DENVER (CBS4) – It’s finally feeling like summer and it’s time to break out the bathing suits, coolers and beach chairs. Living 1,200 miles from the coast will not stop Denverites from spending a sunny day at the beach with a picnic lunch, bikes on the car and fishing poles in hand. While these Denver-area lakes and reservoirs have their own unique qualities, all of them offer an escape from the real world to sunbathe, swim, bike and fish. Parents will find plenty to do for the out-of-school kids or the weekend family getaways.

(credit: CBS)

Aurora Reservoir
5800 S. Powhaton Road
Aurora, CO 80016
(303) 690-1286
A short drive from the Denver area, the Aurora Reservoir is an oasis out in the middle of nowhere. With soft sand and sparkling water, this reservoir can boast that its water and beach are the cleanest in the Denver area. Coastal transplants can grab the beach towels, bathing suits and picnic necessities and satisfy their beach withdrawals. There are no motorized boats allowed which makes it the ideal place to swim, fish and even scuba dive. Never a shortage of activities, the Aurora Reservoir has an amazing eight-mile trail around the water which is perfect for walking, biking and roller blading. For those who want to work on their aim, Aurora Reservoir even has an archery range.

Chatfield State Park
11500 N. Roxborough Park Road
Littleton, CO 80125
(303) 791-7275

Just off C-470 in Littleton, Chatfield State Park offers mountain beauty with the convenience of being metro close. Although this park is an ideal place to take the family for a day in the sun, visitors to Chatfield really should take an entire weekend to soak in all that it has to offer. With the park being so close to the mountains, people have the chance to see deer, elk and some of the most amazing bird watching around. During early mornings on a summer day, people have the chance to see hot air balloons take flight while enjoying a fun horseback or bike ride. Chatfield State Park has something for everyone including beach swimming, sailing, fishing, camping, horseback riding and even a popular site for remote controlled airplane enthusiasts.

Cherry Creek State Park
4201 S. Parker Road
Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 690-1166

Just a stone’s through away from downtown Denver, a fun summer day for the entire family can be found at Cherry Creek State Park. Summer is the time to put the bike rack back on the car, dig out the cooler and picnic baskets and pack up the family for a day at the beach. Cherry Creek offers a clean sandy beach to swim in, lots of shady trees, grills for the burgers and amazing bike paths. With a nice marina and plenty of places to camp, an entire weekend can be spent away from the craziness of the real world.
Boulder Reservoir
5565 N. 51st St.
Boulder CO 80301
(303) 441-3461

The Boulder Reservoir has the unique beauty of spending a day at the beach while gazing at Colorado’s majestic mountains. It offer the convenience of a concession stand at the swim beach, lifeguards, showers, restrooms and close-in parking. And since you can reserve picnic areas,  this reservoir is perfect for big gatherings with family or friends. It offers rentals for the volleyball court, boats, canoes, paddle-boats and even horseshoes and bocce. After a relaxing and fun day at the beach, the city of Boulder offers some of the most unique and amazing restaurants. The Pearl Street Mall is a must see in the evening.
Jackson Lake State Park
26363 County Road 3
Orchard, CO  80649
(970) 645-2551
For those who want to get away from the summer crowds of the Denver-area reservoirs, Jackson Lake State Park is the place to visit. Although it is a bit out in the middle of nowhere, it is well worth the hour and a half drive from Denver. According to the park’s website, it has been ranked by Reserve America as one of the “Top 15 Park Beaches.” Ideal for the little ones, the swim beach has clear shallow water, soft sand and plenty of room to play. The park offers plenty of room for boating, water-skiing and fishing, and even has summer programs for adults and kids alike.
The original version of this article appeared on in 2013 and was written by Colleen Bement at Examiner.