colorado family vacations – Places like Vail, Denver, Aspen, and Colorado Springs are among the best Colorado vacation spots, but did you know there’s more to Colorado than just these?
The Centennial State abounds with a ton of photogenic towns and quaint, charming towns, all set against the stunning natural backdrop of the Rocky Mountains; As if that wasn’t alluring enough, these places are devoid of crowds, adding to their allure.
If you’re thinking of a fun family vacation with lots of time outdoors, consider these places for some of the best family vacations in Colorado.
If you’re a family of skiers interested in the best family ski resorts in Colorado, look no further than Aspen. Also known as Snowmass (for obvious reasons, I think), Aspen has beautiful slopes for skiing; however, it’s not just about the Snowmass slopes.
Aspen also offers attractions like the Ice Age Discovery Center and the Aspen Art Museum, great places to mix fun and learning for the little ones.
Don’t worry if yours isn’t a ski family; other fun activities are also on offer, including snowshoeing, tubing, and snowmobiling.
Recommended hotel: Limelight Hotel Aspen
Of course, the closest major airport to Telluride is an hour and a half away, making it a pretty tricky place to get to, but beautiful Telluride, nestled in the middle of the San Juan Peaks, is well worth the trip.
One of our favorite Colorado vacation spots for families, Telluride has more than its fair share of tourist families – the Telluride Hotel is a popular place to base yourself, conveniently close to downtown and offering plenty of excellent services.
Don’t miss out on the beautiful views on your free gondola ride from the Mountain Village ski area to town!
Recommended Hotel: The Telluride Hotel
3. Beaver Creek
One of the great summer vacation destinations to visit in Colorado, Beaver Creek abounds with charming boutiques and impressive dining options.
A few miles west of Vail, Beaver Creek sees fewer crowds due to its small size.
Come summer, you’ll be spoiled by choice: there’s miniature golf, bungee trampoline, fishing in the Flood Fishing Pond, and gondola rides.
Older kids will find it exciting to mountain bike and hike to Beaver Lake, while parents can take a much-needed break from the kids and enjoy concerts at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Recommended hotel: Grand Hyatt Vail
Near Telluride, Ouray is “the” place to be for golden autumns, mountainous scenery, and beautiful natural hot springs, packed with pools and slides for the little ones.
Get a glimpse into the life of a miner with a tour of the once-active Bachelor-Syracuse Silver Mine, or head to the beautiful Box Canyon Falls that flow through a highly narrow slotted canyon.
Come winter, Ouray is an ice-climbing hotspot due to its many frozen waterfalls.
Families also enjoy the scenic views from the Ouray Perimeter Trail and relaxed hiking.
Recommended Hotel: Twin Peaks Lodge & Hot Springs
Related: Fun Things to Do in Colorado with Kids
Located between Vail and Denver, Breckenridge abounds with year-round family activities, making it one of the best places in Colorado for a family vacation.
This authentic western town offers summer fun like an alpine roller coaster, alpine slide, ropes courses, zip lines at Epic Discovery, scenic gondola rides, whitewater rafting, and family horseback riding.
You can also visit nearby Frisco for kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, and kayaking.
Winter in Breck sees visitors hit the terrain parks and one of the largest half-pipes in the world.
Recommended Hotel: Village at Breckenridge Resort
Related: Best Family Beaches in Colorado
Hotels in London
6. Crested Butte
Taking its name from the area’s dominant peak, Mount Crested Butte, this quaint and charming town is near Aspen and features many old buildings and original miners’ shacks dating back to the 19th century.
If you’re traveling with children, explore the many trails that lead to enchanting forests and mountain meadows.
Viceroy Snowmass offers excellent vacation packages for hikers.
If you’re up for it, try the 12-mile West Maroon Pass hike; you’ll be treated to lovely views of Maroon Lake and the twin peaks of Maroon Bells upon completion of the hike.
