Colorado has long been known for snow-themed vacations. Skiiers, boarders, and sleigh-riders alike simply cannot get enough of those pristine snow-covered mountain peaks. And, of course, there is good reason! We adore our fresh mountain powder, crisp blue skies and endless miles of outdoor terrain. But, you see, I have a little secret that I’m going to share with you. Colorado is great in the winter, but it is spectacular in the summer (especially for on-the-go families like mine)! If you’re thinking about a summertime family getaway to our great state, consider these “best of” picks for full-on family fun.
I have to talk up my town. Why? Because it is awesome! Boulder may attract the outdoor junkies, but raising a family here is the bomb. We have the Boulder Creek Path, the Boulder Farmers’ Market, pedestrian friendly Pearl Street Mall, the Valmont Bike Park and endless miles of hiking, biking, rock-climbing. Plus, a ton of family-friendly restaurants. The best part? The weather! Our summers are filled with sunny skies, crisp air and not-too-hot temps.
When to visit: anytime between June 7 – August 11 to experience the Colorado Shakespeare Festival at the University of Colorado campus.
I know, CO Springs is not technically a “town,” but I had to include it. Since it’s not traditionally known as a city to “getaway” to, folks may be missing out on all the fun things it has to offer. Located about 65 miles south of Denver, Colorado Springs is chock full of family-friendly awesomeness. It has the Garden of the Gods, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (where you can feed the giraffes!), the USAF Services Youth Program at the Air Force Academy, tram rides to the top of Pike’s Peak (one of 53 Fourteeners in Colorado), the US Olympic Training Center, and picturesque Manitou Springs nearby. All in all, there are more than 25 attractions in the area. Well worth the trip!
When to visit: August 23 – 25 for the 31st Annual Mountain Music Festival in nearby Manitou Springs
There is a reason Rand McNally and USA Today named Glenwood Springs, Colorado “Most Fun Town in America.” With an extensive cave system, a perfect-for-smaller-kids Adventure Park, 120 year-old hot springs pool, a charming downtown and plenty of white-water rafting, this town has plenty to offer. Located about 120 miles west of Denver, not only will you get to experience the town, you’ll drive through beautiful, jagged-peak Colorado terrain to get there. Check out the campgrounds, because the outdoors will be begging you to stargaze.
When to visit: June 21- July 23 for the 116th Annual Strawberry Days Festival
Salida, CO is a gem. A community filled with artists; colorful, interesting art pieces peek out from the most random places in the cute-little downtown (but only, if you’re not gazing up at the stunning-endless-snow-capped peaks.) Mini-golf, a natural hot springs community pool, charming and delicious restaurants and, – let’s not forget (!) – the Arkansas River – and all it’s amenities – that runs right through town. Throw in weekly festivals, events at the historic Salida SteamPlant and this is an all-around PERFECT town for a summertime family friendly getaway.
When to visit: July 31 for the Salida Mountain Wine Festival
If you want to go somewhere that just feels like “Colorado,” then Steamboat is the place for you! Put on your cowboy boots (or buy them in the historic downtown) and connect with your inner cowgirl/boy/kid. Open space, a winding river, a wide-variety of cute shops, restaurants and a slippery-slidey-fun hot springs pool round out an extraordinary mountainous getaway.
When to visit: June 29- July 4 to celebrate 110th Annual Cowboys’ Roundup Days
These are just a handful of great places to come visit in the summertime with the kids. I can guarantee you that my Colorado friends have at least a dozen more. Why don’t you discover what could be your faves, just check out Colorado.com. No matter when you decide to visit, or where you decide to go to in Colorado this summer, there is sure to be great outdoorsy fun for the whole family!
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