12 Things To Do With Family in Grand Junction, Colorado (Updated July 2024)

Known as Colorado’s Wine Country, Grand Junction is nestled in the scenic Colorado River valley between the Rocky Mountains and Utah’s red rock canyonlands.

This western Colorado city offers plenty of family-friendly attractions, outdoor recreation, exciting events, and unique local shops and eateries to please everyone.

Families can explore dinosaur tracks, soak in hot springs, hike desert trails, ride alpine slides, learn about Colorado history and agriculture, enjoy festivals, watch theater performances, sample wines and orchards, and experience small-town western hospitality.

With mild weather year-round and over 300 sunny days, Grand Junction shines in every season. Here are the top 12 things for families to see and do in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Explore Dinosaur Journey Museum

Bring your junior paleontologists to Dinosaur Journey Museum to see real dinosaur bones, fossils, life-size models, and robotic replicas. One of the top dinosaur museums in the country, Dinosaur Journey has interactive exhibits teaching about the prehistoric world from ocean life to flying pterosaurs. Follow the growth lines of a baby Apatosaurus leg bone, dig in the quarry for fossils, view raptor claw scratches, and pose for a photo next to a Triceratops skull almost three times taller than an adult human.

Knowledgeable dinosaur experts give talks about current research and lead museum tours explaining the latest discoveries. Outside, brave kids can touch a fossilized Stegosaurus toe bone. With new dinosaur species still being discovered in this fossil-rich region, Dinosaur Journey reveals how dynamic the science of paleontology continues to be.

Hike Colorado National Monument

Named one of the country’s “10 Coolest Places You’ve Never Seen” by Fodor’s Travel, the rugged landscape of Colorado National Monument captivates kids and adults alike with sheer red rock canyons, towering monoliths, and panoramic vistas. Start with an easy hike like the half-mile (800 meter) Canyon View Nature Trail loop to take in the extraordinary scenery from canyon rim overlooks complete with interpretive signs.

For a moderate hike, continue 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round-trip on Liberty Cap Trail winding past pinyon, juniper, and sagebrush to a viewpoint of the park’s namesake 456-foot (139 meter) sandstone rock formation resembling a Phrygian cap. The park also contains petroglyphs left by Ute Native Americans to spot along the way. With towering walls, cool gorges, and rocky tunnels, Colorado National Monument sparks kids’ sense of adventure in the wild west.

Soak in Hot Springs

After a day of exploring, families can unwind together in the warm, geothermal mineral waters of numerous hot springs found in the Grand Junction area. Soak sore muscles in one of seven outdoor pools ranging 93°F to 112°F (34°C to 44°C) at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, home of the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool spanning over two blocks in length.

Enjoy miniature water slides and wading areas perfect for toddlers and kids at Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Or take in views of Colorado National Monument while soaking in the family-friendly shallow pools with gradual temperatures at Deerhammer Hot Springs. Most hot springs facilities offer discounts for kids’ admission, making it easy for the whole family to relax and rejuvenate together after a busy day of sightseeing

Camp & Fish at Vega State Park

Just 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Grand Junction, Vega State Park provides the perfect wooded retreat for lakeside camping adventures. Kids can fish for rainbow trout, channel catfish, and bluegill from two stocked lakes or the park’s 900-foot (275 meter) pier jutting into the water. Paddle a rented kayak, canoe, SUP, or pedal boat across placid waters reflecting the Rocky Mountains.

After roasting s’mores and hot dogs around a campfire, families can drift to sleep in cozy cabins or well-equipped campsites with electric hookups. Wake the kids for an early morning hike along the park’s nature trail identifying delicate wildflowers and paw prints left behind by beavers, coyotes, mule deer, and elk. With stunning scenery wrapped by parklands teeming with wildlife, Vega State Park promises close-to-nature camping adventures less than 20 minutes from downtown Grand Junction.

Ride Alpine Slides at Powderhorn Mountain Resort

For thrilling family fun, soar down the more than a mile (1.6 km) of concrete Alpine Slide tracks zigzagging down Powderhorn Mountain Resort. Reach speeds over 25 miles per hour (40 kph) sliding downhill while taking in panoramic valley views. Kids 42 inches (106 cm) and taller can ride alone or nestled between accompanying adults.

For an additional thrill, race family members side-by-side down parallel tracks to see who reaches the finish line first. Powderhorn Mountain also provides scenic chairlift rides, hiking and biking trails, disc golf, events, and winter skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Just 13 miles (21 km) from Grand Junction, families can easily fill an entire day or weekend enjoyingfresh mountain air and adventures together at Powderhorn.

See Performing Arts & Family Events

Grand Junction’s historic Avalon Theater built in 1923 hosts inspiring theater, dance, music, comedy, and cultural events for all ages. Or catch a classic family-friendly movie screening in the Avalon’s theatrical atmosphere glowing with neon lights. Just across the street, kids can play interactive games learning about science, art, and world cultures at the Mesa County Libraries’ Main Branch.

Families can also enjoy free summer concert series Rockies Music Experience and Lincoln Park Concert Series with food vendors and giant lawn games to entertain kids of all ages. Annual events like the JUCO Festival celebrating food, music, and local wine lets parents relax while kids run around the park. From holiday parades to chocolate and wine festivals, Grand Junction serves up family-friendly entertainment and events year-round.

Taste Fresh Fruits at Orchards

Treat your family’s sweet tooth to juicy Palisade peaches, Olathe sweet corn, Talbott Farms cherries, Carlson Vineyards grapes, or other fresh fruits harvested from the valley’s fertile soil and orchards. Kids can pick their own apples, pears, cherries, pumpkins, and raspberries during u-pick harvesting seasons at family farms like Mays Orchard, Talbott Farms, and Z’s Orchard.

