Local Favorite Places & Activities Around Loveland & Fort Collins

By Melissa Shrader Editor Publisher Loveland Macaroni Kid June 20, 2022

Colorado is a gold mine of fabulous indoor and outdoor adventures for families.  

Everything including historic sites, hikes, skiing, Arts, and more. Fort Collins offers all this, within the city or just a few miles out of town. 

Fort Collins

Fort Collins offers up The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery where kids can spend hours exploring music and nature. FCMoD always has something special going on! It features exhibits that connect kids to culture, sound, and nature as well as the history of Northern Colorado. Come see special programs for all ages throughout the summer. Special events held in the Otterbox digital dome have included dinosaurs, rock music, nature, and science such as One World One Sky Adventure: Big Bird’s Adventure, and Experience the Aurora. This will begin again as soon as possible.

The Farm at Lee Martinez Park is a great way to keep little ones entertained with all the pigs, goats, sheep, cows, and horses and horse rides. A working historic farm features the farm school, silo, and barn. All full of history and live animals ready to feed and pet. Horse rides are available and you can buy feed at the door to feed to the animals inside. Horses, pigs, cows, chickens, sheep, goats, and more are all waiting to see you! Just north of the farm is Lee Martinez park where you can have a picnic lunch or just run of some energy on the playground. 

Fort Collins is also famous for its summer entertainment held Downtown

Adventure awaits you when you drive the Cache la Poudre (Poudre River Canyon) North Park Scenic Byway. From river rafting to hiking, snowmobiling to ATV trails, fishing to hunting, this canyon even offers a beautiful drive as one of the states scenic Byways. You can hike, swim, kayak, river raft, hunt, fish, camp snowmobile, ATV (deep breath) and so much more! Don’t miss Red Feather lakes, The Great Stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center for a spiritual retreat, & Vern’s Place for one of their famous cinnamon rolls.

Lory State Park  If you want to get back to nature there are some great nature programs going on all year long. Camping, picnicking can be done at the many grounds set aside for you to enjoy. Biking and hiking trails begin at many of the picnic and camping areas for every fitness level. 

Another great day trip from Fort Collins is the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. This drive is sure to please especially during fall with the transformation of the aspen leaves from green to golden.


Nearby is Greeley. Greeley holds a rich history of Colorado’s farming heritage. There are several museums that pay tribute to the farm community and there is one special museum that focuses on the history of the railroad The Colorado Model Railroad Museum offers an intricate display that covers the full length and width of a warehouse! Memorabilia from railroad cars and a scavenger hunt set up for various ages make this something the whole family will love. If you happen to be vacationing at the end of June, the Greeley Stampede is in full swing!

Colorado Model Railroad Museum Photo by Melissa Shrader

A Bit More East

The prairie has Pawnee Buttes. If you haven’t been out to the buttes it’s a must for hiking and beautiful views! 


The Sweetheart City of Loveland is known around the country for it’s bronze sculptures. Loveland has two sculpture parks that are fantastic to tour. Benson Sculpture Garden is across from North Lake Park which features the Burlington Northern miniature train a picnic area and 2 playgrounds. The local Lyons club runs the train and adults and children alike can ride it from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  In August both parks come to life with International Sculptures and local artisans. Benson Sculpture Park is home to Sculpture in the Park, an International Art Exhibition with sculptors from around the world hosted every August. Art in the Park coincides with Sculpture in the Park and is a long-running tradition for artists of all kinds to sell their wares and food. This half of the Art Weekend is held at North Lake park directly across the road from Benson park. 

Benson Sculpture Garden  Photo by Melissa Shrader 

Chupungo ScuplturePark at Centerra. features 80+ sculptures that come from Zimbabwean artists cover over 26-acre park where summer concerts, yoga, and other family events happen weekly. 

Big Thompson Canyon  Beautiful ride through scenic Mountains. This scenic ride becomes Trail Ridge Road. You can find hiking, camping, shopping, picnicking, rock climbing, and so much more. 

Carter Lake This local camping area is just the place for scuba diving, swimming, picnicking, fishing, rock climbing, sailing, and water skiing.

Johnstown & Milliken

Don’t forget Johnstown & Milliken. They have wonderful family events throughout the summer like Johnstown BBQ day and Milliken Beef & Bean day both in June. 


Windsor Lakeis just a short walk from Downtown Windsor. You can shop, play on the playground, eat casual or fine dining, view historic buildings and the local historical fire station. After you have your Downtown excursion you can rent a paddleboat and enjoy the afternoon at the lake.

Estes Park

Have you heard of Estes Park? Who hasn’t? It’s a short trip from Loveland (The Gateway to the Rockies) & Fort Collins. Head up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park! You don’t need to pack a lunch if you don’t want to. Estes Park offers up some great restaurants & events including the Scottish Irish Festival, Estes Park Elk Fest and the Rocky Mountain National Park offers programs and events for kids all year round. While you are visiting (in just an afternoon) your child could become a Junior Ranger! If you’re up to it, drive over Trail Ridge RoadGet out and see the twisted trees, snow-capped mountains. Take your jacket if you venture out onto the mountain trails. Rocky Mountain Park has so much to do for all ages. Visit Holzwarth- Never Summer Ranch to experience what pioneer life was like in 1917. End your trip at Grand Lake and take a paddleboat out or enjoy the Regatta held in August. 

Scottish Irish Festival Photo by Melissa Shrader    

Overlook on Trail Ridge Road  Photo by Melissa Shrader    

Grand Lake Photo by Melissa Shrader 

Lilly Lake Photo by Melissa Shrader


Wyoming is just a short drive away. Another great picnic and hike is Vedauwoo.  Our family tradition for Fourth of July is to go to Vern’s for breakfast head to a firework stand in Wyoming and go to Vedauwoo for a picnic lunch and short hike. On our last adventure we saw a moose right off the trail. And Of course, they have “The Daddy of ‘em all Rodeo” Cheyenne Frontier Days at the end of July.