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Colorado Summer

Colorado Summer Vacation Planning

Colorado Summer Vacation Planning, the best season

If you're planning a Colorado summer vacation, you have come to the right place. A Colorado summer vacation is the best time of year to visit this glorious state. The Mountain West is the most geographically diverse region in the United States, and with that comes natural wonders to be explored. A Colorado summer road trip starts with finding destinations that meet your expectations, planning scenic routes through the mountains, and locating all those fun family activities along the way. Use our FREE itinerary tool to start planning and organizing your summer vacation.

Colorado National and State Parks

Colorado has 42 state parks, 4 National Parks, 11 national forests, and 42 wilderness areas, each showcasing different parts of our great state, from the eastern plains to the highest peaks. That adds up to 43.3% of Colorado classified as public land, and what amazing land it is! These parks and forests are popular attractions during the Colorado summer, and fortunately, they are spread out across the state. You can easily visit one or more during your scenic road trip. State Parks offer various amenities for camping and feature attractions such as a gorgeous mountain lake, hiking trails, and much more. Learn more about National and State Parks.

Colorado summer vacation Alpine Events

Colorado Summer Culture, Festivals, Local Events

As you travel through the state, you will encounter many cultural events and festivals (events calendar).

  • Check the concert calendar and find an outdoor concert or nearby live music. Red Rocks Amphitheater is always a fantastic place to watch a show.
  • Consider a brewery tour such as the Coors Factory Brewery Tour in Golden or the Breckenridge Brewery Tour. Winery tours are also popular.
  • Catch a game at the Coors Field, home of the Rockies, in Denver.
  • Many mountain communities have regular art walks or exhibits going on.
  • The Colorado Pro Rodeo Tour is a popular cultural event with scheduled rodeos throughout the state.
  • Stop at a nearby Farmers Market. Beyond all those mountains lie very fertile valleys. Colorado produces many fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and artisan crafts. Palisade peaches are a favorite.
  • If you enjoy participating in local athletic events, search your favorite mountain community for whatever type of race or event you would like to participate in. You will surely find something (mountain biking, running, golf tournaments…, etc.).

colorado summer vacation things to do with kids

Family Fun Colorado Vacation Planning - things to do with kids

If family fun is what you’re after, Colorado is the place to be. You might say that family entertainment is the state’s specialty. Mountain resort towns (ski resorts) are your-round these days, featuring gondola and chairlift access mountain biking and hiking trails. You will also find mountainside adventure parks in these same locations, adding to the fun with various activities such as bungee trampolines, put-put golf, adventure park-type challenge courses, mountain slides, and more. Nearby mountain communities have even more fun things to do with kids such as guided tours, state parks, and dedicated adventure parks.

Whitewater Rafting, Lakes, Water Parks, Adventure Parks and more

Getting wet during the Colorado summer season is widespread and easily attainable. With abundant mountain lakes, whitewater rivers, and water parks across the state, you can easily add this to your vacation planing. The popularity of adventure parks has created variations that include adventure packages, which combine water fun with other types of adventure.

  • Whitewater rafting is a super fun family adventure. You can easily find rafting companies that provide trips to match the group size and ability level.
  • Try ziplining across Colorado’s stunning landscape. Many zipline companies now offer adventure packages.
  • Water parks are another great summer way to cool down. Check out Elitch Gardens and Water World, both in Denver, which are super fun.
  • Stop at the Frisco Adventure Park, located in Frisco next to Lake Dillon. It is a family-friendly center with lots of family activities.
  • Visit one of Colorado’s many lakes. The larger lakes have marinas with boat rentals, allowing activities like water skiing and jet skiing, sailing, SUPs, fishing, and more.
  • Take a guided horseback ride. Horseback riding is found near mountain resorts or popular destinations like Estes Park.
  • Schedule a group off-road tour, a great way to build memories and see the fantastic sights.
  • Visit a state park. Parks are found throughout the state. These unique parks feature family entertainment such as beaches, picnic sites, boat rentals, fishing, hiking & biking trails, and more.

Colorado Summer Vacation Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

Dinosaurs and Historical Vacation Planning Stops

Colorado Summer Dinosaur Sites

Colorado is rich in history and has many interesting historical sites worth visiting along your family's summer road trip. If you’re planning to visit the Royal Gorge Region, add a stop at one of these exciting dinosaur fossil preserves or museums:

  • The Royal Gorge Regional History Museum, see fossils, dinosaur bones, and a complete Stegosaurus replica skeleton.
  • Garden Park Fossil Area - a 3,600-acre area rich with fossils.
  • Indian Springs Trace Fossil Site - see tracks left by prehistoric creatures.
  • Include Skyline Drive as part of your summer road trip - view fossils and more tracks.

