Even if you’re planning to look at the 14ers rather than hike them, there is a lot of fun to be had for young families traveling to
Southern Colorado.

Make your central base in Westcliffe, which offers family-friendly accommodations at the Lamp Post Lodge or Hillside cottages as well as activities at places like Cliff Lanes and weekend open-swim at Altitude Community Fitness. From there, it’s a scenic drive to Salida, Pueblo, Canon City and even the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Here are a few activities no one in the family will want to miss:

Have an adventure for the ages at the Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience: When you make a day out of a visit to the Royal Gorge, be sure to include a stop at the kid-friendly Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience. With exhibits geared for the littlest paleontologists including a “fossil dig” and dinosaur wild walk, it’s a fun time for everyone.

Check out the Buell Children’s Museum: As part of the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo, the Buell Children’s Museum promises fun for “people ages 1 to 101.” With rotating, hands-on exhibits, including the “Baby Barn” for guests younger than 4, it’s a great destination just an hour from Westcliffe. To round out the day in Pueblo, be sure to visit the river walk.

Visit Salida’s indoor hot springs and white water-themed playground: Just TK down the road from Hillside, the town of Salida is a premier destination for adventure junkies and families alike! Coordinate your visit with the open swim hours at the Hot Springs Aquatic Center, the largest indoor hot springs in North America. The pool water is fed from underwater springs and maintains a temperature in the mid-80s. A zero-entry play pool makes for a fun place to splash around. After toweling off, head toward the Arkansas River to let the kids burn off a bit more energy at the Riverside Park and its new playground.

Splash at the coolest beach in Colorado—at the Great Sand Dunes National Park: If you’re lucky enough to schedule your visit during early summer, a trip to the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa is a must-do. From April to early June, Medano Creek makes for a unique, family-friendly spot to cool off in some shallow water—all while enjoying views of the mountains and dunes.