Planning the Ultimate Denver RV Road Trip

Published on August 30th, 2021

Colorado is such a great place to explore on an RV road trip! You can’t go wrong camping in a state where you almost always have an amazing view of the Rocky Mountains.

Colorado also has something for everyone. Obviously, there are plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, and skiing and snowboarding in winter. But if you’re not an outdoorsy person, Colorado still has you covered! Denver has hot restaurants and fun nightlife. The arts community is vibrant and you’ll find museums, performing arts centers, outdoor sculptures, and other places showcasing artists’ creativity.

a large blue bear sculpture peers in a window in downtown Denver

Planning the Ultimate Denver RV Road Trip

Along with restaurants, arts venues, and plenty of hiking, Colorado also has tons of places where you can learn about the unique geology and other science of the state, and catch up on your Colorado history. Park visitor centers, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and many other museums throughout the state teach about the dinosaurs found in so many parts of the state, and about the native peoples who lived in Colorado.

Where to Go In The Denver Area

There’s so much to do in and around Denver! If you’re planning an RV rental in Denver, here are a few places to check out.

Colorado state flags decorate Larimer Street

Dining and Shopping

Denver has several neighborhoods that are great for walking, shopping, and eating. LoDo (short for Lower Downtown) is one of the oldest places in the city and a great, walkable area. It’s near Coors Field, and if you’re catching a game at the ballpark, it’s a great place to eat before or afterward. Larimer Square has cute shops and fun places to eat like Bistro Vendôme, and The Highlands has plenty of trendy restaurants and bars like Avanti F&B, which features seven restaurants and two bars in one large building.

people walking and shopping in LoDo

Nightlife

If you’re looking for things to do after you eat, there’s plenty of nightlife in Colorado as well! Punchbowl Social is a huge space with a restaurant and several bars that also has bowling, life-sized Jenga, shuffleboard, karaoke, and old school arcade games. Catch a musical or ballet at the Buell Theater or the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. Take in a nighttime ballgame at Coors Field. Or head to Puzzle Effect Denver to try your wits at their escape room and see if you can beat the clock!

For more ideas on where to eat and head out on the town, check out our local guide to Denver.

Family friendly

There are so many family-friendly things to do in Denver! The Denver Zoo is downtown, and kids can visit elephants and other pachyderms and animals at the Toyota Elephant Passage. It’s one of the largest elephant habitats in North America and is sure to delight kids and adults. Everyone will also love the penguin exhibit, and Tropical Discovery, which transports you to a humid jungle even when it’s snowing outside.

The Denver Botanic Gardens are another family-friendly destination in downtown Denver. The Mordecai Children’s Garden is continually changing, but there are always hands-on exhibits and plenty of places to run and jump and be a kid while learning about the garden. The main areas of the Botanic Gardens are also kid- and family-friendly, with lots of different garden environments to explore, and a huge grassy amphitheater in the middle that kids can’t help but roll down when they see it.

Denver also has many parks, including Washington Park (Wash Park to locals) with playgrounds and areas to stroll and take in the scenery or walk a dog.

red rocks in Roxborough State Park

Hiking and Outdoor Adventures

There are, of course, many areas to hike near Denver! In about half an hour, you can drive from downtown Denver to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and you’ll find lots of hiking there! Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater is known for its concerts, but the park also has hiking trails you can use in the mornings and early afternoons. Waterton Canyon is a leisurely hike for families, and you may see bighorn sheep while you’re there! The town of Golden, which is also about a thirty-minute drive from Denver, also has many hiking trails through the foothills. Golden also has a bike and walking path that meanders along Clear Creek through the town.

If you’re looking for a more serious hike, rather than a family outing, Colorado has many of those as well! The 6-mile hike up Carpenter Peak at Roxborough Park is a challenge for many people. Experienced hikers and climbers may also want to tackle one of Colorado’s “14ers” – mountains that are more than 14,000 feet tall.

RV Campgrounds Near Denver

Denver is an outdoor-loving city so there are plenty of places nearby to camp! Dakota Ridge RV Park is about a twenty-minute drive from downtown, and is one of the best campgrounds in the area. They have 141 full-service sites available year-round, with free WiFi. The campground also has a fitness center, billiard room, fireplace, library with books and games, and a heated outdoor pool and hot tub. Chatfield State Park is also about twenty minutes from down, along the shore of Chatfield Reservoir. The park has year-round RV camping with hookups, showers, flush toilets, laundry, and grills. There are paths for hiking, horseback riding, and biking and there’s a nearby boat ramp and swim beach that’s open in the warmer months.

For more Colorado campgrounds, check out our campground suggestions here. Whether you have a standard RV rental Denver or a luxury RV rental Denver, you’re sure to find something that appeals to you!

Road Trips From Denver

Although there’s plenty to do in Denver, there are also lots of places to explore on a day trip, or on a longer adventure. Here are a few road trips from Denver!

a boy skiing downhill

Day Trips

Skiing and Snowboarding

Loveland Ski Area is just an hour from downtown Denver, and it’s the place locals go when they want a quick trip! You can venture a little farther for bigger, fancier resorts as well. Beaver Creek is just past Vail, about two hours from downtown, and has wonderful skiing with classes for kids, and helpful staff that will suggest runs for you based on your skill level.

Rafting

Clear Creek rafting opportunities are less than an hour from Denver. Book a one-hour, or longer, rafting trip and head down the river with friends. It’s a thrilling ride, and you’re going to get wet! Fortunately, most companies provide wetsuits, helmets, and other necessities for rafting safely.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, is about an hour’s drive from Denver. The park has amazing red rock formations, and kids always have fun trying to make their own pictures out of what they see in the rocks. The trails are mostly paved, and easy to navigate with strollers or wheelchairs.

cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

National Parks

Colorado is home to four national parks, and visits to any one of them make great Denver road trips!

Rocky Mountain National Park is less than two hours from Denver, and is a gorgeous place to visit while you’re in Colorado! Take some easy, short hikes or try summiting Longs Peak (a 14er) in the park. Make the drive up Trail Ridge Road, the highest continual highway in the United States. Also, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife like elk, moose, marmots, and pika.

Great Sand Dunes National Park is south of Denver, about a three-hour and 45 minute drive away. The sand dunes are the tallest sand dunes in North America, and you can sled or sandboard down them for a unique experience at the park! There are also places to hike, and you can cool off in Medano Creek, depending on the time of year.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a canyon about four hours and 45 minutes from Denver. You can hike around the canyon – either on trails around the rim, or on trails that lead down into the canyon. Also, if you’re there at night be sure to go out and take a look at the stars in the night sky.

Mesa Verde National Park is in southwestern Colorado and has some of the best-preserved ancient cliff dwellings in North America. Visit the park to see how the Ancient Pueblo people lived and worked, and to see the amazing structures they built to keep them warm and safe. The drive to Mesa Verde from Denver takes about six hours, so plan to spend a few days on this Denver road trip!

If you’re looking for an RV rental Denver CO, check out our listings on RVshare! You’ll find rentals here you can pick up to take on your road trip from Denver, or you can fly into town and pick up an RV to use while you’re here. Some owners will even set the RV or trailer up at your campsite for you – all you have to do is show up and appreciate the beauty all around you!

 

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