The Beach of the Flies: A Quest for the Best Colorado Lake


I love Summer vacation for so many reasons. My kids get a much needed break from a long, intense and busy school year, my husband (who is a teacher and coach) gets a much needed break and I get him home with me almost every day; and it’s our chance to reconnect as a family and go out and explore Colorado!

In past years, we have loved to get out and find new places we never knew about. But one of our fondest memories we have had as a family is going to the Aurora Reservoir. I first found this little gem when I was “training” for a sprint triathlon. There is a part of the reservoir that is measured out in the distance I would need to swim for the race. If you are wondering why I have “training” in quotation marks, it’s because I didn’t even make it to the first buoy that day. But that really is for a whole other blog post. When I went with my family, it was a blast. Beautiful summer day and everyone had fun. The sand was warm and soft and the water was…refreshing.

This past weekend, I felt the need to recreate our Colorado “beach” trip. Only this time I wanted to try a different lake or reservoir. I started researching (last minute) all the top beaches that Colorado had to offer. I knew I wanted sand, water and not too many people. I just can’t with the crowds right now. As I was reading reviews, one stood out because it met all of my requirements: Jackson Lake State Park. The article mentioned how kid friendly it was- with lots of shallow and bath temperature water. It also mentioned that it was an “oasis hidden in the planes”. Now, who wouldn’t want to go there!? Even though the drive was over 2 hours, I convinced my husband that it was a great idea to pack up our three boys and (all who act like toddlers but only two who really are) a very pregnant wife- and hit the road the next morning.

The drive itself was a success, with minimal whining. But as we neared the park, I started to get extremely anxious. I was worried that we just drove all this way for something that wouldn’t live up to our expectations. My husband told me to not worry and that it would be a blast but that we would probably want to stay at least four hours to make the trip worth it. Ha! Boys.

Colorado State Lake Beach of the Flies

As we unpacked our things from the car and made our way to the sandy beach, I noticed there weren’t many people around at all. Either it was because it was a Monday and we found the holy grail of beaches OR for some reason people were not having anything to do with this beach. I chose to go with the former.

There was one other family there and they looked like they were on their way out, so we chose a spot that we thought we could enjoy for the majority of the day. We quickly noticed a foul smell and my husband pointed out that it probably had to do with the three huge, dead and rotting fish laying on the beach a few feet away. Without much discussion, we picked up our things and moved to the other side (about 50 yards) of the beach. We settled in and unpacked our lunches and were immediately attacked by red ants and huge biting flies. What the heck!! All hell broke loose, as all my boys freaked out, I may have freaked out a little too. Flies were landing everywhere- on our sandwiches, chairs, towels, drinks and bags. No spot was left untouched. I was heard saying “Don’t take a bite of that sandwich, there’s a fly on it!” many times. My husband ended up taking all the food back to the car as I quickly got the boys in the water. And let me tell you, it was amazing! The most amazing water temperature and a beach with the softest sand; and no attacking insects!

My husband swam all the way out to the boundary line and it was a little over 6 ft deep. The boys had a blast throwing a football while my 1 and 3 year old felt safe and comfortable in the shallow water playing with their beach toys. If we could’ve stayed in that water all day, we would’ve. But after about two hours, we all started to shrivel up. We walked back to our towels and found a whole gang of flies had taken over our diaper bag. I kid you not, the whole side of it was covered with flies you couldn’t even see the bag. We quickly grabbed our things and made it back to the car to dry off without the annoyance of the flies. I was seriously so bummed about this place because the beach itself was perfection, a great place to swim with the whole family but the flies, red ants and rotting fish, literally ruined it for us. I wish I could say we will go back, but unfortunately, we won’t. So next time you want to take a dip, pass on Jackson Lake as it is not worth the drive.

Can anyone point us in the direction of an amazing, low key beach here in Colorado? I will not give up my quest.