Five Fun, Affordable Fall Adventures in Fort Collins, Colorado
Leaf peeping is a great way to explore Fort Collins, Colorado, and the surrounding Northern Colorado area during its most beautiful season: autumn. Fort Collins proximity to the Cache la Poudre River canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park makes it a leaf-peeping magnet, and the perfect basecamp for fall adventures to Lory State Park, the Roosevelt National Forest, Rocky Mountain National Park and more. While the peak season for fall foliage typically runs from the last week in September to the second week of October, experts anticipate the leaves will peak slightly early this year, perhaps closer to mid-September. Here are five affordable fall adventures in Fort Collins:
1 - Take a Hike
While there are myriad hikes in and around Fort Collins, one stands out as perfect for a sunny fall day paired with a picnic lunch. Greyrock Trail is a 7.1-mile moderate-to-strenuous loop hike that is gorgeous in the fall (and a bit quieter), with sweeping views of Greyrock Mountain and the Poudre Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park and the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area.
2 - Drop a line
Between the Cache La Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins offers paradise found for fishermen and fisherwomen. The Poudre is perfect for fly-fishing, though there are a few spots where you can bait fish. At Horsetooth, try your hand catching smallmouth bass or walleye from the shore or a boat. Fort Collins also has 15 Natural Areas that allow fishing, including Riverbend Ponds, a popular fishing spot with easy access from the trailheads. It’s one of two Natural Areas where gizzard shad (part of the herring family of fish) are found.
3 - Road trip to Red Feather Lakes
Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Red Feather Lakes, located an hour drive northwest of Fort Collins, is a secluded, hidden gem that’s less populated than many Colorado outdoor destinations. Surrounded by 612,000 acres of Roosevelt National Forest, the Red Feathers Lakes area is a year-round outdoor playground, but fall is stunning. Hike or fish in one of the eight lakes in the area, four of which are open for public fishing. You may also fish in the nearby Cache La Poudre River, Colorado’s only designated Wild and Scenic River and the area’s best spot for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Nearby Beaver Meadows Resort Ranch offers lodging, fishing, horseback riding and more.
4 - Attend a festival
Festival season doesn’t slow down come fall in the Fort; here are three to check out. Tour de Corgi (Oct. 7) brings a sea of cute corgis in costume to one of the most quirky festivals in town. Pumpkins on Parade (Oct. Date TBD) is a fun-for-all-ages celebration at The Gardens on Spring Creek complete with hundreds of locally grown pumpkins and fun and festive activities for the whole family (tickets are $10 for adults/children 12+; $5 for children 5-11 and free for under age 4). Korean Festival (Oct. 17) Dance, music, Tae-kwon-do performances, and games to celebrate Korean culture.
5 - Celebrate the harvest
There is no shortage of local pumpkin patches and farms offering all sorts of fall fun:
- The Bartel’s Farm – Stop in for a huge selection of pumpkins, corn mazes, and hayrides.
- The Farm at Lee Martinez Park – Visit the farm animals and take a hayride. There’s also a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect future jack-o-lantern.
- Northern Colorado Corn Maze – Jack Lantern’s Corn Maze is a Colorado favorite.
- Something from the Farm – This family-owned farm features an organic pumpkin patch, hay bale maze, hayrides, a pumpkin catapult, and more.
- Fritzler Farm Park – Located in nearby LaSalle, attractions at the farm include a corn maze, pumpkin patch, pedal go-carts, barrel train, pumpkin cannons, slide mountain, and more.
- Spooky’s Pumpkin Patch — Choose from a variety of pumpkins, gourds, carving kits, and even straw bales and corn stalks for your fall decorating needs at this patch, located on South College Avenue.
Colorado native Caramie Petrowsky is a former daily newspaper arts and entertainment editor who loves exploring new places with her husband and their two children. As a CSU alum, Fort Collins holds an especially dear place in her heart.
