7 beaches near Denver: Where to go for sun, sand, and surf

Published by: BouncePosted Updated
Beaches near Denver

Many people head to the Denver area in the winter months for skiing and snow sports. Summer travel is usually reserved for shopping and other kinds of experiences. However, there are also lots of great beach locations that you can enjoy while you are traveling in Denver. Being able to access a swimming beach or a sandy beach for sunbathing is easier than you might think. This list of beaches near Denver can be ideal for those who are visiting in the warmer months of the year and who would like to enjoy some fun in the sun or a day sitting at picnic tables and enjoying the good weather.

As you are looking into the various lakeside beaches in Denver, you will also want to be sure that you think about what you are going to do with your bags. Storing your suitcases with Bounce is easy since we have convenient and secure locations that are always staffed. We can keep your bags safe so that you can go out and enjoy these sandy beach locations with your friends and family.

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Beaches with mountain views near Denver

Jackson Lake State Park

The South Platte River feeds this lake, and you will be surprised at the size of the shore here. This is one of the most picturesque beaches in Denver and also one of the most popular lakes for camping and water sports. It can get busy here in the summer months, but you will have lots of space to spread out and enjoy your own little section of the beach if you arrive early in the day. The sparkling water and the various eateries and other amenities make this beach area a must-visit for travelers.

Jackson Lake State Park travel distance from Denver

Jackson Lake State Park is an hour and a half drive from Denver.

Activity recommendations

If you want to camp during your trip to Denver, this is one of the beaches in Denver which allows camping along with all the other cool things you can do and see. The Shoreline Marina is a short walk from most of the camping sites, and you can count on cold drinks, good food, and some essentials that can be purchased here to make your day more comfortable.

You can rent some basic water sports equipment here, but boat rentals will not be offered. Boat tours might be possible if you call in advance or arrange with a tour company. These types of charters are ideal for playing in the water offshore or to enjoy something like water skiing. The lake water level can fluctuate a lot in the summer, and mosquitos can be a concern. Be sure that you have mosquito spray just in case these little pests make an appearance at the end of the day.

Cherry Creek State Park

Cherry Creek State Park

This is one of the closest beaches in Denver to get to, and it's even reachable by train. This area is known for its great swimming area, but you can also enjoy hiking trails, water sports, and camping here. This is considered one of the best beaches in Denver, especially if you don't want to have to travel to a national park area or commit to camping well outside of the city limits in order to have fun at the beach.

Cherry Creek State Park travel distance from Denver

You can reach this sandy beach area in half an hour by car, or you can ride the train from Denver Union Station and get here in about an hour and a half.

Activity recommendations

There is a shooting range here to enjoy, and you can go on horseback riding around the lake as well. You can also opt to rent some water sports equipment or reach out to a tour company if you'd like to jetski or water ski. Of the various beaches in Denver, this one is the least likely to be crowded throughout the year, making it a good choice for those who don't want to have to struggle to find room to enjoy the beach or the water. This is also one of the best beaches for swimming, and people of all ages love to enjoy the lake itself when they visit.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

This park is better known for its spectacular hiking and for the mountains that are spread throughout the park's many acres of protected land. Many people come here for mountain biking adventures and to hike, but there is also Bear Lake to enjoy at the center of the park.

Rocky Mountain National Park travel distance from Denver

This lake is an hour and a half away from Denver by car. No public transportation is available.

Activity recommendations

You could head to this national park area for just a day, but you would be missing out on most of what the park has to offer. This is a lake area that is best experienced if you hire a guide or plan to spend at least one night camping in the park. You can enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, and canoeing on the lake, or just go swimming in the clear and cold lake water.

Hiking and mountain biking are also both possible here. If you just want to check out the area and spend a little time near the lake itself, you can take a short walk around the lake and sit at picnic tables in the shade to enjoy the peace and quiet.

South Platte River

River beaches are really special because they usually offer a totally different experience than a lakeside beach area. You can head here for tubing, fishing, sunning yourself, or activities like kayaking. There are also various nearby hotels that can offer you a place to stay if you want to make the most of the area before you drive back to Denver.

South Platte River travel distance from Denver

This river recreation area is about three and a half hours by car from Denver.

