11 Amazing Things to do in Colorado with Kids

Are you searching for the best Colorado family vacations? Maybe you’re looking to take a road trip tour and are looking for must visit stops in Colorado for kids? Discover all of our favorite things to do in Colorado with kids.

Colorado is one of those places that we could return to over and over again and still never do it all. Imagine hiking through the Rockies, taking a historic train ride, and skiing above gorgeous mountain towns. Plus, if you’re a traveling family, there are so many things to do in Colorado with kids.

Do your littles want to walk where the dinosaurs once roamed? Or hike to a 15 foot troll in the woods? Where can your family zip line through the mountains or take an aerial tramway?

And, did you know that the North Pole is open year long? Visit as you drive up a popular mountain. Of course you’ll uncover popular Colorado kids activities like zoos and museums, too.

Plus, with four National Parks and 41 State Parks, discover the best family vacation spots in Colorado for nature junkies. Marvel at the rising Rockies as you hike the super easy trail around Bear Lake, or enjoy the paved pathways at Garden of the Gods. Even the most spectacular places are perfect for families.

We’re sharing our top Colorado family vacations for all types of travelers so you can plan the trip that suits you best. Below, you’ll find our top cities, parks, and all of the best things to do in Colorado with kids.

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For more help booking your family trip to Colorado, check out these booking.com rentals and hotels.

11 Amazing Things to do in Colorado with Kids

Hike Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park

one of the most amazing things to do in Colorado with kids, hike Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
One of the most epic things to do in Colorado with kids, the payout for the short hike around Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular.

If you’re planning a National Parks vacation in Colorado with kids, Rocky Mountain National Park is sure to be at the top of your list.

Bear Lake, one of the most popular hikes through Rocky Mountain National Park, is a perfect hike in Colorado for kids. Short and easy, but with a stellar payout. It’s an absolute must.

Envision the Rockies and evergreens rising up above you, their reflection on a crystal blue lake. Pictures never do RMNP justice, but families often get a sense that this National Park is a bit much for kids.

The Bear Lake Nature Trail, though, is an easy .8 mile heavily trafficked loop around Bear Lake. It provides exactly what visitors want from RMNP, without pushing the kids too much.

hiking Bear Lake with kids through Rocky Mountain National Park
My son aptly brought his bear on our hike around Bear Lake.

While I typically wear my younger son in a framed carrier, this was doable in a soft structured. He actually walked the majority of the hike, alongside my four year old.

Take caution at a couple of the short inclines, as there can be drop offs. We loved pausing at the benches and standing in awe of the Rockies, while our boys skipped rocks.

Past Bear Lake, you’ll find a few more potentially family friendly hikes through the Rockies. Veering towards the left, hike to Nymph Lake (.5 miles out), Dream Lake (another 1.1 miles out), and Emerald Lake (another 1.8 miles out). Elevation does increase rapidly here, and remember your little ones have to hike back, too.

Rocky Mountain National Park Website

See Animals at The Highest Zoo in America – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

  • Submitted by Melissa of Navigation Junkie
spy giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain zoo is continually ranked one of the top zoos in America and contributes to Colorado Springs being one of the best family vacation spots in Colorado. | photo credit: Melissa of Navigation Junkie

Go wild and have some fun doing it! At the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, you can come face to face with a wide range of wild animals while also finding some other fun attractions to enjoy. Some of the friends you might meet at the zoo include giraffes, elephants, hippos, tigers, and bears.

Before visiting, be sure to plan out some animal encounters, one of the best parts of the zoo. You can feed the towering giraffes, attract parakeetes to a seed covered stick in your hand, or enjoy a chicken or goat feeding experience.

The Mountaineer Skyride will take you to a small area above the zoo, offering amazing views of the zoo, Cheyenne Mountains, Colorado Springs, and Eastern Plains. At 6,714 feet above sea level, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the highest zoo in America. At the top you will find a small play area and picnic tables, the perfect spot for a relaxing lunch.

Other attractions include a 1925 working carousel and the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. The shrine is found about 1.4 miles down the road past the zoo, but is included with zoo admission.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Website

Visit Rocks Older than the Dinosaurs at Garden of the Gods

visiting Garden of the Gods with kids
For outdoor Colorado kids activities, you won’t want to miss Garden of the Gods, where kids can hike through rocks older than the dinosaurs.

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links for products and services I recommend. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure here.

If you’re looking for the top Colorado family vacation ideas, Colorado Springs has, without a doubt, come up. Garden of the Gods is the top attraction in the Springs area and the most visited in the entire Pike’s Peak Region.

Iconic red rock formations spread out across 1300 acres of protected land. Visiting remains free for public enjoyment.

Many of the “must see” formations are accessible via the Central Garden Trail, which is paved. Around 1.5 miles with no elevation gain, this provides access to all ages and abilities wishing to see some of Colorado’s most incredible scenery.

Of course there are plenty of other short, family friendly hikes throughout the park. Alternatively, families can drive through the park and choose to stop along the way.

