There is more to a family vacation in Colorado than ski slopes and dude ranches. Visit a ghost town. Tour a gold mine. Follow the Overland Trail. Gawk at towering peaks and marvel at fields of sand dunes. Take in the expanse of the prairie and gape at canyons thousands of feet deep. Embrace Mother Nature. Dig for dinosaur bones. Watch wildlife. Explore Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings. But don't limit your family holiday to the sights and sounds. A trip to Colorado with kids is as much about the things you see and do as how you get around. Hike, bike and horseback ride on mountain trails and commune with nature at a slower pace. Take a scenic train trip and travel through time. Family travel to Colorado is all about the great outdoors.
For families traveling to Colorado by plane, Denver International Airport is the state's principal airport with non-stop flights to/from most U.S. locations and direct service to/from London, Paris and Frankfurt as well as cities in Canada and Mexico. Grand Junction's Walker Field Airport is valid alternative for families travel to the state's western reaches and the Colorado Springs Airport offers an opportunity for families traveling south to avoid Denver altogether. Amtrak's Southwest Chief stops in Lama, La Junta and Trinidad whereas the California Zephyr stops in For Morgan, Denver, Fraser, Granby, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction.
Distances are great in this Rocky Mountain state and a car is likely to prove essential to get from one place to another. Yet in Colorado you don't have to be a slave to the automobile. Families touring Denver can take advantage of public transportation and park and ride. (But be forewarned the greater Denver metropolis is enormous and not all areas are well served by bus or light rail. Plot your route in advance; the nearest bus or rail stop could be a very long walk.) Hiking and mountain bike trails abound. Amtrak traverses the state from east to west and west to east. And scenic train trips offer families a different kind of fun. Getting around can be part of the experience.
The best time to visit Colorado depends on the activity you plan to undertake. The weather is hot and dry in summer and mild in winter. Mountain areas are cooler than the eastern plains and western slope throughout the year and receive abundant snowfall in winter.
With its rugged environment, Colorado is not a place to venture unprepared. Nature and the elements are potential hazards for families intending to make the most of the great outdoors. Wear sunscreen and a hat and carry plenty of water (4 liters per person per day). Consider your level of physical fitness when selecting trails and don't for get to factor in the altitude. It will influence how hard you and the kids can safely play outside. Colorado law requires children under 8 years of age or under 57 inches in height be properly secured in a U.S. government approved child safety seat. All children over 8 must buckle up.