Madison is a content writer, editor, and small business owner living in Okinawa, Japan. She focuses primarily on Texas, Colorado, and Japan travel destinations as well as budget-friendly guidelines and hiking trips.
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Colorado is a great place to have a family vacation. From fun-filled ski trips to summer getaways, there are a number of great spots that are perfect for kids and families alike. Experience the beauty of Colorado with your family when you visit one of these best family vacation spots in Colorado.
This list kicks off with one of the best family vacation spots in the state – Estes Park. Estes Park is home to one of the best national parks in the country, Rocky Mountain National Park. Both kids and adults will enjoy the outdoor recreation opportunities found year round in Rocky Mountain, from hiking in the summer to snowshoeing in the winter. However, Estes Park offers more to families than just the national park. From ziplining to horseback riding, there are a lot of outdoor activities to enjoy here. Choose to stay at YMCA of the Rockies to take advantage of the number of kid activities offered there.
Colorado Springs, one of Colorado’s biggest cities, is only an hour and a half from Denver. With attractions like Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the kids will have plenty of fun when you choose a family vacation here. Nearby Canon City is also a great spot to explore as a family. The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park is an amusement park high above the Royal Gorge. Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Manitou Springs is another family-friendly attraction near Colorado Springs. There are endless opportunities for families when vacationing in Colorado Springs.
One of the top family-friendly attractions in the state is Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs. Families will enjoy this amusement park in the mountains that features an alpine coaster, cave tours, and other thrilling rides and games. Glenwood Springs is also home to one of the most beautiful yet popular hiking spots in the state, Hanging Lake. After a hike up to Hanging Lake, you and the family will love soaking in the natural hot springs in town at Glenwood Hot Springs Pool or Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
There is a reason why families continually flock to the picturesque city of Breckenridge every winter. This charming Colorado mountain town is perfect for a family ski vacation. Kids will enjoy a day at ski school, while adults can take advantage of Breckenridge Ski Resort, a world-renowned skiing oasis. However, Breckenridge isn’t just a great family vacation during the winter months. Families also head to Breckenridge during the summer to hike, mountain bike and enjoy fun attractions like Epic Discovery.
Crested Butte is a Colorado ski town that is a great spot for a family vacation no matter if you’re traveling here during the summer or winter season. The ski resort in Crested Butte caters to all skill levels, as well as offers groomed trails for Nordic skiing. Even if the weather turns bad during your vacation, take the kids to Trailhead Children’s Museum for indoor fun. Crested Butte isn’t just known for its skiing; it’s also known as the Wildflower Capital of Colorado once summer hits. The entire family will love a scenic summer hike surrounded by Colorado wildflowers.
Aspen (as well as Snowmass) is a mecca for skiing families, as the area is home to four mountains to ski. When you aren’t shredding the slopes, attractions like the Aspen Art Museum and the Ice Age Discovery Center offer educational fun. Even if you aren’t a skier, activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing and tubing offer outdoor fun without skis or snowboards.
This Front Range city is a great spot to visit for families with older kids. If you’re visiting Boudler during the summer, window shop along Pearl Street Mall or hike the Flatirons. The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Boulder Farmers Market are also fun attractions to fill your day in Boulder. If you’re heading to Boulder during the fall, root for the Buffs at a CU Boulder football game.
Vail is a gorgeous mountain town that makes for a great family vacation spot in Colorado. It has been known as one of the top skiing destinations in the state for decades. Therefore you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this ski town by getting the whole family out on the slopes. If you’ve grown tired of the slopes, visit kid-friendly attractions in Vail like Imagination Station or Adventure Ridge.
Take the family to one of Colorado’s lesser-known national parks, Mesa Verde National Park. This unique park features 600 cliff dwellings and thousands of archeological sites from the Pueblo people who lived here hundreds of years ago. The park has a Junior Ranger program perfect for the kiddos. For a budget-friendly trip, choose to stay at the campground here.
One of the most picturesque mountain towns in Colorado, Fort Collins boasts small-town charm with its bike-friendly layout, beer-obsessed locals, and a picturesque historic district dubbed Old Town. No matter if you and your family want to enjoy outdoor recreation or Fort Collins’ city sites, there is plenty to do here to please everyone. Hike up Horsetooth Mountain, go boating in Horsetooth Reservoir, or float down the Poudre River. A cold craft beer is a perfect way for the adults in the family to relax after exploring the foothills outside of the city. This Colorado city is one of the top brewing cities in the state; it is home to small microbreweries as well as large-scale craft beer giants like New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Company. Families with children will enjoy spending a sunny afternoon at City Park or a rainy day at the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.