Don’t miss the visitor center for a top notch education on the park. Older kids can grab an activity book and become a Junior Ranger.

Discover more with this guide to Garden of the Gods with kids

Garden of the Gods Website

Visit the North Pole as you Drive up a Mountain

Submitted by Agnes from The Van Escape

the winding drive up Pike's Peak
Summit Pikes Peak via car and enjoy stops along the way. | photo credit: Agnes from The Van Escape

Reaching the summit of Pikes Peak is one of the most exciting family adventures in Colorado.

Pike’s Peak is the highest peak in the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in North America. It rises 14,115 feet above sea level (4,302 m). It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to reach such a high peak without climbing. You can get to the summit by car, ride the cogwheel train, or take a guided tour to the top to experience one of Colorado Springs’ best attractions.

The safe and scenic Pikes Peak Highway offers you the opportunity to enjoy 19 miles of mountain scenery, with frequent stops to take photos and enjoy breathtaking views. The winding road is fully paved, so you’ll have a great adventure if you drive carefully and follow the rules.

Just before the on-ramp to Pikes Peak Highway, there’s a great place that will thrill any kid. The North Pole-Santa’s Workshop is a charming old amusement park at the base of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. So it’s worth visiting before or after your trip to the summit. The North Pole is a Santa’s village where you can feel the spirit of Christmas. Reservations are mandatory, so you should buy your ticket in advance.

visit the North Pole at the base of pike's peak for a festive stop any time of year
For holiday themed Colorado family vacations, or for anything festive during winter break, visit Santa’s Workshop North Pole at the base of Pike’s Peak. | photo credit: Agnes of The Van Escape

A few days before the trip, drink plenty of water and beverages to stay well hydrated. This way, you and your kids will avoid altitude sickness. On the way to the summit, it pays to go slowly to enjoy the view and get used to the altitude. Therefore, it is best to stop at every designated stopping point. At the summit, there is a newly renovated visitor center with an excellent gift shop and restaurant.

Pike’s Peak Website

Hike to Seven Cascading Waterfalls

  • Submitted by Lauren of Where the Wild Kids Wander
for outdoor Colorado kids activities, head to Seven Falls
Seven Falls is an exquisite day trip and one of the best things to do near Colorado Springs. | Submitted by Lauren of Where the Wild Kids Wander

One of the best things to do in Colorado with kids is to visit the beautiful Seven Falls in Colorado Springs. Children of all ages will love the challenge of climbing the 224 stairs up along the seven beautiful waterfalls. 

Getting to the falls itself is just as fun. The walk through the canyon from the entrance is full of interesting rock formations and plant life. Follow the map to locate the Three Amigos and other fun figures.

If climbing up 224 stairs feels daunting, don’t worry. Visitors can view the falls from the Eagle’s Nest. You can either challenge the kids to climb the 185 steps or take the elevator to the top. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop to get a memento of your trip.

In addition to the falls, families can also hike to Midnight Falls or Inspiration Point. Both trails are accessed from the main staircase next to the falls, so you’ll have to climb the 224 stairs to get to them.

Seven Falls Website

Touch Dinosaur Fossils at Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison

  • Submitted by Vicky of Buddy the Traveling Monkey
dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison Colorado
For Colorado family vacations in the Denver area, head to Dinosaur Ridge. | photo credit: Vicky from Buddy the Traveling Monkey

If you’re looking for Colorado family vacation ideas, one of the best things to do is to visit Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison. It’s an easy 25 minute drive from downtown Denver and the kiddos will love seeing and touching real dinosaur fossils!

When you arrive, head to the Visitor Center. Inside you’ll find the Discovery Center which has some really cool exhibits as well as a simulated dig site, snacks, and a gift shop.

Next, go back outside and walk over to the Discovery Ridge Trail. You can either take a paid 45 minute shuttle tour or do a free self-guided tour. There are detailed signs along the ridge, so if you decide to do the self-guided tour you’ll still know exactly what you’re looking at.

The bone quarry has fossils that are most likely from stegosaurus and apatosaurus and it’s interesting to find out how they got there.

The best part, however, is seeing the over 300 footprints left by various dinosaurs and one crocodile. To make the footprints easier to see, half of the footprints are periodically colored with charcoal by volunteers.

Dinosaur Ridge Website

Explore Old Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park

  • Submitted by James Ian of Parks Collecting
cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park
If you’re looking for Colorado kids activities that will allow a step back into history, visit the Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park. | photo credit: James Ian of Parks Collecting

One of the best things to do in Colorado with kids is exploring the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park.

Hundreds of years ago, the Ancestral Puebloans built their homes, storage rooms and places of worship in deep alcoves in the cliffs of southern Colorado.  They climbed down hand and foot holds carved into the sheer cliff face from their farms at the top to their homes hidden in the cliffs.  Today, kids will love climbing down wide ladders and steep stairs and learning about the history of this place.  

