Family Vacation Ideas

Family at Lily Lake in RMNP

Parents, grandparents, and kids activities - there's lots to do and activities for everyone during a Colorado family vacation in Estes Park.

Lodging properties that welcome families are listed on our kid-friendly page. Here's a list of Family Vacation Ideas and popular kids activities in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park:

Before you come:

In the Park, Rocky Mountain National Park rangers and naturalists conduct numerous summer and year round programs for children and families. Popular programs include:

  • campfire talks
  • ranger-led daytime and full moon hikes
  • programs and videos at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center
  • ranger talks and Tuesday Discovery Days at the Fall River Visitor Center (beginning in June)
  • the Junior Ranger program
  • naturalist talks

In the wintertime, there's an evening program at headquarters every Saturday and guided snowshoe treks on weekends.  

Get this great guidebookOutdoor Family Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park for lots of ideas and specifics on hikes and walks, picnic sites, fishing holes, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and river rafting. Click the title above or the cover image at right to buy it online from Barnes and NobFamily Guidebookle.


Strolling, Hiking

The walkway around Lake Estes is accessible for all ages all year round. It is paved, level, and easy to navigate by foot, wheelchair, or bicycle.  In fall, you'll probably see elk enjoying the grass!

There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. Shorter trails with little gain in altitude are particularly suited for families with younger children and hikes with kids.

Wildlife Watching

The surprise of finding a wild native in your yard or along the roadside is a special treat for all ages. This can happen any time of the year, but spring, fall, and winter are easiest times for spotting wildlife. Elk, deer, and bighorn sheep are the most numerous. Don't worry, bear and mountain lions are rarely seen.


Come have fun geocaching as a family, exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, as well as the mountain towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake with the Across the Divide GeoTour!


Imagine the excitement of reeling in a trout and taking it home for supper! A mountain fresh trout is the ultimate taste treat. There are countless public lakeshore and riverbank fishing areas in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. A fishing license is required for those 16 and older. Licenses aren't required at the popular private summertime trout ponds — pay by the inch for the fish you catch — and a good catch is a sure thing!  This is a great kids activity!


What could be more fun on a warm, inviting afternoon than a family picnic. Pack your own basket, or stop at a local deli, restaurant, or store and have them prepare one for you. Picnic areas abound in Rocky Mountain National Park, Roosevelt National Forest, and on the south shore of Lake Estes.

Horseback Riding

Estes Park stables have well-trained horses and experienced wranglers to take your family on a trail ride in the Park or Forest during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Pony rides around the corral are a thrill for the youngest children.

River Rafting

Choose an easy float trip for younger children or a whitewater run for older adventurers. Either way, it's a wonderful, memorable time together on the water!

Click here More Ideas below!

6 With the Kids Found

Wanting to be on the River or up on the Mountain for the most fabulous views? We have both locations offering upscale spacious cabin suites, condos, rooms & studios, all beautifully appointed, some with outdoor or fireside hot tubs, kitchens, fireplace and private decks. With 6 acres adjoining RMNP you can let your spirits soar and your children explore. Playground, picnic pavilion, hiking, yard & board games, large video library, BBQ, Wi-Fi. Wildwood Inn Details

Above the ordinary amenities at affordable rates
2801 Fall River Rd.
Estes Park
40.400759 -105.574184

Family resort nestled on 11 beautifully wooded acres near RMNP. Cabins, suites, heated swimming pool, hot tubs, fireplaces, kitchens, gas grills, free wireless Internet, and lodge with pool table. Some units are pet friendly. Open all year. Winter specials.  Timber Creek Chalets Details

Hike right from your front door!
2115 Fall River Rd
Estes Park
40.392757 -105.561862

For Fly Fishing Estes Park visit our full, pro-line fly shop and outdoor adventure company offering guided fly fishing, day hikes, Longs Peak trips, backpacking, horseback/fly fishing, and llama pack trips for you, your family, and friends, as well as snow shoeing trips in winter. We are Family Owned and Operated.

