Share This Post

Activities / Children / Colorado Livin' / Creative Corner / Events / Restaurants

Lazy Summer Days…in Highlands Ranch

School is out for summer…yet somehow things don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. I feel blessed to have so many exciting activities ahead, but sometimes a day at home sounds like a vacation. Oh, the many things I would do with a beautiful summer day – nothing on the agenda – in the Ranch ~ Highlands Ranch.

Explore Nature
One of our favorite escapes is to the “swamp” near our home. There are several small ponds and parks along the paved trails in Highlands Ranch, making for a quick and easy escape from suburban life. We like to explore the natural habitat – attempting to capture frogs, looking for snakes and feeding the ducks. It’s an easy way to sneak in a science and nature lesson without the kids realizing that they’re learning.

Civic Green Park
Civic Green is another favorite stop for our family. This park is next to the Highlands Ranch Library and has many amenities near by, so we can stop for a bite to eat if we forget to pack our lunch! It is also located just off of the trail system, so we often bike over on a warm, summer day. Swimsuits are a must at this park – interactive fountains, wading pools, swim streams with rocks and much to be explored! Summer evenings bring live music, family movies and dance performances on stage. Bring a blanket and plan to stay – relax while the kids play, climb and laugh. Catch a glimpse of Civic Green Park with this video from

The Whale Pool
A big perk of living in Highlands Ranch is a membership with the Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA), which allows access to all four recreation centers in the area. We live closest to Westridge Recreation Center, featuring the very popular “Whale Pool” ~ marked by the giant whale slide in the zero entry area of the pool…visible from Highlands Ranch Parkway. This is another lazy-day summer destination for our family – it’s within walking distance, but you might be surprised how difficult it is to get my *normally* very energetic children to walk home after a couple of hours at the pool!

Redstone Park
Redstone is a wonderful meeting place for a picnic and playdate. The playground offers a fabulous sand-and-water area as well as unique equipment for older children to play on. Located along the trail system, it’s easy to come and go on foot or bike. The beautiful pond allows fishing, but we haven’t had much luck so far…still a fun adventure, and there are always plenty of ducks and geese to feed. The skateboard park seems to be a hit with the older kids, and there are several fields with various, ongoing sporting events – Shea Stadium is often buzzing with football games – great for spectators.

Highlands Ranch Town Center
This is a central hub filled with shopping, dining and family friendly activities. Several of the HRCA activities and races are held at this location – which is also just a bike ride away with the trail system. Some of our favorite stops include:

Arts on Fire– pottery painting for the whole family. We’ve brought our own bottle of wine and snacks for a creative datenight…fun tip: ride your bikes on the trail system and you won’t have to drive home!

Jamba Juice and the Tattered Cover– two of our favorite beverage stops. Enjoy a drink on the patio or sit inside with a magazine or book. Tattered Cover’s giant sprinkle cookies are always a hit, and Saturday mornings you’ll find special programming for kids, which means quiet reading time for parents, yay.

Lansdowne Arms Bistro & Pub – we like to stop here for apps and a beer after a run along the trails. We push the kiddos in the jogger and bribe them to be good with the promise of a soda and something tasty afterward, ha!

Noodles & Company – a favorite mother/son “dinner date” spot for us! He likes to eat with chopsticks…and how can you go wrong with mac & cheese?

Corner Bakery– if you want to know where to find us, this would be a good place to look. We spend hours here – for breakfast, lunch, coffee and Wi-Fi – if it weren’t for Corner Bakery and Kidstown, I wouldn’t get much work done at all!

Lazy summer days are some of my very favorite, and Highlands Ranch is a wonderful place to spend them! With the trail system, amenities and family friendly atmosphere, we have endless entertainment options right outside our homes. We plan to attend several HRCA activities this summer including 5K races, yoga in Civic Green Park, the 4th of July Celebration and many more! Hope to see you there!

Author: Jaime

Share This Post


  1. Whenever anyone is moving to Denver and asks for great places to live, I always list Highlands Ranch. When I visit I’m always impressed by the community and great amenities.

    Do you have any favorite access points for the trail system there? I.e. crossroads for us who aren’t familiar with the area?

  2. We generally access the trail system in HR from our home near Lucent & Highlands Ranch Pky…but we sometimes drive up to one of our favorite spots, which has parking available, and that’s on County Line Road, just west of Broadway. It’s Highline Canal Trail and is absolutely beautiful! More info:

  3. The whale pool is indeed awesome and the whale was replaced/upgraded this year. 🙂 On rainy days, the indoor pool at Southridge rec center with the lazy river is a huge hit too. Our family also adores Pierre Michel bakery. Fabulous pastries and the nicest family owns it. My boys are partial to the chocolate croissants. 🙂

  4. Never have ventured very far in The Ranch. Took my daughter to a b-day party at Arts on Fire back in Oct and the traffic drove me NUTS, but I will be checking out some of this stuff this Summer!

  5. Oh no, bad traffic or limited parking near Arts on Fire? I know the Town Center parking can fill up – esp for events. There are often spaces open on the west side of the Center. Street traffic is usually not a problem in our area, but ya never know 😉

  6. Eeeww Art on Fire sounds super fun. I can’t wait to check that out! Let me know how looking for frogs and snakes works out for ya 🙂 I won’t be searching for those little guys anytime soon but I can imagine Si finding that very entertaining.

  7. Ha, Noe is a pretty big fan of catching little creatures too. I don’t mind the little frogs, but they do pee when ya hold ’em – thought you’d like to know that!

Leave a Reply