Dinosaur National Monument in NW Colorado is a unique geographical place with dinosaur remains from 100 million years ago. This area is rich in fossils and early pioneer history.

Historical Colorado Road Trip

Many of Colorado’s mountain towns developed during the Gold Rush era, coinciding with the cattle companies' open-range days. These two significant Western development events are seen in the Colorado we know today. Check out the local mountain town museums to learn more about how early settlers lived and made a living.

Denver Museums

Dever has 51 unique museums, ranging from children-focused to more traditional centers, such as the Museum of Nature & Science, Black American West Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.

Colorado Summer Vacation georgetown loop train

Sightseeing a Perfect Family and Friends Activity

When you arrive in Colorado, sightseeing begins, as the mountain landscapes will instantly captivate you. However, getting deep into roads less traveled or passing through dramatic landscapes can be done in various ways. Sightseeing tours are a wonderful way to share memories with family and friends. If getting an eye full is what you’re after, here are some recommended sightseeing options:

  • Take a scenic train ride. Not only will you pass through dramatic mountain landscapes, but you will also learn about Colorado’s mining era. These trains are perfect activities for kids as they often feature hands-on mine exploration, storytelling, and special holiday trains.
  • Sign up for an off-road tour. Guided jeep tours will travel on original mining roads (maintained) through rugged terrain and pass by dramatic vistas—a fun family and friends activity.
  • While in one of Colorado’s resort towns, you can buy a ticket for a gondola ride or a chairlift ride and get a bird's-eye view of the forest and surrounding landscapes. You can also hike or bike at the top and stop in for lunch.
  • Include a scenic byway in your Colorado summer road trip. Stop at historical sites, check out ghost towns, and camp along the way.

Summer Vacation Rest and Relaxation

A Colorado summer vacation can be a chance to rest and rejuvenate your soul. Health and wellness retreats and experiences are growing in popularity. Visiting one or several of Colorado’s natural hot springs is a favorite place to recharge. The soothing, hot mineral waters will revitalize your being. Many of these natural springs have been developed into full-service spas that combine experiences such as massage, meditation, and spa services and provide on-site lodging.

Colorado Summer Vacation Hot Springs

Some of Colorado’s favorite places to explore and enjoy your summer vacation are places that have big attractions such as:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is a favorite national park with various camping options, extensive hiking trails, and educational experiences.
  • Estes Park is a beautiful mountain town beside RMNP, the gateway to Trail Ridge Road, Grand Lake, and Lake Granby.
  • The Royal Gorge Region has attractions like the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Royal Gorge whitewater rafting, and the Royal Gorge Scenic Train.
  • Mesa Verda National Park in southwest Colorado offers a spectacular look into the Ancestral Pueblo people. Visitors can call, walk, drive, or take a tour through the park.

A Colorado Summer Vacation Planning and more

There are many more amazing places and things to do on your Colorado Summer Vacation, and hopefully, you will make discoveries along your journey. Planning your summer vacation starts with finding destinations and activities that interest you and crafting your summer road trip route to facilitate these visits. The free itinerary tool is indispensable for organizing your trip.

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EDGE Ziipline

EDGE Zipline and Adventure Park

The EDGE Zipline and Adventure Center

The EDGE (formerly Castle Rock Adventure Park) is an outdoor adventure center near Denver featuring a zipline tour, Epic Sky Trek, and more.

The EDGE Sky Trek

A 4-story, featuring a 110-element aerial trekking course that ranges from simple to full-fledged daring type elements.

The EDGE Adventure Tower

Thirteen elements of climbing, free-falling, and repelling.

The EDGE Ninja Course

Ninja warrior action as seen on TV. Choose your challenge level.

Check the website for seasonal DEALS and to book a visit; groups are welcome. Gift cards are available for purchase.

