. How cool is that?!
Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Location: 1805 N 30th Street Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hours: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
2. Air Force Academy
Fly through the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and you might spark the imagination of your own future aviator.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to train like an Air Force Cadet, this is the place to find out!
The Air Force Academy is open year round to the public.
There are many things to do and learn while on campus, but you don’t want to miss the stunning Cadet Chapel! You can take a short but somewhat challenging hike on a paved trail from the Visitors Center to the Chapel.
Location: 4700 Ponderosa Drive USAF Academy, Colorado
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Admission: free *must have photo ID for entry
3. Seven Falls at The Broadmoor
While I don’t remember everything from my trip over 30 years ago, I do remember seeing Seven Falls.
With a view like this, how could one forget?
This stop falls under the “cheap” option, as it is the first on the list that charges an entrance fee. But it’s so worth it!
You’ll have the bonus of seeing the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel since the falls are located on Broadmoor property.
Location: 2850 S Cheyenne Canyon Road Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hours: 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Admission: Adults: Ages 13+ years – $14.00
Seniors and Military (with ID) – $12.50
Children: Ages 2 – 12 years – $8.00
Children under 2 years of age are free
4. The Penrose Heritage Museum (The Carriage House Museum)
Travel hasn’t always been as easy as booking a plane ticket!
That’s something your family will learn when they visit the Carriage House Museum located near The Broadmoor.
It’s a fantastic collection of old horse carriages, vehicles, and transportation methods from long ago. The museum is free and typically not too busy, so feel free to take your time checking out over 30 horse drawn carriages on display.
Location: 11 Lake Circle, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday: 1 PM – 5 PM.
5. The U.S. Olympic Training Center
Every two years the world turns their eyes to the Olympics and my family is no different.
We love both the winter and summer competitions, so this stop is an easy choice for us to make.
Guided tours are available throughout the year, with 8-years-old being the recommended minimum age (though all ages are welcome!).
The Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center is home to sport facilities and support services for the following summer Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American sports:
Cycling (Olympic and Paralympic)
Shooting (Olympic and Paralympic)
Location: 1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: Adults: $12.00
Military and Seniors: $10.00
6. Glen Eyrie
You guys know I love a good castle! I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to visit this one in the Pike’s Peak area.
The Glen Eyrie castle is open for public tours, as well as overnight stays.
If we’re lucky we might even catch the Elk Horn Sheep herd on the property- how cool would that be?
They also offer an educational Rock Tour which is a perfect spiritual and learning opportunity for kids of all ages.
Location: 3820 North 30th Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Hours: May – September Monday – Saturday: 11:00am and 1:00pm Sunday: 1:00pm only
Year – Round Monday – Sunday: 1:00pm
Admission: $9 for the Castle Tour, $12 for the Rock Tour. Reservations are required.
I’m sure you see why I’m so excited to plan a trip back to Colorado Springs with my kids. This is just the beginning of experiences that the area offers for families, couples, or solo travelers.
If getting outdoors and exploring is your idea of a vacation, add Colorado Springs your travel bucket list!
There are activities for everyone: from easy nature walks to wild river rapids to challenges for fitness-enthusiasts of all levels.
Check out the electronic Visitor’s Guide and tell me what free things in Colorado Springs you’d love to see!