Royal Rush Skycoaster (credit: royalgorgebridge.com)
If you’ve got a long weekend coming up, or you just want to find some time to get out of town with the family, there are lots of spots near Denver that make a great weekend getaway. Lucky for you, you live in Colorado, which means there is no shortage of beautiful places to explore, hike, camp and enjoy some of the most picturesque scenery in the world. With a single day or even a few days off, you can take the whole family on a trip to any of these fun destinations to make some wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some of the best spots for a family-friendly getaway near Denver.
Colorado Gators Reptile Park
9162 CR 9
Mosca, CO 81146
If you are willing to make the four-hour drive from Denver, a weekend trip to the Colorado Gators Reptile Park is something that any child would love. This family-friendly park is home to all sorts of creepy, crawly reptiles, alligators, snakes and more. You can see an actual albino alligator, a huge Nile croc that is nine feet long and weighs more than 250 pounds, a 17-foot python and more. Every person that walks in to Colorado Gators Reptile Park is able to hold, pet and take pictures with a small alligator. For a small extra fee you can buy a bucket of food to feed the alligators yourself. This is a truly memorable family trip that would be a perfect weekend getaway.
Steamboat Ski Resort
1847 Ski Time Square Drive
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
Everyone knows that Steamboat Ski Resort is a great place to visit during the winter, for all the best skiing and snowboarding around. However, the warmer months are equally fun, with lots of other activities to enjoy in the beauty of the Colorado mountains. The Kids Adventure Club is a great way to enjoy hikes, games, swimming, biking, crafts and even rides on the Alpine Slide, or check out the Coca Cola Adventure Zone with its own ropes course, bungee jump, climbing wall, mechanical bull, bounce house and so much more. The whole family will love checking out the other side of Steamboat, and you’ll make lots of lasting memories.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
If you’ve never been to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, you’re missing out on another of Colorado’s many vacation gems. Not only do you get to explore the huge caverns and caves with one of the many different cave tours, you can also enjoy lots of great thrill rides. Check out the Alpine Coaster, the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride or the Glenwood Canyon Flyer. The rides in this park are nothing like you’ve ever seen before, as you soar above the majestic beauty that can only be seen in Colorado. With laser tag, mazes, a climbing wall and more, this adventure park is sure to be the perfect choice for your whole family to enjoy. Make sure you find more than one day to visit Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park because you’ll quickly find that you need a few days to get to everything there is to do here.
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
4218 County Road 3A
Canon City, CO 81212
The first thing to see upon your arrival at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is to walk across this legendary architectural masterpiece. It’s the highest suspension bridge in America, built in 1929. Just a walk or drive across this bridge is worth the trip alone but there are even more fun things to enjoy in the rest of the park. Go for a ride on the Royal Rush Skycoaster and soar high above the stunning surroundings or keep things a little more tame with a gondola ride. Check out the visitor center when you first arrive and pick out a few fun things for the whole family to enjoy and you’ll have another great family vacation.
Related: Top Getaways For Parents Near Denver
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517
One of the best, and most affordable, ways to make some beautiful memories as a family is to enjoy a weekend escape to Rocky Mountain National Park. This huge national park is home to some of the best hiking, camping and fishing in the country with stunning panoramic views everywhere you look. The kids can check out the Junior Ranger program for some fun workshops and tours by the friendly Rangers or the whole family can explore some of the many trails and fishing spots. Rocky Mountain National Park is also located just outside Estes Park, where you can enjoy lots of shopping and eat at the many great restaurants. Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best reasons for living in Colorado, so make sure you don’t miss out on this fantastic destination.
Deborah Flomberg is a theater professional, freelance writer and Denver native. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.