Don’t be intimidated by Denver’s size – Colorado’s capital city is a great jumping-off point for a family vacation. The kids will love its top attractions, including Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park, while parents will enjoy the variety of shopping and dining options on 16th Street Mall. Locals and tourists alike regularly travel 15 minutes outside of the city to attend a concert at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Historic buffs in the family shouldn’t miss out on visiting the Denver State Capitol or the Denver Mint. Denver’s city center has plenty of museums too, including the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. If your family is eager to explore the Colorado outdoors, head to nearby Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora or make the 30-minute drive to the city of Golden at the foothills of the Rockies.
Telluride, Colorado is most notably known for its ski resort, however, this mountain town is more than just its incredible ski slopes. Located in the southwestern part of Colorado, Telluride is both a summer and winter destination for families. During the winter, skiers will definitely enjoy Telluride Ski Resort, while history enthusiasts should take the time to learn about the city’s history through Telluride Historical Museum. For families visiting Telluride during the summer months, you’ll want to bring your hiking shoes. There are a number of great hikes in the area, including the Bridal Veils Falls hike that leads to the highest waterfall in Colorado.
This bucket list destination in Colorado will make an unforgettable family vacation. Home to the tallest sand dunes in North America, Great Sand Dunes National Park offers a diverse environment for outdoorsy families. Backpacking and hiking within the dune field is permitted. Adrenaline junkies should try sandboarding the dunes (think snowboarding but on sand!). During the summer months, cool off in Medano Creek, a seasonal waterway that is perfect for wading and skimboarding. Piñon Flats Campground, a National Park Service camping area, is a popular camping option for car campers and RVs. This national park is most visited during the warmer months of the year, however winter is enjoyable here too. Snow does fall on the dunes, making it a great place to snow sled. Relax at the nearby Sand Dunes Recreation, which is a public pool that is fed by natural hot springs.
Take the family on a winter getaway to Steamboat Springs. Hit the slopes at Steamboat Ski Resort or spend a snowy day warming up at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Many visitors to this northern Colorado town visit during the winter months, however, Steamboat Springs is just as beautiful when the snow melts away in the warmer months. Take a stroll through Yampa Botanic Garden or visit Fish Creek Falls, a hiking area just outside of town. Steamboat Springs doesn’t just offer outdoor recreation opportunities; there are a couple of indoor options to explore here. Learn about the history of the area at the Tread of Pioneers Museum, or hit up the bumper cars on ice at the Howelsen Ice Complex.
Winter Park is a great home base for families looking to explore not only Winter Park but also Granby and Grand Lake too. Winter Park Resort, the state’s longest continually-run ski resort, offers winter fun for families, ranging from skiing to tubing to snowshoeing and more. Winter Park isn’t just a mecca for skiers but also mountain bikers, as this Colorado city is home to over 600 miles of trails. Take the family to Trestle Bike Park, a mountain biking center where you can rent bikes and find a trail for any skill level. Only 25 miles away from Winter Park, Granby is a great day trip for families. Hit the range at Grand Elk Golf Club or enjoy water activities at Grand Lake.
Located near the New Mexico border, this town in southwestern Colorado is a great place for first-time visitors to the state, as it offers a wide variety of activities centered around the area’s natural beauty and history. Take a tour of the cliff dwellings and various archeological sites at Mesa Verde National Park, located 45 minutes outside of Durango. Or take a train ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which runs through the mountains along the Animas River. Alternatively, thrill seekers in the family may prefer to book a guided white water rafting tour of the river instead. From hiking in the San Juan Forest to dining at one of the brewpubs in Durango’s historic downtown, this Colorado city is a laid-back destination for a family getaway.
Located in southwestern Colorado, Pagosa Springs is best known for its ski resort and hot springs pool. Skiers and snowboarders looking for the freshest powder on the slopes will want to flock to Wolf Creek Ski Resort in Pagosa Springs, as this ski area receives the most annual snowfall than any other resort in the state. After a day on the slopes, take the family to the natural hot spring pools along the San Juan River at The Springs Resort. Winter isn’t the only time families venture to Pagosa Springs. During the summer, there are plenty of hiking trails to accommodate all skill levels. Fourmile Trail is a great option for families looking for a scenic yet challenging trek; view waterfalls during the winter and yellow aspen trees in fall along this favorite Pagosa Springs hiking trail.