Aspen is the perfect location if you’re searching for plenty of enjoyable family activities that adults, teenagers, and children can participate in. Whether your family is seeking a summer holiday, you’re making preparations for a future winter vacation, or you’re hoping to find a good area to relocate to, then Aspen, CO, has a lot to offer.
No matter the season, Aspen has a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities that are perfect for spending quality time together as a family. We’ve gathered some of Aspen's top family-friendly activities, ranging from snow-loving winter activities to water-splashing summer fun.
About Aspen, Colorado
Living in Aspen, CO, can be highly enjoyable. Most people in Aspen own their houses, making it easy to get to know your neighbors. The town offers a unique blend of urban and suburban living, and there are numerous bars, eateries, coffee shops, and parks nearby. Aspen has a large population of seniors and young professionals. To add to this, Aspen's public schools are well-regarded.
Skiing and tourism became Aspen's primary industries by the middle of the 20th century, which triggered its growth.
10 best family-friendly activities in Aspen
1. Enjoy water activities
If you’re looking for something calmer (or some free energy-draining entertainment), the dancing fountain at the intersection of Mill and Hyman is a great place for kids to run, splash, and have fun. After your child has played in the fountain for a while, you can satisfy their sweet tooth at Red Fox Frozen Yogurt nearby.
Aspen also has plenty of kid-friendly beach areas close to Rio Grande Park on the banks of the Roaring Fork River. Your young explorers will be thrilled to have boulders, beaches, and water to adventure through.
2. Go hiking or biking
If you and your family are lovers of trails and nature, Aspen has a lot to offer you. Check out the flat, paved trail that connects Glenwood Springs to Rio Grande Trail. To make the walk more interesting, you are welcome to take a dog from the Aspen Animal Shelter for a free walk or hike. This is a great way to keep the kids entertained and test their responsibility skills.
Beyond that, it’s difficult to resist the strong impulse to explore the gorgeous mountainside in Aspen either by foot or bike. There are plenty of family-friendly trails you can choose from depending on the ages and skill levels you plan on bringing along.
Hunter Creek Trail and Smuggler Mountain Road are two great intermediate treks accessible from Aspen. Another short hike that offers a great view of the famed Maroon Bells is the Maroon Lake Trail. The Maroon Bells typify the Rocky Mountains' all-year-round beauty. Because of this, entry is generally restricted during the busy season, typically the spring and summer months. During the summer, reservations are necessary to visit, and there is only one public shuttle service available. During the winter, snowmobile access is restricted.
3. Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
You can experience the summertime program, which offers children's day camps and overnight programs during the summer months. You can check out the snowshoe tours if you’re stuck in winter and looking for fun things to do with the kids.
4. Camping at Lincoln Gulch and Grizzly Creek
Lincoln Gulch Campground is a local favorite, even though many visitors have yet to discover it fully. Located about 11 miles southeast of Aspen, there are just seven campsites on the property. Planned bookings are not accepted, so expect a first-come-first-serve situation.
The use of the campgrounds is free, but even if you don't plan to camp there, your family can still enjoy the numerous activities and stunning natural sights. Be aware that the road leading to this campground — Independence Pass — is off-limits to vehicles longer than 35 feet. Plan ahead and don’t attempt to bring any massive RVs or trailers through the pass.
Another great camping site with only 28 pull-through sites is Grizzly Creek. This campground is located between Highway 36 and the river. It’s a fantastic getaway for any nature-lovers and adventurous families since it offers a convenient base for waterfront activities.
5. Head to the mountains
There are obviously plenty of winter sports in the mountains, like skiing and snowboarding, but you can go alpine tubing at various times of the year. Children of all ages can learn to navigate the fresh powder at these amazing ski resorts or enjoy the speedy tubes down the mountain.
6. Buttermilk Ski Resort
If you’re looking for a specific ski resort to check out, you can’t miss Buttermilk Ski Mountain.. This is one of the most well-known mountains in the Aspen ski area, primarily because it’s the venue for the X-Games but also because it’s a stunning area with plenty of things to do, even for the entire family.
This mountain is perfect for beginners since they offer all-ages lessons and tours. If you have extremely young children, check out The Hideout for some of the best skiing instructions for small children.
7. Breathtaker Alpine Coaster
Drivers are in charge of keeping safe distances from others and using proper braking to increase the excitement factor of the trip. As a result, it is sometimes called a "civilian" kind of bobsledding. Parents of young children should be aware that driving and riding in vehicles require a minimum height. Your child must be at least 16 years old if they want to drive.
8. Fun dining options
Eating out with the family is more pleasurable at family-friendly eateries, which Aspen has plenty of. You can find mouthwatering burgers, delicious milkshakes, and plenty of other kid-approved food in the area. On the plus side, many places are right by entertainment spots like mini-golf or ice-skating.
Aspen is home to delicious pizzerias, bakeries, Italian ice parlors, famous cookie spots, and more. Whether you’re looking for light summer sweets or warm winter favorites, you can find plenty of options in Aspen.
9. Aspen Recreation Center
Anyone of any age may find something to do at the Aspen Rec Center. This place is full of activity options regardless of the weather outside. Family-friendly activities include ice skating, sledding, rock climbing, swimming, and kayaking instruction in the indoor pool.
For smaller children, drop by the Playhouse Gym, a sibling facility inside the Red Brick Recreation Center in the heart of Aspen.