Plan a Weekend Trip to One of These Unique Vehicle-themed Events
For the mechanically-minded hobbyist, engineer, or car enthusiast (of any age!), these festivals below are a great excuse to plan a quick trip to a new city. From classic cars in Detroit and motorcycles in Milwaukee, to trains in Los Angeles and beachside racing in Florida, these events combine education and fun and offer tons of family-friendly activities and great entertainment to round out a long weekend getaway. Swing by Motor City for the Woodward Dream Cruise The Woodward Dream Cruise will bring car culture down Detroit's famous boulevard this weekend on August 19th, but the event will offer more than just cool cars to look at. There are dozens of supplementary events to make the Dream Cruise a perfect family outing in Metro Detroit. Visit Detroit has created a calendar of events to keep you on track during Dream Cruise, featuring events from Pontiac to Ferndale. Events kick off Friday, August 18, with events centered in Berkley and Ferndale. These include races, emergency vehicle shows and live music for the whole family. These events mostly begin at noon, and many run into the late evening. The day of the Dream Cruise features a wider variety of pop-ups up and down Woodward, including classic car shows, including model-specific get-togethers like Ferndale's Mustang Alley or Pleasant Ridge's Bronco Show. Live music will accompany the festivities in certain locations until 9:30 pm. Celebrate Harley-Davidson Museum's 15th Anniversary Year A rider sits on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle by almani - Unsplash Since opening its doors back in the summer of 2008, the Harley-Davidson Museum has welcomed guests from all over the globe to the crossroads of 6th & Canal. With its unrivaled collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and memorabilia, a 20-acre, park-like campus, and a calendar full of activities, the H-D Museum has grown to become one of Milwaukee’s top tourist attractions. To commemorate the 15th anniversary of the H-D Museum, guests can get a four-pack of general-admission tickets online for use on the 15th day of each month in 2023 for only $15. This year, the museum also hosts an inaugural H-D® Q: End-of-Summer Sale & Picnic over Labor Day weekend. Beginning with Bike Night on August 31st, the holiday weekend will feature free live music, stunt shows, boonie bike races and a pig roast. Throughout the year, the guests can attend the Bike Night Concert Series on Thursdays evenings with free live music, plus outdoor food and beverage specials. On Saturdays, guests can participate in a demo ride. Visitors with their motorcycle endorsement/license will be able to choose from a dozen of the latest and greatest models from Harley-Davidson. A pre-determined scenic route through the Menomonee Valley will give riders the chance to explore the H-D Museum’s surrounding neighborhoods. Sign-up is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Riders and passengers must be at least 18 years of age. All riders (and passengers) must wear a helmet, eye protection, shirt, long pants and closed-toe shoes with heel strap. All riders and passengers must bring their own riding gear. Learn about train travel at Los Angeles Union Station Information desk at Union Station in Los Angeles by Philip Strong - Unsplash Los Angeles Union Station, with presenting partners Metro, Amtrak and Metrolink, will welcome train enthusiasts, history aficionados, industry professionals and commuters of all ages to learn, experience and celebrate all things rail at the much-anticipated Train Festival 2023: A Celebration of Past, Present & Future. Train Festival 2023, set to take place on Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 from 10 am to 6 pm daily, will treat visitors to railroad equipment tours and displays, model train displays, architecture, arts and culture tours, information booths, music, giveaways, eateries, amenities, and more. “Los Angeles Union Station is thrilled to welcome new interactive and engaging activations to Train Festival 2023. We're excited to provide train fans, rail experts and the local community with an experience that truly encapsulates the timeless wonders and legacy of train travel,” said George Meyer, VP and General Manager at Los Angeles Union Station. Guests will have the opportunity to take exclusive tours and view displays of railroad equipment on tracks 13, 14, and 15. From the world-renowned Steam Locomotive Santa Fe 3751 of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS), which pulled the first named passenger train into Los Angeles Union Station in 1939, to modern day passenger and freight equipment, attendees will be able to walk through rail history and witness the technological advances spanning more than 100 years. Featured displays will include Amtrak passenger equipment, a BNSF Railway freight locomotive and the Southern California Railway Museum's Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF) 5704 diesel, which was one of five locomotives painted in a patriotic red, white, and blue scheme to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the United States. Attendees can also admire an LARail.com vintage private car, the Tioga Pass, which was built in 1959 by the Canadian National Shops designed for railroad executives and the Pacific Railroad Society's National Forum, a 1956 Pullman sleeping car. Metrolink's F125 Locomotive will also be on display while the company's Talgo-Rehabilitated Bombardier Train Car and Rotem Cars will be available for attendees to tour inside. In Union Station's Ticket Concourse, guests can immerse themselves in five masterfully constructed and uniquely designed model train displays created by some of the premiere model train clubs in Southern California. Attendees will also be invited to celebrate architecture, arts and culture through group and self-guided tours of the station facilitated by partners from California Preservation Foundation (CPF), Los Angeles Conservancy (LAC) and Metro Art. A key highlight of the two-day event will include Train Festival 2023 commemorative TAP Cards with a day's worth of free Metro fare loaded onto each card given as a surprise and delight to attendees at designated times each day (subject to availability). Catch a racing doubleheader in Daytona Beach NASCAR returns to Daytona International Speedway on August 25 and 26 for their second visit of 2023 with one of the most anticipated events of the season – the Coke Zero 400 Weekend. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 is a premier event on the NASCAR schedule and this summer classic showcases drivers vying to secure their spot in the final 10-race battle for the NASCAR Cup Series championship on Saturday night, August 26. Kicking off the summer racing doubleheader on Friday night, August 25, will be the Wawa 250 Powered by Coca-Cola for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Pair your trip to this renowned Florida race track with a beach day, and you've got a perfect end-of-summer getaway.
Ready for things to cool down and autumn colors to appear? Start planning your outdoor adventure to the East Coast. Spacious Skies Campgrounds is offering an easy-to-follow campground-to-campground Fall Color Trail that highlights peak fall color as it progresses from the North to the South. The first location on the 15-stop trail is the northernmost campground in the collection, Balsam Woods in north central Maine, where fall color can be viewed starting in early September. The final stop along the meandering trail is Savannah Oaks in Savannah, Georgia where fall color lasts well into November. The Fall Color Trail was first offered last year, too, but new additions to the trail this year include Savannah Oaks and Bear Den in Spruce Pine, North Carolina near Asheville. Mileage from Maine to Georgia by way of the campgrounds is just shy of 2,500 miles. Travelers who are members of the Spacious Skies Loyalty Program, called Cosmic Campers, receive a 12 percent discount on all RV site, cabin and glamping reservations. The annual fee to join the program is $31.90; members also receive exclusive releases of Cosmic Camper merchandise and regular updates about Spacious Skies locations and programs. Complete details about the trail are available online with campground-by-campground details about when the fall color begins and ends in each location, regional trees and the colors visitors can expect to see. Although only a lucky few people might be able to take nearly three months to visit all 15 locations during the peak