Denver family vacation ideas

Are you planning a family vacation to Denver and looking for the best ideas to make it a memorable trip? Look no further! Whether you’re a nature lover, thrill-seeker, museum enthusiast, or culture admirer, Denver has something for everyone in the family. From outdoor adventures to kid-friendly attractions and delicious dining options, this vibrant city will leave you captivated.

So, what are the top Denver family vacation ideas that will ensure your trip is filled with fun and excitement? Let’s delve into the best activities, attractions, and tips for planning an unforgettable family vacation in the Mile High City.

Explore Denver’s Top Family Attractions

When planning a family vacation in Denver, you’ll want to make sure you visit the city’s top family attractions. Denver offers a wide range of family-friendly activities that are fun and educational for both children and adults. From museums to theme parks and outdoor spaces, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Museums for Interactive Learning

If you’re looking for an educational experience, Denver’s museums are a must-visit. These museums offer interactive exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities that will captivate children’s imaginations. From prehistoric fossils at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to the hands-on learning exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Denver, your family will have a blast exploring.

Thrills and Excitement at Theme Parks

If your family loves thrills and excitement, Denver has several theme parks and amusement centers that won’t disappoint. Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park is a popular choice, offering a combination of thrilling roller coasters and refreshing water slides. And don’t forget to visit Lakeside Amusement Park, a historic park with classic rides and a scenic lake view.

Outdoor Spaces for Adventure

Denver’s outdoor spaces provide the perfect setting for family adventures. From parks to gardens to hiking trails, there are plenty of opportunities to explore nature and enjoy outdoor activities. Make sure to visit Washington Park, where you can rent bikes and pedal around the beautiful lakes and gardens. The Denver Zoo is another must-see, offering a chance to get up close with exotic animals.

Attraction Description
Denver Museum of Nature & Science Discover the wonders of science and nature through interactive exhibits and immersive displays.
Children’s Museum of Denver Let your child’s creativity thrive at this hands-on museum designed for young learners.
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park Experience adrenaline-pumping rides and cooling water slides at this popular amusement park.
Lakeside Amusement Park Step back in time at this historic amusement park with vintage rides and charming atmosphere.
Washington Park Enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, picnicking, and paddle boating in this scenic park.
Denver Zoo Embark on a wildlife adventure as you explore the diverse animal exhibits at the Denver Zoo.

With these family-friendly activities in Denver, your vacation will be filled with unforgettable moments. Whether you’re exploring museums, enjoying theme parks, or immersing yourself in nature, Denver has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

family-friendly activities in Denver

Enjoy Outdoor Adventures in Denver

Denver is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of adventures for families to enjoy together. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, or exploring nature, there are plenty of activities to satisfy your sense of adventure. Take advantage of the beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views that Denver has to offer while creating lasting memories with your loved ones.

One of the most popular outdoor activities in Denver is hiking. The city is surrounded by stunning mountain ranges and boasts numerous hiking trails suitable for families of all skill levels. From short and easy nature walks to more challenging summit hikes, there is something for everyone. Explore the beautiful Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, known for its unique rock formations and breathtaking views, or head to Mount Falcon Park for picturesque trails and historic ruins. Don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and plenty of water for a safe and enjoyable hike.

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If you prefer biking, Denver has a vast network of bike paths and lanes that allow you to explore the city on two wheels. Rent bikes for the whole family and pedal along the South Platte River Trail, enjoying scenic views of the river and downtown Denver. For a more challenging ride, the Cherry Creek Trail offers a longer route with beautiful urban and natural landscapes. Remember to wear helmets and obey traffic rules to ensure a safe biking experience.

For those who want to immerse themselves in nature, Denver’s parks provide the perfect setting for a day of outdoor fun. The city is home to numerous parks and open spaces where families can have picnics, fly kites, or play games. Washington Park, with its beautiful gardens, lakes, and playgrounds, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. City Park is another great option, offering a zoo, lake, and captivating views of the downtown skyline. Spend a leisurely day in one of these parks, surrounded by nature and enjoying quality time with your family.

To further enhance your outdoor adventure, consider embarking on a scenic drive through the breathtaking landscapes of the Rocky Mountains. From Denver, you can easily access popular destinations such as Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can witness the beauty of alpine meadows, crystal-clear lakes, and majestic wildlife. Keep your camera handy, as you’re bound to encounter stunning photo opportunities along the way.

