Home to the Rocky Mountains, Aspen, Vail, Telluride and the 300 days of sunshine a year city of Denver, Colorado’s one of America’s greatest outdoor adventures.
Take the kids skiing here in winter and you’ve dozens of different resorts to choose from and several legendary names less than two hours’ drive from Denver.
Go in summer for wilderness camping in the Rockies, white water rafting on the Arkansas River and festivals all over amazing Downtown Denver.
Direct flights from London to Denver all-year-round. Flying time just under 10 hours.
Four national parks: Rocky Mountain, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Denver’s 1600m above sea level, less than two hours from Rocky Mountain National Park and within easy travelling distance of several iconic ski resorts.
Denver’s LoDo is one of the largest downtown areas in the US.
Many of Colorado’s historic mining towns are now characterful family ski resorts.
Colorado is the state for road trips and home to Mount Evans, the highest paved highway in the US at just over 4328m.
Summer camping in Colorado’s national parks is well-managed and inexpensive (there are guided camps too). There isn’t a ski area without luxury residences, spacious lodges, family cabins and award-winning hotels. Resorts like Aspen are very expensive, but it’s the après-ski rather than the skiing which bumps up the price. Unless you’re determined to be on the slopes with celebrities, there are much more family-friendly areas which are better value with great snow, kids activities, historic charm and more easy going après-ski than you’ll ever need.
If you’re skiing in Colorado, take travelling times from Denver to the resorts into consideration. Copper Mountain and Winter Park are just over an hour from the city, Telluride’s closer to six and driving’s the only option.
Kids are destined to fall in love with Denver from the moment they touch down at the city airport and spot the cowboy hat wearing greeters. Could it get better? Yes and it does. One of the highest cities in the US and in view of the Rockies, Denver’s spirit of adventure runs naturally high. It’s an incredibly friendly, relaxed city, easy to get around and very outdoorsy with over 90 golf courses, hectares of cycle paths and hundreds of parks and playgrounds to prove it. And if it’s not one of the 300 annual days of sunshine, there are indoor science centres, museums, art galleries and events all over the city designed just for kids.
Far from the biggest US national park (Yosemite covers 3027km²), Rocky Mountain’s 667km² spread is brilliantly accessible and peaks of 4000m and higher beat anywhere else for sheer grandeur. Add in mountain lakes, dense forest, the wildest wildlife and long experience creating unforgettable family holidays and you have mighty Colorado in miniature just over an hour’s drive from Denver city centre.
Winter Park, just over an hour from Denver, is Colorado’s longest running ski-resort and in the state’s top-5 family favourites – officially. It’s also one of the first areas to open (middle of November every year), has an average of 8.8m of snow annually and 1246 hectare of skiable terrain including 143 runs and 490 hectares off-piste.
120km from Denver, Copper Mountain’s another very accessible, family-friendly resort with outstanding skiing, a long season (early November to mid-April) and the cutest resort village known for spacious apartments and cosy hotels. The ski area covers 985 hectares and has 140 runs, 23 lifts and altitudes of over 3700m.
Aquarium in Denver’s famous LoDo is big, colourful and kids can eat in the restaurant surrounded by 150,000 gallon tank filled with tropical fish and ‘real’ mermaids. Downtown Aquarium
Sensational Daniel Libeskind building is a city icon, the collection’s internationally recognised and kids have free entry and innovative year-round activity programme. Denver Art Museum
300 hectare open parkland with ‘Mile into the Wild’ elevated walkways for an aerial view of 400 plus large carnivores roaming – pride of lions is worth a visit alone. Wild Animal Sanctuary
Three hour round trip on original 19th century steam train in and around the dramatic Rockies – crossing Devil’s Gate Bridge is better than any rollercoaster. Georgetown Loop
Family-friendly, personalised short breaks in the Rockies with professional guides. Includes everything from campfire cookouts to extreme outdoor adventure. Perfect for ages 6 and over. World Outdoors
Spend a day discovering your pioneer spirit at this historic ranch where anything from sheep shearing to traditional barn dances can happen – depending on when you visit. Rock Ledge Ranch
Close as possible to amazing red sandstone crags and giant rock formations against the snow-capped Pike Peaks. Lots of outdoor activities (from gentle to extreme) for kids too. Garden of the Gods
A guided ski family ski expedition into the untamed Telluride backcountry is the kind of unforgettable experience you expected in big, beautiful Colorado. Ski Safaris
Fat bikes, big tyres and hundreds of kilometres of snow packed wilderness trails – go it alone with kids or take a local guide. Fat Bikes
Go sledding in the fabulous snowy Rockies with your own team of Siberian and Alaskan Huskies. Rocky Mountain Dog Sledding
Unless you’re staying in one ski-resort and sticking to the slopes, you need a car in Colorado. It’s an astonishing state to drive around and travelling is as much of an adventure as arriving. Bike hire schemes and public transport are good to get about in cities and the resorts here pride themselves on superb lifts and gondolas summer and winter. The Telluride Gondola is known as one of the prettiest commutes in the US and it’s free.