How Denver Convinced Me That I Really Do Need a 3-Row SUV

This post is in partnership with GMC.

We only have two children, so technically speaking, we don’t need a 3-row vehicle. An average-sized car or small SUV accommodates two adults and two car seats. Sort of. It’s when you start to load it up with bicycles, Amazon boxes, luggage, Off the Grid picnic paraphernalia, Christmas wreaths…you name it!… that you realize a 5-passenger vehicle really only fits 5 passengers and not much more.  

There is no possibility that I will ever drive a minivan, and 3-row SUVs are way too big to drive, let alone park—I thought—so I figured we were just stuck with our compact SUV and maybe adding a roof rack for all of the STUFF necessary for family outings. Then I drove GMC’s Acadia Denali.

I had a chance to cruise around in this 3-row, mid-size SUV for a week last month in Denver, and it truly changed my perception of what a larger SUV has to offer.

acadia denali
Photo courtesy of GMC

Myth Busting…

Let me dispel some of the myths that I had going into this experience:

gmc acadia denali

Myth: I will never be able to drive a big SUV.

Truth: Yes, I can.  It’s not that different from driving a car, and with the smart driving features in the Acadia Denali, I was confident that I was driving safely, despite being in a vehicle much larger than what I was used to.

Myth: I will never be able to park an SUV.

Truth: Yes, I can! I earned a round of applause from my boys and my mom when I swiftly parallel parked in downtown Denver, in the dark, with traffic backed up behind me. Though I was initially anxious about maneuvering the larger vehicle, the cameras and parking assistance made it a piece of cake.

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Myth: I don’t really need that much extra space.

Truth: Yes, I do.  We easily accommodated two extra adults in the Acadia Denali, transported six huge pieces of luggage on the way back from the airport (ugh, all the stuff kids require for a week away from home!), and brought the equivalent of Santa’s sleigh full of Christmas presents and decorations to my grandmother’s.  

Myth: I don’t need tons of fancy features.

Truth: Yes, I do. The Denali had plenty of power to get us moving quickly, features to keep us safe (the seat under my tush vibrated if I tried to change lanes without turning on my turn signal or if there was another car in my blind spot), creature comforts like seat warmers and coolers and a heated steering wheel, and a great connected media experience that somehow mirrored all of my most important apps from my phone to the car’s multimedia center without me doing a thing.   

gmc acadia denali
Photo courtesy of GMC

Get out and explore!

We visit Denver every Thanksgiving but rarely leave the suburbs where my extended family lives in large part because there is just no easy way to transport all of us! But on this trip, we enjoyed a visit to Denver’s Children’s Museum—a #1 must-see in my book for kids age 0-10. 

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The exhibits paid homage to Colorado’s geographical features while teaching kids the laws of physics (a super cool “Kinetics!” ball exhibit), giving them space to climb (“Altitude”, a 3-story mountain to summit), and providing perhaps the coolest water exhibit I, and my boys, have ever seen.

We also splashed in the Foothills Rec Center Pool, open to the public and offering a swimming, splashing, and sliding experience that rivaled some water-themed amusement parks we’ve visited.

gmc acadia denaliThe most exciting excursion we undertook was a visit to the Union Station’s “Grand Illumination” in downtown Denver.  The tree and station were lit, carolers and musicians performed indoors and out, craft booths and festive food & drink were for sale, and of course, Santa was on site for photo ops.

This is a brief list of some of the activities we enjoyed on this trip.  If you happen to be traveling to Denver with your family, check out our sister site, Denver Mom’s Blog, for some great tips and ideas for keeping your crew happy and entertained while in the Mile High City.

Sadly, for the second year in a row, there was no snow in Denver this Thanksgiving.  Maybe next year we need to write letters to Mother Nature instead of to Santa!


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