Best Outdoor Adventures in Denver:

Activity Description
Hiking Explore Denver’s hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging summit hikes.
Biking Discover Denver on two wheels by pedaling along scenic bike paths and lanes.
Picnicking Enjoy a relaxing day in Denver’s parks, surrounded by nature and perfect for picnics.
Scenic Drives Take a memorable drive through the stunning landscapes of the Rocky Mountains.

Exploring the great outdoors in Denver is not only a fun-filled experience but also an opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds the city. No matter which outdoor adventure you choose, you’re sure to create unforgettable moments with your family.

outdoor adventures for families in Denver

Visit Denver’s Kid-Friendly Museums

Denver is home to a variety of kid-friendly museums that offer interactive exhibits and hands-on learning experiences. These museums are not only entertaining but also educational, making them perfect for a family vacation. Let’s explore some of the must-visit museums in Denver that will surely captivate the imaginations of children.

Museum Highlights
Natural History Museum The museum features fascinating dinosaur exhibits and prehistoric creatures, providing an immersive experience for young paleontologists.
Children’s Museum of Denver This interactive museum offers hands-on activities and imaginative play spaces, sparking creativity and curiosity in children of all ages.
Museum of Nature & Science With exhibits on space exploration, wildlife, and the human body, this museum offers a wide range of educational experiences for kids.
Downtown Aquarium Discover the wonders of the underwater world, from vibrant coral reefs to majestic sharks, through captivating exhibits and interactive displays.

These museums provide a blend of entertainment and education, allowing children to learn while having fun. They offer various programs and activities specially designed for kids, ensuring an engaging experience for the whole family.

Exploring these museums is not only a great way to spend quality time with your family, but it also encourages interactive learning and curiosity. Make sure to include these kid-friendly museums in your Denver itinerary for an unforgettable family vacation.

Discover Denver’s Theme Parks and Amusement Centers

If your family loves thrills and excitement, Denver has several theme parks and amusement centers that will keep everyone entertained. From exhilarating roller coasters to interactive exhibits, these family-friendly attractions offer a wide variety of activities that cater to all ages. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or educational experiences, Denver has it all.

One of the top picks for family-friendly fun is Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park. Located in the heart of Denver, this iconic amusement park features over 50 thrilling rides, including roller coasters, water slides, and family-friendly attractions. Your kids will have a blast exploring the park’s various themed areas and enjoying live entertainment.

family-friendly activities in Denver

If you’re looking for a unique and educational experience, The Children’s Museum of Denver is a must-visit. This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits that encourage creativity, problem-solving, and exploration. From the Art Studio to the Assembly Plant, your kids will have the opportunity to engage in imaginative play and learn through play-based experiences.

Another popular destination for families is Boondocks Food & Fun. This entertainment center features an array of attractions, including go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag, arcade games, and more. It’s the perfect place to spend a fun-filled day with your little ones, indulging in exciting activities and enjoying delicious food.

To make your visit even more enjoyable, here’s a table showcasing the highlights of Denver’s theme parks and amusement centers:

Theme Park/Amusement Center Features Location
Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park Over 50 rides and attractions Downtown Denver
The Children’s Museum of Denver Interactive exhibits promoting creativity and learning Marsico Campus, Denver
Boondocks Food & Fun Go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag, arcade games, and more Northglenn, Colorado

Experience Denver’s Cultural Scene

Denver is not only a city of natural beauty but also a hub of cultural experiences that the whole family can enjoy. From festivals that celebrate diverse cultures to captivating performing arts shows, there are plenty of family-friendly activities in Denver that offer a glimpse into the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Denver’s art, history, and traditions. Here are some of the best things to do in Denver with kids:

Cultural Festivals

Denver hosts a variety of cultural festivals throughout the year, showcasing the city’s diverse heritage. From the Denver Cinco de Mayo Festival to the Dragon Boat Festival, these lively events provide a platform to experience different cultures through food, music, dance, and art.

Museums and Art Galleries

Explore Denver’s renowned museums and art galleries that offer interactive exhibits and educational experiences for the entire family. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Children’s Museum of Denver, and Denver Art Museum are just a few of the places where kids can learn while having fun.

Performing Arts

Witness the magic of live performances at Denver’s theaters and concert venues. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts hosts Broadway shows, while the Colorado Symphony Orchestra showcases classical and contemporary music. Treat your family to an evening of awe-inspiring talent and creativity.