color in each location, there are many ways regional RVers and glampers can enjoy partial trail fun. The trail is especially popular among snowbirds from Canada and northern states who want to get an early start on their warm-weather winter-season adventures. “Fall-color enthusiasts will find abundant places along the trail to enjoy the color no matter when in the season they are traveling,” said Ali Rasmussen, co-founder of Spacious Skies Campgrounds. “In September, the maples, birches and oaks at campgrounds in Maine and New Hampshire are bursting with color. And by late October and November, the oak and hickory forests in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia have turned stunning shades of red, copper and yellow.” Beyond the stunning color, there are plenty of other reasons to follow the fall along the Spacious Skies Campgrounds Fall Color Trail. Here are some of the highlights along the trail: Walnut Grove (Maine) Fall foliage on a hazy mountain in Maine by Zac Durant - Unsplash Trees to see: Maples, birches and oaksColors: Yellow, red, brown and purpleFall foliage timing: mid-September through mid-October Campers at Spacious Skies Walnut Grove in southern Maine can visit the famous Old Orchard Beach Pier and enjoy live music, great food and retro beach-y entertainment like arcade games and rides. Fall color here begins in mid-September and lasts through about mid-October. Adirondack Peaks (New York) Saranac Lake in the fall by Kurt Von - Unsplash Trees to see: Gums, oaks, hickories, maples and elmsColors: Yellow, red and orangeFall foliage timing: Mid-September through mid-October There’s an authentic, almost retro, vibe at two New York state campgrounds - Spacious Skies Adirondack Peaks and Spacious Skies Woodland Hills. Both have fun amenities like gem mining, a jumping pillow, playgrounds and an arcade. Woodland Hills offers fishing, paddleboat rentals, an open-air pavilion and volleyball, while Adirondack Peaks has miniature golf, a gaga ball pit and two pools for extra fun. There are a variety of lodging choices for non-RVers too. Woodland Hills features retro RV rentals and a pond-side cottage, while Adirondack Peaks has glamping yurts and a selection of cabins. Shenandoah Views (Virginia) Leaves fall in Shenandoah National Park by Becky Winner - Unsplash Trees to see: Oaks, chestnut, maples, ashes, birches and basswoodsColors: Red, orange and yellowFall foliage timing: Early- to late-October Blue Ridge Parkway fans will find three campgrounds within striking distance of the famous 469-mile route. Just beyond the northern edge of the parkway is Spacious Skies Shenandoah Views in Luray, Virginia, near Shenandoah National Park, where fall color typically lasts until mid-October. Here, visitors can book yurts and cabins as well as a variety of RV sites. Bear Den (North Carolina) Fall colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina by Alex Diaz - Unsplash Trees to see: Oaks, hickories, maples, gum and cypressColors: Orange, red, goldFall foliage timing: Early October to early November Set right off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 324.8, among the breathtaking Blue Ridge and Black Mountains and nestled in the Pisgah National Forest, Spacious Skies Bear Den is your mountain adventure destination! Bear Den features a private fishing lake (in addition to the other many nearby fishing spots) an arcade, gem mining, and other family games and activities on-site. It's also quite close to Asheville, North Carolina as well as another Fall Colors trail stop at Spacious Skies Hidden Creek in Marion. At both of these stunning North Carolina campgrounds, guests may see fall color as late as mid-November. Belle Ridge (Tennessee) Bright red foliage by Jeremy Thomas - Unsplash Trees to see: Oaks, maples, dogwoods, poplarsColors: Red, orange and yellowFall foliage timing: Mid-October to mid-November At Spacious Skies Belle Ridge in Monterey, Tennessee, there’s a natural fishing hole where campers can spend long, lazy days savoring the season. Located just west of the Appalachian Mountains in central Tennessee, campers at this 500-acre destination can also hike to waterfalls at the campground and at nearby state parks. Located just off I-40, the campground feels secluded but is easily accessible from the highway.