There are several dwellings open for ranger-led tours.  The largest and most famous is Cliff Palace, which is accessed by a steep staircase.  Others, like Balcony House, have wide ladders you need to climb down. It’s a very interactive way to discover history.  At Balcony House, you even need to crawl through a narrow tunnel to exit!

This is not suitable for the littles, but kids 7 or older will love it.

Mesa Verde National Park Website

Ride a Historic Train Through Leadville, the Highest Town in North America

  • Submitted by Shara of SKJ Travel
ride a train through Leadville, the highest town in North America
If you’re looking for lesser known Colorado family vacations, head to Leadville, the highest town in North America, for a special train ride. | photo credit: Shara of SKJ Travel

Calling all future train conductors!

Leadville is the highest incorporated town in North America at almost 10,200 feet, and was one of the hubs of Colorado’s gold and silver mining boom in the last quarter of the 19th century. Many railroad lines were built at that time and the majority were long ago abandoned.

The Leadville, Colorado & Southern railroad is one stretch of historic track that can still be ridden daily in the summer on an 11-mile journey through San Isabel National Forest. It leaves from the historic train depot in Leadville and turns around at an old water tank, where passengers may get out and tour the engine and caboose.

If you’re looking into Colorado family vacations for the holidays, there’s a snowy winter train ride decked out in lights. You’ll also find a family friendly Oktoberfest ride in the fall.

Passengers may bring their own food aboard, so the ride makes for a nice picnic; indoor and outdoor seating available. Moving at a slow pace, it’s easy to appreciate the scenery, take pictures and enjoy the local history shared by the conductor.

Leadville Train Website

Hike to a Troll Hiding in the Woods

  • Submitted by Nikki of She Saves She Travels
the breckenridge troll
For more unique Colorado kids activities, visit the Breckenridge Troll. | photo credit: Nikki of She Saves, She Travels

One of the absolute best things to do in Colorado with kids is to see the Breckenridge Troll. It’s a giant, man-made troll in the woods near downtown Breckenridge.

A free attraction open year-round, kids love the troll! Created for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts in 2018, this troll has been winning hearts ever since! The artist, Thomas Dambo, creates trolls out of scrap materials, focusing his message on the value of recycling.

When visiting, be sure to respect the rules of the troll – like no climbing, no feeding wildlife, and packing out any trash you bring in. Near the troll, the surrounding area has great hiking trails, or it’s just a short walk from downtown Breckenridge. 

You can find the troll by simply plugging Isak Heartstone (the troll’s name) into your GPS.

During peak summer season, try to see the troll early in the day to avoid long lines for photos. During the winter the trail could be snow-packed, so the best time to go is during the warmer months.

Breckenridge Troll Directions and Website

Go Snow Tubing at Colorado Adventure Park

Colorado Adventure Park sign, surrounded by snow
If you’re looking for things to do in Colorado with kids during the winter, head to Colorado Adventure Park for snow tubing! | photo credit: Jody of My Travel Obsession

Traveling to Colorado in the spring or winter months? You MUST go snow tubing at Colorado Adventure Park! It is adrenaline-pumping fun for the whole family.

Grab a single or double tube (perfect if you’re tubing with small children), ride the “Magic Carpet” conveyor belt up the hill, and choose one of their three HUGE tubing hills (your speed will vary on different hills).

Climb in, push off, and squeal all the way down while you enjoy one of the most thrilling & fun things to do anywhere in Colorado! You can even link tubes and all go down together. Kids & adults of all ages will absolutely LOVE it!

The park is conveniently located in Fraser, Colorado. It is just down the road from both Winter Park and Granby Ranch ski resorts. And the best part is, children as young as 3-years old can join in the fun!  

My friends & family enjoyed it so much, we went two days in a row! It is definitely a “can’t miss” Colorado family activity!

Colorado Adventure Park Website

Hike Back in Time on the Trail Through Time

  • Submitted by Megan of Red Around the World
exposed dinosaur bones in the rock face on the Trail Through Time
A Colorado road trip with kids wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Trail Through Time | photo credit: Megan of Red Around the World

Right on the side of I-70, just over the Utah/Colorado border (on the Colorado side), and a short drive from Grand Junction, is the Trail Through Time, a fairly short hiking trail taking you millions of years back in time.

The Trail is a 1.5-mile loop and takes about an hour to complete .  There is also a quarry here, and you can add a little more time if you want to stop by that as well.  It’s a pretty easy trail but does have some elevation change – about 180 feet, but nothing minimally experiences family hikers can’t handle.

Along the way, you can learn about dinosaurs that lived in the area and can even see their bones still in the rocks along the trail.  They can be hard to spot sometimes but it makes for a fun scavenger hunt.  This is the perfect stop on a Colorado or southwest road trip, especially for any dino-loving kids out there.

Trail Through Time on AllTrails

What are your favorite things to do in Colorado with kids?

What hikes would you add, which museums would you recommend, and what attractions are hidden gems that our readers may not know about?

And, for those looking to plan Colorado family vacations across the entire state, what cities do you recommend stopping in? We’d love to hear all of your Colorado family recommendations below!

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