Recommended hotel: Elevation Hotel & Spa
Laid-back Boulder is primarily a college town; It is a good option for a weekend getaway. Stroll down Boulder Creek or enjoy shopping at the wonderfully bizarre stores on Pearl Street.
Hotel Boulderado is a popular place to stay with families; the historic building with its victorian-style rooms is smack in the middle of the thriving downtown area and very close to the pearl street mall.
Head to the Flatirons for a nice hike or enjoy a ride filled with local legends and ghost stories on the Banjo Billy Bus Tour!
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Boulderado
Related: The Best Things to Do in Colorado
Related: The Best Food in Boulder
8. Estes Park
Home to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is a great family retreat for kids to consider, filled with year-round outdoor activities.
Families can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and ziplining in the summer; come winter, excellent snowshoeing is available.
Staying at the YMCA hostel also adds its own appeal to the kid-friendly nature of Estes Park; The hostel offers plenty of kid-friendly activities to keep little ones and little ones busy.
Happy parents and happy kids – Estes Park is a win-win place!
Recommended Hotel: The Stanley Hotel
Related: The best cheap family vacations
Restaurants in Estes Park
Hotels in East Park
9. Colorado Springs
One of Colorado’s largest cities, Colorado Springs boasts attractions like the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Pike’s Peak, and the Garden of the Gods.
Canon City is also very close to Colorado Springs, as is Cave of the Winds Mountain Park (Manitou Springs); both locations are great for family exploration.
For more family fun, head to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park – high above the Royal Gorge, this amusement park shows excellent potential to keep everyone in the family equally engaged!
Recommended hotel: Garden of the Gods Club & Resort
Colorado Springs Restaurants
Colorado Springs Hotels
10. Glenwood Springs
If you’re looking for more western vacation ideas for the whole family, consider Glenwood Springs, home to the ultra-popular Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
Glenwood Caverns offers loads of excellent activities like cave tours, an alpine roller coaster, thrill rides for adrenaline junkies, and fun rides for the little ones.
Glenwood Springs also boasts one of the most beautiful hiking spots in the state: Hanging Lake.
After hiking to Hanging Lake, enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation at the beautiful natural hot springs at Iron Mountain or the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool.
Recommended Hotel: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort
Glenwood Springs Restaurants
11. Mesa Verde National Park
Not as popular as Rocky Mountain National Park, but beautiful nonetheless, Mesa Verde is a unique park boasting over 600 cliff dwellings and numerous archaeological sites, once home to the Pueblo people.
Aside from its historical importance, Mesa Verde is also famous for its Junior Ranger program.
Get rid of the traditional resort stay and stay in the camp; You’ll save quite a bit, be in Mother Nature’s lap, and have plenty of opportunities to bond as a family without the distraction of gadgets and fancy hotel rooms.
Recommended hotel: Far View Lodge
12. Rocky Mountain National Park: Rocky Mountain
Watch elk passing under granite walls, alpine meadows blanketed in wildflowers (in summer), and a beautiful winding mountain road over the Continental Divide.
The natural splendor of Rocky Mountain National Park is breathtaking. So put on a good pair of boots and head into the backcountry.
Whatever your physical abilities, there’s a trail for you: from epic rides up Longs Peak to family adventures in the Bear Lake area.
13. Denver: view of the city and the Eastern Rocky Mountains
This city is an essential stopover during a stay in Colorado. Denver is moving at a new pace with exquisite restaurants, live music venues, and impromptu cultural events.
This gives the Mile-High City a more refreshing look. You can explore unique neighborhoods with vibes all their own, get lost in museums, or simply connect with the eclectic mix of people who are helping to build a new vision of life in the Rockies.
14. Colorado National Monument: Views of Another World
Watch the sun set over red rock formations, hike beautiful desert trails, and camp through these landscapes from another time.
