Tucked close to the base of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder, Colorado is a mecca for outdoor adventurers. Just minutes away from an abundance of incredible Boulder vacation rentals are some of Colorado’s most spectacular hiking and biking spots. Families can visit the city’s local university for a variety of fun, educational opportunities. Whether you’re in Boulder for a short trip or long vacation, this welcoming city has tons of activities to entertain and engage your little ones.
1. Swim in the Sunshine
Enjoy Boulder’s legendary summer sunshine with a swim in the Boulder Reservoir. Bring your beach towels for the clean, sandy beach, and let your kids splash in the shallows. On hot days, arrive early to beat the crowds and get a good spot near the water. Onsite restaurants and changing rooms make it easy to clean up after a swim. The beach area opens in the spring as soon as water temperatures hit 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and it closes after Labor Day.
2. Go Hiking
Get out into the foothills on one of the easy hiking trails near Boulder. The Chautauqua Trailhead is a great place to start. If your kids are small, try out the Baseline Trail, which is less than half a mile long. When you’re ready for a small challenge, hop on the Royal Arch Trail for excellent views. The Third Flatiron Climbing Access Trail takes you to the Third Flatiron Standard East Face climbing route, where your kids can watch rock climbers in action.
3. Explore Natural History
On a rainy afternoon, visit the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History to learn more about the state and the world around you. Popular exhibits include the dinosaur bone collection and the dedicated kid’s area, the Discovery Corner. Take a tour of the museum to learn more from a knowledgeable guide.
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4. Take a Tea Tour
Immerse yourself in the world of tea with a tour of Boulder’s Celestial Seasonings headquarters. During the tour, staff members provide an up-close education in tea growing, harvesting, and production. Touch raw ingredients, see the processing equipment, and watch how the final blends are packaged. The visits are open to everyone, but kids under five are not permitted in the factory. At the end of your visit, pop into the art gallery to try free samples. The facility hosts free tours every day of the week.
5. Look at the Stars
Learn more about the night sky with a trip to the Fiske Planetarium. This planetarium offers several shows, including one about the solar system and one discussing black holes. Order tickets online before leaving your vacation rental.
6. Learn to Ski
Introduce your little ones to skiing and snowboarding at Shredder, a unique indoor facility that teaches basic skills in a safe environment. Book a private lesson for kids as young as three years old; during the lesson, your little one can work with an instructor to master downhill movement on the unique Xtreme training surface. Then, come for Open Gym times to let your kids practice their new abilities. Shredder offers ski and helmet rentals, so you don’t have to travel with your gear.
7. Break Into Mountain Biking
Practice your mountain biking skills at Valmont Bike Park. This natural terrain park features a variety of trails and courses, so everyone in the family can choose the correct level. Ride down gentle slopes on the Learning Loop, and progress to the Terrain Park to try your hand at jumps and slalom. The park even features a Tot Track designed specifically for little ones on strider bikes and tricycles.
8. Volunteer at a Vegetable Farm
Give your kids a hands-on farming lesson at Pachamama Farm. On Tuesdays, you can help in the herb garden, and on Thursdays, you can work with the farm crew on daily tasks. The crew provides guidance and allows your family to get their hands in the soil, so kids can immediately see the results of their labor. At the end of your visit, you can take herbs and vegetables back to your vacation rental to cook dinner.
9. Wander Through the Pearl Street Mall
Spend an afternoon shopping and hanging out as a family on Boulder’s popular Pearl Street Mall. The area is pedestrian-only, so your kids can play safely. Pop into the shops, enjoy a snack on one of the many outdoor benches or stop for a meal on the Mall’s restaurants. Live musicians often put on concerts on the weekends, and the area hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year. Look for the street performers who set up shop on different corners to entertain passersby.
10. Go Biking
Take advantage of Boulder’s many multi-use paths with a family bike ride. Rent bikes from shops such as University Bicycles or Boulder Bikesmith, which provide models for adults and kids. A great place to start is the Boulder Creek Path, which winds along the creek for more than 5 miles. Another fun spot is the Eben G. Fine Park, where you can take a break to play by the river or on the playground.
11. Get Active
Find an activity for everyone in the family at the Gateway Park Fun Center. Start your visit with a hair-raising go-kart ride, and then work your way through the enormous human maze. Batting cages are ideal for older kids, while little ones love the mini golf course. If it’s raining, head indoors to try your luck in the arcade. The snack bar serves a variety of foods, so you can keep everyone happy and full.
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