Colorado is an extremely popular state for both locals of the US and international travelers. There is so much to see and do in Colorado, so it’s impossible to really get bored while you are there.
Because there is so much to see and do in Colorado, it can feel a little overwhelming to narrow it down, especially if it’s your first time visiting the state. Luckily for you, we are here to help!
We have put together a list of 26 of the most fun things to do in Colorado. Some of the options on this list you may have heard of before, but there will be plenty of surprises and hidden gems that you will absolutely love too! So let’s get started.
From the Colorado mountains to museums and waterparks, there really is something for everyone to do in The Centennial State.
There are plenty of touristy places that you will have loads of fun at, but if you really want to experience Colorado in all its glory, then it’s in your best interest to try some things that aren’t as well known!
Check out the list below and see which activities and attractions take your interest the most!
You really won’t be able to find anything like this anywhere else because it is truly a Colorado experience!
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge train has been around since 1882 and it takes you on an incredible 3-and-a-half-hour trip through Colorado to Silverton.
Along the way, you will see all of the natural and man-made wonders of the whole state, and the views are absolutely breathtaking!
The train follows the Animas River throughout the entire journey and you will venture over the High Bridge and Horseshoe Curve.
The journey ends in the mining town of Silverton, where you will be able to explore the area, eat some wonderful food, and browse the wonderful selection of shops that are in the town.
This is a great experience for anyone who wants to do something that is exclusive to Colorado.
You should check out Colorado Springs Park anyway, but if you were planning on going there already, then you should specifically head to the Garden of the Gods park.
It is completely free to enter and it is perfect for anyone who wants to go on a fantastic hike in the wilderness of Colorado.
Two points of interest in Garden of the Gods include the Kissing Camels and the Sleeping Giants. We won’t give too much away, as it’s more fun for you to find them for yourself!
You will also see plenty of incredible red rock formations around the park, which really add to the overall beauty and aesthetic of the area.
There is so much to do in Denver that it really needs its own list, but to keep it simple, one of the most fun things to do there is to take part in the Denver Food Tour!
There are so many wonderful places to eat in Denver, and this tour really helps you find them if you aren’t familiar with the city.
This tour is one of the highest-rated tours in the whole city, so if you’re a big foodie, you’d be crazy to miss out on it!
You will be able to sample ice cream at Union Station and visit places like The Maven Hotel, and Wynkoop Brewery when you join this tour.
Here’s another attraction that is truly unique to Colorado. The Red Rocks Amphitheatre is an outdoor music venue that is built into the rocks, and it is so amazing here that the venue is known and admired worldwide!
Lots of really big acts and performances happen at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, so if you’re a fan of live shows and music, this is the place to be when you are in Colorado.
To really experience this attraction in all its glory though, head there during the summer.
You can also explore the Red Rocks Amphitheatre for free in the off-season and there are plenty of fantastic hiking trails in the area for you to check out.
There’s even a museum where you can learn more about the history of the Amphitheatre, so be sure to visit it if you are in the area!
If you appreciate art of all different styles, then you are going to love the Denver Art Museum. It is home to art that has come from all over the world, including some pieces created by artists such as Monet and Van Gogh!
What makes the Denver Art Museum so special is how much of its space it dedicates to Colorado art. There are loads of different pieces that are inspired by the state and come from Colorado artists.
The Denver Art Museum is one of the very best museums in the whole city, so if you do find yourself in Denver, it’s definitely worth visiting.
Another museum that is definitely worth your time is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. You can learn about such a vast collection of things here, some of which include the human body and dinosaurs.
If you’re more of a fan of crystals and minerals, then you will want to see their Gems & Minerals area.
It is home to many gems and minerals that have come from the local mountains and there are also some pieces from other parts of the US and the world.
The Dinosaur National Monument is a great place for any dinosaur enthusiasts to visit. It is filled with a large number of real dinosaur fossils that are still in the rocks that surround the area!
Along with dinosaur fossils, you will also be able to see real petroglyphs and you can learn about the history of the area too.
This is a fantastic place to bring your kids as they will have loads of fun, but it’s perfect for adults who love dinosaurs or consider themselves to be dinosaur fans!
If you want to do something really exciting, then you should definitely take one of the Colorado Springs Sunrise Balloon Tours!
