If you’ve been following along on our summer road trip posts, you know this year we hit Colorado. One of the challenges we face when taking a long road trip with teenagers is finding something everyone enjoys doing. My son loves big cities and museums, my middle loves adventure, and my youngest loves shopping… and Mr. TypeTwoFun likes getting away from the bustle of city life to relax in the great outdoors. This often presents a problem when I am planning out the itinerary. I was thrilled to discover that Denver had something for everyone, though, and it was quickly added to our travel plans this year.I sifted through RV parks and KOA campgrounds for days before finally making reservations at Cherry Creek State Park on the outskirts of Denver. I was a little nervous, because it was really close to the city, and I was sure that Mr. TypeTwoFun wouldn’t feel like it was secluded enough. I have to tell you, though, it was a wonderful little gem of a campground. Even though the city was close, it still felt secluded, and I often forgot just how close to town we actually were.Cherry Creek State Park is actually located in Aurora, Colorado just southwest of Denver. The campground is open year round and offers group sites, full hookup sites, and basic tent sites. The full hookup sites will run you $30/night and the basic sites run $20/night. It is also worth noting that you have to pay a $7 per day state park entrance fees in addition to your camping fees, and a non-refundable $10 reservation fee. Yikes! With all the fees added up, our site actually ended up costing us around $40/night. It still beats $100+ per night for a hotel, though. 😉We stayed in the Abilene loop, where there were full hookups, and I have to say, it was pretty nice. We had a paved pad for the camper, which made leveling a breeze. We had a large picnic table and fire ring, and there was more than enough room to spread out our camp chairs and sit around by the fire. It felt quite like a remote camping experience, except that we had amazing facilities just a few steps from our site.Cherry Creek State Park had clean bathrooms, coin operated showers, and laundry facilities. The showers weren’t free, but they were cheap, and for $1.50, we had plenty of hot water. We loved having such great facilities near our campsite. Since we were mostly sightseeing throughout the city, we enjoyed having easy access to the bathrooms in the morning. It made getting ready with three teenagers a breeze. Denver had so much to offer that we were running nonstop all day long. In the evening, it was nice to come home throw in a load of laundry and have dinner around the campfire. Cherry Creek really made a great home base for our adventures.And we had some awesome adventures! Denver is a great place for families, and we did so much that I really can’t squeeze it all in here. We’ll definitely do a follow-up post on all there is to see and do in Denver with kids. A few of our favorites, though… The Downtown Aquarium was awesome and one of the kids’ more emorable experiences. They loved those manta rays! It was a decent-sized aquarium, but we were able to see the whole place in a few hours. It made for a great morning stop.Another favorite spot was the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. PopUpBoy is such a huge science geek, and he was all over this one. They have an amazing planetarium–which he loved–but they also had a lot of other exhibits that appealed to the rest of the family. They had wonderful Paleontology and Egyptology exhibits. We even got to see a few mummies. We spent hours meandering around the museum and loved every minute of it.One of the best things we did upon arriving in Denver was to hit the Visit Denver Tourist Information Center downtown. They were able to recommend some great restaurants and activities. They were also able to book us a last minute tour of the Denver Mint, which was really cool. If you are headed to Denver, definitely check out their website. They can point you to all the cool spots in town… like this one!Little Man Ice Cream! Oh, man! This place really hit the spot after a long day of sightseeing. There was a long line each time we drove by, but we decided to bite the bullet one afternoon and wait in line. It was definitely worth the wait. If you go, try the Salted Oreo. It is amazing. 🙂
Helpful Tips for Visiting Denver, Colorado
- We highly recommend Cherry Creek State Park as a home base. We were within 20 minutes of everything we wanted to see, but it still felt like a secluded campground. The campground and facilities were all impeccably maintained as well. I’ve been told it is rather difficult to secure a reservation in the summer, so book early! We were lucky, because we scheduled our trip early. We booked several months in advance, but we had no problem getting a reservation for late May.
- Denver is a great place to vacation with families. There is something for everyone. If you are planning a trip to Denver, we highly recommend checking out the Visit Denver website (or better yet the Tourist Information Office) for great recommendations on area attractions and restaurants.
- If you are planning on touring the Denver Mint while you are in town, don’t forget to make reservations. I didn’t do my homework very well in advance, so I didn’t know we needed reservations. We were able to score last minute tickets through Visit Denver, but we were told that was a bit of an anomaly. You can make reservations online here, and there are quite a few rules that pertain to tours. Make sure you check out all that information before you head to the mint.
- The Denver Museum of Nature & Science was amazing! If you’ve got kids, it is an absolute must–especially if they are dinosaur enthusiasts. 😉
We really loved Denver and hope to make it back soon. Colorado is just so gorgeous, it was hard not to fall in love with it. Have you visited Denver? Maybe you’re a Denver native? We’d love to hear all about your favorite camping and tourist spots in the comments below.
New to The Pop Up Princess? Would you like to catch up on our road trip adventures from the past five years? You can find those links here: