Best Budget-Friendly Family Getaway 2017 | YMCA of the Rockies | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
YMCA of the Rockies

Who says you have to spend a fortune on your next family getaway? YMCA of the Rockies delivers two fantastic destinations at Snow Mountain Ranch and its Estes Park Center. At each site, guests are greeted with a robust lineup of year-round activities; the experience is a little bit like camp for the whole family. In addition to hiking, horseback riding, archery, swimming, crafts and miniature golf, each site boasts its own unique entertainment: There's fishing, a summer tubing hill and llama treks at Snow Mountain Ranch, and concerts, guided hikes and a spectacular zipline at Estes Park Center. When night falls, gather 'round the campfire for a marshmallow roast, then hunker down in a lodge room or cabin — or in one of Snow Mountain Ranch's new yurts.

Maize in the City Facebook

In the era of being plugged in 24/7, there's something indulgent about spending an autumn day with family and friends wandering through a humongous corn maze. There's plenty of agrotourism in Colorado, but we think Maize in the City's twenty-acre labyrinth takes the cake. This family-friendly destination engages visitors during the fall with a variety of attractions, including a mini-train, a petting zoo and pony rides. Youngsters can even navigate their own mini-maze cut from shorter stalks. At sundown, the maize morphs into an insanely terrifying Haunted Field of Screams that'll have even the most devout Children of the Corn fans practically peeing their pants.

The North Pole Facebook

Christmas wishes come true at the North Pole, an enchanted family theme park centered around Kris Kringle. From May 20 through December 24, visitors are greeted with nostalgic Christmas tunes as they wander through Santa's Workshop, a magical village consisting of eight quaint shops and restaurants stocked with unique holiday gifts and classic American food. The highlight, of course, is visiting Santa's home, where children are invited to share their Christmas wishes with Santa himself as his helpers snap photos. Don't forget to swing by the Post Office, where park-goers can send mail to the North Pole. Beyond the village you'll find dozens of rides, including the up-down-and-around Christmas Tree Ride, a Candy Cane Coaster, the Peppermint Slide and an exhilarating zipline. Classic amusement-park jaunts are also available, including pony carts, an antique carousel and spinning cups .

Lawson Adventure Park Facebook

Spread out over forty-plus acres in Clear Creek County off I-70, Lawson Adventure Park is not only easy to get to, but it's also tailored to active families looking for new and exciting ways to exhaust themselves, all in one place. Amenities include climbing walls suitable for all ages, zorbing (kind of like tobogganing down a hill in a hamster ball), bungee trampolines, Frisbee golf, rock-climbing and rappelling adventures, Water Walkerz and other accoutrements of endless outdoor fun, along with camping sites and cabins (coming soon: cushy yurts!). Winter activities like winter zorbing and tubing will also eventually blossom at the park.

Kenneth Hamblin III

This underrated Denver park has an impressive amount of attractions that will keep active families busy year-round, from dusk until dawn. When the sun's shining, do a few bike tricks at the Ruby Hill Bike Park before exploring trails and open fields or swinging the bat at the baseball field. Younger kiddos can romp around a massive playground located at the park's peak. Come winter, you'll find plenty of sledding hills throughout Ruby Hill Park, and when the snow really starts accumulating, check out the Ruby Hill Rail Yard, an urban terrain park that draws thousands of folks annually. Bring a sack lunch and take a break at the picnic tables while taking in some great views.

The New Ulysses Skate Park Facebook

We appreciate a city that champions constructive activities for its youth. So we have to give big ups to Golden, which last year allotted nearly $1 million to redevelop its 24-year-old Ulysses Skate Park. Since the park reopened in December, skaters of all ages and skill levels have enjoyed its mid-sized bowl with pool coping, a snake-run-type flow bowl, a "street" area with rails, ledges and banks, and quarter- and halfpipes galore. There's even a full pipe that's a replica of Montreal's revered Big O. Nestled in the Ulysses Sports Complex, which features an off-leash dog park, five baseball fields, a fitness loop, restrooms, soccer fields and beautiful views of the Platte Valley, the skate park can keep the whole family entertained (not that you'd want to be seen with your parents).

Readers' Choice: Denver Skatepark

Topeira Boxing Facebook

The gym rules are simple: Be on time, get better, take care of your partner. That's all Topeira Boxing Club needs to be the best community gym in Denver. The gym's owner (and only coach), Joaquin Romero, has equipped Topeira Boxing with everything his members need to be successful: a full-sized ring, two speed bags, eight heavy bags and affordable rates. Membership rates are $50 for monthly unlimited level-one classes, or the coach will let you in for a $10 drop-in rate. The gym has strong ties to its Athmar Park neighborhood and a community vibe overall, and Romero's style of teaching reflects that. Everyone is welcome to join the Green Team. The motto? "We up, we workin'."

What started as semi-organized pickup kickball games and an opportunity to meet new people has morphed into a hard-rolling league that nonetheless doesn't take itself too seriously. Nonprofit recreational leagues are scarce these days, but the rowdy Denver Kickball Coalition manages to play some of the hardest kickball in town, drink beer and kick ass at around $20 a head for the season, which goes to uniforms, equipment and charity. League scores and standings are regularly updated online during the season, and team names can get a little crazy, like last year's Fighting Moose Knuckles, Pitches Be Crazy and Balls Deep. The DKBC also participates in charitable events throughout the year, donating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and hosting an all-women tournament whose proceeds go to Girls Incorporated of Metro Denver. The season starts in April and ends in August; sign up by sending DKBC Kickball a message on Facebook.

Elena Cisneros Facebook

Rude Park Rec Center is a gem hidden within the often overlooked west Denver neighborhood of Sun Valley. Unlike many newer buildings in our quickly changing city, this modern structure actually takes full advantage of Colorado's sunny disposition: Windows adorn virtually all sides of the athletic multiplex, allowing light to pour in from every angle. The weight room has some of the best equipment found in the city's rec-center network, but it's the soaring panes of glass running along the length of the spacious workout area that make it outstanding. The indoor swimming pool is also awash in sunshine, surrounded by windows that face the downtown Denver skyline. Visitors to Rude Park get a view of the confluence of Lakewood Gulch and the South Platte River, as well as a dash of park greenery, a glimpse of cityscape and, of course, a little sight (and sometimes smell) of that good old Denver riverside industrial-plant wasteland, a gentle reminder that the Mile High City is both a beauty and a beast.

Boulder Running Company Facebook

What type of runner are you? Are you a distance runner, focused on your feet connecting to the pavement and the pace you're maintaining? Or are you more of a fun runner, the type who's there more for the company than the marathon? Whichever category you fall into, Boulder Running Company's Greenwood Village store offers the best free outdoor workouts. On Saturday mornings, start your day with long runs that vary in distance but always start and end at the store. On Tuesdays, the weekly 3.1-mile group meets for "Pub Runs," with beer, brats and sometimes store discounts and demos. Lace up and decide what kind of runner you want to be this week. (Bonus: Check the Boulder Running Company's Facebook page for free pop-up fitness workshops!)

Best Of Denver®

Best Of