These tours are perfect for people who want to do something a little more adventurous and don’t mind flying high up into the air.
On these tours, you will get to see a view of Colorado that most other people will never see, and the views up in the sky are absolutely breathtaking!
What makes these tours a bit more fun than a regular balloon ride is the fact that you will be involved in almost every aspect of it.
You will help the tour guides inflate the balloon before it sets off, which will immerse you in the whole experience even more!
This is a fantastic thing to do when you find yourself in Colorado and you won’t find another balloon tour like it anywhere else.
As for the sunsets… well, you really have to experience it for yourself to see just how beautiful it is!
In the winter, Colorado doesn’t have many trees and plants, but if you fancy being surrounded by them in the colder months, you can head to the Denver Botanic Gardens. There are lots of different types of flora here and it’s incredibly beautiful.
The Denver Botanic Gardens are home to a tropical conservatory where you can find a great selection of tropical plants to see, as well as impressive orchids.
This is a fantastic place to come when you want to get out of the cold because once you’re inside, you will forget it’s wintertime!
Also during the Christmas period, the gardens are home to the Blossoms of Light- which lights up the whole place with Christmas lights!
Sure, the Denver Botanic Gardens are a great place to visit in the winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit in the summer too!
This is one of those attractions that is great all year round, and depending on what time you go, you will see something different.
Here’s another train attraction for anyone who wants to see more of the harder-to-reach areas of Colorado.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is another popular tourist attraction because it takes you directly to the top of Pikes Peak!
You can hike to the summit of Pikes Peak, but it is 14,000 feet tall, so this isn’t going to be possible for everyone, and even if you’re an avid hiker, you may not have time while you’re there.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway offers a different way to get to the summit and the views the whole way up is absolutely breathtaking.
You can find the Eldorado Canyon State Park near the city of Boulder. This state park is a great place to go if you want to spend the whole day out in nature and there are plenty of outdoor activities for you to take part in.
The state park is especially popular for rock climbing and bouldering, so if you are looking for amazing climbing spots, Eldorado Canyon State Park should be very high on your list!
If you aren’t a climber though, you can still spend your time hiking, fishing, bird watching, or mountain biking.
There is plenty here for everyone to enjoy and it is an absolutely stunning place.
If you’re a fan of theater and other kinds of performing arts, then you definitely need to check out the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
It is home to many different kinds of performances, some of which include ballet, opera, musical theater, and more!
It’s also a great place just to walk through because it is a beautiful building. There are lots of restaurants and other places for you to check out nearby too, so you can spend a few hours in the area.
The Butterfly Pavilion is an absolutely amazing place and it is incredibly beautiful. When you go inside, you will be surrounded by hundreds of butterflies and you can get some fantastic pictures.
Along with the butterflies, you can also check out the insect center, which is home to many fascinating creepy crawlies. If you’re brave enough, you can hold Rose the Tarantula!
14. Vail Ski Resort
If you are planning a bigger trip to Colorado, a visit to the Vail ski resort is a must. Whether you are a seasoned skier or you have never set foot on a slope in your life, this can be a fun activity to participate in.
There are two main ways you can enjoy some time at the Vail ski resort. For anyone who is looking to experience the winter sport side of Colorado, it is possible to purchase a day pass for the Vail ski resort.
This will allow you and your family to spend a day on the slopes, getting to grips with skiing, or getting back into snowboarding. However, if you are interested in indulging in a skiing vacation, you can book a stay at the Vail resort.
This is the most expensive option and may be more suitable for a romantic getaway or a break with friends rather than a family trip unless money is not an issue.
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is known as the “highest paved road in Colorado”, and when you see it for yourself, you will be truly amazed!
When you get to the actual summit of Mount Evans, that highest paved road becomes the highest paved road in all of North America too!
This scenic drive takes about 2 hours to complete and it lets you see Colorado from over 7,000 feet in the air! You will be able to see all of Denver once you reach the top and you will remember those views for the rest of your life.
There is also a lot of wildlife for you to check out on the byway, some of which include bighorn sheep, marmots, and pikas.
National parks always require a nominal fee to enter and park your car. However, the fee is certainly worth it for some National parks more than others. The Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the parks that are definitely worth it.
