Best Summer Vacation Ideas for Kids in Colorado

A young guest balances on the ropes course above an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex
Photo Credit: Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

While Colorado is famous for extreme sports like skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing, it is also a great place to bring kids. In fact, some of the biggest attractions in Colorado have put together exhibits, activities, and tours specifically with children in mind. 

Good planning is key to having a successful summer family vacation in Colorado. By knowing where to go and applying a few smart travel tips, you can ensure that your whole family has fun, while you also get a chance to relax! 

Before you book your next summer vacation in Colorado, check out this brief guide on the best trip ideas for kids.

Why Colorado Is a Great Family Vacation Choice

When the snow melts and the wildflowers start blooming, Colorado is a dream destination for family vacations. 

The Rocky Mountains offer the perfect venue for teaching your kids about the outdoors. From Denver to Durango, you can partake in hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, and more. Some adventurous families enjoy overnight backpacking trips, while some prefer the comforts of family cabin rentals in Colorado. 

When you aren’t exploring the outdoors, there are a ton of other amazing activities to choose from in Colorado. From thrilling amusement parks to interactive museums, Colorado’s summer offers a diverse range of fun and educational activities that create cherished memories in the Rocky Mountain state.

Go White Water Rafting

White water rafting is an excellent choice for families with kids. Guided trips down scenic waterways like the Arkansas River offer age-appropriate rapids and safety measures for younger children. As your kids learn more about rafting, they can slowly work their way up to more challenging trip options if desired. 

While many people picture heart-pumping rapids when they imagine a white water rafting trip, these outings are also highly educational. In fact, the best river guides will take time to teach your kids about local flora and fauna, as well as Colorado history.

Family getting splashed on raft with Echo Canyon River Expeditions

Enjoy Canon City Activities

As home to Royal Gorge Cabins, Canon City offers the perfect backdrop for a memorable family vacation in Colorado. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park has educational exhibits as well as incredible amusement park rides. Your kids can learn about the vibrant history of the region while also checking out the zipline, sky coaster, and carousel. 

A trip on the Royal Gorge Railroad is a safe and comfortable way to explore the inner reaches of this massive 1,000 ft. deep canyon. The Dinosaur Experience is located just next door to Royal Gorge Cabins and has several fun and educational experiences for kids. Fishing is also a great choice for kids of just about any age!

Motion activated dinosaurs roar and move on the Wild Walk

Visit Dinosaur Ridge

Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison provides a captivating journey into prehistoric times just outside of Denver. According to the National Park Service website, “The Morrison Formation is a rock unit from the Late Jurassic Period (about 163.5 to 145 million years ago). Named for the town in Colorado where the layer was first described … [it] extends throughout the Western United States and contains fossils of numerous dinosaur species.” 

As home to the famous Morrison Formation, Dinosaur Ridge has hiking trails with dinosaur tracks as well as interactive exhibits in a museum. Guided tours and hands-on exploration enable kids to learn about fossils. Since it combines learning with outdoor fun, Dinosaur Ridge is a must-visit for families in Colorado.

Tour Colorado Springs

Touring Colorado Springs with kids promises an enriching blend of adventure and education. From the enchanting Garden of the Gods to the historic Manitou Cliff Dwellings, children can learn about the natural and cultural history of Colorado.

A drive up to the top of Pikes Peak is a surefire way to impress your kids with the sheer size and magnitude of the Rocky Mountains. Rising to an elevation of 14,115 ft., Pikes Peak is one of the tallest mountains in all of Colorado. If you would rather just kick back and relax, you can also ride the Cog Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak.

Warm colored stone of Cliff Dwellings

Explore Cripple Creek

Molly Kathleen mineCripple Creek is a famous gold mining camp that is located just to the west of Colorado Springs. Today, Cripple Creek has a number of activities that teach kids about the mining history of Colorado. Your family will love the exhibits at the Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum, which will give them a firsthand glimpse of life in the Wild West! 

Historic main street in Cripple Creek also has a number of options for kids, such as shops and even wild donkeys! If your kids are really feeling adventurous, they can also take a gold mine tour at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.

Tips for Traveling in Colorado with Kids

While Colorado is an amazing place to visit with your kids in the summer, there are certain tips you can apply to make your trip here even better. Keep these three things in mind when planning family getaways in the state.

Factor in Driving Time

trip planningSince Colorado is such a big state, you can easily wind-up spending lots of time in the car driving from place to place. As such, you should think about strategically booking your base camp to minimize drive times. For example, there are tons of incredible activities within just 1-2 hours from Royal Gorge Cabins. 

Prepare for Weather

person pulling rain coat hood over head

If you plan to do outdoor adventures with your kids, you should anticipate a whole variety of weather conditions in Colorado. Check weather forecasts, as temperatures can vary greatly. Bring layers for sudden changes and rain showers. Finally, always remember to pack sunscreen, hats, snacks, and water for everyone.

Choose Kid Friendly Locales

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - giraffeIt’s a good idea to do a bit of research on family-friendly locales in the Rocky Mountain state. At Royal Gorge Cabins, we recommend prioritizing activities for kids, such as zoos, interactive museums, and easy hiking trails. Before you choose a restaurant it also never hurts to confirm that they offer a kid’s menu.

Book Your Summer Vacation in Colorado with Royal Gorge Cabins!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create cherished memories and bond with your loved ones. Rent a cabin with Royal Gorge Cabins today and make this summer the best one yet for your kids!

Picture of Ben Sack

Ben Sack

Ben Sack is the General Manager of Echo Canyon River Expeditions and Royal Gorge Cabins. He's also a raft guide, photographer, and he loves exploring Colorado and beyond with his wife and two boys.

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