Most people with travel plans to North Carolina this fall have the incredible, sunset-colored foliage and fresh mountain air on their minds—but, this year, travelers to the state might want to add something a little more whimsical to their itinerary. A unique theme park exists in Beech Mountain, North Carolina inspired by the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. This year, the Land of Oz celebrates its 30th anniversary with the Autumn at Oz festival. The Land of Oz isn't your typical theme park. After a successful opening in the 1970s, the park unfortunately fell into troubles in the 1980s. During that time, much of the original theme park was demolished due to decay or vandalism—however, the most emblematic features were preserved, including the Gale farmhouse, barn, and yellow brick road. A reunion of the park’s original employees, the “Ozzies”, in 1988 sparked the idea of public visits. This led to the inception of the Autumn at Oz Festival in 1993, an annual event in September that drew thousands of nostalgic visitors. Currently, while Land of Oz is not a fully functioning theme park, it offers many public events that celebrate the magic and legacy of all things Oz! Celebrate Autumn at Oz Skipping down the Yellow Brick Road - courtesy of the Land of Oz Autumn at Oz is a one-of-a-kind event that combines your typical festival atmosphere with an interactive, immersive theatrical experience. Guests walk onto the Gale’s Kansas farm, visit Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s Home, escape into our newly renovated Tornado Storm Cellar, and walk out on the Yellow Brick Road into the world of Oz. Along the way, you meet all your favorite characters, see them sing and dance, and enjoy the natural scenery of this magical place that sits over one mile high atop Beech Mountain. The stunning Blue Ridge Mountains provide a picturesque background for an unforgettable adventure Over The Rainbow.Inside the park, the Judy Garland Over the Rainbow Observation Deck (the second highest elevation along the East Coast) boasts one of the most beautiful views in the South East granting a hundred miles radius view of North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, and Tennessee. One can also find food & craft vendors, official Land of Oz souvenirs and Wizard of Oz Memorabilia for sale, face painting & much more! At Oz, you don’t just watch it – you live it! Guests wander through the Land of Oz - courtesy fo the Land of Oz Sean Barrett, Artistic Director of the Land of Oz Theme Park, describes the excitement leading up to this year's event: "We are thrilled to be celebrating 30 years of the Autumn at Oz Festival! We've come a long way over the years with renovations and adding to this event each year. Now with 8 theatrical vignette shows, food and craft vendors, character meet-n-greets, and a few surprises along the way, Oz has grown into something extremely special and magical. If you haven't come in recent years, now is the time! We cannot wait to skip down the Yellow Brick Road with everyone while celebrating this milestone year." Stay nearby in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains With a convenient location near Boone, North Carolina and close access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, visitors will find they have a number of amazing options when it comes to lodging. Everything from affordable hotel chains and local inns, to quaint bed and breakfasts and cozy cabins can be found. Plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities abound to make your trip magical.
Cheap flights and hotels are important to keeping a travel budget in line, but activities and food—especially with the whole family in tow—can quickly eat away at any well-planned vacation. If you want to be sure you'll have your pick of affordable entertainment that won't break the bank, head to one of the below cities. All three are full of free or nearly-free activities for the whole family. Raleigh, North Carolina Raleigh's historic neighborhoods, world-class museums, Southern diners, outdoor green spaces, performing arts venues, and local shops all work together to create a dynamic downtown and city. Tons of free (or nearly free) experiences and attractions make a trip Raleigh, North Carolina easy to plan. Explore what the Raleigh area has to offer without breaking the bank! Explore the ideas below, or see the complete guide of Things to Do in Downtown Raleigh. Hunt for murals and public art – The expansive public art scene in Raleigh is quickly proving that beautiful and awe-inspiring art can easily be found both inside and outside of the area's awesome museums and galleries. Slip on your walking shoes and hit the streets to find more than 140 pieces of public art (just downtown) that make for perfect photo ops about hunting for murals! Note: Some murals are located downtown, and others are around the county in nearby towns.North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences – Delight, entertain and educate with fascinating exhibits, both featured and permanent, about the natural world. The museum's four floors are divided into two parts—the Nature Exploration Center (where you'll find the Terror of the South) and the Nature Research Center, an unmistakable