Cultural Neighborhoods

Take a stroll through Denver’s cultural neighborhoods, such as LoDo (Lower Downtown) and Five Points, where you can explore historic landmarks, unique shops, and vibrant street art. These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into Denver’s past and present, reflecting the city’s diverse heritage.

Experience the beauty of Denver’s cultural scene and create lasting memories for the whole family. Take part in festivals, visit museums and art galleries, enjoy live performances, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture that Denver has to offer.

Activity Description
Cultural Festivals Experience the vibrant celebrations of different cultures through food, music, dance, and art at Denver’s cultural festivals.
Museums and Art Galleries Explore interactive exhibits and hands-on learning experiences at Denver’s top museums and art galleries.
Performing Arts Witness the magic of live performances at Denver’s theaters and concert venues, from Broadway shows to orchestral concerts.
Cultural Neighborhoods Discover Denver’s cultural neighborhoods, filled with historic landmarks, unique shops, and vibrant street art.

Family enjoying cultural activities in Denver

Indulge in Kid-Friendly Dining in Denver

Finding the right places to eat with kids can be challenging, but Denver has a range of kid-friendly restaurants that cater to families. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there are plenty of options to satisfy both picky eaters and adventurous young palates.

When planning your family vacation in Denver, it’s important to consider dining options that not only provide a kid-friendly atmosphere but also offer a variety of menu choices to suit different dietary preferences. These restaurants understand the importance of creating a welcoming environment for families and go the extra mile to ensure your dining experience is enjoyable.

Restaurant Cuisine Location
The Cherry Cricket American 2641 E 2nd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
The Denver Biscuit Company American 3237 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
The Post Chicken & Beer American 2200 South Broadway, Denver, CO 80210
Voodoo Doughnut Bakery 1520 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80218
Linger International 2030 W 30th Ave, Denver, CO 80211

These are just a few of the many kid-friendly restaurants in Denver. You can try classic American dishes at The Cherry Cricket or The Denver Biscuit Company, indulge in crispy fried chicken at The Post Chicken & Beer, satisfy your sweet tooth at Voodoo Doughnut, or explore international flavors at Linger. No matter what your family’s culinary preferences are, there’s something for everyone.

Additionally, some restaurants offer special menus for children, with smaller portion sizes and simplified options. This ensures that your little ones can enjoy meals tailored to their tastes and appetites. Many of these establishments also provide high chairs, booster seats, and kids’ activities to keep the little ones entertained while you dine.

Remember to make reservations in advance, especially during peak vacation seasons, to secure your spot at these popular kid-friendly restaurants. And don’t forget to check their websites or call ahead for any updated safety guidelines or restrictions that may be in place.

kid-friendly restaurants in Denver

No family vacation is complete without delicious meals, and with Denver’s abundance of kid-friendly dining options, you can be sure to find the perfect place to fuel up during your adventures. From comfort food to international cuisine, these restaurants not only satisfy your hunger but provide a memorable dining experience for the whole family.

Explore Denver’s Parks and Recreational Areas

Denver offers a plethora of beautiful parks and recreational areas that are perfect for outdoor adventures and family-friendly activities. Whether you’re looking to go hiking, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the stunning natural scenery, Denver has something to offer for everyone.

City Park

One of the most popular parks in Denver is City Park. Spanning over 300 acres, this urban oasis is home to the Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Take a leisurely stroll around the park’s picturesque lake, rent a paddleboat, or enjoy a game of frisbee with the family.

Washington Park

Known as “Wash Park” by the locals, Washington Park is a favorite spot for outdoor enthusiasts. With its expansive green spaces, two lakes, and scenic jogging paths, it’s the perfect place for a family bike ride or a game of catch. The park also offers tennis and basketball courts, a playground, and picnic areas.

Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre

For a truly unique outdoor experience, visit Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. Known for its breathtaking natural amphitheater, this iconic venue hosts a variety of concerts and events throughout the year. Take a hike along the park’s trails, marvel at the towering rock formations, and enjoy panoramic views of the city.

Cheesman Park

Situated in the heart of Denver, Cheesman Park is a peaceful retreat surrounded by historic mansions and towering trees. Take a walk around the park’s picturesque gardens, play a game of soccer or volleyball on the open fields, or simply relax and soak up the sun while the kids enjoy the playground.