Activity recommendations

Unlike some of the other places in this guide, such as Jackson Lake State Park, you can plan on coming here to float along the river, go fishing, or enjoy shopping and some really comfortable hotel beds right by the river. Many people make this their stop for a fishing trip each year, so if you love fishing, then this is probably the beach day trip that you should focus on. Consider spending more than a day here by making a reservation at a bed and breakfast.

River beaches near Denver

Confluence Park

Confluence Park is a nature reserve that lies at the juncture of South Platt River and Cherry Creek. There are miles of hiking trails here to enjoy, as well as a few small beach areas where you can sit down and enjoy the good weather and listen to the river flowing by. This is one of the best beaches in Denver if you want to stay inside the city limits and if you are looking for natural beauty and some room to stretch your legs.

Confluence Park travel distance from Denver

This park area is seven minutes from Denver's central city area by car or about 20 minutes away on the train.

Activity recommendations

Not only are there hiking trails and lots of little spots along the water to sit down and enjoy the sun, but you can also get access to soccer fields, a dog park, and some common areas with soft grass that make perfect picnic areas. This is one of the prettiest parks in the city, and it draws a lot of people during the peak of summer. However, the space is large enough that you will not feel crowded if you choose to spend the afternoon hanging out here.

You can also go kayaking or float the river areas in an inner tube if the mood strikes you. Fishing is allowed in some areas of the park as well, and you could rent a bucket raft if you have a large group with you. Swimming is also possible here, and there are shallows that are ideal for small kids to get in the water and have a good time.

Boulder Reservoir near Denver

Aurora Reservoir

If you love water sports, then this lovely beach area is for you! Come here to enjoy sailing, windsurfing, scuba, or time laying out and working on your tan. There are picnic areas here as well, and lots of different activities are offered in the park alongside the water. This is the perfect family-friendly day trip choice, and it is not far from the heart of the city center.

Aurora Reservoir travel distance from Denver

It takes about 40 minutes in the car to get to this beach area, and this is another spot that isn't really accessible using public transportation.

Activity recommendations

You can go paddle boarding here, or you might choose to rent kayaks and see the entire reservoir this way. There is an archery range inside the park, and you can reserve one of the picnic shelters to cook a meal and hang out with your traveling party.

The sailboats here are usually privately owned, but you might be able to rent a boat if you do some research in advance. If nothing else, the sailboats are truly beautiful to look at and make for a really fun bit of visual interest as you are enjoying the beach or the picnic areas. You could also choose to rent a bike and ride around the concrete trails that loop around the lake.

Boulder Reservoir

Boulder Reservoir is a great swimming hole location that is close to the downtown Denver area. Water sports and beach areas for tanning are on offer here. This is also a really beautiful park space. You can swim, kayak, picnic, and more at this beach. It can get really busy on a summer day here, so be sure to arrive early and find your own little spot on the sandy beach.

Boulder Reservoir travel distance from Denver

It takes about 40 minutes to drive to this reservoir area, and you'll need a car because there's no other way to get here.

Activity recommendations

You can rent a kayak, go waterskiing here, or even go boating if you are able to arrange a rental. This is not a camping beach, but there is a sandy stretch that is perfect for hanging out and enjoying the good weather. Many locals come here to picnic and will bring their own food and drinks to be able to hang out and enjoy both the beach and some snacks in the sun.

There are lots of trails near the water here, and you can go running, rent a bike, or just hike around the lake area. There is also a concession stand down by the water, which is perfect for those who just need a little snack or some water while they are spending time getting a tan.

Park beaches near Denver


If cost is a constraint for your travels, don't worry. These beaches make great daytime activities when you're visiting Denver on a budget. For those with a couple of extra days to commit to an adventure during their trip, there are other scenic lakeside beaches that offer excellent ideas for weekend trips from Denver. There are so many ways to make your travels in the Denver area more rewarding, and being able to both save money and enjoy creative additions to your trip can help you and your family to make memories.

This list of the best beaches in Denver will help you to add a special experience to your trip that you might not have thought of when you were first considering spending time in this part of Colorado. The best Colorado beaches are made up of national parks, reservoirs, lakes, and rivers, so try them all if you can.

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