architectural icon that opened to much fanfare a decade ago. Exhibits range from detailed dioramas to actual ecosystems with living animals—all of which can be explored through various self-guided tours.Historic Oakwood – Tour Historic Oakwood for a wonderful array of late 19th- and early 20th-century Victorian-inspired homes featuring a diversity of architectural styles. The homes, some with the most beautiful gardens, have been lovingly restored to exude old-world charm and splendor. You can explore this 30-block neighborhood by car or on foot. For a self-guided tour brochure, visit the Raleigh, N.C., Visitor Information Center.First Friday – Art lovers rejoice! First Friday draws thousands downtown for a free, self-guided tour of cutting-edge cultural hot spots—local art galleries, art studios, alternative art venues and museums. Tour stops can feature music, a variety of creative works, wine samples, hors d'oeuvres and more. Local tip: Look for the First Friday flags to easily locate participating venues or pick up a detailed map/guide.Videri Chocolate Factory – A chocolate lover's paradise! Visit the cozy, fully-operational, bean-to-bar chocolate factory and retail space located in the Warehouse District of downtown (a must-stop on any visit for chocolate and coffee lovers). Don't forget to take the free, self-guided tour of the chocolate-making process and get a sample of some of Videri's classic bars.North Carolina Museum of Art – One of the most visited attractions in the entire state (and ranked by Insider as one of the top 25 museums in the country!), the North Carolina Museum of Art and its permanent galleries are open to the public free of charge. You would also be wise to stroll through the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park, with its monumental public art installations and miles of multi-use trails weaving throughout.State Farmers Market, Raleigh – One of the best and most modern markets in the U.S., boasting 75 acres of indoor and outdoor vendor space. Shop and sample some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats and gift products from across the state year-round. Also check out the specialty gifts shops, plus the ever-popular State Farmers Market Restaurant (don't miss the biscuits!)Pullen Park – Entertaining families since 1887, Pullen Park—nestled between downtown Raleigh and the main campus of North Carolina State University—was established as N.C.'s first state park (and it's the fifth oldest amusement park in the U.S.). Admission and access to the playgrounds, grassy and tree-shaded areas, picnic shelters, grills and tables are all free. Families can also enjoy amusement rides, including a historic carousel first built in 1911, for a small fee.Historic Yates Mill County Park – At 174 acres, this wildlife refuge and environmental research center has it all—hiking trails, a 24-acre pond and Historic Yates Mill, Wake County's last remaining gristmill (fully restored and operable!). Tour the mill to learn about the “farm-to-fork” process, witness the corn grinding process and purchase bags of ground yellow and white cornmeal. Admission is free, but the mill tour (available to the public March through November) costs $3 to $5.Neuse River Greenway Trail – A 27.5-mile paved, uninterrupted greenway that stretches from Falls Lake in North Raleigh to the Wake County line in southeast Raleigh is a year-round haven for outdoor recreation. With views of historic sites as well as winding boardwalk areas and suspension bridges crossing over wetlands, the trail is open to joggers, walkers, runners, cyclists, roller-bladers and others. Many consider this trail to be the gem of the 100-plus-mile Capital Area Greenway System. Local tip: Read up on what you need to know about the trail with this handy guide. Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville, Florida by Lance Asper - Unsplash For the ninth year in a row, Visit Jacksonville invites families to discover all the family fun the city has to offer at its top attractions during Kids Free November. The best part? Free or discounted admission is available for children under the age of 12 with general adult admission throughout the month. “Traditionally, the last few months of the year are time for families to enjoy each other's company,” says Katie Mitura, Chief Marketing Officer of Visit Jacksonville. “Kids Free November is the perfect opportunity for families of all sizes to visit Jacksonville to make memories while also taking advantage of admission or tickets specials. It's the chance to save money and do more at many of our local favorites and must-sees.” Autobahn Indoor Speedway is offering an hour of unlimited arcade access with any race purchase, and Community First Igloo is offering free skate rental with the purchase of public skating admission. iFLY Jacksonville is having a BOGO special on First Time Flyer packages. Free admission specials are also being offered at Catty Shack Wildlife Sanctuary, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Durkeeville Historical Society, Jacksonville Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Science & History. In addition to being Kids Free November, there will be special events free to the public on select dates. On November 11th is the Veterans