Not only are the sand dunes a breathtaking sight and worth seeing from afar, but they are also great fun to surf down.
Although you might think of water when you think about surfing, it is also possible to surf on sand. In fact, the movement of the sand actually looks a lot like the movement of the water when you are watching someone surf.
The sand dunes are open year-round and it doesn’t close when the sun goes down so you can enjoy some star gazing with minimal light pollution.
This is a great destination to take the entire family to for a fun day out. Remember to be sensible on the sand dunes and in the creek.
If skiing and sand dune surfing don’t provide you with enough of a thrill and adrenaline boost, you can also have a go at white water rafting during your trip to Colorado.
This is a great activity to do with a group of friends or with your family if your children are big enough. It is also possible to combine this activity with others such as zip lining to provide even more thrills.
With most of the major white water rafting companies in Colorado, you can opt to do a full-day, half-day, or happy-hour rafting package.
The longer the session you book the more expensive the activity will be, however, the prices are still incredibly reasonable for the amount of fun you will have and the memories you will make.
All of the safety equipment you need will be provided by the rafting company and a safety briefing will be given prior to getting into the water.
If you are planning a road trip to Colorado or are looking to hire a car for the duration of your trip, driving the Trail Ridge Road can be a great experience.
Known as the highway to the sky, the road is 48 miles long stretching from Estes Park to Grand Lake. 11 miles out of the 48 are above the treetops, providing stunning views.
Technically, the Trail Ridge Road can be completed in around an hour. However, this isn’t just a regular road that gets you from A to B. The route is incredibly scenic, especially for the portions that climb above the tops of the trees.
It is a much more enjoyable experience to take your time, make the most of the pull in sections where you can take a break, and take in the breathtaking views.
It can be a fun idea to bring a picnic that you can enjoy on the trunk or hood of your car while you marvel at your surroundings and the natural beauty of Colorado and the rock that we call home.
For another wonderfully scenic day out during your trip to Colorado, a visit to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a must.
This canyon may not be as large and looming as the Grand Canyon, but it is still breathtakingly stunning and definitely worth the trip.
The best thing about Black Canyon is that it is equally stunning during the summer and winter months.
Seeing the sun bounce off the natural ridges and edges of the canyon, shaped by nature itself, is a sight to behold.
However, seeing the same ridges and edges lightly dusted with crisp, white snow adds a whole new dimension to the scene in front of you.
There are hiking trails in and around the canyon that are suitable for all different abilities.
The Black Canyon is also a certified dark sky park that allows you to see all of the wonders of the universe above you after dark.
Glenwood Springs is home to Colorado’s largest natural mineral pool and it is a great place to go if you want to relax.
There are three different hot spring areas for you to choose from, but the most well-known and popular is the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.
You can actually stay overnight and for a few days at the resort if you need some serious R&R but you can also get day passes if you don’t have time for a longer visit!
Depending on when you are going to be visiting Colorado, you may be able to attend the state fair.
For all states across the country, the state fair is one of the biggest events of the year. If you are visiting at the end of August, you are likely to be able to catch at least some of the fair. This is a great attraction to take the whole family to or to visit with your friends.
The cost for entrance tickets and ride wristbands is fairly reasonable considering the scale of the fair. Visiting the state fair in Colorado is a great way to experience the true culture and spirit of the state.
If you are going to be traveling alone, this can be a great event to begin your trip with to help you meet other people who may also be interested in the activities and attractions that you have planned for your trip.
Colorado is well known for its plethora of breweries, a few of which you can tour for free as we mentioned above. However, there are also a few wineries in Colorado that produce stunning and well-bodied wines.
If you are looking for something to do during your trip that is perfect for adults, a winery-tasting day could be just what you are looking for.
There are a few wineries that offer tasting tours. Depending on your budget and other plans for your vacation you can select your winery tasting day based on how close you are to a winery that offers the service.
Alternatively, you can select the winery based on the type of wines that they produce and the grapes that they use.
A wine-tasting day can be a great way to relax and unwind at the start of your trip to get you into the vacation mindset. It can also help you plan some souvenirs to take home with you.
This is an attraction that is suitable for all ages and can take an entire day to explore fully. Visiting a zoo is a classic vacation activity, especially if you have young children in your family.
