There are few things more wonderful than watching an expression of wonder cross your children’s faces as they take in the views during a Southern Colorado family vacation! Whether you already have well-conditioned little hikers or those who just prefer taking in nature at a leisurely pace, there are plenty of family-friendly options in the Southern Colorado region.

If you have just one weekend to stay in Southern Colorado, the trick is making the most of your time—and maximizing your experience. Here are our suggestions for what to do during a weekend getaway to Westcliffe, Colorado, when the weather is warm:

Explore Great Sand Dunes National Park: To explore a natural phenomenon unlike anything else in the world, don’t miss Great Sand Dunes National Park, located 90 miles southwest of Westcliffe. Not only are they the tallest dunes in North America, but they are remarkably set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. The national park is also a perfect setting for family fun—whether your kids want to splash around in Medano Creek (which flows in the spring and early summer) or rent a sand sled for a unique experience!

Have some family fun at the Royal Gorge: Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience is the newest family adventure you don’t want to miss! The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is a delight for parents and kids alike. Located 45 miles northeast of Westcliff, the park offers views from one of the world’s highest suspension bridges—or from the solid ground of the bottom with the Royal Gorge Railroad. Admission to the park includes entrance for kiddos to a new three-story playland and splash pad, so it will be a full day for everyone!

Get up close with wildlife at Mission: Wolf: If you and your kids want to learn about wildlife from a safe distance, Mission: Wolf makes for an unforgettable experience. Located 25 miles from downtown Westcliffe, the free center offers an experiential learning opportunity for both parents and kids. And, unlike many other wolf sanctuaries, Mission: Wolf allows for actual hands-on animal access. The only precaution to consider is that while younger children are allowed, they may be restricted to certain areas.

Align your visit with a local festival: Southern Colorado plays host to a number of family-friendly festivals throughout the year, including the legendary FIBArk in Salida to the Stampede Rodeo in Westcliffe. The Colorado Events and Festivals page is a great way to plan your next visit to match up with a local party.