EDGE Zipline

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Castle Rock Winefest

The Castle Rock WineFest is an outdoor wine tasting event with more than 2 dozen wineries offering over 180 varietals of the finest Colorado wine. This festival draws wine aficionados for the enormous variety of Colorado wines, fabulous food trucks, artisan vendors, and live music. Activities throughout the day, such as the exciting Grape Stomp will, certainly help work up an appetite–only to be satiated by our many Food Trucks and the amazing cuisine they have to offer! Also available is the Beer Garden, where patrons can purchase cold craft beer local to Castle Rock. There is something for everyone at this year’s Wine Festival. Regular Ticket Price: $75; Early Entry Ticket Price: $85.

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Douglas County Fair & Rodeo Parade

Celebrate the Fair Parade in downtown Castle Rock, presented by the Castle Rock Chamber in partnership with the Town of Castle Rock. Parade starts on the south end of Town, and flows down Wilcox to 4th, to Perry, and ends at the Castle Rock Fire Department. This event is free to the public.

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Castle Rock Artfest

Delight in the artistic impressions of more than 110 Artists from across the country at this two-day event in Downtown Castle Rock. Castle Rock Artfest is presented by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce. The Castle Rock community is abundant with public art which ignites creativity and inspires conversation. There is an enormous commitment to the arts where residents realize that the arts are important to preserving culture and quality of life. This two day event is held in downtown Castle Rock at Festival Park. Delight in the artistic impressions of more than 110 Artists from across the country. Continual live main stage entertainment, featuring popular musicians, will provide a complimentary backdrop to this year’s program. Admission is free to this 2 day event.

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Castle Rock Starlighting

Step into a Norman Rockwell scene at Starlighting, an annual traditional community ceremony that includes lighting the star on top of Castle Rock followed by a fireworks display. Festivities include caroling, dancing, visiting with Santa Claus, kids activities, nonprofit booths, food vendors, hot chocolate, and the iconic chili supper at the Firehouse.

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Castle Rock Star Lighting

Castle Rock Star Lighting

Starlighting is an annual traditional community ceremony that includes lighting the star on top of Castle Rock followed by a fireworks display. Festivities include: Caroling, dancing, ice skating, Santa Claus, Kid’s activity zone, non-profit booths, food vendors, hot chocolate, and the chili supper at the Firehouse adds to this Norman Rockwell experience.Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce created the beloved Starlighting event in 1962, which celebrates the holiday season featured by the lighting of the star on top of the Rock (the star was first lit in 1936).Saturday, November 18, 2023
Time: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Historic Wilcox Square
Downtown Castle Rock & Festival ParkOngoing festivities throughout the day include strolling carolers, dance groups and other live entertainment on every corner. There’s a kids zone, hot chocolate and games to entertain the kiddos as well as adult beverages and plenty of food trucks. Non profit and sponsor booths will line the streets offering holiday goodies and trinkets. Santa Claus visits (2pm-4:15pm) and the chili supper at the Firehouse complete this Norman Rockwell experience.
The actual ceremony will begin at 5:00 PM on the main stage, with the lighting of The Star at approximately 5:30 PM, followed immediately by fireworks.

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July 4th Rock-It Run

July 4th Rock-It Run

A NEW WAY TO START YOUR JULY 4th HOLIDAY 
Join us for the 3rd Annual ROCK-IT RUN 5k, Half Marathon (Relay Optional), and FREE 1k Little Rock-It RUN (8 years and under). Kick-start your July 4th with a new tradition and feel good about Changing Lives. We’ve got the RED & WHITE, and all we need is YOU!Our mission is to increase awareness and raise funds for organizations that help our veterans, first-responders, and others break free from PTSD and mental illness.

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18th Annual Turkey ROCK Trot 5K

18th Annual Turkey ROCK Trot 5K

Come out and join Castle Rock’s largest attended running race, indoor expo, and Thanksgiving morning tradition – the 18th Annual Turkey ROCK Trot 5K Family Fun Run/Walk/Stroll in Castle Rock, CO. Whether you are a serious runner or leisurely walker, bring the whole family and start a new tradition.You are CHANGING LIVES with the Help&Hope Center when you register for the Turkey ROCK Trot. The Help&Hope Center provides assistance to our neighbors in Douglas and Elbert counties who are in serious economic need, at risk of homelessness, or in a similar crisis.

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Castle Rock WineFest

Castle Rock WineFest

Presented by the Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce, this outdoor wine event offers unlimited tastings from more than 2 dozen wineries with over 180 varietals of the finest Colorado wines. Held annually on the third weekend in July, this festival draws wine aficionados for the enormous variety of Colorado wines, fabulous food trucks, artisan vendors, and live music.

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