Family Activities Near Boulder

If you’re coming to visit and you have kids, here are some ideas for things to do:

Rocky Mountain National Park. We love it. Really, we can’t overstate the grandeur and beauty of this park, and photos never do it justice. About an hour away from our house, it’s a can’t miss trip if you’re in the area. Estes Park is the town at the entrance, and it can be worth visiting in it’s own right, with a main drag of shops and restaurants, a gondola ride up a mountain, putt-putt golf, water park, easy fishing for kids and tons of places to stay.

In the Summer, the park offers dozens of hiking trails, pristine lakes, wildlife like moose and elk, and grand vistas of 14,000 foot mountains. In the Winter there is amazing snowshoeing and sledding in the park.

Tundra Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Tundra Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park ©Familyvance

Hiking. We do lots and lots of hiking. There are a bushelful of hikes in and around Boulder of course. From hikes out our back door, to mountain hikes at 10,000 feet through Aspen groves, ask us for a list if you’re interested and we can give you a few of our favorites.

Downtown Boulder is a lively area to find people, shopping and good food. Pearl Street is a pedestrian mall in downtown Boulder with lots of shops, tons of restaurants, street performers in Summer and holiday lights in Winter. A lovely and “very Boulder” way to spend an afternoon or an evening.

David’s work, NCAR, is not a “must-do” but if you’re looking to kill an hour we think your kids will enjoy it. Every kid under 12 we’ve taken there has loved it, and there is also a cafeteria, so we could do lunch if you came up.

NCAR Mesa Lab in Winter
NCAR Mesa Lab in Winter, David’s Office ©Familyvance

Louisville is another hip little town nearby. The small downtown is real cute with restaurants and shops, outdoor ice skating and carriage rides in winter, yummy ice cream and sidewalk strolls in summer. About 15-20 minutes away.

Tea anyone? Celestial Seasonings headquarters, only a few miles from our home in Gunbarrel, offers tours, tastings, a cafe, and discounted tea and other merchandise in their tea shop. The tour is pretty interesting, and a visit to the shop is a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.

Nederland is a small mountain town about 30 minutes from Boulder. A nice scenic drive up Boulder Canyon. In town, ride the Nederland Carousel of Happiness and have lunch and maybe touch some snow ten months out of the year.

Wild Animal Sanctuary. We’ve not been but our friends and their kids love it. It has rescued lions, tigers and bears on 700 acres. You walk out on a mile long boardwalk about 10 feet above the ground to see the animals. it’s about an hour away.

Fiske Planetarium. Again, we’ve not been but it’s supposed to be cool.

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