The range of animals that can be found at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is definitely worth the admission fee.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is very proud of its giraffes, elephants, otters, and penguins.
Spending a day looking at the different animals can keep the whole family entertained for hours while also being extremely educational. There are so many interactive activities that you can do while you are in the park.
The zookeepers are incredibly knowledgeable about the animals that they care for and often provide talks that give great insight into the behavior and personalities of the animals while outlining the care that they require.
If you have slightly older kids or kids that have a seemingly endless amount of energy that needs burning off, Elitch Gardens theme park makes a great day out.
As with all theme parks, Elitch Gardens is incredibly stimulating and exciting for guests of all ages and provides the perfect environment for making fun family memories that will last a lifetime.
The Elitch Gardens theme park is open between April and October every year. It is Colorado’s only world-class combination water park and theme park. If you can’t find something for everyone to do here, you won’t find it anywhere.
It is perfectly feasible that you will have to spend two days at the combination park in order to make the most of both the theme park and the water park. The park also hosts events that can provide extra entertainment during your trip.
There are plenty of hotels nearby the theme park which makes it incredibly accessible. You can even book hotel and park ticket packages to make your trip even easier.
You will find Clear Creek in the city of Golden and it is home to lots of outdoor activities, many of which include watersports!
You will be able to go kayaking, swimming, and you will just be able to chill on the water, making this the perfect place to go in the summer.
You can even rent some of the stuff you will need in Golden to go for a leisurely float down the creek, including an innertube, so you don’t have to pack too much if you dont want to!
There is even a designated kayaking area for those who really want to get some serious kayaking in.
Even if you don’t want to get into the water, Clear Creek is absolutely beautiful and worth exploring, and there are plenty of shops and things for you to check out in the city of Golden too.
You can quite easily spend all day in both Clear Creek and Golden, and you wont regret visiting if you do end up going!
If you are looking for a way to spend a cheap or free afternoon in Colorado, visiting the US mint is a great option.
At the Denver brand of the US mint, you can embark on a free tour. There is a gift shop at the end of the tour where you can purchase souvenirs if you wish.
During the tour of the US mint, you will learn about the rich history of the mint and how they produce billions of coins each year.
You will be able to find out about how the coins that are printed in the US have evolved over time to become what we recognize and use today.
The tour of the mint can be interesting and educational for most age groups, however, it may not be stimulating enough for very small children.
Colorado is home to over 148 breweries, all of which offer tours. However, of these many breweries, only 4 offer a tour for free.
If you are in Boulder, Berthoud, Montrose, or Denver you can access a free brewery tour during your trip.
A brewery tour is a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or your partner.
This activity is obviously for adults only. Therefore, if you do have children with you on your trip, taking a free brewery tour may cost the price of childcare for the afternoon.
One of the best things about the brewery tour is that you may receive free samples on your way around to get even more out of it.
If you love to drive and you love gorgeous scenery, then you are going to absolutely love the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway and Million Dollar Highway!
It is one of the most scenic drives in all of Colorado and you will see some truly breathtaking sights along the way!
The drive starts in Durango and takes you through Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, as well as many other locations through the incredible mountains.
If you only have a day spare then it is possible to do the drive on that day, but if you want to take your time and spend a few days on the road, you can find many beautiful towns along the way to rest at.
This is an incredibly relaxing trip and allows you to see lots of Colorado, all from the safety and comfort of your own vehicle!
If you are looking for an activity that is both free and family-friendly, then you can’t miss out on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge.
This is a wonderful place to visit during your trip. It is both educational and stimulating for all ages.
The wildlife refuge is open Wednesday through Sunday all year round, weather permitting.
The refuge is only closed for public holidays that fall on regular opening days. You can visit the refuge from sunrise to sunset on operational days.
Within the refuge, you will find animals that are native to the area. These animals include bison, coyote, deer, songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, and prairie dogs.
You can also access the refuge for winter hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country ski activities. The refuge reminds winter visitors to always stay off of lakes and ice.
There is so much to do and see in Colorado, and this list really proves it! Regardless of your own personal tastes, you’re sure to find something that you and your whole family will enjoy.
Next time you’re in Colorado, go and visit some of these places and see which one you enjoy the most!
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