These canyon walls rise from the Uncompahgre Uplift of the Colorado Plateau, 2,000 feet above the great Colorado River Valley, to reveal the twinkling lights of Grand Junction, the brilliant green river, and fields lined with trees of the Grand Valley. All this in a landscape once patrolled by dinosaurs.
15. Dude Ranches
With wide-open beaches, wildflower meadows, and snow-capped peaks, seeing Colorado on horseback is a never-before-seen experience for the whole family.
Sweet memories await: from rustic cattle ranching on an authentic South Park ranch to adventure on a bison ranch or horseback riding in the lush Rocky Mountain retreat of Devil’s Thumb.
The hardest part is deciding where to stay: from renovated five-star log cabins with all mod cons to starlit camps with one eye on the Milky Way.
16. Silverton: Greene Street and the San Juan Mountains
Hardy pioneers started Silverton in search of mineral riches. Instead, Hollywood shot its share of westerns here in the 1950s.
When the last mine closed in 1991, Silverton seemed destined to become another ghost town, abandoned like St Elmo and Ashcroft.
The town has come alive with renewed interest in the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway and the expert-only Silverton Mountain ski area.
Good to know: don’t miss the emblematic Greene Street with its Victorian-era windows and storefronts without forgetting the San Juan mountains in the background.
17. Vail: A Town for Snowboard Lovers
Famous and coveted, Vail feels like an amusement park for adults. Indeed, it’s one of the best resorts in Colorado, with premium ski runs and enjoyable terrain.
Is this your first experience on a snowboard? Or, on the contrary, have you already mastered the turns like a pro? This destination could well be THE ski trip of your dreams.
Winter sports not your cup of tea? Head to great trails for biking or hiking in the summer!
18. National Dinosaur Monument
One of the few places in the world where you can literally get your hands on a dinosaur skeleton! Dinosaur National Monument is nestled in far northwest Colorado and stretches across the borders of Utah.
It was discovered in 1909 and is one of North America’s largest dinosaur fossil sites.
Explore desert trails, examine ancient rock art or raft the Yampa River through the serene landscape of its twisting canyons, covered in red rocks.
Not to mention the visitor center, which houses thousands of bones in the dinosaur quarry.
19. Rafting on the Arkansas River
Running from Leadville on the east flank of Buena Vista, past Browns Canyon National Monument, then through the spectacular Royal Gorge at Class 5 speeds, the Arkansas River is the longest and arguably wildest river in the state.
Prepare for icy splashes as you dive into big waves, or surrender to the power of the current as your completely soaked crew scrambles!
20. mountain biking in the southwest
Around Fruita, the trails zigzagging through the red rock landscape are world-famous.
Other must-see spots for mountain biking are the sagebrush hills and aspens around Crested Butte, the epic Monarch Crest Trail outside of Salida, and the lesser-known desert trails near Cortez.
21. Ride a steam train
Enjoying your vacation in Colorado is also about enjoying good vintage coal-fired vaping. Aboard a steam train, imagine hearing the groan of steel on steel, traveling through dynamite-cut tunnels, and taking in some of the most breathtaking views of mountains and canyon descents.
The best by far is the incredibly scenic 72-kilometer Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railway. But the Georgetown Loop and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad are other exciting attractions.
Cyclists will love the Amtrak trails to Winter Park and Glenwood Springs.
22. Driving on the Million Dollar Highway
South of Ouray, towards Silverton, this stretch of road is simply amazing. So much of it is in the mountains and gains elevation with some tight turns.
The drive is excellent in good weather, but drizzling, fog, or snow can make the trip scary. You have been warned!
23. Colorado Fourteeners Hike
Colorado is home to more than 50 peaks over 14,000 feet (4,267 meters). Two are accessible by road, but the rest you will have to sweat a little.
Here are some ideas for activities to do on site:
● walk a short trail, just 4 kilometers from Quandary Peak near Breckenridge;
● tackling a multi-day route to Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park;
● race Mount Elbert, the tallest of them all;