Outdoor adventures for families in Denver

Table Mountain Park

If you’re looking to venture a bit further from the city, Table Mountain Park is worth the trip. Located just outside of Denver, this expansive park offers stunning views, hiking trails, and rock climbing opportunities. Pack a picnic and spend a day exploring the rugged beauty of Table Mountain.

Parks Comparison Table

Park Features Activities
City Park Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature & Science Paddleboating, picnicking, frisbee
Washington Park Lakes, jogging paths, tennis courts Biking, jogging, tennis, basketball
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre Natural amphitheater, hiking trails Hiking, concerts, events
Cheesman Park Beautiful gardens, playground Walking, playing, picnicking
Table Mountain Park Stunning views, hiking trails Hiking, rock climbing, picnicking

These are just a few of the many parks and recreational areas Denver has to offer. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply want to enjoy nature, Denver’s parks are the perfect destination for outdoor family fun. So grab your hiking shoes, pack a picnic, and get ready to explore the natural beauty of Denver!

Plan a Day Trip from Denver for More Family Fun

During your Denver family vacation, why not take advantage of the opportunity to explore nearby attractions and destinations? Planning a day trip from Denver can add a new dimension of excitement to your family’s adventure. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or unique attractions, there are plenty of options just a short drive away.

Here are some top day trip ideas to consider:

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park: Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of nature at Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy scenic drives, hiking trails, wildlife encounters, and stunning mountain views. Don’t forget your camera to capture those unforgettable family moments.
  2. Boulder: Just a short drive from Denver, Boulder offers a vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and street performers. Take a stroll along the Pearl Street Mall, explore the beautiful Chautauqua Park, or visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research for an educational experience.
  3. Garden of the Gods: Located in Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods is a geological wonder filled with towering sandstone formations. Embark on a hiking adventure, participate in guided tours, and learn about the unique rock formations that make this park a natural marvel.
  4. Mount Evans: For a true mountain experience, drive to the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s iconic 14ers. Marvel at the breathtaking panoramic views, encounter wildlife along the way, and challenge yourself with a high-altitude adventure.
  5. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre: Explore the world-famous Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, known for its stunning rock formations and unparalleled natural acoustics. Take a guided tour, hike the trails, or catch a concert during the summer months. Don’t forget to strike a pose at the iconic amphitheater.


“A day trip from Denver can open up a whole new world of family fun and adventure. Whether you’re exploring the great outdoors, experiencing local culture, or marveling at natural wonders, these nearby destinations offer a memorable experience for the whole family.”

– Travel Enthusiast

When planning your day trip, consider the interests and preferences of your family members. Make sure to check the opening hours, availability of guided tours, and any specific requirements or restrictions.

Remember, a day trip from Denver is an excellent way to create lasting memories and expand your family’s vacation experiences. Enjoy the journey and make the most of your time exploring the wonders that Colorado has to offer.

Denver family vacation ideas image

Find Family-Friendly Accommodations in Denver

When planning a family vacation in Denver, it’s essential to choose accommodations that cater to the needs of your entire clan. The Mile High City offers a variety of family-friendly hotels and vacation rentals that provide comfort, convenience, and amenities to make your stay memorable. Whether you prefer a hotel with kid-centric amenities or a vacation rental with ample space for the family to spread out, Denver has options to suit every preference and budget.

Here are some top recommendations for family-friendly accommodations in Denver:

Hotel Name Location Highlights
The Ritz-Carlton, Denver Downtown Denver Spacious suites, rooftop pool, and complimentary kids’ activities
The Westin Denver Downtown Downtown Denver Family rooms, outdoor pool, and pet-friendly amenities
Hilton Denver City Center Downtown Denver Connecting rooms, indoor pool, and on-site dining options
Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center Aurora (near Denver International Airport) Water park, multiple restaurants, and family-friendly entertainment
Airbnb Various locations Fully equipped kitchens, spacious living areas, and family-friendly neighborhoods

Whichever accommodation you choose, make sure to consider your family’s specific needs. Factors to consider include proximity to attractions, availability of family suites or connecting rooms, on-site amenities, and accessibility to public transportation.

