Sure, Colorado is landlocked -- but that doesn't mean you have to spend your summer high and dry in the sweltering, 90-plus degree heat. We don't have an ocean, but there are rivers, reservoirs, pools, water parks and many more places where you can immerse yourself this summer. So dig out that Speedo, find your lifejacket, smear on the SPF and go get wet. In absolutely no order, here are ten of the many, many ways to do just that.
Build Your Own Boat Race Saturday, June 22, 5 p.m., $25-$30 Cañon City, Centennial Park boat ramp royalgorgewhitewaterfestival.com Whatever floats your boat! The Build Your Own Boat Race has been a tradition in Cañon City for more than a decade. ByOB racers -- all teams of three to five -- depart from the Centennial Park boat ramp in homemade vessels and furiously paddle down the river, hoping their "boat" doesn't sink along the way. Not permitted: commercial rafts, raft parts, hulls of canoes or kayaks; motors of any kind; unsportsmanlike conduct.
Denver's 16 Public Outdoor Pools Early June through mid-August $1 drop-in fee for kids up to age 17; $3 for adults 18 to 24; $3.50 for adults 25 and over. Season passes available. denvergov.org Blow up your water wings and make a splash in one of the sixteen outdoor pools around the city operated by the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation. Your options include lap pools, therapy pools and children's spraygrounds; swim lessons and aqua-fitness classes are available for an extra fee. Each pool's schedule and hours of operation can be found on the city's website.
The Drenched 5K Saturday, August 3, $40-$55 City Park rundrenched.com Billed as the "coolest" event of the summer, the Drenched 5K isn't your typical fun run. After running "hot" for the first mile, racers enter the "drenched" zone, where they are sprayed with fire hoses, water guns, buckets of ice water and sprinklers for the last two miles -- until they reach the 75-foot slip 'n' slide that sends them to the finish line, where a massive water-balloon fight is encouraged. The young, old, fast and slow are all welcome to participate; a portion of the proceeds goes to help local firefighters.
Pontoon boats on Lake Dillon Memorial Day through Labor Day, $135 (two-hour rental) Lake Dillon Marina, 150 Marina Drive, Dillon 970-468-5100 townofdillon.com Wrangle up a group of friends and head for the hills. The Lake Dillon Marina offers pontoon-boat rentals in two sizes for leisurely cruises on the water while you take in those great Rocky Mountain views. Grills, sailboats and speedboats are also available to rent -- but everything books quickly, so call in advance. And fair warning: Fuel is not included in the rental prices.
Water World May 25 through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weather permitting), $39.99 plus tax 8801 Pecos Street, Federal Heights 303-427-7873 waterworldcolorado.com One of America's largest water parks is right in our back yard. Water World boasts 49 attractions, including the Pirate's Plunge water slide and the Mile High Flyer hydromagnetic watercoaster; there's also a lazy river and Silly Shores for the little ones. Group tickets, cabana rentals and mid-day tickets are also available -- and at least the parking is free.
Jet Ski on the Cherry Creek Reservoir May through Labor Day $50 for the first half-hour, $250 required deposit Cherry Creek Reservoir, 4201 South Parker Road, Aurora 303-766-0766 The Ski Shak on the edge of Cherry Creek Reservoir has a fleet of WaveRunners just waiting to be taken for a spin. In order to rent, you must be at least eighteen years of age and show identification; riders, however, can be any age. Fuel and life jackets are included in the half-hour fee, and regular park admission fees apply. A coupon for an extra fifteen minutes of riding is available on the website.
Tube the Colorado River June 21 through September 15, 10 a.m. daily, weather permitting; $40 per person per float Put-in spot near exit 133 off I-70 or pick-ups from Vail, Avon and Edwards 970-471-0547 turtletubing.com Turtle Tubing and its Turtle Bus promise a fun, scenic, three-hour adventure. Fees include a tube, paddle and experienced guide; tubers must bring swimming skills, river shoes, sunscreen and a towel. Personal coolers are permitted -- but make sure they float.
A Cabana at Elitch Gardens Theme and Water Park Memorial Day through Labor Day, rentals start at $100 2000 Elitch Circleelitchgardens.com/water-park/cabanas Why lounge poolside when Elitch Gardens has riverside and city-view cabanas available all summer long? When it's time to take a break from the rides and slides, head to your own private cabana, outfitted with a table and four chairs, wi-fi, concierge service, a locker and complimentary tube rental. Cabana rental prices are for four, but you can add additional guests at $15 per. Mixed drinks and beers are available for purchase. Fair warning: Park admission is not included in the cost of the rental -- and neither is sunscreen.
Kayak the Boulder Creek Playpark April through August, depending on water level, free Eden G. Fine Park, Boulder Canyon boc123.com/kayak/PlayparkBoulder.cfm The half-mile stretch of Boulder Creek at the mouth of Boulder Canyon includes the Widowmaker drop and twenty slalom gates where you can hone your paddling skills. Designed for beginner and intermediate paddlers, this Playpark features water flow that's runnable down to 75 cubic feet per second. The course also has several pools for testing out eddy turns, ferries, peel-outs and rolls. A bonus: You share the river with bikini-clad tubers.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Catch a Special Thrill July 7 Chatfield Reservoir, 11500 North Roxborough Park Road, Littleton 720-224-7427 castforkids.org/events-calendar Love to fish? Why not teach a kid to enjoy the same sport? Head to Chatfield Reservoir for the Catch a Special Thrill (CAST) for Kids Foundation's Cast for Kids day. The foundation will match experienced fishermen with disadvantaged and disabled kids for a fun day in the outdoors. Participants receive a rod and reel, tackle box, T-shirt, hat, barbecue lunch and commemorative plaque -- even if they only land a small one. Not hooked on fishing? Chatfield Reservoir's swim beach is a great place for a dip. Located on the west side of the reservoir, the swim beach has changing facilities and restrooms, but no lifeguard.