Chris D. Hefty
Fun Things to Do in the Summer in Northern Colorado
Summertime is here again and that means that there is a whole new season of fun things to do here in Northern Colorado. If you are new to the area or just looking for something different than your usual summer plans, here is a list that we have compiled of some of the best things that Northern Colorado has to offer.
Here in Northern Colorado, with millions of acres of land, national parks, forests, and state parks, there is so much fun to be had in the great outdoors that sometimes it is hard to fit it all in. Here are some ways to enjoy nature and stay in shape:
- Hiking: There is a hiking trail for everyone, including beginners and those that plan to go the distance. There are both paved and unpaved trails, including those that offer meadows and grasslands to waterfalls, canyons, and cliffs.
- Camping: With 42 state parks throughout Colorado, there are plenty of public and private campgrounds to enjoy tent or yurt camping, RV camping, and event cabins. There are even some “glamping” sites now to enjoy a luxurious camping experience for those more inclined toward the motel/hotel overnight experience.
- Mountain Biking and Cycling: From many mountain trails for biking to cycling events throughout the state, the weather is always the right temperature for getting on your bike.
- Boating/Water Skiing/Tubing: Although Colorado is a landlocked state, there are plenty of lakes and reservoirs to enjoy boating, water skiing, and tubing. When it comes to water activities, don’t forget whitewater rafting, kayaking, and the slower paced activity of fishing.
- Golf: There are numerous golf courses throughout Northern Colorado to improve your skills.
- Horseback Riding: There are lots of dude ranches and horse farms that offer half-day rides or overnight campout adventures in the Colorado wilderness.
- Motorcycle Touring: With numerous scenic byways and highways, motorcycle tours are available to go together or you can make a weekend of a solo ride through the mountains.
- Ballooning: You can enjoy a balloon ride and picnic with one of the many ballooning companies in Northern Colorado, or you can try one out at the numerous ballooning festivals held each year, including the summer season.
Events and Festivals
With such great weather, it makes sense that we plan all types of outdoor events and festivals to bring us altogether. Here are some great upcoming summer festivals:
- Loveland Loves BBQ, Bands, & Brews: On Friday, July 10th and Saturday, July 11th, this festival is taking place in Downtown Loveland on Railroad Avenue. There will be live music, lots of vendors, and some of the best barbeque you have ever had. Learn more at lovelandlovesbbq.com.
- Taste of Fort Collins: This three-day festival from June 12th to 14th provides a way to get to know all the local food and beverage vendors as well as regional restaurants and to enjoy arts and crafts and live music. There is also beer and wine sampling for adults and fun children’s activities. The cost of admission varies from $5 to $10 with discounts to military personnel and senior citizens. The website is: http://tasteoffortcollins.com/.
- Cherry Pie Celebration: On July 19th from 5-8pm, the annual Cherry Pie Celebration is taking place! Admission is free and there are plenty of sweet treats for the entire family. There will be live music, historical displays, and even a cherry pie contest. More information can be found here.
- Loveland Museum/Gallery 2015 Foote Lagoon Concert Series: Every Thursday between June 25th and July 30th, local bands will be performing at the City of Loveland Civic center. Each concert begins at 7pm and all are completely free! Some artists include Cool Shooz, Hazel Miller, and Quemando. For more information, visit http://www.lovelandmuseumgallery.org/foote-lagoon-summer-concerts/.
- Breathe Yoga Festival: This festival is June 20-21st in City Park in Fort Collins and offers 30 different yoga classes, live music, local food trucks, and a vendor marketplace full of artisans. The website is: breatheyogafestival.com.
- Cowboys’ Roundup Days & Fourth of July Celebration: For 112 years, Steamboat Springs has held a great celebration from July 2nd to July 5th for the whole family to enjoy, including a block party, rodeo, parade, music, food and, of course, fireworks.
With the kids out of school, it’s time to start considering how to keep them busy. Here are some ideas:
- An urban scavenger hunt in Denver with Urban Adventure Quest;
- Anderson Farms and Cottonwoods Farms for that farm experience;
- Glenwoods Cavern Adventure Park;
- K1 Speed for action-packed kart racing;
- Denver for zoo, aquarium, museums, and more; and
- Summer camps galore, including learning how to be a cowboy or cowgirl as well as day camps, religious camps, overnight camps, and educational camps.
Other ideas for family fun in Northern Colorado include:
- The Family Fun Plex in Greeley has a water park with slides, miniature golf, gymnasium, fun zone, playground, ball fields, outdoor amphitheater, and picnic area to make a whole day of fun.
- The Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center is a fun way to introduce some learning over the summer, including hands-on activities that involve science, culture, and history with many revolving exhibits.
- Swetsville Zoo in Fort Collins is a unique destination that is not your ordinary zoo. It’s actually 160 animals that have been built out of car parts, scrap metal, and farm machinery. You and the kids will enjoy the metal dinosaurs and spider made from a Volkswagen Beetle. It’s free, too, but the owner does welcome donations!
- The Greeley Freight Station Museum is a great place to enjoy railroads and trains, including full-sized and model versions. It’s one of the largest in the country and a wonderful place to spend a summer day.
While you may live here in Northern Colorado, you might not have gotten around to some of these activities that are great the whole year round but often are more enjoyable in the summer time when you can add sitting outside in the sunshine:
- Brewery and microbrewery tours
- Wine country tours
- Summer theatre performances, including opera, symphony, ballet, and more
- Summer concert series
- Historical and heritage museums