Camping in Colorado is one of the greatest pleasures about living in this state. Not only does it provide the opportunity to get out and enjoy nature, but it forces everyone to disconnect and take a break for the weekly monotony of to-do lists and chores. While there are a multitude of options for camping, when camping with kids, it’s wise to consider accessibility to bathrooms, proximity to towns and stores, as well as the amenities of the campground. The following are a list of “favorite” camping spots, though it is by no means an exclusive or exhaustive list.
Located outside of Leadville, roughly 2 hours from Denver, Turquoise Lake is a favorite among Coloradans. With 8 campgrounds and over 300 campsites, there are ample opportunities to find a spot to pitch your tent. The lake itself provides a beautiful backdrop, as well as opportunities for boating and fishing. There are a number of trails nearby for hikers, with both easy and difficult paths. Be sure to prepare for high altitude weather and issues as the lake sits above 9000 feet.
Telluride is best known as a world-class ski resort, but there are ample opportunities for exploration during the summer months. The Telluride Town Park Campground provides a great access point to both the city of Telluride and the surrounding mountains. Campers can easily walk into Telluride and explore stores and restaurants, and the Gondola provides easy access to the mountain village. The campground further provides showers and bathrooms, and while charcoal fires are permitted, wood fires are not. The surrounding areas offer multiple opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. While Telluride is a bit of a drive from Denver (~6 hours), the camping experience is relatively relaxed, making it an ideal first camping experience for young ones and adults alike. Campsites are on a first come basis, so be aim to arrive early.
Piñon Flats Campground at Great Sand Dunes National Park
Like something out of a science fiction film, Piñon Flats Campground at Great Sand Dunes National park is a great location to take kids. They will love the experience of climbing up and around the sand dunes (reaching up to 750 feet in height) and sledding or even skiing down them. The Piñon Flats Campground provides fire grates and picnic tables at each site in addition to flush toilets and sinks to wash dishes. In the late spring and early summer months, Medano creek provides additional entertainment for wading, playing, and floating in the water. Be sure to book early to come in the late spring or early summer, as the summer can prove relentlessly hot, especially for young ones. Expect to pay an entry fee for the park as well as a nightly fee for camping.
In addition to these campsites, there are a number of other wonderful locations where families can camp. Many Coloradans enjoy camping near or in Rocky Mountain National Park or at one of the many state parks. These sites often offer a number of amenities along with a “safety net” of knowing that resources are nearby and accessible.