We recently returned from a trip to Colorado to visit with my husband’s old friends and their kids. They took us sightseeing around to some tourist hotspots, and we were not disappointed!
If you’re looking to travel in this area, here are some kid-friendly suggestions while visiting The Centennial State.
ROYAL GORGE BRIDGE & PARK
We walked across Royal Gorge Bridge located in Cañon City, Colorado. The bridge is suspended 955 ft above the gorge and the Arkansas River. It is the highest bridge in the United States, and the winds up there are crazy!
When it’s windy enough, the bridge swings and undulates. There are gaps in between some of the wooden planks of the bridge and through them, you can see straight down to the bottom.
I felt so good after crossing to the other side, until I realized we would have to cross back again to get back to the car!
FYI, the kids had a great time, though at times the wind does kick up quite a bit due to the elevation. Make sure to bundle up and keep hats and scarves on hand. Oh, and try not to look down!
RED ROCKS PARK AND AMPHITHEATER
Okay, you know all that talk about the natural, breathtaking beauty of Colorado? If Royal Gorge doesn’t convince you (it will), then head on over to Red Rock Park and Amphitheater.
There you’ll find stunning natural beauty as far as the eye can see, including the ruddy rocks which give the park its name. It’s safe to say it’s impossible to take a bad picture in this place.
Runners and exercise enthusiasts can be found criss-crossing the steps of the amphitheater, which also hosts live bands. There are areas to hike, but we didn’t get a chance to do it this time around.
We stayed one night in Estes Park, and during the day we made our way to Lily Lake, which wasn’t far from our hotel. We went right after breakfast, and peacefully walked the perimeter of the lake. The kids had a great time skipping stones and posing for photos.
The clear blue of the lake just pops against the backdrop of mountains and pine trees.
We also took a drive to Rocky Mountain National Park. I’d only read about or seen the Rockies in books, so I was unprepared to see them in person. I’ve seen mountains before, but there are mountains. And then there are the Rocky Mountains.
(Insert John Denver lyrics here.)
Up in the mountains, as you may have guessed, it is extremely cold and windy! Wear thermals and lots of layers, plus and insulated jacket, hat and cold weather accessories. Altitude sickness is also a possibility as you make your way up to the park, so make sure to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
DOWNTOWN PARKER, COLORADO
The following day after returning to Parker where we were staying with our friends, we thought it would be fun to head downtown and check out the holiday trimmings.
Downtown Parker isn’t that big, which is a good thing when you’re traveling with kids. It has quaint shops and restaurants, and everyone was in the Christmas spirit. Shop windows were adorned with lights, pine, and ribbons. There was even a lighting ceremony, Santa, and other characters for the enjoyment of the children.
Colorado is a family-friendly place to visit, with great outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty. The weather can change quickly though, so come prepared!
Have you ever visited Colorado? What advice or landmarks would you recommend to other parents?