By selecting a family-friendly accommodation in Denver, you can ensure that everyone in your family has a comfortable and enjoyable stay during your vacation.

family vacation planning in Denver

Tips for Navigating Denver with Kids

Traveling with kids can be both exciting and challenging. To make the most of your Denver family vacation and ensure a smooth experience for the whole family, here are some valuable tips and advice:

1. Plan Kid-Friendly Activities

Before you embark on your Denver adventure, research and plan age-appropriate activities that your kids will enjoy. Look for family-friendly attractions, such as museums, theme parks, and outdoor recreational areas, where your little ones can have fun while learning or exploring nature. Some popular options include the Denver Zoo, Children’s Museum of Denver, and Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park.

2. Be Prepared for Altitude

Denver is known as the Mile High City for a reason—its high altitude. Prepare your kids for the change in elevation by taking it slow and ensuring they stay hydrated. Symptoms of altitude sickness may include headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If your kids are experiencing these symptoms, take a break, rest, and drink plenty of water.

3. Pack for Changing Weather

Denver’s weather can be unpredictable, with sudden changes in temperature throughout the day. Layer your kids’ clothing so they can easily adapt to different weather conditions. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and rain gear.

4. Use Public Transportation

Navigating Denver’s busy streets and finding parking can be a hassle, especially when traveling with kids. Take advantage of the city’s efficient public transportation system. The Regional Transportation District (RTD) offers buses and light rail services that can easily take you to popular attractions without the stress of driving and parking.

5. Seek Out Family-Friendly Dining Options

When it’s time to refuel, look for restaurants that cater to families. Denver has a wide range of family-friendly dining options, from casual eateries to themed restaurants. Check out spots like Casa Bonita, where you can enjoy delicious Mexican food while your kids are entertained by cliff divers and arcade games.

6. Stay Flexible and Take Breaks

Remember that traveling with kids can be tiring for everyone. It’s important to stay flexible and allow time for breaks and rest. Plan activities in shorter durations to avoid overwhelming your little ones. Take breaks at parks or playgrounds, where they can unwind and burn off some energy.

“Denver offers a plethora of family-friendly activities, from outdoor adventures to educational attractions. With a bit of planning and these tips in mind, your family vacation in Denver is bound to be a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone.”

7. Embrace the Outdoors

Denver is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, so take advantage of it. Explore the city’s numerous parks and green spaces, such as Washington Park and City Park, where your kids can run, play, and enjoy a picnic. Consider hiking or biking along the scenic trails in the nearby Rocky Mountains for a memorable outdoor adventure.

8. Stay Safe

While exploring Denver, ensure the safety of your little ones. Keep an eye on them at all times, especially in crowded areas or near water features. Teach them basic safety rules, such as crossing the street, and make sure they have identification or contact information on them in case they get separated from you.

Tips for Navigating Denver with Kids
1. Plan Kid-Friendly Activities Research and plan age-appropriate activities that your kids will enjoy.
2. Be Prepared for Altitude Take it slow and ensure your kids stay hydrated to prevent altitude sickness.
3. Pack for Changing Weather Layer clothing and pack sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and rain gear.
4. Use Public Transportation Take advantage of Denver’s public transportation system to navigate the city.
5. Seek Out Family-Friendly Dining Options Choose restaurants that cater to families, providing tasty food and entertainment.
6. Stay Flexible and Take Breaks Allow for breaks and rest, planning activities in shorter durations.
7. Embrace the Outdoors Explore Denver’s parks, green spaces, and nearby mountains for outdoor fun.
8. Stay Safe Ensure the safety of your kids and teach them basic safety rules.

By following these tips, you can navigate Denver with ease and make lasting memories with your family.

Denver Family Vacation Ideas


Planning a family vacation in Denver offers a wide range of exciting possibilities for all ages. With its diverse collection of family-friendly activities, this vibrant city promises an unforgettable experience.

During your Denver family vacation, make sure to explore the top attractions that the city has to offer. From fascinating museums like the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Children’s Museum of Denver to thrilling theme parks such as Elitch Gardens and Lakeside Amusement Park, there is something for everyone.

Don’t miss out on the outdoor adventures that Denver has in store for your family. From hiking and biking in the beautiful Rocky Mountains to exploring the city’s numerous parks like City Park and Washington Park, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

When it comes to dining, Denver has a range of kid-friendly restaurants that cater to families. From casual eateries to themed dining experiences, you can indulge in delicious meals while keeping the little ones entertained.

In conclusion, a Denver family vacation combines the best of indoor and outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and mouthwatering dining options. So start planning your trip now and create cherished memories with your loved ones in the Mile High City.

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