For an action-packed, sun-drenched adventure with your little ones that mixes in kid-friendly adulting at craft breweries, look no further than Boulder, Colorado. Read along for Boulder travel tips with kids followed by the perfect 3 days Boulder itinerary with kids. Crafted for me by a local. Tested and approved by my son.
Boulder might be known as the Tesla driving, kombucha drinking, Lululemon little sister of Denver, but don’t get hung up on the stereotypes. If gallery hopping and enjoying a tourist magnet teahouse is your bag, Boulder will satisfy. If, however, you like breathing fresh air, getting your shoes dirty on a hike, and leveling up your family’s Instagram feed with stunning panoramas of the Rocky Mountains that would make Bob Ross shed a tear, Boulder is absolutely stunning.
Boulder is nestled an arms reach from one of the busiest airports in the US (read: affordable direct flights) and the Rocky Mountains. Because Denver has been the center for most of the area’s population growth recently, Boulder maintains that small college town charm with access to big city amenities.
Where to stay
Lodging (and living) in Boulder is not especially cheap, but one thing I’ve learned is that nobody stays in Denver or Boulder for the city centers anyway. The real attractions are outdoors.
There is a convenience factor of waking up and being walking distance to the delicious farm to table meals, but if budget is a concern consider an alternative lodging option like camping. This is not sponsored, but we have become big-time HipCamp advocates. If you don’t want to pay upwards of $175/night in downtown Boulder, you can stay in a tent, a yurt, a treehouse, or even on a farm for anywhere from $25/night to $95/night a little further out of the city.
Note that the $25/night option is probably BYO-Tent, probably has an outhouse, and probably doesn’t have a shower, but there are glampy options as well. Read the details and don’t be shy about contacting the host for more information. The last time we used HipCamp we stayed on a farm and loved it so much we wrote about 4 blog posts about it.
Other than that, one Boulder travel tip with kids is to aim for the north end of the city as it is closer to attractions like Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Evans, and Red Rocks.
Climate and when to visit
There are typically two types of families that visit Boulder, hikers, and skiers. If you are a skiing family, you are likely on your way to Breckenridge or Vail and this article is probably not for you.
For hiking families though, contrary to popular belief, it does not snow year-round in Boulder. There are only two months of the year where the average temperature is below freezing. The temperature between May and October ranges from a low of 44 to a high of 88 and marks a pretty robust travel season. If hiking (or driving to) some of the higher peaks is in the plans, some parks are closed until later on in the summer as the snow melts at higher altitudes.
Because of Boulder’s proximity to the sun and it’s the altitude, expect daytime highs to be a bit warmer than you might expect, but the night time chill to be a sharp contrast. Even so, the average nighttime lows are some of the highest in the state. The climate is classified as semi-arid so be sure to have plenty of water on hand.
The Boulder travel tip here for you and your kids is to dress in layers. If you drive up a mountain, you’ll be passing through multiple climate zones. Nighttime is also much different than day time so be prepared with a t-shirt, long sleeve, hoodie, and maybe a jacket. If you have hiking pants that convert to shorts, you’re even better off.
Drinking water in high altitude
This Boulder travel tip extends beyond just kids. Because of the lower humidity levels, sweat evaporates quickly so you may not notice your typical swampiness with physical activity. The lower oxygen level also causes people to breath shorter, quicker breaths, which results in more water lost via respiration, almost double the level otherwise. All this is to say, drink a lot of water, and make sure if you bring kids, they do as well.
How to get around
The only real option here is to rent a car from your favorite rental company. If you’re stubborn, you can download the RTD app and pre-purchase bus tickets to and from the Denver Airport. I did this once because my “rental” car came with a chauffeur that I refer to as “big sis” who had to work the morning of my flight. I found it to be incredibly easy to navigate.
Traveling with kids
If you need more than the car seat from your rental car company, one option is to check out a company like babyquip or Baby’s Away. Order a crib, stroller, car seat, etc delivered to your hotel.
Now that you have the Boulder travel tips with kids, check out our 3-day itinerary in Boulder with kids!