Kids & Family

Family Friendly Fun

8 Ways to Enjoy Buena Vista with the Whole Family


1. Day at the Lake

kidsSpending a day at the lake is a perfect way to kick-back, relax and enjoy the Rocky Mountain views. Cottonwood Lake, situated less than thirty minutes from downtown Buena Vista, is an ideal location to make a splash with a kayak, stand up paddle board or canoe. Relish the views and striking Colorado blue sky as you cast a line to fish or have a picnic with the family. But before you go, swing by the CKS Main Street shop on 327 East Main Street to rent a watercraft or any needed gear.

To reach the lake from downtown Buena Vista, head straight through the traffic light and continue onto West Main Street which turns into County Road 306. Stay on County Road 306 for about 6 miles, turn left on Country Road 344 (there will be a sign that indicates Cottonwood Lake), and travel a little over 3 miles until you reach the lake.

horseback riding

2. Horseback Riding

For an authentic western experience, consider enjoying Colorado’s breathtaking views and scenic trails on horseback. Horseback riding is an invigorating activity: enjoy the flowers in summer, the colors of fall, or the fresh Colorado snow in winter.  Buckle up your bootstraps and get ready to be inspired by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains!


 3. Aerial Park and Zip Line Tours

Immerse yourself in an action-packed day by zip-lining and maneuvering through the challenges of an aerial park. Arkansas Valley Adventures offers zip-line and aerial tours such as the Mountaintop Zipline Tour which has 7 zip-lines, totaling almost 4,000 feet of adventure. The Browns Canyon Adventure Park also gives a thrill with their 4 challenge courses and 66 elements which include 7 zip-lines and 2 high adrenaline challenges, known as the Leap of Faith and Big Drop Swing. Bring the whole family to participate in these exhilarating adventures and relish the breathtaking views as you whizz through the air.

4. Day at the Park

Enjoy the great Colorado outdoors without trekking out of town by spending a day at one of the eight Buena Vista parks. Start the morning with a cup of coffee at the Midland Stop in the South Main section of town and then let the kids experience the fun of bouldering at the Buena Vista Boulder Garden.

You could also pack a picnic and spend the afternoon at McPhelemy Park, a fantastic spot to throw a frisbee, toss in a fishing line or splash in the pond with a stand up paddle board. McPhelemy Park is situated behind the intersection of Highway 24 and Main Street. Step back in time as you explore the Buena Vista Depot, located in the park, which now serves as a transportation and railroad museum. You’ll learn about the importance of the railroad systems in the 1890s, including the Colorado Midland, Denver South Park & Pacific and Denver & Rio Grande railroads.

Younger children will love the thrill of the Buena Vista Optimist Square Splash Park downtown at the corner of East Main Street and Railroad Street. Bring your sunscreen, let the kids play in the spray pool, and then walk down the street to Simple Eatery – Spoon it Up! at 402 East Main Street to enjoy some frozen yogurt or head to Louie’s Ice Cream Shoppe at 414 East Main Street.

No matter which activity you choose, strolling along the trails next to water at the Buena Vista River Park, found at the end of East Main Street, is a perfect way to end the day and enjoy the sunset.

5. Off-Roading Tours

events sliderExperience Buena Vista’s backcountry on a half or full day off-roading excursion. With varying terrain open to ATV’s and 4×4’s and year-round accessibility, imagination will be your only boundary.

One of our favorite times to embark on these adventures is during September when the leaves are full of golden colors. Consider taking part in the OHV Color Tour on September 20-24 to see the beautiful fall foliage, visit historic sites and ride with other adventurers.


6. Skate Park and Pump Track

skateboardingFor an active day in town, explore the Buena Vista Skate Park which offers 9,000 square feet of outdoor space to board.  You’ll enjoy gorgeous views of Mount Princeton and soak in the rays of sunshine as you glide across the concrete surface. Or head to the Buena Vista Pump Track at the end of East Main Street to test out your biking skills. The BV Pump Track is designed for both children and adults of all skill levels and is a good place to test your abilities before hitting Colorado biking trails.


7. Dog Park

dogsAdventures in the Colorado Rockies ought to include your furry family members. Buena Vista has two dog parks for your pet to explore. Home to beautiful views of the Collegiate Peaks, the Riverpark Dog Park at 717 East Main Street offers free access from dawn to dusk and has separate fenced areas for big and small dogs.

The Buena Vista Run Free Dog Park provides 80 acres of unfenced land for your pup to run around off-leash. This roaming area is located at the intersection of Rodeo Road and Gregg Drive, east of the Rodeo Grounds southwest of Buena Vista. Both you and your dog can get plenty of exercise while enjoying stunning 360-degree views of the Sawatch Range, Collegiate Peaks and Buffalo Peaks.

After playing at the park, stop by Gone to the Dogs on 300 East Main Street for a dog wash, cage-free grooming session or tasty treat for your pal.


8. Drive-In Movie

Foster your nostalgia and unwind after a full day of activities by going to a movie at The Comanche, a local drive-in theater. With the mountains as a backdrop and beautiful stars overhead, the Comanche is situated in a perfect location for an outdoor movie. This theater is open during the warmer months, typically running from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, but opening and closing dates vary depending on the weather. Before the movie, swing by the Comanche’s concession stand for some popcorn and snacks; you’ll create a night full of laughter and fun for the whole family to remember. To learn more about movie dates and times, visit