Are you heading to Denver for a weekend? Or maybe for a week? Even though Denver is the big city and has plenty of things to do that kids will love, it’s nice to get out and explore a little. And you should! There are so many great family day trips from Denver, you’re sure to find something for everyone.
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Bear Lake, RMNP
1. Explore Rocky Mountain National Park
Drive Time from Denver: 1 hour 40 minutes
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the great family day trips from Denver. It’s only about an hour-and-a-half away, leaving plenty of time for exploring during the day.
Drive down Bear Lake Rd for an easy walk around the most popular spot in RMNP, Bear Lake. You can also start a few trails from the same trailhead to see some more beautiful lakes, but with a longer hike. See my guide to hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with kids to find out why RMNP is one of the most visited National Parks!
Late spring to early fall requires a reservation which can be done the first day of the month before your visit at 10am. You can also try to get a reservation at exactly 5pm the day before.
Isak Heartstone, the troll
2. Take a Mountain Getaway to Breckenridge – Mountain day trip from Denver
Drive time from Denver: 1 hour 37 minutes
Breckenridge is the perfect mountain town to visit for a great day trip from Denver. You’ll feel like you are truly experiencing Colorado while enjoying the many things to do in Breckenridge. It’s very family-friendly, so the kids will love it! Take a hike, head to the adventure park, pan for gold, visit the huge woodland troll, or ride the free gondola. Breckenridge is only an hour-and-a-half from Denver, so you’ll have plenty of time to play once you get there.
Tip: If you’re visiting in winter, do not drive I-70 in the early morning hours or late afternoon hours (from about 3:00-6:00). Ski traffic can add hours to your drive.
3. Head to The Edge for an Adrenaline-Filled Day Trip from Denver
Drive time from Denver: 44 minutes
The Edge is a huge place for adventure for the whole family. Located in a suburb of Denver, you and the kids can get strapped in as you zip line across 10 different zip lines. Enjoy great views in the distance from up high. Kids must be at least 70 pounds to zip.
No desire to zip line? No problem. Go to the Sky Trek where there are 4 levels of aerial skills you can test. After being safely harnessed in, try the different challenges like climbing across a net, walking across a long ladder bridge, or climbing horizontally across a climbing wall. Kids as young as 4 can play safely.
Adventure Tower is alluring, too, at 50 feet tall. This huge climbing wall is allowed for anyone over 50 pounds. There’s even 2 rappelling stations to take a free fall or gently release yourself back down from the top.
Want more adventure? After you finish at The Edge, walk over to the Challenge Hill located at the park. It’s 200 steps straight up to the top, where you’ll find some great views!
Garden of the Gods
4. Spend the Day in Colorado Springs – The perfect day trip from Denver
Drive time from Denver: 1 hour 20 minutes
Colorado Springs is an up-and-coming hot spot for travel. It makes the perfect family day trip from Denver, as there is so much to do for all ages. A top spot to visit is Garden of the Gods, a FREE, spectacular area of red rock formations “fit…for the Gods to assemble!”
When you finish at Garden of the Gods, head to a waterfall, off for a hike, to a nearby castle, to the top of Pike’s Peak, or an amazing and interactive space center. There is plenty to do in Colorado Springs for the whole family.
>> Also Check out Red Rock Canyon Open Space, a free hiking area in Colorado Springs
5. See a Concert at Red Rocks – Must see day trip from Denver
Drive time from Denver: 30 minutes
Another top visited spot in Colorado is Red Rocks. It’s a beautiful area you can hike around, with plenty of trails the kids can do as well. The real gem, though, is to find a fun concert to attend. Red Rocks creates a beautiful, natural amphitheater that gives incredible sound while you listen under the stars. This beautiful theater is not to be missed if you’re looking for an easy day trip from Denver.
Also check out nearby Lair O’ the Bear (and the cool Castle Hike)
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6. City and Outdoors in Fort Collins – Day Trip from Denver with lots to do!
Drive Time from Denver: 1 hour 17 minutes
Home to Colorado State University, Fort Collins is bursting with activities. For family friendly activities in Fort Collins, start at The Farm at Lee Martinez Park. The Farm provides an interactive experience for families. Kids can visit with the animals, as well as take a pony ride (seasonal) for just a few dollars. Visit the museum or schedule a hayride in advance.
For some more traditional fun, head to Fort fun where the whole family can play like kids! Enjoy mini-golf, go karts, an arcade and more at this fun center. With both indoor and outdoor activities, Fort Fun is open year-round.
Make sure to try out the only original street car (trolley) that still runs today. This historic, electric railway is only a small fee to ride during summer and holidays. It’s 3 miles that the kids will love! Don’t miss this family activity in Fort Collins.
For some outdoor entertainment, take a walk through Old Town Fort Collins. It’s filled with historic buildings and influenced Disney’s Main Street. A tour will get you (and your older kids) into some restricted areas (like old basements) with some ghost stories.
Of course it’s always a good idea to visit some great outdoor areas. Horsetooth Reservoir is great for playing, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, and more. If the kids want to see some wildlife in Fort Collins, head to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and try your luck at spotting some bison!
Eldorado Canyon State Park
7. Explore Boulder, Colorado– close day trips from Denver
Drive time from Denver: 40 minutes
Boulder is another city that’s full of city-fun and outdoor life. Plus, it’s not too far, making it an easy day trip from Denver. Take a walk down Pearl Street Mall, famous for their street performers. Kids will love finding people walking on stilts, juggling, or doing other fun acts. Do some shopping and let the kids play in the fountains. The mall area is strictly for pedestrians, so it’s easy to get around.
For an outdoor adventure, head to the popular Flatirons Vista Trail, an easy trail full of views. Or to dig in to an incredible experience, head to Eldorado Canyon State Park where you can watch brave souls scaling the steep canyon walls. There’s plenty of hiking at Eldorado Canyon as well that kids can do.
Denver and surrounding areas (especially the mountains) are at high elevations, which can take some getting use to. Make sure to drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, and get rest. Avoid alcohol, as this can make altitude sickness worse. And take it easy as you go to higher elevations!
Family-Friendly Day Trips from Denver
While there is plenty to see in Denver with the kids it’s always nice to get out and really explore. These 7 fun family day trips from Denver won’t disappoint and will give you a real taste of Colorado!
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