Many orchards and vineyards also host lively festivals and events with fruit pies, peach salsas, grape stomps, cherry pit spitting contests, local wine tastings, ukulele jams, barn dances, food vendors, arts and crafts, and much more. With fruit stands popping up on roadsides and public lands east of Grand Junction filled with wild berry bushes, families can easily reap nature’s edible bounty across the region.

Learn at Museum of the West

From prehistoric mammoths to frontier cowboys, families can immerse themselves in the rich history, culture, and science tied to western Colorado and the surrounding region at Museum of the West. Expansive exhibit halls feature fossil mammoth skeletons, dioramas depicting regional habitat zones from the arid desert to alpine tundra, vintage carnival games, a recreated 1890s main street, and the wheelchair used by Grand Junction-born actress Frances Farmer.

Kids can pan for real gems and minerals or dress up for old-timey photos. Families gain vivid insight into the Wild West through artifacts like pottery left by Fremont Native Americans, sculptures “written” by western Colorado’s 19th century Ute people, and the sagging saddle that “killed” outlaw cowboy Doc Holliday. With vibrant educational exhibits and programs, Museum of the West brings local heritage to life for visitors of all ages.

Hike the Colorado Riverfront Trail

Rising from the Colorado River cutting through the valley, the scenic Riverfront Trail invites kids to expend energy on nearly seven miles (11 km) of paved pedestrian and bike paths. Sections of trail pass through manicured parks with playgrounds, shaded picnic areas, and restrooms, while other parts wind through rugged desert scenery with beaver ponds and opportunities to spot eagles, herons, and other wildlife.

Interpretive signs identify the intricate web of irrigation canals branching from the Colorado River that make farming possible in the arid valley, helping kids better understand the essential roles water and agriculture play across the region. Parts of the Riverfront Trail also connect to other urban trails traversing Grand Junction, promising plenty of ground for the whole family to cover while exploring the area by foot or bike.

Sample Palisade Wineries

No family visit to Grand Junction is complete without sampling award-winning wines along the Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway showcasing Colorado’s wine country. Many family-owned Palisade wineries like Carlson Vineyards, Colterris, Maison La Belle Vie, and Mesa Park Vineyards offer free wine tastings for adults with grape juices, fruit smoothies, and snacks to keep kids happy.

Some wineries feature goat greeters, pony rides through the vineyards, giant chess and checkers, bistro dining, and outdoor patios with scenic views of Mt. Garfield and Bookcliffs. Families can opt for guided winery tours via bike or comfy shuttle bus – both with built-in designated drivers. To fully immerse in wine culture, stay in cozy vineyard cottages or opacity-glamped teepees at Wine Country Inn with adventures like llama trekking and wine blending courses. With their casual atmosphere and kid-friendly features, Palisade wineries give the whole family a taste of laidback winery fun.

Explore Grand Mesa National Forest

An hour drive from Grand Junction leads families to the largest flattop mountain in the world spanning over 500 square miles (1,295 sq km) of alpine wilderness teeming with lakes, forests, and wildlife perfect for outdoor adventures. Nestled within Grand Mesa National Forest, Land’s End Observatory offers telescopes for stargazing along with captivating overlooks any time of day across the mesa’s expansive volcanic landscape down to Grand Junction and Colorado National Monument.

Families can boat, fish for trout, or swim in shimmering high-altitude lakes. Miles of hiking trails cater to all abilities, like the wheelchair-accessible Bristlecone Pond Trail encircled by a fragrant pine forest.Winter brings opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and sledding hills. With endless ways to connect with nature and each other, Grand Mesa entices families to elevate their adventures atop Colorado’s “Island in the Sky.”

Watch a Baseball Game

Cheer for the minor league Grand Junction Rockies swinging bats at Suplizio Field near downtown. This Rookie League Baseball team affiliated with the major league Colorado Rockies offers an affordable and entertaining way for families to enjoy America’s favorite pastime together on warm summer nights. Grounds crews prepare the field before games, giving kids a behind-the-scenes peek at baseball field maintenance.

Arrive early to watch players warm up or try to catch a ball during batting practice. And be sure to stay for the crowd-pleasing entertainment like dizzy bat races, in-seat bingo games and the ever-popular softball launch challenge seeing who can throw a ball the farthest. For baseball lovers, few things beat an evening watching the national sport played out under Grand Junction’s star-filled western skies.

Tee Off at Golf Courses

Work on your golf swing together at one of Grand Junction’s scenic courses carved from the valley’s rugged desert landscape. Kids will get a kick riding the scale mini train to play holes or whack balls at the expansive driving range at Tiara Rado Golf Course. One of Colorado’s oldest golf courses, Chipeta Golf Course offers affordable rates for 9 or 18 holes alongside gently flowing waters.

Adults can enjoy a round while kids are entertained at the course’s summer Kids Camp learning golf fundamentals from the pros. Or leave the clubs behind and book a tee time on the disc golf course weaving through leafy Matchett Park pleasantly located along the Colorado Riverfront Trail. With beautiful vistas of surrounding red rock formations and the Bookcliff Mountains, Grand Junction’s golf courses captivate all ages while providing active fun in the nourishing sunshine and fresh air.


This western Colorado city cradled by stunning red rock canyons and the Rocky Mountains offers no shortage of attractions and adventures to discover as a family. From water parks to cowboy museums, alpine wilderness to vineyard winery tours, families bond over new experiences that fascinate kids and bring back nostalgia for parents.

Grand Junction’s mild weather, variety of family-friendly lodging options, and mouthwatering local cuisine enhance any family getaway. With so many ways to customize your family vacation from adrenaline-pumping adventures to blissful relaxation, Grand Junction delivers western hospitality and fun memories to last a lifetime for the whole family.

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