Day Parade, and on November 26th is the Light Boat Parade. Deck the Chairs will also be free, with opening night on November 22nd. Jacksonville is also home to many free and low-cost family attractions including the Beaches Museum and History Park, Riverside Arts Market, Downtown Art Walk, Jacksonville Farmers Market and Fort Caroline National Memorial. Other participating attractions in Kids Free November include Explore Jax Core, FSCJ Artist Series performances at Jacksonville Performing Arts Center, the Jacksonville Icemen, King Pins Bowling Center, Sweet Pete's, and more. For more information about and details about participants visit www.KidsFreeNovember.com. Clarksville, Tennessee A mural in Clarksville, Tennessee by Elmer Cañas - Unsplash A successful vacation with kids means keeping them engaged during your getaway. A blend of fun activities, recreation, creativity, and favorite foods, along with some disguised education, will ensure great memories for the whole family for years to come. Clarksville, Tennessee offers a variety of fun for kids of all ages, no matter their interests. Give them the opportunity to invest in your family's adventure by letting them choose some favorites among these options. For toddlers and young kids: Mochas & Minis Indoor Play & Cafe is a place where adults can sip on a coffee or refresher while the kids run free. The indoor playground is designed specifically for ages 8 and under with separate spaces for toddlers and older kids. Reservations are recommended.The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is full of areas for kids to enjoy. The lower level includes a bubble cave, model trains, and Explorers Landing complete with age-appropriate activities to teach children about community, urban development, and local wildlife.Downtown Commons is an urban park and gathering place in Historic Downtown Clarksville where kids can run and play on the grassy lawn, build forts with the Imagination Playground, and have picnics with food from downtown shops.Stroll along the Cumberland River at Liberty Park, visit the ducks at the fishing pond, or release some energy at the community-built playground.Downtown Clarksville is full of public art. A favorite of these in the hot summer months is the Children's Fountain on Strawberry Alley.The Wade Bourne Nature Center located inside Rotary Park is a 4,200-square-foot facility that educates children on natural history with hands-on activities and events throughout the summer. The center includes indoor exhibits, demonstration gardens, and pollinator and butterfly gardens. A new aquarium will open inside the center in late July. Children will also enjoy the nature-inspired playground.Let the kids cool off at the Heritage Park All-Inclusive Playground & Splash Pad. For bigger kids and teens: If your kids have their own phones, let them download the Visit Clarksville App to take any of 18 themed Challenge Trails. Check in at the required number of places and earn custom-designed pins for each trail.There is certainly no shortage of activities for the competitive kid at The City Forum which has it all under one roof – go-karts, mini golf, bowling, laser tag, arcade games, and more.D&D Blacklight Mini Golf, Sky Zone Clarksville, and The Flip'n Axe are all unique indoor recreation experiences.Looking to spend some time in the great outdoors? A Dunbar Cave State Park cave tour is a great combination of recreation, education, and history. The cave stays at a constant temperature of 58 degrees making it a great place to escape the summer heat while still being outdoors. There are several tour options available to visitors. For those who want to be in the water this summer, Float Ya Boat allows families to spend an afternoon floating down the Red River.Take a break from the heat and get out on the ice! Ford Ice Center hosts public skates each weekend.Every kid loves a selfie! Grab a phone and document all the unique stops along the Public Art Trail. For anyone feeling creative, ArtLink hosts workshops throughout the summer teaching everything from stained glass to painting. For anyone visiting on the first Thursday of the month, be sure to head to the Downtown Artists Co-op for the First Thursday Art Walk.Rent a bike or take a walk at the Clarksville Greenway, a scenic 9-mile paved walking trail. In addition to activities, Clarksville has plenty of dining options to satisfy everyone—including picky eaters. These locations are sure to have something to satisfy everyone's craving. Wolf Down at Downtown Commons, Miss Lucille's Café, and Wicked Good Sandwiches focus more on sandwiches, while Dock 17, Johnny's Big Burger and Joe's Garage are great places to grab a burger. The Thirsty Goat serves pizzas and doubles as a coffee shop and beer garden with expansive outdoor seating.Cool down with a cold treat this summer. Golly G's and Frozen Fuel serve handmade ice cream, while La Michoacana Delicias sells Mexican popsicles. Café 931's acai bowls are both tasty and filling.Enjoy a tea party at Pinky's Up Afternoon Tea or Miss Ashley's Tearoom & Cafe, or grab donuts at Parlor Doughnuts.Does everyone want something different? Check out the Chow Down with the Clarksville Food Trucks events every Saturday to dine with local food and dessert trucks.