In many ways, Colorado is one of the most underrated vacation destinations in the country. It’s an especially attractive playground for families with children of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a resort experience or a hearty romp through nature, Colorado always delivers. Here are a few options worth considering.
This quaint mountain town right in the heart of the Rockies is a nature lover’s paradise. Popular family-oriented pastimes include horseback riding, hiking and stargazing to name just a few. Events like the Fishing Derby and the Rooftop Rodeo make Estes Park a summertime hive of activity.
Thanks to a toll road that leads directly to the top, Pikes Peak is easily accessible even if you have small children in tow. If you really want to impress the kids, take the Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway up to the summit and enjoy the stellar views.
This gorgeous South Platte River tributary is an underrated whitewater river rafting hot spot that’s perfect for families. There’s an array of rapids to shoot that are appropriate for kids of all ages. Topnotch local river guides ensure that your aquatic adventures are exhilarating and safe at the same time.
Situated by the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers, Glenwood Springs is a town packed with natural and man-made recreational opportunities. The soothing Glenwood Hot Springs provide a spa-like experience among the pines while the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park boasts a slew of roller coasters, slides and zip lines.
Snow Mountain Ranch
While Grand County has a ton of great destinations worth visiting, Snow Mountain Ranch is arguably its most feature-packed attraction. It’s got a huge roster of amenities including a Snowflex® tubing hill, tennis courts, swimming pools, hiking trails, miniature golf, zip lines and world-class dining.
Cave of the Winds
If you’re already making the trek to Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds is an essential side trip. Visitors can take advantage of daily tours through the extensive network of caverns. As an added bonus, the spectacular Manitou Cliff Dwellings are just a short drive away.
Mesa Verde National Park
The main draw of this park is its breathtaking collection of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings including Cliff Palace and Balcony House. Mesa Verde offers guided tours of the ruins as well as an array of well-maintained hiking trails that are perfect for families with small children.
For summertime fun in the mountains, few destinations can rival Vail’s Adventure Ridge when it comes to bang for your buck. It’s got zip lines, mountain biking trails, ropes courses, disc golf, miniature golf and climbing walls that provide hours of entertainment for family members of all sizes.
Like most ski resort towns, Steamboat Springs fields a bevy of summer diversions for families. There’s tubing, horseback riding and mountain biking galore just for starters. The Old Town Hot Springs deliver a much-needed respite for adults while the Coca Cola Adventure Zone at Steamboat Ski Resort is a blast for the children.
No Shortage of Summer Fun
Clearly, Colorado is the place to be if you want to create some lasting summer vacation memories. While the spots mentioned here are guaranteed to satisfy even the most active families, they’re just the tip of the iceberg insofar as Colorado summer attractions are concerned.
This article was written by Ryan Thomas for Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting. Rocky Mountain Whitewater Rafting has guided thousands of whitewater rafting trips on Clear Creek and throughout Colorado.