Why Choose Colorado for your Next Family Vacation?
Family Vacation in Colorado
If you have been to Colorado before, you probably know some of the activities and sights you hope to experience as part of your family vacation. There are so many choices of spectacular sights and things to do in Colorado that it's hard to put together a plan that will suit your whole gang. The best place to start is by season and the general region you plan to visit. Lodging is the biggest factor. Are you planning on vacationing out of a single location, or is a road trip on the horizon?
With so many activities and things to see, it's best to be realistic and focus your activities regionally. Depending on your group's interests, you can easily locate nearby attractions to facilitate everybody's vacation goals. Incorporating this concept into a road trip can be equally satisfying. Find locations that can facilitate your lodging requirements and then explore the activities in that area or visa-versa. In either case, add attractions you find to our free itinerary tool to help you trac what to do next.
Family Vacation Activities
Taking a trip to Colorado means you’ll have virtually every type of activity at your fingertips. Whether you’re looking for a big city experience full of museums, shows, and restaurants or an adventure-filled trip with world-class activities like adventure parks, hiking, skiing, rock or ice climbing, off-roading, or white water rafting, there is no shortage of things to do here in Colorado. You might find crossing everything off your list will take more than one trip.
The Great Outdoors
If you’re an adventurous or active type, you can get up close and personal with nature on a hike or by mountain biking, where you can traverse beautiful terrain and watch for wildlife. Four national parks in Colorado show off different aspects of the state’s landscape, from dramatic canyons to rocky peaks to desert-like dunes. If you want the outdoor experience but aren’t looking for quite so much physical activity (the high altitude can really get to you…), there are a lot of beautiful scenic drives and scenic train rides that will afford you the same amazing views of the mountains and the surrounding areas. Some—like the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway or the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway—will take you to the top of Colorado’s tallest mountains, where you’ll pass through jagged gorges and hilly meadows covered in wildflowers, while others will lead you to rugged Wild-West mining villages and abandoned ghost towns. A lot of these attractions are seasonal, but one of the most exciting things about a trip to Colorado is that our geography is so diverse, it means there’s something for everyone pretty much year-round.
Front Range Fun
While we’re exceedingly proud of our mountains, Colorado family vacations don’t necessarily mean spending the entire time at a resort. In our capital city of Denver, you’ll find incredible restaurants, breweries, and entertainment. Denver is home to many amazing music venues—like the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre—and the city for six professional sports teams, including the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies, and the Denver Nuggets. There’s also a wide selection of museums and cultural attractions, like the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Zoo, the Denver Art Museum, the Children’s Museum of Denver, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, all of which are family-friendly and have exhibits, especially for little ones.
Other exciting Front Range destinations include Fort Collins, with its red rock formations and fun and pedestrian-friendly Old Town area. Fort Collins and nearby Boulder are routinely voted one of the happiest cities in America by National Geographic and Gallup. In Boulder, you’ll find the beautiful Flatirons, as well as the hustle and bustle of Pearl Street Mall, and plenty of unique attractions like the Celestial Seasonings Tea factory, Boulder Reservoir, and more. Further South, you’ll find the exciting city of Colorado Springs in the shadow of Pikes Peak, where you can explore the beautiful Garden of the Gods, Cañon City where you can zip line over Royal Gorge or take a train ride at the bottom of this dramatic canyon, and Pueblo, home of the famous Pueblo Chile pepper.
One of the Front Range's most exciting draws is outdoor opportunities, even in the winter. While the ski resorts of Summit County are digging themselves out from the latest dump of snow, there are destinations in the Front Range or the Eastern Plains where you can still take a hike in mild weather or enjoy a round of golf with beautiful mountain views, and plenty of winter days where you can get away with a t-shirt or just a light jacket.
Snow and Sunshine in the High Country
The Rocky Mountains are a huge draw for the majority of people traveling to Colorado. Depending on the season, Colorado’s High Country offers an extremely wide variety of things, especially for family vacationers.
In the winter, there’s an abundance of snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, as well as more unique options like dog sledding and sleigh rides. Families can spend the day playing in the snow before warming up with a steaming cup of hot cocoa, or taking a dip in the steaming waters of a natural hot spring. Colorado’s ski resorts are some of the best in the world, and most of them offer ski lessons or daycare options for kids so everyone can spend the day having fun without compromise. If you plan your visit during the holidays, you’ll find no shortage of family festivities like torchlit parades down the slopes, the Breckenridge Ullr Festival, or adventures to the North Pole to meet the man with the sleigh himself. Plus, there’s nothing so regal as the Rockies when draped in a blanket of pristine snow.
Spring Time in Colorado
But as winter dies down and the weather begins to warm up, the Rockies come alive differently. First, there are those glorious sunny spring days where you can race down the slopes on skis or snowboard in a t-shirt, and all the concerts, competitions, and festivities that come with the season's close at each ski resort. As temperatures rise and summer arrives, the higher elevation regions of Colorado come alive with wildflowers, and annual events like the Crested Butte Wildflower Festival are certainly something you won’t want to miss. As the snow melts, scenic byways and remote trails open for hikers and mountain bikers. For families with kids, a summer family vacation in Colorado could mean attending some of the fun festivals that take place throughout the summer, like the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo in Steamboat Springs, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, or the Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival. Other unique experiences include panning for gold at a real gold mine, riding horses at a dude ranch, feeding giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (the highest zoo in America!), taking a scenic train ride through the twists and turns of a mountain pass on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, or riding an alpine coaster and zip lining from death-defying heights at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
The Wild, Wild Western Slope
Colorado’s Western Slope is known for its red rock scenery, it’s incredible outdoor adventure opportunities, and its agricultural prowess. The region is home to Colorado’s wine country, as well as the home of Palisade Peaches, which are sold throughout the country. The Western Slope has some of the best mountain biking in the country, with rocky slopes and dramatic mesas, as well as some of the most beautiful golf courses imaginable, including Redlands Mesa, which Golf Digest ranked as the #1 Public Golf Course in Colorado.
In the city of Grand Junction, you’ll find the Museum of the West and several lovely local shops, boutiques, and art galleries in the downtown area. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Grand Mesa National Park, home to the largest flat-top mountain on Earth, or Colorado National Monument, which is absolutely stunning at sunrise.
Nearby, the town of Palisade is known for its delicious peaches, and if you have the opportunity to visit in August, you might just end up falling in love with the Palisade Peach Festival, an annual event full of food, music, and fun. Other annual events on the Western Slope include the Colorado Lavender Festival, the Colorado Mountain Winefest, and the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. We mentioned the region was known for its food, right?
Fun for the Whole Family
We know it can be hard to find a family vacation destination that suits everyone’s needs, especially if your kids are from a wider age range or have very different interests. But the wonderful thing about a trip to Colorado is that there’s so much to do, you’ll be able to make everyone happy. From ski resorts to art exhibits, we’ve got it all, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you and yours on your next vacation.
by Emily Krempholtz