Colorado has every amenity an outdoor enthusiast could ever desire — except a beach. But there are still plenty of water attractions across the state. From Broomfield to Glenwood Springs, you can get in the swim at everything from natural hot springs and cool reservoirs to acres of man-made rivers, slides and other out-of-this world aquatic attractions. Take advantage of the state’s summer sun at these ten spots.
8801 Pecos Street, Federal Heights
With 64 rolling acres of slides, rivers and pools, Water World is Colorado’s premier water-based amusement park. Float forever along the lazy river’s never-ending current, travel in time within the caverns of themed attractions like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Lost River of the Pharaohs, or get an oceanic rush in the park’s two wave pools. Whether you’re looking to relax under the sun or take a wild trip on one of the park’s 49 rides and slides, Water World has something for every kind of summer vacationer.
Eldorado Springs Pool
294 Artesian Drive, Eldorado Springs
Open since 1905, Eldorado Springs is a historic swimming pool at the base of Eldorado Canyon State Park. Given life by Eldorado’s artisan spring, the spot offers a refreshing place to relax or splash around and is equipped with a diving board and water slide. Aim for a hot day, though: Like any true Colorado swimming spot, it can get chilly here, even in the summer.
Chatfield State Park
11500 North Roxborough Park Road, Littleton
Chatfield State Park is a water-sport enthusiast’s paradise, offering not just a grand place to swim, but also plenty of room for waterskiing, fishing, jet skiing, boating and more. Like an ocean on the plains, Chatfield has a grand beach made for laying out or taking a dip in the cool natural pool. If you’re looking for a mini-vacation not far from the city lights, this recreation area offers campgrounds and RV hookups, plus many amenities to create a comfortable multi-day swimming adventure.
Pirate’s Cove Family Fun Aquatic Center
1225 West Belleview Avenue, Littleton
$6.50-$9.75 (season passes available)
Cool off in Pirate’s Cove’s Leisure Lagoon, a massive shallow pool and playground featuring waterfalls and places for the little ones to play. There are also water slides for more adventurous folks and a miniature beach for some ocean-like fun in the Colorado sun. Pirate’s Cove’s most unique attraction is its lazy river — which also comes with a swirling vortex for the ultimate swimming hole chill-out on a hot summer day.
Glenwood Hot Springs
415 East 6th Street, Glenwood Springs
$9.25 to $21
Take in scenic mountain views while soaking in the massive Glenwood Hot Springs pool or rest up in its even warmer companion pool, which comes complete with jetted massage chairs. More than just a swimming experience, Glenwood Hot Springs also offers a full-service spa and lodge, where guests can book massages, facials and full-body treatments to enhance an immersion in the historic natural-water spot. Bay Aquatic Park
250 Spader Way, Broomfield
A Broomfield Recreation Center pool with killer slides, the Bay Aquatic Park is a midsummer day’s dream. Attracting thousands to its cool waters each year, the swimming area is equipped with places to lounge and lap, along with safe, shallow wading areas designed just for toddlers. Curl up with a good book under one of the park’s many open-air cabanas, or splash, slip and slide throughout the outdoor attraction’s waterways.
Runs along Eben G. Fine Park and 30th Street in Boulder
Free (tube rentals available through website)
A water spot for the adventurous, Boulder Creek offers slower current areas for wading and faster areas made for tubing. The creek is fed by melting snowpack, so the water can get pretty cold — but it’s still great for a dip on a toasty mid-summer day. Travel along the creek’s aquatic path or get wild around the Eben G. Fine whitewater park’s man-made channels, which help gather the water even in shallow areas.
Barnum Recreation Center
360 Hooker Street
One of Denver Parks and Recreation’s many outdoor pools, Barnum offers an oasis in the city, especially for kids. The sunny spot contains not only a swimming pool, but an added maze of spouts, spigots and water features to make any hot day a cool blast. Children ages five to eighteen can sign up for the MY Denver Card, which offers year-round access to Barnum’s aquatic attractions plus admission to any of the city’s other 28 pools, all for free.
The Splash at Fossil Trace
3151 Illinois Street, Golden
The largest water park in Jefferson County, Splash at Fossil Trace boasts water slides, a lap pool, a fountain play area and more. Take a break from the water to relax in the sun, or build sandcastles on the banks of this man-made beach scene. Part of City of Golden Parks and Recreation, this swimming hole is a perfect spot for kids and adults alike to recline poolside or go wild in the water.
Del Mar Family Aquatic Center
12000 East Sixth Avenue, Aurora
Recently renovated for maximum fun, the Del Mar Family Aquatic Center is packed with watery action just in time for summer. A lap pool and diving well invite expert swimmers, while little ones can climb, slide and play on the park’s brand-new aquatic playground. Grassy and shaded areas give some respite from slippery activities at the site of the city’s first water park, one of several pools in the Aurora Parks and Recreation system.
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Watch for more top ten lists from Summer, our annual guide to the coolest things to do during Colorado's hottest season.