Summer Life at the Lake

July 23, 2019

The 90-degree days we’ve been enjoying in Aurora make the 800-acres of water in the Aurora Reservoir an inviting recreational hot spot for sunbathers and swimmers, scuba divers, kayakers, anglers and beach babies! There’s so much to do at the lake, don’t miss these last days of water fun before school starts to soak up some rays (with sunscreen!) and picnic at the pavilions!

Picnics and Parties

Packing a picnic lunch for you and the kids? You can eat on your picnic blanket, or if you’ve invited a couple dozen of your friends, check out the shelters at the lake. The AR Shelters 1-3 are closest to the water and cost $75 for the entire day. You can rent any of the six shelters for small events and large get-togethers and reserve them online, or call the park office at 303-326-8425.

The two large shelters have a capacity of 300 people at a rate of $350 a day, and the four smaller shelters can accommodate up to 20 people (picnic table seating for 16).

For 88 quick picnic ideas for lakeside lunching, Country Living has 90 summer recipes for food and drink – from Ham Sandwiches with Apricot Mustard and Lobster Rolls, to Smashed Buttermilk Potato Salad and Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad! (Photo by Brian Woodcock.)

The Fishing You’ll Find

You know what they say, the best water grows the best fish! Aurora’s reservoirs have some of the best water around and have grown four state record fish: tiger muskie, catfish, smallmouth bass and white sucker. The Aurora  Reservoir is stocked by Colorado Parks and Wildlife where you’ll also find trout, largemouth bass, walleye, crappie, yellow perch and wiper. (Check out the bag and possession limits here.)

A Colorado fishing license is required for everyone 16 and older, so plan to purchase a license in advance at a local sporting goods store. In Aurora, you can buy a fishing license at Big Five, Wal-Mart or Valley Country Bait & Tackle or through Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Sand Play Pays!

The beach at the lake is perfect for sand castles and sculptures and playing with the gritty stuff is good for kids. According to the USDA Cooperative Extension, sensory play – including playing with sand and water – helps children practice eye-hand coordination as they scoop, sift, funnel and pour sand, and provides opportunities for kids to practice cooperative play and sharing. Sand activities foster creativity and socialization in children, whether they’re playing “stomp and smash”, burying toys to find, digging holes, sculpting faces or building castles.  

Work That Core (and Biceps!)

Paddling a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard hardly seems like exercise, it’s so much fun. But this recreational good time on the water can burn 350 to 400 calories just leisurely paddling around the reservoir for an hour. That’s twice what you’d expend walking around the lake! The reservoir staff rents out 31 kayaks and 42 stand-up paddleboards from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – weather permitting. Kids 12 years old and younger can operate a kayak or SUP with a parent or guardian on the water with them. Life jackets, which are included in the rental fees ($15/hour) must be worn at all times.  

Walk, Jog and Bike

If you’re a recreational jogger or dedicated walker you’ve no doubt already discovered the 8-mile perimeter hard trail that surrounds the lake. There’s also a certified 5K soft trail. And if you like biking instead of hiking, head over to the lake on your bicycle (minutes from Southshore), or you can rent a bike at the lake from the park office for $10, which includes the bike and a helmet.

It’s not right by the lake, but you’ll find an archery range open during regular park hours that is free to use with a valid park pass. The range has target bales from 15 to 65 yards away from the shooting lines; just bring your own archery equipment and targets.

The Aurora Reservoir is at 5800 S. Powhaton Road and open from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in July, and 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. in August. A day pass is $10 (per vehicle) and there are annual passes available for $55 (resident) and $65 (non-resident).

The Aurora Reservoir and Southshore

One of the huge attractions to the master-planned community of Southshore is minutes-away access to the Aurora Reservoir and Life at the Lake. Another is the nearby dining, shopping and family-friendly entertainment options. If you don’t live here yet, tour the beautiful variety of model homes from Century CommunitiesRichmond American Homes and Toll Brothers — available in ranch and two-story designs, and priced between the $400s and the $700s.