Year-round guided trips with friendly, knowledgeable guides.
230 E. Elkhorn Ave
Estes Park,
40.3767622 -105.5205195

You have never seen a Y like this!  YMCA of the Rockies is the best place to stay & play with your family!  With activities for every age from 2 to 92, you are sure to find something to do!  Many of our activities are free for guests staying in one of our cabins or lodge rooms.  Come explore our YMCA with a day pass that offers access to many of our activities.  Call our Program Dept. for current prices and day pass information.  970-586-3341 ext 1104.  YMCA of the Rockies - Estes Park Center Details

The best place for families in Estes Park
2515 Tunnel Road
Estes Park
40.3413847 -105.5667144

Live it up with your family and friends with 90 minutes of thrills in our aerial adventure park - filled with rope bridges, tightropes, and swinging logs to climb around 10-21 feet above ground!

Live above the ground!
490 Prospect Village Drive
Estes Park
40.3711944 -105.5243975

Jellystone Park of Estes offers a unique camping/cabin experience with daily planned activities from Jun 15-Aug 15.  Keep the whole family occupied with mini-golf, two playgrounds, game room, karaoke, dances, movie nights, theme weekends, basketball court, campfires, heated swimming pool, and more! Make your reservations early!  Jellystone Park of Estes Details

A Family Adventure you won't forget!
5495 Colorado Hwy 36
Estes Park
40.340722 -105.430663


Snow-melt lakes too chilly for you? The Estes Park Aquatic Center welcomes visitors in their heated, indoor pool. There are free-swim hours as well as programs and classes for children and adults all year round.  The pool at the YMCA of the Rockies is open to the public after Labor Day to before Memorial Day; summer months are restricted to members or guests of the YMCA. The pool at the YMCA of the Rockies is open to the public after Labor Day to before Memorial Day. Summer months are restricted to members or guests of the YMCA.


New lightweight snowshoes make snowshoe treks a whole-family activity for a crisp, sunny winter day. Go with a ranger on a scheduled tour or visit your favorite trails on your own. Rentals are available in town.  Two hour Snowshoe Ecology Walks are offered Jan 7 - Mar 19, 2017 on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays at 12:30pm.  Reservations required no more than 7 days in advance (970-586-1223 from 8-4 daily).


For a leisurely tour of Lake Estes, rent a foot-powered paddle boat at the summer marina. Or, plan a floating picnic on a pontoon boat, also available at the marina. Sailboards are fun and colorful gliding across the water — bring wet suits to protect against the cold water.

Water Skiing

There's water skiing on Lake Estes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday after 5:00 pm, May through September. Again, wet suits are needed.


The trail around Lake Estes is accessible for all ages all year round. It is paved, level and easy to navigate on foot, by wheelchair, or bicycle. Many types of bicycles are available for rent during the summer months, including tandems, 4-wheelers, and mountain bikes. Downhill tours in the Park are also available.

Miniature Golfing

Miniature golf is great summer recreation for kids of all ages. Enjoy the game and the beauty of the surrounding mountains at the same time.


   Sledding areas at Bear Lake and Hidden Valley in the Park are popular gathering spots for families visiting in the winter. Even when we're snow-free at the town elevation, the higher elevations in the Park can have good sledding snow.


Go Carts

Go carts whizzing around the courses bring out the Indianapolis 500 driver in all of us. Estes Park's go cart tracks are great summer fun for the entire family, although Mom or Dad may have to ride with the smaller children.


Trains were an important part in settling the Wild West.

  • A miniature train ride can be found locally for those wanting a small taste of days gone by. The whistle and "chug, chug" sounds of the engine are enjoyed by all riders.
  • Check out the new train table at the Estes Park Public Library. The youth room recently received a wonderful donation from the Estes Valley Model Railroaders.
  • Come for the annual Rails in the Rockies show at the Estes Park Convention Center in February.


Ride the summer cable tramway to the top of Prospect Mountain to take in the breathtaking view. At the top, you will find a short hiking trail, photographic points, and a snack shop for that mountain top picnic.


Bowling is available seven days a week and offers fun and excitement for the entire family.


Check the Estes calendar for special events like the annual Teddy Bear Picnic and Highlands Festival that are especially fun for kids and parents.


Numerous activities such as horse shows, festivals, the wool market, and the famous Roof Top Rodeo are scheduled at the Fairgrounds through the summer months.

Movie Theaters

Estes has a modern, three-screen cinema that's open all year and a historic movie house open during the summer months.