Living in the mountains has its perks. Skiing, snowboarding, and the views of the snow top peaks are right in Coloradan’s backyard. However, a tropical coastline and sandy beach is pretty out of reach. Coloradans looking for a sun-kissed vacation have to drive (or fly) hours from the landlocked state…Or do they? Colorado’s diversity has some little known shores on its lakes that provide the beach experience. Check out these 8 places you can go for a beach day in Colorado right in your own backyard.

1. Cherry Creek Reservoir

Just southeast of Denver is an oasis on the shores of Cherry Creek Reservoir. Swim Beach, a sandy shoreline with a backdrop of forest greenery offers visitors the beach experience with a Colorado feel.

2. Chatfield Lake

The appropriately named Swimbeach on Chatfield Lake transports you from the landlocked state to the sandy shores of the coast. All the fun of a vacation without the not-so-fun price tag.

3. Boulder Reservoir

Swim Beach on Boulder Reservoir boasts one of the largest lifeguarded swimming beaches in Colorado. Sunbathe and relax knowing the family is safe and having a great time.

4. Medano Creek

If you’re serious about getting sandy, head over to Medano Creek at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Mountainous sand mounds surround the creek and trickle off into the waters for a taste of the beach and mountain life in one.

5. Grand Lake

Journey up the mountains to the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, where you can find the sandy shores of Grand Lake. Check their website before you head out, there are plenty of year-round festivals at this oasis in the mountains.

6. Jackson Lake

If you’re looking for a bit of shade for your afternoon fun, Jackson Lake, just 30 minutes northwest of Fort Morgan has got you covered. The sandy coast backs up to beautiful Colorado trees, providing you with the beach experience with plenty of protection from the sun.

7. Ridgway Reservoir

Take Shoreline Drive to the beach cove found in Ridgway Reservoir. The scenic mountain drive to just outside of Loghill Village may still feel like Colorado, but once you hit the shore, you’ll forget you’re still here.

8. Prospect Lake

For plenty of activities, head over to Prospect Lake Beach. Sand volleyball, sandcastle building and swimming can be found at this YMCA ran shore.

BONUS: The Beach at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Arapahoe Basin 3 - Dave Camara - OutThere Colorado
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Visitors hang out at the Beach after an a ski day. Photo Credit: Dave Camara.

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We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More